In the wake of the death of an all-time NFL great and one of the league’s founding fathers, Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders have made some big trades during the last couple weeks. As a Seahawks fan, the Aaron Curry trade made me cringe almost as much as it does when I hear a Skip Bayless projection (is Vince Young still the answer in Philly, Skip?).
Anyways, the Raiders made another trade this week in adding Carson Palmer from Cincinnati and giving up a first-round pick in next year’s draft and possibly another first rounder in the following year’s draft depending on Oakland’s performance with Palmer. This more or less completed the implosion of Oakland’s 2012 draft, all for a 32-year-old quarterback.
On the other hand, I think this was definitely a great move for the Bengals, considering they already have Andy Dalton in place at quarterback, allowing them to shore up other positions on defense and namely the offensive line with the picks they will receive from the trade, not to mention freeing up a ton of cap space in getting rid of a guy who swore he would never wear another Bengal jersey in his life.
Moving on, I’ll now get to my picks.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Not that any running back in a Jason Garrett offense is all that desirable, but last week Felix Jones went down with a high left ankle sprain and is all but a lock not to play this week. And after Jones went down last week it was clear that Murray was to be the workhorse over Tashard Choice, who is better suited for the passing game. So if you are in a pinch and need a sneaky bye week play, the rookie Murray isn’t a bad play here against the winless Rams.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
There it is. Mendenhall finally lived up to where he was drafted in most leagues last week with a 23-carry, 146-yard and one touchdown performance against the Jaguars. After being stagnant most of the season, Mendenhall finally broke out of his shell and while it may not be a week-in week-out thing from him, I think this is definitely a time for him to have big back-to-back games considering the Steelers' next opponent is Arizona, who has been abysmal against the run. Just look at Adrian Peterson’s three-touchdown, 122-yard performance in week five. Start with confidence.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Baldwin, the undrafted rookie free-agent from Stanford, has made an instant impact in Seattle this season. Week one, he caught four balls for 83 yards and a touchdown after having a fantastic preseason. Baldwin had a couple quiet weeks after that but recently he has been back on the map for Seattle, especially week five against the Giants when he caught eight passes for 136 yards and a score. Baldwin is a very sure-handed player with good speed and quickness to go along with great on-field smarts. Baldwin could become that go-to slot guy Seattle has been missing since the departure of the old reliable Bobby Engram. Baldwin will continue to get a good workload pretty much each week as he keeps developing into one of Tarvaris Jackson’s favorite targets. You could do a lot worse than Baldwin as a bye-week filler.