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.
This week, a stable of disappointing running backs steal the show:
David Wilson, RB, NYG- This one is not for the faint of heart. I’m not going to waste time harping on what went wrong and the current situation in the Giants backfield. I’m sure you know all of that already. Here’s the point: If the Giants want to sustain drives, cut down on turnovers and win games, they are going to need to give David Wilson the ball. A lot. Personally, I think the way the Giants went about this situation is disgusting. When a nervous, young and possibly overwhelmed player messes up (and he did, badly) in his first game as a starter, the answer can’t be to blast his confidence and make it seem like he’ll be cut at his next fumble. The result will be not be success in doing his job, but rather a fear of failure. Its no wonder Wilson held the ball with two hands on his whopping seven carries- gaining yards looked to be the last thing on his mind. Last week, I used the term “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. This applies to real life too: That’s Da’Rel Scott. That’s Brandon Jacobs. Like fantasy, NFL championships are NOT won by playing “not to lose.” If the Giants are intent on finishing 7-9, then they have the correct recipe for that record. If they want a chance at the playoffs, they’ll give David Wilson another shot at 18 carries per game and a reprieve or two for his fumbles. Check out this article from ESPN New York, which corroborates my opinion. I’m willing to believe a two-time Super Bowl winning head coach will grasp this concept. As a fantasy owner, you could get Wilson for probably a penny on the dollar. That way, even if he doesn’t recover it will cost next to nothing- the upside is more than worth it. Seriously- offer Brian Hartline for him and you’ll be surprised when it’s accepted.
Trent Richardson, RB, CLE- I think this is the most obvious one of the week. Coming into the season with sky-high expectations, Richardson has been one of the biggest disappointments through two weeks of the NFL season. However, two weeks is much too small a sample size to go off of- we are less than 13% of the way through the season! Things are already looking up for Richardson: he caught 5 passes last week, got two VERY touch matchups out of the way, and gets field-stretching WR Josh Gordon back this week. Lets go down the checklist: Health? For now, check. Talent? Definite check. Situation and opportunity- underrated offensive line with Turner and Chud at the reins? Check. Go get him.
Stevan Ridley, RB, NE- What a tumultuous start the New England offense has had. The two most promising players from Week One (Vereen and Amendola) are out for multiple weeks. Gronk isn’t healthy. Brady shaking his head at mistake-prone rookie receivers. And last but not least- Ridley’s fumble party that resulted in a benching against Buffalo. But two things are working in Ridley’s favor, the first of which is the imminent return of Gronk. Not only will two defenders have to account for him on each play, but Gronk is also a mauling blocker- this will help open lanes for Ridley. With Gronk, New England will undoubtedly score more touchdowns, resulting in more goal-line carries clock-killing yardage. The second thing working in Ridley’s favor? The Patriots simply have no one else. Even when Gronkowski gets back, Ridley is still going to be a top-two option for the Patriots offense- it will be rare that he doesn’t see 18+ carries in a game.
Frank Gore, RB, SF- 30 carries for 60 yards? Three catches? You must be thinking: “This is NOT what I signed up for when I drafted Gore as my RB2…). I’m here to give you a pat on the back and tell you it’s all going to be okay. Similar to the situation with Ridley, the 49ers NEED Frank Gore. The foundation of their attack is still the running game behind the league’s best run-blocking offensive line. If you aren’t willing to give Gore a pass on the road against Seattle, I’d recommend adjusting your expectations. The good news? Gore’s next six games: Indianapolis, St. Louis, Houston, Arizona, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Not only can you run on all these teams but they are teams who the 49ers can get a lead on, letting Gore run wild in clock-killing mode. You may be able to get him for a couple WR3s or a guy like DeAngelo Williams- I would run to either one of those trades.
James Jones, WR, GB- I don’t love putting him on my “Sell High” list because he is a very good receiver playing with the league’s best quarterback, but I think his perceived value could outweigh his actual value right now. Jones looked spectacular in his 11/178/0 thrashing of the Redskins and the success of Cobb, Finley and Nelson shows that once in a while, all four of these pass-catchers could have good stats on the same Sunday. Unfortunately, the Packers don’t play the Redskins “defense” every week, and Jones is at best option 3B in that offense. Consistency has never been Jones’ strong suit either: coming into the year, he’s had 7 career 100+ yard receiving games in 6 seasons- just over 1 per year. If that trend continues, he won’t come within 80 yards of Sundays output again this year. That could even decrease when Eddie Lacy returns. If you can package him for Trent or turn him into Stevan Ridley, you’ve won.
Eddie Royal, WR, SD- Eddie Royal has been a nice bounce-back story so far, but I can’t bring myself to buy long-term production here. Touchdowns are a fickle mistress, and right now Royal has converted a mere 10 catches into 5 touchdowns. Unsustainable doesn’t begin to describe that. Also, Week Two was the first time he had 7 or more catches since Week Four of 2010- it’s been nearly three years since he’s been that productive. I do think Mike McCoy has instilled new life into the Chargers offense, but it won’t result in top-30 production from Royal from Week Three until the end of the year. He’s my leading candidate for this year’s Kevin Ogletree.
James Starks, RB, GB- I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Every time Starks has been given the lead back opportunity, he’s blown it. He couldn’t beat out Mr. 3.4 YPC Alex Green last year, and the Packers tried to trade him in the offseason. Almost certain to be cut, an injury to DuJuan Harris and the ineffectiveness of Jonathan Franklin saved his roster spot. Coal doesn’t turn into gold just from sitting on a shelf, and an ordinary runner in a pass-first offense like James Starks is still next to worthless in fantasy. He’ll once again be an afterthought when Eddie Lacy returns in a few weeks.