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 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.
I want to wish all my readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving! This week’s buy lows and sell highs have been influenced by playoff schedules- selling players with tough schedules and buying players with easier ones. Enjoy!
Matt Ryan, QB, ATL- Owners may be panicking after an admittedly horrendous performance against a very strong Arizona Cardinals defense- those unfortunate owners starting him suffered through a 5 interception, 6.74 fantasy point standard scoring outing. Throw in the fact that Julio Jones is hobbling through an ankle injury, and there may be some serious concern. However, I would chalk last week’s disaster up to a fluke. Ryan has been on point all year, and the Falcons will make sure Julio Jones is completely healthy for the stretch run and the playoffs. Best of all, here is the Falcons schedule for the rest of the season- in parentheses are the opponents’ ranks in fantasy points allowed to QBs: Tampa Bay (3rd), New Orleans (1st), Carolina (21st), New York Giants (10th), Detroit Lions (20th), Tampa Bay (3rd). In other words, a cakewalk schedule.
Denarius Moore, WR, OAK- After lighting up box scores for over a month straight, owners were licking their chops going into a dream matchup with New Orleans. Moore promptly laid an egg, catching one pass for a measly nine yards. However, Moore has all the makings for a strong fantasy finish: he is incredibly talented, running a full route tree, and is the clear-cut number one wide receiver on his team. Carson Palmer recently said he would sit down with Moore and go over the game film in order to get on the same page as his stud wide receiver. The Raiders will continue feeding Moore like a number one wideout, and with such a horrendous defense they probably won’t ever have to stop passing the ball. Best of all, Moore faces the Chiefs and the Panthers in Weeks 15 and 16. Consider him an easy top-20 wide receiver for the fantasy stretch run.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE- Hernandez teased fantasy owners with a promising start, only to go down with the dreaded high ankle sprain. It was clear in the offseason and during the first few games that the passing game was going to run through this former Florida Gator star, and with Rob Gronkowski suffering a broken forearm, Hernandez is going to be in for an absolute monster of a workload. He will be the 1st and sometimes 2nd (at worst) option on each passing play, and poses severe matchup problems for opposing linebackers and safeties. The forearm of Rob Gronkowski has left a huge hole in the Patriots offense, and Hernandez is going to take the majority of his role. Color me surprised if he doesn’t finish as a top two TE from here on out.
Frank Gore, RB, SF- I know I’m beating a dead horse with this one, but I’m still on board with selling Frank Gore. He has definitely proved me wrong with his consistency and his health, but there is still reason to be concerned. As the 49ers prepare for another playoff run, it would be to no one’s surprise if they put the brakes on Gore’s workload in preparation for the postseason and gave Kendall Hunter 5-10 more touches per game. Plus, in the fantasy playoffs, the 49ers face the Dolphins, Patriots and Seahawks who allow the 26th, 20th, and 28th most fantasy to running backs. Gore is still valuable so don’t sell him for peanuts, but a brutal schedule combined with possible rest would be enough for me to try and sell him.
Philip Rivers, QB, SD- After a very concerning 2011 with questionable arm strength and decision-making, savvy fantasy owners shied away from making Rivers their QB1 during their summer drafts. Rivers has been very up and down throughout the season, and the past few weeks have been an “up”, averaging 271 yards per game with seven touchdowns over his past three games. However, the tea leaves show that a “down” stretch is coming for the fantasy playoffs for two reasons: offensive line and schedule. Left tackle Jared Gaither has yet to be healthy all season, and his replacement Mike Harris has been simply eaten alive by opposing pass rushers, and the Chargers are really not the same offense without Gaither protecting Rivers’ blind side. Their passing schedule is quite prohibitive as well, as they face the Steelers, Panthers and Jets in the fantasy playoffs, who give up the least, 12th least, and 7th least fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. He cannot be trusted as a QB1 for the stretch run.
James Jones, WR, GB- Jones’ appearance on the “sell high” isn’t an indictment on his talent, but rather a concern with his role on the Packers’ offense. Jones put up some fantastic numbers early in the season, but there is definite reason for concern for his fantasy prospects going forward. With the emergence of superstud Randall Cobb and the presence of Jordy Nelson, Jones has been no better than the 3rd option in the passing game. Take into account the possible reemergence of Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings’ active participation in practice this week, and Jones could be back to a situational wide receiver. It may be hard to trust him as any more than a dicey WR3 play from this point on.