Hello again Razzball readers! I really enjoyed my first week as a contributor and I look forward to answering more questions and helping more fantasy teams. Mike Braude and I will be working as a team and editing each other’s columns so feel free to ask either of us any questions; we’d love to help! And check us out on Twitter at @AsherMolk and @BraudeM
Buying low and selling high is quite simple: getting players whose actual value is more than their perceived value, and trading away players whose actual value is less than their perceived value. This works best on impatient owners who just look at box scores, and don’t actually watch players or pay attention to their situation.
Before we get started, there are a few common pieces of advice that I gave to many readers about trading and adding players. I’d like to share them with you:
- Trading away two decent/good players for one great player is almost always a great idea. Usually, the person getting the one player wins the deal. For example, one reader packaged Jordy Nelson and Darren Sproles for Ahmad Bradshaw. Those kinds of deals are usually a great idea; it’s more beneficial to have the better player on your roster.
- NEVER lead with your best or final trade offer! Instead, start small, even offer deals they probably won’t do to start with. This doesn’t mean offer Mason Crosby for Ryan Mathews, 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 Miles Austin or Brandon Lloyd just because you think Sebastian Janikowski will average 1 more point per game than Olindo Mare.
- 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. One example of this from last week was Rashard Mendenhall – even though he has a starting job on a good team, his owner perceived his value as much lower than it actually is.
This week, there are plenty of pass catchers to target in trades. Without further ado, your week 7 buy lows and sell highs:
Mario Manningham, WR, NYG- Mario Manningham was a guy that many fantasy gurus saw as a major sleeper coming into this year after the departure of Steve Smith. A special talent who flashed game-breaking ability last year, many people took him as early as the 4th and 5th rounds – a top 50 or 60 pick. However, his statistics have disappointed so far, and the emergence of Victor Cruz may have owners panicking. But the future is looking very promising: in two straight 5 catch, 56 yard games, Manningham has seen an astounding 18 targets compared to 15 for Cruz and 14 for Nicks. In Sunday’s game against the Bills, Manningham nearly had four touchdowns: he lost one on interference, one was ripped from his hands as he came to the ground, one was ruled down at the one yard line, and yet another was knocked away at the goal line. Running the best routes he has all year and maintaining a permanent role on the outside, try to steal Manningham away from an owner who only pays attention to box score statistics.
Dez Bryant, WR, DAL- Like Manningham, Dez Bryant usually never lasted until the 6th round in fantasy drafts – he was arguably the most highly touted breakout player before the season. But a plethora of problems emerged early in the season, such as his quad injury and well-documented conditioning struggles. But there is a reason Michael Irvin said Dez Bryant could be even better than him, and it’s because of his uber-elite athletic and on-field ability. The man is a physical freak on par with Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham and Jermichael Finley, possessing unfair speed and agility considering his strength and size. However, his stat lines haven’t caught up yet – something that will change very, very soon. He saw eight passes come his way against New England, and will see more single coverage due to the return of Miles Austin. Betting on Bryant being a top 16 guy the rest of the way will likely prove beneficial to your fantasy team.
Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA- It is important to point out that Daniel Thomas is not included in this article because he is a super talented player who has RB1 potential this year – it’s because his perceived value is much lower than his actual value. A rookie from Kansas State, the former Wildcat was one of the best and most well-rounded college football players in the country. His path into the NFL, however, has not been as smooth. He struggled severely in training camp and in the preseason, underperforming his way to a backup role behind Reggie Bush. But after two consecutive impressive showings in weeks 2 and 3, a nagging hamstring injury and 10 carries for Bush on Monday night versus the Jets may have owners frustrated once again. There’s a reason the Dolphins traded away multiple draft picks for Thomas, and it’s entirely possible he finishes the year as a solid RB2 with upside. Reggie Bush has proven time and time again he cannot handle a full workload and with the injury to Chad Henne, Thomas is locked in as the bell-cow back in South Beach.
