Hello Fake Footballers! My name is Asher Molk, and I am really looking forward to helping you win your fake football leagues via smart and savvy fantasy football 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:
-Smart owners look beyond the box score. The naïve owner will look at Shonn Greene’s Week One fantasy score and see 94 yards and a touchdown- a very solid 15.4 fantasy points! The smart owner is able to dig deeper and see that he averaged under 3.5 yards per carry, fumbled twice, didn’t catch a pass, and carried the ball 27 times because the Jets were up 20 at halftime and 27 by the 4th quarter. Are the Jets likely to be up by that many points most games to give enough carries to a below-averagely talented runner? The answer is no. Take a look at what he has done since then. If this sounds time-consuming, don’t fret- I am here to do the work for you and help you look beyond the box score!
-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 Turner, Michael), or wide receivers who offer nothing after the catch (see Bess, Davone), 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 Harvin, Percy). 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 BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Vernon Davis, think about if you would trade a top 5 pick for a 4th and 5th 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 Lesean McCoy, 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 Antonio Brown 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.
The playoff pictures and standings are beginning to take some shape in your leagues. Teams near the bottom WILL be desperate to make moves. See if they are willing to make trades involving the following players:
Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE- Coming into the season, few players were hyped as much as Aaron Hernandez. Beat writers were claiming he was going to be the centerpiece of the Patriots dynamic passing offense. After starting out with a 6-59-1 statline, many owners thought that would be the case. But then- the dreaded “high ankle sprain” occurred, and Hernandez quickly became out of sight and out of mind. Owners tend to be more willing to trade players during bye weeks, and this is the perfect time to get Hernandez back in mind and snatch him up as a likely top three tight end going forward.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC and Jamaal Charles, RB, KC- Oh what a difference a quarterback makes. Fake footballers: can you imagine how valuable these two mega-talents would be if the Kansas City Chiefs had gotten Peyton Manning? Or even if they had someone like Matt Schaub? Even Josh Freeman? Sadly, they have the poo-poo platter of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn at the helm. The bright side? Bowe and Charles are two of the most dynamic players at their position in the league, and talent goes a long, long way. Charles has a combined 22 touches for 57 yards and no scores over the past two weeks; Bowe has a pedestrian 6 catches for 90 yards over the same timeframe. The one good thing about Cassel is his willingness to target Bowe relentlessly, and that translates to big fantasy numbers. Go get ‘em.
Mike Wallace, WR, PIT, and Antonio Brown, WR, PIT- After being overlooked in drafts this summer, Ben Roethlisberger is on his way to a fine, fine statistical season. If I were to tell you that, would you believe that these two receivers would have combined for just one 100+ yard game through 8 weeks? I wouldn’t. Here comes some good news: Pittsburgh faces only two top 15 (one top 10) pass defense the rest of the season. The Steelers backfield is mired in injuries and confusion. And Todd Haley knows his best playmakers are lined out wide. Brown has two 4 catch and under 40 yard performances in his past three weeks, and Wallace has been more possession receiver than deep threat his last two games, as shown by his paltry 7.6 YPC his past two weeks. These things are bound to change, so get on board before they do.
Vick Ballard, RB, IND- Even after his breathtaking, gravity-defying game-winning touchdown against Tennessee last week, Ballard should still be shopped like mad. His situation sticks right into the common theme with this column: he is an unimpressive, pedestrian runner who get maybe get what’s blocked without making anyone miss. He is averaging a mere 3.4 yards per carry on the season- runners like this need extreme volume to be fantasy relevant. With (the equally unimpressive) Donald Brown returning to steal snaps, that scenario is not possible. Go sell Ballard for almost anything.
Michael Crabtree, WR, SF- He has made an appearance on the “Sell High” list before, but it’s worth reinforcing after a solid two touchdown game. He has only one game in which he surpassed 76 yards receiving, which game against the Buffalo Bills “pass defense”. I do think he is a solid “slant” receiver with reliable hands and the ability to catch the ball in traffic, but he offers nothing after the catch and is the 1B option in an incredibly conservative offense. I would keep selling- I like to fill my WR3 spots with upside plays like Titus Young.
Chris Givens, WR, STL- For what its worth, I actually like Chris Givens. He is a speed demon with a seemingly solid NFL future playing with a promising quarterback. However, I think we have seen the best of him this year. After setting a rookie record with at least one 50-yard reception in 5 straight games, Givens is due for regression. Why? Because one-dimensional deep threats are inherently inconsistent boom-or-bust players until they can expand their route tree and evolve as a wide receiver. Givens simply is not there yet. With Danny Amendola due back after the bye week, I think selling on Givens is a smart decision. Givens has a grand total of 13 receptions on the year, and has never caught more than 3 passes in a game. That is a recipe for inconsistency.