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.
Dez Bryant, WR, DAL- Dez not only put up a mediocre 4/22/0 statline Sunday night against the Giants, he also suffered a foot injury. Usually, neither of those would be enough to panic an owner who invested a top-15 pick into Bryant, but the combined concern of the two may make him more available than you think. We know Bryant is going to produce at an All-Pro level when he is healthy. While the foot sprain is a concern, he got some limited work done in practice on Wednesday– a good sign he’ll be ready to suit up for week two. Because he plays like a bull in a china shop, Bryant is going to be dinged up all year. If that is what’s stopping you from going after him, I strongly advise you take up a new hobby.
Cecil Shorts, WR, JAC- After a 3 catch opener and the absolutely appalling performance by Blaine Gabbert (even by his standards), anxious owners may want to cut bait on this young playmaker. As evidenced by his 55/979/7 line last season in only 10 starts and 14 games, Shorts needs only mediocre QB play to become a solid WR2 this season. Enter Chad Henne, who averaged over 208 passing yards per game and a 11:11 TD to INT ratio. Its obviously nothing to brag about, but when compared to Gabbert’s performance its an All-Pro statline. With Gabbert out indefinitely, Henne’s mediocrity can be the key to Shorts’ stardom.
C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF- Similar to Dez Bryant’s week one, Spiller owners may be worrying about something other than his awful statistics. In Spiller’s case it was the effectiveness of Fred Jackson, who turned 17 touches into 108 yards from scrimmage. Written off by many (including me), Jackson surprised viewers by looking more like his 2011 self. While this should make owners more comfortable about having him as a handcuff, he is by no means a threat to Spiller’s starting job. The Bills know who their best player is- they gave him the rock 8 times on their first 13 plays. There should be no concern whatsoever for his owners.
Chris Givens, WR, STL- I think Givens is going to be an excellent WR3 this year- he’s the best receiver on the Rams with the biggest history of chemistry with Sam Bradford. While Jared Cook had a huge game (and I think he’s a great TE1), consistency has never been his M.O., and Bradford is simply going to sling it to whoever is open. Givens is the best downfield threat on this team, and he’s going to be playing on every down. A down-week against Patrick Peterson is to be expected, and this game-breaker who set records as a rookie is going to make fantasy owners very happy soon. He’s a guy I’d trade Hartline for in a heartbeat.
Owen Daniels, TE, HOU- I’m not buying Daniels as a TE1. His production is underwhelming: He’s cleared 80 yards just one time since Week 15 of 2011, and has caught more than four passes just five times in that same span. He’ll split whatever red zone looks aren’t going to the run game with Garrett Graham, and now has to contend with DeAndre Hopkins for targets in a run-first offense. This is all a recipe for consistent mediocrity. If an owner in your league is desperate for a tight end, see what they’ll give for Daniels.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA- We’ve seen this show before. After Hartline’s massive 12/253/1 game in Week Four of 2012, he averaged a mere 4 catches for 52 yards per game for the rest of the season with a whopping zero touchdowns. Hartline is a decent possession receiver who is actually a good fit in the Dolphins offense, but fantasy owners need to aim higher. He’s what I call a “6th place player”- a guy who will give you consistent yet mediocre statistics because an owner is too afraid to take risks for higher upside. I’d love to know how much money 6th place wins in most fantasy leagues…I bet somewhere out there, there are owners who would give up Cecil Shorts for Hartline. Go find them.
Stevie Johnson, WR, BUF- Another classic “6th place player” example- a guy who will consistently give you 10 PPR points, but rarely more than 20. We’ve seen Johnson’s ceiling- about 80 catches for 1,050 yards and 7-8 TDs. This was when he was the featured player in a spread passing offense- those days are long gone. Enter Doug Marrone who has called more run than pass plays in each of his last four years at Syracuse and who’s promised to ride C.J. Spiller into the ground. Throw in an inexperienced, raw rookie like E.J. Manuel along with limited pass attempts, and it’s going to be not only a more inconsistent season, but probably one with worse statistics when it’s all said and done.
Philip Rivers, QB, SD- Four touchdowns against the Texans’ defense is nothing to laugh at, but the rest of his statistics were. Mike McCoy somehow made this passing offense functional for one half, but were completely shut down after the Texans got warmed up. He failed passed for a mere 195 passing yards on 29 attempts, which is good for a lukewarm 6.7 yards per attempt- not exactly QB1 material. I would be willing to give him a pass if I could see the future being brighter, but there is no evidence to suggest that. His offensive line is still arguably the worst in the league, and its only a matter of time until one or more of Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd or Vincent Brown get hurt again. Rivers’ noodle arm isn’t going to produce top-15 statistics, and its going to get far uglier. There’s simply nothing here that will give you an advantage in fantasy football.