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.
Greg Jennings, WR, MIN– From catching passes from perennial Pro Bowler and MVP candidate in Aaron Rodgers to being ignored or airmailed by Matt Cassel and Co., Greg Jennings hasn’t exactly had the year he envisioned after leaving Green Bay to become “the man” at WR in Minnesota. Having surpassed only 43 yards twice on the year, Jennings has also only scored in one game- not exactly someone you want to rely on to be in your starting lineup. But with the announcement of Josh Freeman as the Vikings starting QB, I’m optimistic. Granted, I’m a Josh Freeman apologist- I think the Buccaneers’ offensive philosophy was as much to blame for his inconsistency as anything. But no one can argue Josh Freeman knew where his bread was buttered: he always targeted his stud WRs a la Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Whereas Christian Ponder almost seemed to not trust his arm while checking down to Rhett Ellison and Toby Gerhart, Freeman will force the ball to his best receivers almost to a fault. Is this a recipe for long-term success in real life? Probably not. But its good news for Jennings’ WR3 ambitions going forward.
Lamar Miller, RB, MIA– Coming off of a bye-week, Lamar Miller may be even more available than usual. “Inconsistency” has been his middle name thus far, but he started to turn a corner in his competition in Week Five’s loss to the Ravens. He only carried the ball seven times for 15 yards, but the encouraging stat lies in his snap count. Miller played 45-59 snaps in that game, while Fumblin’ Dan Thomas was held to a single yard on two carries. The Dolphins coaching staff finally may be starting to see the light and putting their most talented RB on the field for the majority of the time. Their schedule is pretty rough, but Miller has the talent to overcome that and be a solid RB2 at a cheap price for the rest of the season.
Terrelle Pryor, QB, OAK– During last week’s Sunday night (Monday morning?) win against the Chargers, I saw half of Twitter anoint Terrelle Pryor as the Raiders’ QB of the future. While I think a 6-week sample size is too early to make such a claim, I am absolutely blown away by Terrelle Pryor’s play when compared with his preseason expectations. Facing arguably the toughest defense in the NFL though, Pryor turned the ball over 3 times while accounting for just one touchdown. But he saved his day with 60 rushing yards, something that is becoming a trend with Pryor. We all know that QBs can be effective in fantasy with minimal aerial production if they can produce on the ground, and Terrelle Pryor is succeeding in both areas. He is probably someone’s QB2 right now, and I love him as a trade target for Matt Ryan owners.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, PIT– Going into the season, many (including myself) liked Emmanuel Sanders as a sleeper WR4 with WR3 upside. However, I think a change of expectation is in order. For starters, Sanders has yet to surpass 78 yards in any game this season- something very troubling for the number two wide receiver on a team with pretty much ZERO running game or tight end play for the first month of the season. With Antonio Brown balling out and Heath Miller and Le’Veon Bell both returning from injury looking effective, Sanders is going to be fighting for offensive scraps from hereon out. I don’t mind him as a bye-week WR4, but his ceiling is not as high as we thought. Sell him this week since he scored a touchdown- it may be a while before that happens again.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, NYG– What an unmitigated disaster 2013 has been for the New York Football Giants. I won’t go into everything, but the fact that Brandon Jacobs is now their bell-cow back should tell you all you need to know. Lets start with the fact that although Jacobs has played in 5 games this season, last Thursday against the Bears was only the 3rd time he’s averaged over ONE YARD per carry. Missing Henry Melton, the Bears got dominated up front, and Jacobs got what was blocked. Still running like an out-of-shape dad, Jacobs is mostly going to be wholly dependent on a goal-line plunge. With Peyton Hillis now entering the fold, this may become the slowest committee attack in football history. To put it kindly, Jacobs is unlikely to have such a good statistical day again.
Pierre Thomas, RB, NO– After a bizarre two-game stretch in which Thomas briefly surpassed Darren Sproles in receptions, things have evened themselves out in New Orleans. At the beginning of the season, Thomas fell in drafts because of his limited upside while sharing time with Mark Ingram. Although Ingram is out of the picture, there is a new player siphoning clock-killing work and goal-line carries- Khiry Robinson. Pierre Thomas is going back to his role as screen-pass specialist and change-of-pace back, seeing maybe 10 touches per game. With Ingram scheduled to return soon (to what role, I’m not sure), I think his days of scoring like an RB2 are going to be incredibly tough to predict.
Besides the “obvious” ‘stop buying/selling’ and ‘keep buying/selling’, here are some players from previous articles you should keep trading for and away:
Keep Buying: CJ Spiller, Steve Smith, Marques Colston
Keep Selling: DeAngelo Williams, Maurice Jones-Drew
Stop Buying: Michael Vick
Stop Selling: Philip Rivers, James Jones