Buy Low/Sell High: Week 3
September 20, 2012 | Asher Molk
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. I realize it’s only the third week of football and many owners are unwilling to trade after two games, but believe me, there are plenty of owners already in panic mode! “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? Probably not. 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.
-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.
Give me a follow on Twitter: @AsherMolk. Without further ado, your Buy Lows and Sell Highs:
Darren McFadden, RB, OAK- Not exactly the start we envisioned for McFadden. A long run of 8 yards through two games? That’s Chris Johnson-esque! Just remember the formula for fantasy success: you want talented players who are going to get the rock constantly. This still applies for “the best football player in the NFL” (according to Carson Palmer). Zone blocking schemes sometimes take a few weeks to gel (see Lynch, Marshawn early 2011), but when the scheme finally clicks it becomes a fantasy RB goldmine (see Lynch, Marshawn mid-late 2011). Keep in mind McFadden is lining up in the backfield, out wide, and in the slot and you can see he is the focal point of the offense. His perceived value is still likely very high, but there are owners out there who are already frustrated or will trade for less than his actual value.
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB- Nelson’s games haven’t exactly killed fantasy owners, but 11-148-0 through two games isn’t exactly lighting it up for a 3rd or 4th round pick. The (at worst) number two receiving option for the league’s best quarterback is going to break out sometime (as will the rest of the Packers), and you don’t want to be late for that party. Keep in mind that Greg Jennings already has a groin strain (an injury that can tend to linger) and is only one concussion away from possibly missing serious playing time. Jordy Nelson showed what he can do when Jennings is off the field, and even when playing 1B to Jennings’ 1A, Nelson is still a great WR2 with huge upside. There are probably owners out there who think 2011 was a little fluky. Go find them.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE- My favorite buy low of the week. Naïve owners who only pay attention to box scores won’t see that Brady and Lloyd have come so close to a couple big plays. Their timing appears to be slightly off, but I’m going to go ahead and say it’s a safe bet that Tom Brady is more than capable of making the correction. With focal point Aaron Hernandez going down with a high ankle sprain, Lloyd’s targets can only increase. I’ll go ahead and guarantee an absolute explosion for Lloyd in the coming weeks. He is going to be a WR1 for as long as Hernandez is out. I think his actual value just took a nice leap, but his perceived value may not have changed at all. Brandon Lloyd is getting open, ladies and gentlemen. Make sure he’s on your team when him and Brady connect for a 7-147-2 statline.
Torrey Smith, WR, BAL- A preseason full of hype and production has not yet translated into fantasy points for this former Maryland Terrapin. But the Ravens have seemed to make a smooth transition from a pre-historic power offensive to one with a no-huddle, up-tempo philosophy. Torrey Smith is finally running a full route tree, as evidenced by the game tape and his 8-103 preseason game. Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin are still dominating underneath, but Jacoby Jones has always been a pretender and Smith is their most talented pass catcher. His value may take a slight hit in PPR leagues, but that may actually be where his perceived value is the lowest due to his mere 4 catches. I’m still buying that Smith can be a decent WR2 this season, and at worst an elite WR3.
Alfred Morris, RB, WAS- This post may look a little similar to Kevin Smith’s blurb last week. Alfred Morris is not a guy I would undersell because there is obviously risk in selling the lead back in a Mike Shanahan offense- there’s an outside chance he is the next Mike Anderson. However, there is an equal chance he is also the next Quentin Griffin. With capable running backs behind him and the ever-fickle King Shanahan running the show, Morris’ value could go from RB2 to borderline bench stash in a matter of two weeks. While Morris will continue to compile stats while he is the lead back, he is by no means a talented runner and somehow doesn’t make Evan Royster look slow. Keep in mind Roy Helu is waiting his turn, and Morris is a fumble away from a 3rd string role. In one of my leagues, someone traded Morris and Kenny Britt for Julio Jones. I don’t need to tell you that is the kind of deal that wins fantasy leagues.
Michael Turner, RB, ATL- I will keep this one short and sweet. Watching Michael Turner operate in an up-tempo no huddle spread passing offense gave me the same thought of seeing Mila Kunis dating Macaulay Culkin: these two things just don’t belong together. His 2.6 yards per carry looks fantastic after you watch him actually run the ball- he looks like he is in slow motion compared to the rest of the players on the field. Atlanta is going to give up on him sooner rather than later. They are going to realize they need to keep safeties honest with an efficient running game so they can get the ball downfield to their playmakers. Get rid of him ASAP, and hopefully quicker.
Mike Williams, WR, TB- In my mind, Williams is a very poor WR3. In fantasy football, we need to look ahead using logic and predictability. Williams has scored in each game so far this season, but only has 8 targets on the season! As the second option (at best) in a Greg Schiano run-heavy offense, that doesn’t figure to change too much. I think he will benefit from being a number two WR opposite Vincent Jackson, but I have not seen enough from Josh Freeman to think he can support more than one pass catcher. I think this is a great opportunity to use Mike Williams as part of a package deal to get a stud. Sustained production is an incredibly poor bet here.