Hello again Razzball readers! I’ve really been enjoying contributing to Razzball so far 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. These 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.
Due to the bye weeks and other factors, there aren’t too many new “sell highs”, but I’d recommend to keep selling players from previous columns. Here we go:
Vincent Jackson, WR, SD- After coming on strong at the end of last year after his lengthy holdout, Vincent Jackson was often drafted as a WR1 in August fantasy drafts. However, he’s only scored in two games and topped 63 yards twice- not exactly top 12 wideout production. But there’s good news: his struggles are well justified. He had been previously hobbled due to nagging hamstring and abdominal injuries, which he even fought through against the Dolphins to the tune of 103 yards and a score. He has also faced some incredibly tough cornerback competition: his only clunkers have come against Antoine Winfield, Brandon Flowers, Champ Bailey, and of course Darrelle Revis who held him to one catch for 15 yards. It also hasn’t helped that Philip Rivers has looked far from his normal self. But the sledding gets much easier. Here are the pass defense rankings of his forthcoming opponents: 17th, 31st, 25th, 27th, 19th, 6th, and 30th. The (at least temporary) return of Antonio Gates and emergence of Ryan Mathews should help shift attention from the 6’5” 230lb beast of a wide receiver. Buy low now and expect WR1 production for the rest of the year.
Miles Austin, WR, DAL- Miles Austin owners must be getting very frustrated, and justifiably so. He exploded out of the gates with over 230 yds and 4 scores in his first two games, but was then shut down for nearly a month. So far, the wait has not been worth it: he has a pedestrian 9 catches for 90 scoreless yards in the two games since his return. Like Vincent Jackson, Miles Austin’s schedule gets a whole lot easier from here on out. He is not an injury concern either- the reason they rested him for so long was so that he could fully heal from his hamstring ailment. Austin and QB Tony Romo have proven they share undeniable chemistry, and his latest clunker against the Rams was a result of the Demarco Murray show. There is plenty of hype surrounding Dez Bryant, and rightfully so, but Austin is still the 1A to Bryant’s 1B. Fully healthy in a dynamic offense, Austin should be a solid top 10 WR option going forward.
Ryan Mathews, RB, SD- In the 2010 draft, the San Diego Chargers moved up to the early first round just to grab their RB of the future out of Fresno St. With expectations sky high in a dynamic offense, there’s no doubt about it: Mathews flopped. From a combination of unpolished skills in the blitz pickup/passing game, injuries, and Mike Tolbert, his rookie year proved to be quite a disappointment. Going into this year, he was frequently drafted in the 4th round in fantasy drafts. Personally, I avoided him that early in drafts due to the coaches’ apparent love affair with Tolbert. I’ve since been proven wrong- those who got that kind of value are on their way to fantasy playoff births. But after being in and out of the lineup with more nagging injuries and being held to 13 carries for 39 yards against the Jets along with not scoring in 3 weeks, owners may think they are seeing a repeat or 2010. They aren’t. The only real issue besides a few nagging injuries with Mathews were the concern about his role in the pass game and at the goal line- two huge factors for fantasy RBs. The coaching staff has shown faith in Mathews in the passing attack as evidenced by him catching nearly 4 passes per game, and he was even starting to get goal line work before the bye. With Tolbert there, a healthy Mathews is a top 7 RB. But if something were to happen to Tolbert, he’d catapult to the top 4 (and Tolbert has had his share of injury problems this year). There’s always a slight risk here, but the reward and upside is through the roof. His actual value is very, very high.
Julio Jones, WR, ATL- A mega-talented WR coming out of Alabama, Julio Jones showed everyone he is the real deal. After dazzling fantasy owners with two straight 100-plus yard performances, Julio Jones has missed two straight games with a hamstring injury. The Falcons are on bye this week and it’s possible many owners have forgotten just how special this receiver is. With Roddy White on the other side of the field, Jones will face single-coverage, which is simply unfair for opposing cornerbacks who cannot match up with his 6’3” 220lb frame. In the first four games of his career (not counting the game against the Packers when he hurt himself) Jones has averaged 85.5 yards a game, which amounts to a ridiculous 1,368 yards over the season. Even with Turner running the ball well, don’t be fooled- Turner’s increased role has probably been a result of Julio’s injury and the Falcons’ matchups against teams weak against the run. Don’t expect the Falcons to waste the player they traded 5 picks for – they see the same talent we do. Buy him before his owner realizes he’s too good to be traded.
Demarco Murray, RB, DAL- If you had Demarco Murray in your fantasy lineup last week, odds are you came out with a victory. He is not in this column because he is a bad player who got lucky- he is simply here because I believe his perceived value is higher than his actual value. Murray flashed his ability on Sunday to the tune of 253 yards, a franchise record. But before we go anointing him the waiver wire pickup of the year, lets put some things in perspective: This St. Louis Rams “rush defense” is atrocious. They rank dead last in the NFL in that category, and are giving up…wait for it…over 183 rushing yards per game. You read that right. While Murray gets another crack at a terrible rush defense next week against the Eagles, Felix Jones will be coming back in the coming weeks and the Cowboys will have to face teams who actually tackle running backs before they burst into the secondary. It would be naïve to think that Felix would resume his every down role, but he will certainly take away from Murray’s value. Find someone in your league that watched him in college and who truly thinks he can do for the Cowboys what he did at Oklahoma. Again, Murray definitely has value- he’s pretty talented and has likely established a permanent role in this offense, but trying to turn him into someone like Ryan Mathews would be a recommended move.
Antonio Gates, TE, SD- Before you simply close your browser after seeing this “blasphemy”, hear me out. There is no doubt he has produced elite numbers year in and year out, and has an obvious rapport with Philip Rivers. Save Jimmy Graham, there may not be a better fantasy TE than Antonio Gates when he is on the field. But therein lies the problem: his foot injury is a serious, serious thing. Time and time again, he has suffered time-consuming and nagging setbacks with the injury. Gates himself has even admitted that his foot will never be completely healthy and that he is very prone to setbacks. Again, this injury is not something that simply heals with time, and it can strike at anytime. Taking risks is a huge part of playing fantasy football successfully- ask anyone who drafted perceived “injury risks” Matthew Stafford and Darren McFadden this year. But Gates’s injury is different and much more severe. Trading Gates is only a recommended move if you have a viable second TE. But if it turns out you have depth at the position, trading Gates for WR or RB depth may not be a bad decision. There’s always a chance that Gates doesn’t suffer any setbacks and he laughs all the way to the number 2 finish at TE this year, but its quite possibly not worth the risk if you can turn him into something substantial.
Plaxico Burress, WR, NYJ- After a 3-TD performance last week, don’t let the name fool you – Plaxico Burress is way past his prime. Averaging 34.7 yards per game, Plaxico isn’t someone you want to rely on weekly. He’s a poor bet for yardage and receptions and does little more than provide a red-zone target for Mark Sanchez. Obviously, many owners don’t view him as a great WR but if you can trade him for a struggling Percy Harvin or an up-and-coming Roy Helu or Greg Little – you have done very well. Trade him while you can because this production is nearly impossible to predict. There simply isn’t any upside here.
KEEP SELLING- Michael Turner, Shonn Greene, Anquan Boldin, Tony Gonzalez
I’m looking forward to answering more questions! Ask ’em either here or on Twitter: @AsherMolk