Engel's Mailbag: Trade and Lineup Advice

Daren, Springfield, Ill.: Someone in my league advertised his need for a running back, and he will accept DeAngelo Williams and Jeff Garcia for Joey Galloway and Matt Schaub. At first glance, it looks like I win. But Garcia's schedule (pass defense) seems much easier and if Foster ever gets hurt (like he tends to do), then Williams is the man in Carolina. Who wins this trade?

Engel: In ESPN leagues, Schaub has scored in double figures in three of his first four games, and I would judge him by more than just upcoming schedule. Schaub has already proven he is a steady quarterback, even without his top weapon, Andre Johnson, along with dealing with other key injuries. Garcia has thrown just two touchdown passes so far, both in the same game. He's been decent from the yardage perspective and hasn't thrown any interceptions, but he is really just a backup in fantasy who is a solid game manager for Tampa Bay. Schaub has more upside, especially when Johnson returns. He threw for 317 yards last week using a patchwork group of receivers. Schaub has more upside and can be a reliable fantasy starter, while Garcia will only be good for occasional use and doesn't have Schaub's ceiling. You're worrying too much about negative ramifications instead of seeing the very positive side of the deal. You're getting a guy who is emerging as a quality starting fantasy quarterback for a backup. What does Garcia's schedule matter, for if he didn't throw any touchdown passes against the Rams (six allowed so far) or Carolina, which has allowed 229 passing yards per game so far, 12th in the NFL? Garcia threw for only 176 yards against the Panthers and the St. Louis pass defense is worse than the numbers may actually indicate. As for Galloway versus Williams, it makes sense if you need help at wide receiver. We have been hearing about Williams' potential for so long now, yet he still hasn't shown us too much and you can't wait around for "what if" all the time if you can get a solid quarterback and a quality wide receiver right now. Make the deal.

Rodney, Brooklyn, N.Y.: Brandon Jacobs and Earnest Graham are available on my league's free agent list. Should I pick one of them up? My running backs are LaDainian Tomlinson, Thomas Jones and DeAngelo Williams. Last week I traded Julius Jones for Carnell Williams, which does me no good now.