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.
TY Hilton, WR, IND- In August drafts, fantasy owners were happy to take the 6th round plunge on Hilton- a 2nd year player who flashed elite playmaking ability in his rookie year catching passes from the next great NFL QB. However, reports of Pep Hamilton using Darrius Heyward-Bey as an every-down WR due to his blocking ability rang true, and Hilton has epitomized the “boom-or-bust” moniker. But obviously, the status quo changes with Reggie Wayne going down for the season. With no Dwayne Allen, an inconsistent Coby Fleener and an ineffective Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Colts simply have no choice but to use Hilton as an every-down receiver. I can easily see the Colts relying even more heavily on the running game, while dialing up deep shots to Hilton a la the Ravens and Torrey Smith. I’d consider Hilton a low-end WR2 at worst for the rest of the year.
Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS- After starting out the season with at least 7 catches in his first three games, Garcon has come back to earth a little. Three games in a row under 7 catches and none breaking 70 yards? Not exactly WR1 material, especially considering RGIII has actually gotten better as the season has progressed. But his next four games are against Denver, San Diego, Minnesota, and Philadelphia- teams truly atrocious against the pass. The emergence of Jordan Reed should actually open things up for Garcon, and nothing his changed about the fantasy magic of the “X” receiver in a Shanahan offense. An explosion is coming, and he’s a top-12 option the rest of the way.
Danny Amendola, WR, NE- Fantasy football is so unpredictable, we must take risks. Obviously, trading for Danny Amendola would be categorized as such. Proving as injury-prone as ever, Amendola has played a mere 147 snaps all season. But when he’s been on the field, he has still been an effective PPR asset. The point is, trading something small for Amendola could turn out to be a league-winning move IF he stays healthy. His owner may be so sick of him that you could deal him for some bye-week depth, and that’s a move I recommend making. His placement in this “buy low” section is entirely based on his risk/reward potential, and it’s a risk worth taking if the price is small enough.
Matt Ryan, QB, ATL and Andrew Luck, QB, IND- These quarterback’s placements in the “sell high” section are absolutely not an indictment of their talent or real-life effectiveness- its simply due to their situations. Much of Matt Ryan’s fantasy value came from the boost his dynamic WR tandem gave him. With no more Julio Jones and maybe about half of Roddy White left (who STILL hasn’t resumed practicing), I simply don’t see a way Matt Ryan remains a QB1. This will almost certainly go down as his best game in the post-Julio Jones 2013.
Andrew Luck has experienced the same problem in losing ol’ reliable Reggie Wayne. With the Colts winning with limiting their pass attempts, Luck’s fantasy value was already on slightly shaky ground. There’s no reason to believe they’ll throw more without their most reliable wide receiver- more than likely, they’ll rely even more heavily on the run while mixing in plays for T.Y. Hilton- their only effective outside weapon. In fantasy, sometimes QBs are only as good as their weapons. Considering the depth at QB with the emergence of Philip Rivers, Terrelle Pryor and Michael Vick, QB is a position you should be able to get some cheap upside at. I still really like Ryan and Luck as QB2s, but their upside is shot.
Vincent Jackson, WR, TB- I usually don’t put seriously talented players who are the top option on their offense as “sell highs”, but I believe Jackson’s perceived value has surpassed his actual value. Coming off of an insane 19/252/4 two-game stretch, many owners likely perceive Jackson as an elite WR1. I simply don’t think that’s the case due to his situation. Jackson is an excellent wide receiver, but he is not on par talent-wise with the Dez Bryants and Calvin Johnsons of the league. With a rookie QB and no more Doug Martin, is it inconceivable that defenses will TRIPLE team Vincent Jackson? He runs a lot of his routes in the slot which would make that difficult, but this will definitely go down as Jackson’s best two-game stretch of the season. He is a great WR2, but simply cannot keep this up in the mess that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ryan Mathews, RB, SD- The game tape from the past two weeks that this is the Ryan Mathews we expected when spending a first-round fantasy pick on him last August. But the box score has yet to catch up, and likely never will. Simply put, Ryan Mathews is in the same boat as DeAngelo Williams- a running back bereft of receptions and goal-line looks who relies entirely on rushing yards for his value. Mathews scored his first touchdown since Week One last week, and hasn’t caught a pass in three weeks. Danny Woodhead sees all the passing down and much of the goal-line work- his success means Mathews isn’t seeing any of that fantasy goldmine anytime soon.
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: Ray Rice, Lamar Miller (will never understand his usage coming off of the bye)
Stop Selling: Philip Rivers, James Jones