Eric Decker, WR, DEN- After an injury filled rookie year, Eric Decker has been quite impressive for the first five weeks of the NFL season. Decker is a physical receiver who uses every bit of his 6’3” 220lb frame to attack the ball in the air and make plays after the catch. Tim Tebow proved last year that he is an aggressive downfield passer who can more than maintain the fantasy value of his receivers. It would not be a surprise to see Decker surpass 10 targets in most games – with Brandon Lloyd out of town, he has more than earned the attention and has very little competition for looks due to the many question marks that overshadow the other Broncos receivers. There is not a better time to pluck him away from an owner frustrated with his -4 yard performance on Sunday who is scared of having Tebow at the helm.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, STL- Josh McDaniels turned a talented but raw Brandon Lloyd from journeyman to waiver wire MVP (besides maybe Hillis) in just one year, to the tune of 77 catches, a league-leading 1448 yards, and 11 scores. Many owners just looking at the box scores from last year over-drafted Lloyd and took him as high as the second round this year. With Josh McDaniels bolting to St. Louis, it’s no wonder Lloyd has experienced a pedestrian season, only making 19 catches for a scoreless 283 yards thus far. But the weekend brought some exciting news – Lloyd was reunited with Josh McDaniels in St. Louis on Monday, immediately taking over as the number one wideout on a team more than desperate for a playmaker on the outside. Expecting last year’s elite production may be asking a little much, but with the accurate and talented Sam Bradford throwing to Lloyd, very productive WR2 numbers appear to be imminent.
Josh Freeman, QB, TB- There is no way around it: if you drafted Freeman as your QB1 this year, you made a mistake. But this week’s fantastic fantasy and real life performance may be your ticket out of mediocrity. Save Mike Williams, Josh Freeman plays in an offense completely devoid of any playmakers – Winslow is a shell of his former self, and yet to score or eclipse 66 yards in a game. Preston Parker is a decent possession receiver who is physically unimpressive. Blount is hurt and always useless in the passing game. ‘Old Reliable’ Earnest Graham can’t make anyone miss. Arrelious Benn is coming off of an ACL tear, and even Mike Williams is having trouble separating from corners this year. There is no doubt Freeman has a bright future in the NFL and is already a solid real life quarterback – he just doesn’t possess the upside that is warranted in fantasy football. Trade him for someone like Big Ben and don’t look back.
Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL- It’s time for Mr. Gonzalez to take a bow. For years and years, he was the premier playmaker at the tight end position, setting records as well as precedents for basketball players to become revolutionary “Joker” tight ends i.e. Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham. But even legendary things must come to an end – and for fantasy owners that time is now. After enjoying a renaissance start to 2011, Tony Gonzalez is poised to slow down. He cannot separate from linebackers anymore, and has shown no skill after the catch in two years. He hasn’t surpassed 60 yards in over a month, and the only thing that can save his fantasy day is a red zone score. The Falcons are also reverting to a seemingly ball control offense run through Michael Turner, which is similar to what the Jets did – ask Dustin Keller (3 catches for 58 yards and 0 scores on 7 targets the past two games combined) how that’s turned out. Let nostalgia get the best of someone else and respectfully relinquish Tony Gonzalez to another fantasy team.
Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL- Much like Gonzalez, Boldin’s football career has entered its final years. Owners have fond memories of number 81 on the Arizona Cardinals ferociously grabbing the ball out of midair and galloping over, through and past defenders for long gains and touchdowns. But everyone expecting his athleticism and after the catch ability to simply reappear are grasping at straws. Joe Flacco has not made the expected leap to QB1 yet, and the resurgence of Ray Rice ensures that this team will remain fairly conservative. When Baltimore does attack offenses through the air, it will be just as much to Ed Dickson/Dennis Pitta, Ray Rice, and Torrey Smith as it will be to Boldin. Looking as slow as ever, Boldin’s separation skills are long gone, and the 8 catch for 132 yards against Houston will possibly end up being season highs. Add to that he only has one touchdown on the year, and this low-upside WR3 is a prime “sell high” candidate.
Cedric Benson, RB, CIN- The suspension, now only reduced to one game, is the least of worries for Cedric Benson owners. Make no mistake – the writing is on the wall in Cincy, and it says that Bernard Scott is headed toward a bigger role in the offense. Benson has yet to bust for a big run of more than 40 yards, and is averaging less than 4 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Bernard Scott and passing down specialist Brian Leonard have combined for 12, 10, 16 touches in the past three weeks, respectively. Benson has only received 20 carries twice so far this year, and is a complete non-factor in the passing game as evidenced by his 5 total catches for a whopping 24 yards. Benson may be able to maintain low-end RB2 value as the year goes on, but with Bernard Scott looming in the background it’s not a good situation for this unexciting back. Move along.
KEEP SELLING- Shonn Greene, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Turner (just beware that he has attractive matchups coming up, so waiting for these to pass may not be a bad play if you want maximum value in return. But don’t be afraid to sell now!)
Thanks for reading! Feel free to ask questions here or hit me up on Twitter: @AsherMolk. Happy Trading!