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.
Desean Jackson, WR, PHI- After bursting out of the gate as the best-scoring fantasy WR for the first two weeks, Jackson has come back to Earth with a combined 5 catches for 96 scoreless yards in his past two games. I see many grumblings of people wishing they had “sold high” after the first two weeks, but I think a simple readjustment of expectations should ease D-Jax owners. After Week Two, many thought he was a top-five WR for the rest of the way- a big conclusion to draw from such a small sample size. Instead, think of him as a very good WR2, with some obvious bust games coming because he is still mostly a deep threat who defenses will focus on because he is the Eagles’ only receiving threat. Don’t trade for him expecting him to be on par with the Julio Jones’ and AJ Greens’ of the world. But I still consider him an every-week difference maker who owners may already be questioning.
Jason Witten, TE, DAL- This one is mostly for PPR leaguers. Similar to Tony Gonzalez and Marques Colston, we know who Jason Witten is at this stage of his career. We know what statistics and style of play we will get from them- there is no huge change coming. For example, Witten owners may be disappointed that he hasn’t scored since Week One. Newsflash: Jason Witten doesn’t usually score touchdowns- he’s scored more than 5 just once since the start of the 2008 season. You draft him with the expectation of 90+ catches, 950-1090 yards and a handful of scores. People wrote him off last year after his slow start, and he finished as the TE on many championship PPR teams. Miles Austin’s looming absence only makes things more similar to 2012, and will force Tony Romo to look to ol’ reliable number 82 during the instances where Dez can’t beat bracket coverage.
Ray Rice, RB, BAL- It has been an absolutely dreadful start for RBs not named McCoy, Charles, Forte, Bush and Peterson. Players taken in the top two rounds such as Spiller, Richardson, Rice, Wilson, Ridley, and Jackson have headlined the “2013 All-Bust Team” so far. After receiving a paltry 25 carries in his first two games, Rice nearly flatlined owners when he pulled up lame while holding his leg. Upon his return, he “rewarded” owners with a catchless 5 carries for 17 scoreless yards. The good news? He played the vast majority of the snaps and emerged no worse for wear. The Ravens simply have no choice but to force-feed Rice the rock. As demonstrated by their trade for Eugene Monroe, they know reinforcing the offensive line and getting the run game going are absolutely vital to their offensive success. I bet you could get Ray Rice incredibly cheap right now, and I’d still consider him a top-12 RB for the rest of the season.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT- I have to preface this “sell high” by saying that I think Le’Veon Bell has at least borderline RB2 value the rest of the year, and imploring you not to trade him away ASAP for bye-week depth. But I do think this could be his highest scoring fantasy day of the 2013 season, all things considered. Bell is a very technically sound running back with quick feet and excellent pass-game chops, but he is NOT an explosive runner who can create his own space. When you are not that type of runner, you need your offensive line to make space for you. How is the Steelers’ offensive line doing? They just traded for Levi Brown. Think about that for just a second. I’ll wait. “In shambles” doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on with the big uglies up from in Pittsburgh, and without good blocking I don’t see Bell having any semblance of consistency or efficiency. He carries plenty of value due to his volume, but see if you can flip him for Ray Rice or in a deal with Trent Richardson.
Nate Washington, WR, TEN- Nate Washington has made some fantasy owners very happy in the last few weeks: you go in expecting some lumps of coal, and you emerge with an absolute box-score diamond. He always seems to make an outstanding play or two every few games, but has always struggled for consistency, especially now competing with Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright in a ball-control offense. With noodle-armed Ryan Fitzpatrick taking over for an injured Jake Locker and the Titans facing the defenses of the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers the next three weeks, Washington is going to struggle to put up WR3 numbers.
Jerome Simpson, WR, MIN- Almost everyone has had that type of ex-girlfriend/boyfriend: Incredible charm and good-looks attracted you to them, only to find that they are a vindictive succubus. But after you break up, they start showing signs of coming around and you think “Man, she/he has really changed! I’ll give them another shot.” Invariably, your trust gets violated once again. Jerome Simpson is the fantasy football example of this special brand of ex: a fast, athletic wideout who literally lands flips over defenders into the end-zone and seems capable of putting up chunk yardage at will. After a truly terrible 2012, maybe he’s “really changed” after putting up 7 catches for 124+ yards in half of his games so far this year. I’m here to save you some heartbreak: don’t trust him again! This is who Jerome Simpson is: 2-3 games of huge production, 10+ of utter disappointment. It simply can’t continue with either trigger-shy Christian Ponder or arm strength-deficient Matt Cassel throwing him the ball on a team with Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings. He IS NOT a WR3 solution, no matter how charming he may seem.
Keep buying low: David Wilson, Trent Richardson, Steve Smith
Keep selling high: Owen Daniels, Brian Hartline, Steve Johnson, Eddie Royal, DeAngelo Williams, Sidney Rice