Fantasy football: How do you deal with holdouts?

Joey Baskerville

How much value does Mike Wallace (PIT) have this year?

I’m a bit conflicted with this and have tried, unsuccessfully, to trade Wallace because I don’t want to deal with the headache of what’s potentially to come.

Wallace is an explosive receiver and with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the fourth-year receiver could have his best season of his career.

His quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is probably on the cusp of hitting the prime of his career with eight seasons under his belt, and Antonio Brown (PIT) may stand to help Wallace earn more opportunities to get open.

There’s just one problem everyone knows about: Wallace has missed all of training camp and will miss all of preseason under a new offense. Brown likely is two steps ahead of Wallace in his progressions in the playbook, which only stands to hurt Wallace.

Sure, Wallace has had a copy of the playbook and is apparently and shape and yada, yada, but nothing replaces on-field practices and at least one preseason game with teammates. When I drafted Wallace in the fourth round about a month ago, I thought he was a steal.

Now I wish I had drafted Hakeem Nicks (NYG) or reached for Antonio Gates (SD) or Doug Martin (TB).

So what do you do with a receiver like Wallace, or worse, Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC)? At least Wallace has finally ended his holdout.

Jones-Drew doesn’t appear close to coming back any time soon.

The problem I’ve found is you’re never going to get equal value for either.

Fantasy owners aren’t stupid. You really think they want to deal with you problem when their roster looks just fine?

For Wallace, I’d wait it out (I actually have no choice, it appears, but at least he’s my flex this year). Wallace may stumble out of the gates to start the year, but considering how poorly he performed in the second half last season, he’ll be appreciated if he comes around late.

As for Jones-Drew, it may be time to sell him off. Just don’t forget how scarce the running back position is this year and use that to your advantage in trade talks. After all, just last season Jones-Drew led the league in rushing.

Sell high no matter what. You’ll thank yourself later if and when Jones-Drew goes off when he returns to the field.

As far as drafting? Until you can get either Jones-Drew or Wallace at a bargain compared to their respective average draft positions, steer clear.

There’s enough depth at WR to pass up Wallace — unless it’s the fifth, sixth or seventh round of course — and you’d be doing yourself a favor if you drafted a running back ASAP before facing the prospect of taking Jones-Drew as your number one RB.

Don’t sleep on my sleepers

This is the final week of my preseason picks highlighting my top players (Breakin’ Bread list), players set to disappoint or overvalued (The Purple Drank list — presented by JaMarcus Russell) and my fantasy sleepers (Don’t sleep on my sleepers).

This week I’m unveiling my list of sleepers. As I mentioned last week, some won’t exclusively be sleepers, but will showcase players that are undervalued, according to average draft position.

QB: Russell Wilson (SEA)

RB: BenJarvis Green-Ellis (CIN), Alfred Morris (WASH), Kevin Smith (DET)

WR: Nate Washington (TEN), Titus Young (DET)

Joey Baskerville (@jmark79) writes his fantasy football column every Wednesday during the NFL season. He is a sports writer for The Journal-Standard. Reach him at