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.
Torrey Smith, WR, BAL- From a production, route-running and game-film perspective, its been an excellent start to the year for the Raven’s lone key receiving threat from their Super Bowl-winning 2012 team. Once thought of as a one-trick pony who could just run a “go” route, the Ravens needed Smith to take the next step as a receiver and successfully run a more diverse route tree. The former Terp has answered the call with three straight receiving games over 85 yards and over 5 catches per game. However, the touchdowns are yet to come in what has been a “bizarro” occurance for Smith. The first two seasons of his career, he averaged a touchdown per 6.6 receptions- a staggering statistic. This year? 16 catches and no scores. Smith is on pace for 85 receptions, and his career numbers suggest he would score 13 touchdowns at that rate. While the latter is likely unreachable, the former is definitely in play and 8 scores should be a reasonable goal for Smith. I’d be more than satisfied with Smith even as my WR2- I’m very high on him.
Steve Smith, WR, CAR- Steve Smith always seems to find his way onto my buy-low lists. Its no wonder why: he’s been a crazy talented receiver with inconsistent quarterback play. Going on 34, Smith is no longer the rare combination of “I can’t let this guy beat me deep” and “I can’t let him catch a screen pass”. But the tape STILL shows a feisty receiver with above-average speed and movement skills. I’m not going to call him a WR2, but its likely the Smith owner is 1-2 and itching to get rid of him during his bye-week. With an asking price that is probably dirt cheap, you are getting a proven commodity with a piping-hot Cam Newton throwing him the ball. Get him as your WR3.
Darren Sproles, RB, NO and Marques Colston, WR, NO- Marques Colston, I have a perfect nickname for you. I hereby dub thee “Groundhog Day.” Wake up anywhere from 2010 to 2012, and you’ll find Colston boxing out defenders for 15 games to the tune of about 81/1050/8. Nothing has changed for this year- the scheme, QB, personnel…everything is the same. Colston is another year older and another year slower, but he’s never beat people with his speed before- that’s not his game. He’ll still be old reliable in the slot, catching tough passes down the seam and getting whatever (however few they have been) red-zone looks that haven’t been going to Jimmy Graham. Even if you fall into a coma for a year, rest assured that Marques Colston is going to catch 80-something passes for 1050 yards and score 7-10 touchdowns.
Much of the same goes for Darren Sproles. Simply put, absolutely nothing has changed from the days of him catching 80 passes and gaining 1,200+ yards from scrimmage with 8 total scores. But he’s yet to put together a “wow” game this year or even find the endzone, two things that will change very soon. He’s still very much an elite RB2 in PPR formats, and he may be lulling his owners to sleep.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR- Williams was a popular “flex” selection in August drafts with the news of Jonathan Stewart’s continued ankle woes. I never got on that bandwagon, and I’m going to tell you to get off right now. He’s doing exactly what I expected: William’s will get what’s blocked, average under 5 yards per carry, catch maybe a pass per game, and never see a semblance of goal-line work. Its likely his production in a blowout against a terrible Giants defense will be his most impressive game this year, and with Stewart due back around Week Seven, Williams will lose at least 5 carries a game to him. That wouldn’t be a huge issue if Williams caught passes or ran in touchdowns, but his early-down work carries all his value. Sell him while he has a monopoly on that.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, NE- The training camp and preseason darling of many fantasy owners, the hype on Thompkins soared into the 7th round in some drafts. He came crashing down to earth once the season began, showing poor chemistry with Tom Brady and making mistakes an undrafted rookie should make. He’s converted his bevy of targets into a total of 9 catches, and those targets are going to disappear with the imminent returns of Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski. Sell him after his fluky two-touchdown performance.
Sidney Rice, WR, SEA- I’ll never understand the perennial hype behind this player. He’s played more than 13 games only twice in his career. One season with more than 50 catches. One season over 750 yards. And that was multiple concussions, shoulder problems, knee surgeries ago, and Brett Favres ago. On an offense dead last in passing attempts in 2012 and dead last so far in 2013, Rice’s upside was already limited. He’s the 2nd option at best in this limited passing game, and is behind Marshawn Lynch and Zach Miller for red-zone work. Rice has zero chance to be a difference-maker on your fantasy team. Try and package him for someone even borderline worthwhile.