The fantasy football regular season is nearly 40% complete. How does that sound? Depressing, I know. We have reached the point in the season where 5-0 teams are making room on their trophy mantles, and 1-4 teams are firing out angry league-wide emails about how fantasy football is for losers, all luck, and that they are never playing again (I’ve been there after a twelve pack of silver bullets and a tough fantasy loss on MNF…it’s a dark, dark place). However, the good news for teams on both ends of the spectrum, and all places in between, is that Razzball is always pumping out the best fantasy insight each and every week to ensure that 4-1 teams can keep ripping on their 2-3 buddies, and gloomy teams in 1-4 (or worse) territory can keep fighting.
By this point in the week, you’ve already devoured Razzball’s waiver wire advice, target information, defensive statistics, and buy/sell articles like you’re sitting alone in a back corner booth at Sizzler. Go ahead, let another notch out of your belt. Better yet, go change into some sweat pants so you feel more comfortable after ingesting the wonderful smorgasbord of analysis that Razzball has to offer. Now that your noggin is stuffed with all of the best statistics and latest news, big daddy Smash Back is here to show you HOW to schmooze the dummies in your league so you can maximize your haul in potential trades, and most importantly, make sure that your league is stuffed with as much interaction and fun as humanly possible. Here are a couple of trade strategies and an interesting way to fire up the chatter on your league message board…
Injury Targets: This is a favorite of mine and I am in full “injury buy mode” at this very moment. This strategy is clearly risky, but can be something to try if your team is struggling and in need of a spark. For example, in the Smash Back from week 4, we discussed targeting Miles Austin after his hamstring injury. Obviously, there is a chance that the injury is re-aggravated, but if you took advantage of a panicking Austin owner and got him at a discount, you are feeling nice about having the stud WR back after healing up during Dallas’ bye week. Currently, players with varying levels of risk to target are guys like Daniel Thomas, Andre Johnson, and Antonio Gates. Make sure not to pay full price for these players, but attempt to play the “risk” card and acquire them off the clearance rack.
Try this: If your team is currently sitting at the top of the standings, you have more room for a risky maneuver like this. Perhaps the owner of Andre Johnson in your league is clinging to hopes of contention at 1-4. That team could use a player to help them immediately. If you can survive a few more weeks without Andre Johnson, then try to make a deal for the injured wide out by offering up a WR like Stevie Johnson. Your team will be absolutely loaded upon Johnson’s return and you will still be in a comfortable place in your standings. Make sure to emphasize the fact that you are “taking on risk” while discussing the deal with your trading partner.
Points vs. Perception: This debate hits its stride at this point in the season. Trade proposals are being zinged out like hotcakes, and fantasy football players are generally in one of two camps when it comes to valuing their players right now. One group of people are realists, and highly value the players who are scoring the most “POINTS” through 5 weeks. The other group is still valuing players based upon preseason “PERCEPTION.” This is where teams can butt heads during trade discussion. Some teams still perceive their first round pick as having first round value, even though the player has a bad hammy, runs behind a horrendous O-line and hasn’t done jack this year…you know the black and yellow player of which I’m referring. Other teams will try to tell you that Hasselbeck has scored nearly the same amount of points as Rivers, so that’s pretty much an even swap. Which side is right? Obviously, it’s a little of both, but the key is to figure out what your potential trade partner believes.
Try This: When attempting to light the fuse on some trade negotiations, start first by actually talking to the person you would like to trade with. A phone call is best (please refrain from doing this after the consumption of alcohol or other mind-altering substances), but a text or email works just fine. Take the indirect route, and casually ask what they think of their squad after the first five weeks. Then bring up the player you would like to trade for. For example, “So…you’ve got Chris Johnson on bye this week, huh?” Sometimes that’s all it takes. The party on the other end with most likely respond with how much they:
a) Will miss the player because he’s on a bye
b) Will not miss the player because he’s a piece of crap anyway
c) Will have to change their lineup because they didn’t realize Tennessee was on a bye
The answer to a question like this should give you some insight on whether the person has resigned to the fact that the player’s value is diminished, or still holds the player in high regard (unless they answer C, in which case, tell them you were mistaken and CJ2K’s bye is week 9). You can easily have a casual conversation, without sounding like a scam artist, and gather some valuable trade reconnaissance. Hopefully the discussion leaves you with a good idea of who to offer up in trade to improve your team.
Contenders & Pretenders: Now that the season is five weeks old, you can finally begin to dissect the rosters and schedules of the teams in your league to see which teams are actually legit. So, sign into your email, grab a Rockstar, and hammer out your very own “Contenders & Pretenders” article to the rest of your league. Give every team a distinction, and don’t be shy…the team who is starting Hightower and Ryan Grant this week already knows they’re hosed. Run down the league standings and boldly declare which teams will sink or swim…and which teams will stay at the bottom of the pool.
Try this: Points against totals, schedules, and roster status are the easiest indicators to use when investigating the teams in your league. For example, your buddy Wally is 3-2, but has the lowest “points against” total in the league and has played 4 of the bottom 5 teams in your standings. Stamp that punk a “pretender.” Maybe your pal Mikey is sitting at 1-4, but is now getting Miles Austin back, and already survived the bye weeks of Ray Rice and Peyton Hillis. Go ahead and give the guy the nod as a “contender.” Go even further to see which teams have stockpiles of running backs, or perhaps high end backup QB’s, and give your two cents about what they should be trading for to fill the holes on their roster. The main point here is that the other 11 team owners in your league can laugh and think your misspelled and misguided thoughts are a load of crap, but it will at least spark some conversation amongst your league mates. Hell, I’m pretty sure you could find worse ways to waste your Friday afternoon at work.
Leave your own trade or lineup questions in the comments…and feel free to share any of your own trade tactics or league interaction ideas with the rest of us.