Buy Low, Sell High: The Playoff Edition
November 20, 2013 | Asher Molk
Hello Fake Footballers! Asher Molk here, and I’m back for another wonderful year of helping you win your fake football leagues via smart and savvy trading. “Buying Low” and “Selling High” is quite a simple economic principal: give away commodities while their perceived value is greater than their actual value, and try to acquire commodities while their perceived value is lower than their actual value. In other words, trade bad players after good games for good players after bad games! Here are a few trends and nuggets of wisdom I encourage you to follow whilst trading:
-Look beyond the box score! Investigate why a mediocrely talented player did so well, or why a superstar did so poorly. Then ask yourself- are the scenarios that caused those outcomes likely to continue on a game-to-game basis? What is the long-term impact here? Statistics CAN LIE, so think long-term.
-A major trend in my articles (and hopefully on your fantasy teams) will be getting rid of averagely-talented players: plodding running backs who don’t make anyone miss or contribute in the passing game (see Green-Ellis, BenJarvus), or wide receivers who offer nothing after the catch (see Hartline, Brian), etc. More importantly, you will be trying to acquire explosive, dynamic talents who are capable of changing the game every time they touch the ball (see Spiller, C.J.). TALENT IS MOST IMPORTANT!
-Trading away two decent/good players for one great player is almost always a great idea. Usually, the person getting the one better player wins the deal.
-From Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL on Twitter, give him a follow) of Rotoworld.com: Think in terms of draft value and ADP when you trade. If you are thinking of trading away Lesean McCoy for Darren McFadden and Tony Gonzalez, think about if you would trade a top 5 pick for a 4th and 6th rounder. This practice should help give clarity to your trades!
-NEVER lead with your best or final trade offer! Instead, start small, even offer deals they probably won’t accept to start with. This doesn’t mean offer Mason Crosby for Jamaal Charles, but you never know what a person may say yes to, it’s often quite surprising. If you lead with your best offer, you have nowhere to go but down. Start by being a little optimistic…
-If there are quality players on your waiver wire that you want but you do not know whom to drop, let go of your kicker and/or defense for that player. You can always make a trade to make roster space, or make a game-time decision on whom you want to drop. A lot can happen in a week, and you don’t want to miss out on the next Victor Cruz or Alfred Morris just because you think Sebastian Janikowski will average 1 more point per game than Garrett Hartley.
-Target owners who are close to the bottom of the standings – they are probably the most willing to do a desperation move in order to shake up their team. Also, make sure to target players the owner is likely frustrated with.
For my last “Buy Low, Sell High” of the season, I’m going to spotlight players to trade for and away not only based on performance, but also playoff schedule. Thank you for reading this year, and good luck!
Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS- With the Redskins in last place, no rushing scores, and as many turnovers as touchdowns, it hasn’t exactly been the sophomore year comeback Robert Griffin III imagined when he stepped onto the field in Week One. All in all, its been a lukewarm season for the former Heisman Trophy winner. But there IS light at the end of the tunnel: he finally looks healthy, and has an absolute dream playoff schedule: Week 15 against the Falcons (who allow the 8th most fantasy points per game to QBs) in a dome, and Week 16 at home against the rival Cowboys (most fantasy points allowed to QBs). I think he makes for an excellent trade target in a year where there have been more QB injuries than usual.
Eddie Lacy, RB, GB- From his offseason knee surgery to the “fat” picture to his concussion, Eddie Lacy was JUST starting to hit his RB1 stride when Aaron Rodgers went down. Since then, defenses have been able to key in on the impressive rookie from Alabama, limiting him to 100 rushing yards the past two games. But with Rodgers due back before the fantasy playoffs, now is the perfect time to buy. His playoff schedule: Week 14 vs. Atlanta (10th most fantasy points allowed to RBs), Week 15 at Dallas (most allowed), Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh (10th most allowed). He’s going to be on a lot of championship teams.
Andre Johnson, WR, HOU- I am aware that it will be hard to snatch Johnson from owners after his most recent three-game explosion, but perhaps they’ll be wary of the absurd QB “controversy” coach Gary Kubiak has recreated. Although Keenum has been named the Week 12 starter, the Texans clearly aren’t afraid to go back to Schaub. Point the Andre owner in your league to the fact that Andre has yet to even catch one touchdown from Matt Schaub this year, and that another Case Keenum benching could mean even more frustrating Sunday afternoons for the elite wide receiver. Even if Schaub does somehow get the job back again, don’t be worried. Andre’s playoff schedule all occurs either in Florida or indoors, with a destroyable matchup in Jacksonville and possible shootouts against the Colts and Broncos. Andre is going to finish up this season like he finished up 2012- as a key player on many championship-winning fantasy teams.
Other good “buys” with favorable playoff schedules: Alfred Morris, Andre Ellington, all Packers and Bears players
Carson Palmer, QB, ARI- Finally giving the Cardinals some return on their investment, Palmer has settled into a nice three-game groove where he has had a clean pocket and a 6:2 TD to INT ratio- in fact, the Cardinal’s win against the Jaguars was the first game in which he “failed” to throw an interception. When Palmer has room to operate in the pocket, he’s still a very capable QB. When he doesn’t? Well… it gets ugly. And in the playoffs, he is not going to have time to throw on very many plays. In Week 14, the Cardinals offensive line gets to try and block Robert Quinn, Chris Long and the Rams defense. Week 15, the Cardinals go on the road to Tennessee who allow the 4th least fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. And if he somehow takes you to the championship game, you’ll be betting against the Seahawks defense in Seattle fighting for home field advantage. No thanks.
Zac Stacy, RB, STL- From a preseason sleeper favorite, to redraft afterthought to a borderline RB1- Zac Stacy has taken quite a ride this year. After finally hitting his stride as a starter close to midseason, Stacy had fantasy owners wondering what took the Rams so long to use him over Pead and Richardson. But with Sam Bradford lost for the season in what was shaping up to be a career year, Stacy now occupies the spotlight that defenses will be targeting. Pure volume can sustain him, but the matchups could hardly be worse for Weeks 13-16: Week 13 at San Francisco, Week 14 at Arizona (allows the 2nd least fantasy points to RBs), Week 15 vs. New Orleans (in what could be a blowout where the Rams fall behind early, and Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay (allowing 12th least fantasy points to RBs). The best fantasy days for Stacy are likely behind him.
Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, WRs, ARI- Simply put: these two can only go as far as Carson Palmer can take them. As highlighted above, Palmer is likely to find very little success in the moneymaker weeks of fantasy football. Both of these receivers have had inconsistent production, and are likely to be boom-or-bust for the remainder of the year as well- not a gamble you want to take with your season on the line. Throw in the fact they face the Titans (least fantasy points allowed to WRs) in Week 15 and the Seahawks (4th least) in Week 16, and you have a recipe for disappointment.
Other “sells” with difficult playoff matchups: Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Golden Tate, Santonio Holmes