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.
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:
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB- This star Packers receiver made an appearance in this column earlier in the season, and rewarded buyers in a big way in the weeks following. However, injuries have kept Jordy sidelined, and owners may be getting worried about the emergence of studs Randall Cobb and James Jones, and the possible return of Greg Jennings. After missing Week Eight with a tight hamstring, Jordy was surprisingly active against the Cardinals in Week Nine with a bye looming- a sign that he was nearly 100%. Unfortunately, he tweaked his ankle early in the game and did not return to the field. The good news? He never went to the locker room, and was spotted on the sideline trying to put his cleats back on. Clearly the go-to wideout of All-World quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Nelson will be a strong WR1 no matter who else suits up the rest of the season for the Packers. He should be healthy after a bye week, and has proven to be first in the pecking order for targets and touchdowns.
C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF- My favorite buy of the week. Everyone remembers what happened when Fred Jackson was hurt late last year and early this year- Spiller was arguably the most valuable player in fantasy football, demonstrating elite playmaking ability and burning defenses with his speed and the genius playcalling of coach Chan Gailey. But Spiller stepped out of the spotlight since Jackson has returned, and posted solid, but not spectacular, RB2 production. However, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and coach Gailey both came out this week and said what the rest of us were thinking: we need to get Spiller the ball more. As I pointed out on Twitter, Spiller has a very difficult schedule coming up the rest of the season- the average ranked rush defense he faces the rest of the season is 12th, with two showdowns with the Miami Dolphins. Tell that to the Spiller owner to convince him to trade Spiller- matchups usually don’t matter when a player has elite talent and his coach knows exactly how to get him the ball in space. Spiller is 2 for 2 in those departments.
Alfred Morris, RB, WAS- It took me a while, but finally: my first flip-flop of the season! After proving many people (including me) wrong by continuing his hot start to the season, Alf has cooled down his past two games. Is it Sheninigans striking once again? I think not. Simply put, Alf doesn’t play passing downs, and the Redskins have fallen behind relatively early in their past two games forcing them to pass the ball. The Redskins have been downright pathetic at wide receiver this season, and they will be looking to run the ball more than ever after their (to borrow a phrase from Rotoworld’s Evan Silva) “wide deceivers” have let RGIII down time and time again. Alf has two matchups coming up with the Eagles who were just torn to pieces by the power running of Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory, the 15th ranked rush defense of the Cowboys, the 19th ranked Giants who give up 4.6 yards per carry, the 26th ranked Browns and the 28th ranked Ravens. He could bring home a lot of trophies with a strong stretch run, especially in standard leagues.
Desean Jackson, WR, PHI- I wouldn’t give up Jackson for nothing, but I would tell you that you are mistaken if you consider him anything than a middling WR3. He has only two 100 yard receiving games this season and a mere two touchdowns- he simply hasn’t evolved from a one-trick pony deep threat to a true number one wideout like Mike Wallace has. The majority of his yards and his touchdown was a result of blown coverage- something that won’t happen as much when you aren’t playing the Saints. With Michael Vick and the offensive line somehow getting even worse, its only bad news for this boom or bust deep threat. He isn’t a guy that will give you a weekly advantage at your WR2 or WR3 spot.
Chicago Bears, DEF, CHI- I have never written about buying or selling a defense, but the Bears defense is making such an impact that I think you can get some truly significant offensive value for them. They don’t exactly face daunting opponents the rest of the way, but they do face teams who take care of the ball relatively well: they only face one team with a negative turnover margin the rest of the year. And as well all know, turnovers that turn into touchdowns are the bread and butter of a fantasy defense. They are scoring at an alarming rate, but these things tend to regress to the mean. I would trade them for a WR2 or an RB2 in a second. See if you can package them with another player for an elite RB or WR too.
Isaac Redman, RB, PIT- Redman looked the best I’ve ever seen him last Sunday against the Giants, but lets not mistake him for even a Stevan Ridley or Alfred Morris- the Steelers line is finally run-blocking at a satisfactory level. I do believe he could stay fantasy relevant with the proper volume, but therein lays the problem. The Steelers have hinted to a “three-headed monster” backfield with Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall both getting healthy. There will be no more 26-carry days for Redman barring unforeseen circumstances, plain and simple.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA- After flashing in Week Two for 9-111-0 and exploding in Week Four for 12-253-1, people thought Hartline could be a consistent fantasy asset. Not the case. Before last week’s 8-107-0, Hartline had combined for 8 catches for 100 yards in the past month. He has scored only one touchdown over the season, and isn’t an explosive, speedy wide receiver that can dominate extra defensive attention, take advantage of yards-after-catch opportunities, or score touchdowns. He could be a very good second wide receiver on a competitive real-life team, but with a rookie quarterback and non-elite talent, Hartline is destined for inconsistency.