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.
-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.
Give me a follow on Twitter: @AsherMolk. Without further ado, your Buy Lows and Sell Highs:
Kenny Britt, WR, TEN- Fake footballers who owned Kenny Britt after Week One of last year was salivating after his 5-136-2 performance. And after his Week Two 9-136-1, they were downright pinching themselves. But after a gut-wrenching knee shredding in Week Three, owners were without a bona fide WR1 that only cost them a 6th or 7th round pick. The offseason held more trouble with Johnny Law and a setback in his surgically repaired knee- not exactly a dream scenario. But after watching him in Week Three this year, its clear he is close to if not all the way back. Put together a top 10 talent at the WR position, an aggressive, rocket-armed quarterback and an ineffective run game, and we have a recipe for fantasy success. Britt is going to post top-20 WR numbers from here on out, and his ceiling is plenty higher than that.
Ryan Mathews, RB, SD- After an offseason that made him a top four pick in most early bird fantasy drafts, Mathews broke his collarbone on the first series of his preseason game, plummeting his draft position from top five to late second/third round. Last week’s game may not have inspired confidence in “box score only” fantasy owners, but there were definitely positives to glean from the performance. Even though he fumbled (a recurring issue for the former Frenso State star), he trotted out on the next series and received a normal workload. He was heavily involved in the passing game, and showed no ill effects from his collarbone injury. The Chargers won’t usually be that far behind in a game that early, and with the return of stud left tackle Jared Gaither, this offense has nowhere to go but up. Lets go down the checklist: Mathews is an elite talent who is the focal point of his offense, will be heavily involved in the passing game, and is going to get goal line carries. What else could a fantasy owner want? For those who argue he is “injury prone” (a concept I do not buy into), here is my counter: of course they are susceptible to injury- they play running back in the NFL! Go get Mathews and expect top five value from here on out.
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, WR, NYG- I can promise you there are owners out there who see these at least one of these players as WR2s, and they would be wrong. Yes, they both absolutely exploded for a combined 21-378-2 against a horrendous Tampa Bay pass defense. But their other games may not exactly have inspired confidence in their owners: 4-38-0 and a DNP for Nicks, and pedestrian statlines of 6-58-0 (with three drops) and 6-42-0 for Cruz. Have no fear- these guys are both very solid WR1s. Oozing with playmaking ability and catching passes from Eli Manning? Yes please. Nicks’ foot injury is slightly concerning, but he is quietly becoming one of the tougher players in the NFL, and he is usually going to have a full week’s worth of practice and rest to be ready on Sundays. If anyone perceives them as anything less than top 12 WRs, offer those owners trades.
Andre Brown, RB, NYG- Not too much to explain here. A perfect storm took place last Thursday night: Bradshaw injured, David Wilson not ready, and a Carolina defense that may not be able to stop a medium sized group of kittens. Brown isn’t the least talented runner we’ve seen, but there are plenty of reasons that this will go down as his best game of the season (maybe even his career): Bradshaw is due back this week, David Wilson can only get more involved (I am of the belief that talent wins out), and showdowns with the 49ers, Cowboys and Steelers all loom in the next five weeks. As it stands right now, I see his ceiling as a decent, low ceiling flex player and nothing more. (Note: this does NOT mean to buy low on Bradshaw).
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN- After a surprisingly hot start to his rookie season, Dalton fizzled out over the second half of last year. Expectations were low coming into his sophomore campaign, but Dalton is unexpectedly 6th in quarterback fantasy scoring. Lets contextualize his statistics for owners who think he can keep it up. Sure, Dalton absolutely lit it up in Weeks Two and Three with two 300+ yard and 3 TD performances….against an injury ravaged Browns team minus Joe Haden (suspension), and against an abysmally bad Redskins secondary that looks like the Houston Texans circa 2010. When he played a real defense in Week One against Baltimore, Dalton was under 60% completion percentage and under 6 yards per attempt with no TDs and a pick. His real performances will likely lie somewhere in between those extremes, but he is NOT a QB1. He doesn’t have elite arm talent, and outside of AJ Green (who is an absolute beast) and a sprinkle of Andrew Hawkins, there is a severe lack of talent. Trade him for someone like Tony Romo or even package him for Cam Newton. Dalton’s schedule is only going to get tougher.
Stevie Johnson, WR, BUF- I know Steve Johnson is probably an above average “own” in the world of fantasy. He can be a rock solid WR2 with a decently high floor. But in fantasy, we want players with upside and exceptionally high ceilings- players who make big plays. Steve Johnson is simply not that guy. Although he has a touchdown in all three games so far, he has yet to clear 61 yards receiving. Touchdowns are the most inconsistent and unpredictable statistic, and Johnson may hurt you if he doesn’t find the end zone. He has one 100 yard performance in his last 25 games, and is a possession receiver with a weak-armed quarterback who has a history of utter ineffectiveness as the season wears on and the weather gets colder. He’ll be the number one receiving option on that team as long as he is healthy, but with Fred Jackson coming back and Spiller emerging as a guy who MUST touch the ball, targets may be on their way down for Johnson. Trade him for Dez Bryant or Jordy Nelson if you can.