Howdy 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 (presumably better) player wins the deal.
- 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.
And here we go with this week’s buy lows and sell highs:
Peyton Hillis, RB, CLE- Before the season, I wasn’t a big fan of Hillis for two reasons: 1. He isn’t a special talent- he doesn’t explode in the open field and doesn’t possess an adequate second gear. He really needs a large workload to be a good fantasy option. 2. He broke down at the end of last year due to overuse. Both of these things have changed. It was speculated that Hardesty would maintain a role in this offense even when Hillis was healthy, but this notion has likely gone by the wayside. In Hardesty’s golden opportunity, he averaged under 35 rushing yards per game and dropped a multitude of passes- on top of that, he tore his calf muscle on Sunday. This injury will put him out for at least a month. Even the Brown’s 3rd RB Chris Ogbonnaya hasn’t impressed in his limited role. Simply put, Hillis’s workload is going to be enormous on a team that has been very unsuccessfully trying to get its passing game going. He’ll maintain value in PPR too: in the 3 games he’s finished, he’s averaged 5 receptions per game; combine that with Colt McCoy’s weak arm and you’ve got a back who will flirt with 25-30 touches per game. And about the worry of him breaking down? He’s played a total of two games since week 2 and hasn’t played at all the past two weeks- hopefully this has been enough rest. Keep in mind that he faces some brutal rushing defenses from here in out- don’t give away the farm for him, but I can guarantee you there are some owners who severely undervalue him. He’s in line for some big workloads, and he’s shown that’s all he needs to be an RB2.
Desean Jackson, WR, PHI- This trade target is not for those with light hearts or weak stomachs. There is no denying it: Desean Jackson puts up clunkers quite frequently. As you probably know, that’s because he only does one thing- run deep. But aside from maybe Mike Wallace and Calvin Johnson, arguably no one does it better than him. His schedule is really easing up as well- here are the rankings of his next 6 opponents in the passing yards per game category: 28th, 30th, 13th, 32nd, 18th, and 27th. The offensive line is really starting to gel, which should give a surging Michael Vick more time to use his cannon-of-an-arm to chuck it for his deep threat. With a total of 6 catches for 77 yards in his past two games, there will be plenty of owners pining for a more consistent option. Please keep in mind he will have off games and that he faces the Jets in week 15, but in fantasy you want explosive guys laden with upside on your squad, and Desean Jackson fits that billing. There will definitely be weeks where his 5-177-2 line wins it for you.
Percy Harvin, WR, MIN- An explosive WR/RB hybrid kind of talent from Florida, Percy Harvin has dazzled fans with his electrifying moves and breakaway speed. So far this season Harvin has been limited by a lack of snaps and various injuries, but it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even with his low snap totals, Harvin has produced 64.6 total (rushing and receiving) yards per game. The coaches have little choice but to realize he needs to be more involved, and with only one TD there’s definitely room for improvement on the stat sheet. Ponder has shown the ability to pass in an Adrian-Peterson-lead offense and the Vikings are on bye this week, giving Harvin a chance to rest his ailing ribs. Things really look to be coming together for the preseason breakout candidate, and his owners are likely looking to sell him for something significantly less than he’s worth. There’s no doubting his on-field abilities and if Harvin gets the opportunity, he will deliver at least high-end WR3 production.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE- At the beginning of the season Aaron Hernandez was overlooked and underdrafted in a crowded New England receiving corps. The best part is, owners still may not realize how special he is. The second-option in the Patriots passing attack whom never blocks, Hernandez had at least 5 catches and 56 yards in every start until last week’s loss. Really a wide receiver, Hernandez is too fast for linebackers and a tough cover for cornerbacks – he is a nightmare for defenses and Bill Belicheck takes complete advantage of it. His consistency has been fantastic for a TE as well, with TDs in four of his five starts. Target teams who have Hernandez as a second TE who see him as a luxury- there are probably plenty of teams who drafted a TE before him or picked him up from the waiver wire. Don’t let Hernandez go under-appreciated after a bye and a clunker: there’s ample opportunity and talent here.
Reggie Bush, RB, MIA- Frustrated fantasy owners, this is your chance to free yourself of the ball and chain. After a solid 120-yard performance, some onlookers may see the big name and think Bush is breaking out. But this is Bush’s first 100-yard game since Week 16 of the 2006 season- not exactly a model of consistency. Everyone said he wasn’t an every down back, and the Dolphins appear to agree. This is evidenced by their usage of Daniel Thomas when he is healthy. Thomas, the lead back that Miami gave up multiple draft picks for is likely to come back this week and makes for a fine trade target himself. Bush will be relegated to some passing down work, leaving him with low end-flex with little upside in PPR leagues only. Trade Bush to an owner who chases hype (many leagues have one) for someone like Harvin and forget he was ever on your squad.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC- Time and time again this season, Maurice Jones-Drew has overcome doubts- first about the health of his knee, and about how productive he could be without David Garrard. He’s put up a stellar first half filled with remarkable consistency: this past game was the first time he was held under 84 yards rushing. But Blaine Gabbert has somehow managed to not meet incredibly low expectations, and teams are beginning to stack 8 men in the box. With Gabbert seemingly going backwards, this is a trend that is going to continue. His per carry averages in games have already been trending down: 4.5, 4.4, 3.5, 3.5. Now is the perfect time to sell high on MJD- you could likely get a pretty penny in return. He’ll still put up at least RB2 value, but it’s a wonder if he can sustain the pounding his large workload with require, especially on his “bone-on-bone” knee. Its not like he doesn’t have value- his worst case scenario is probably mid-low RB2 production from here on out. Don’t trade him for nothing, but this is the golden time to sell because many owners won’t give his awful situation enough credence to justify a major drop-off. It might be too late in a few weeks.
Jackie Battle, RB, KC- Like the aforementioned Maurice Jones-Drew, Jackie Battle differs to players like Reggie Bush in the sense that he has some decent value- he has the majority of the carries behind a very strong offensive line. But take a second to watch the Chief’s new feature back on film or television- he brings nothing special to the table. Yes, he can find the hole and fall forward consistently, but that’s where the decent-to-average attributes end. He has no second gear to rely on if he makes it to the secondary, and his first gear isn’t anything special to begin with. I believe I’ve said this quite a few times: In fantasy, you want talented, gamebreaking guys on your team with the potential to explode every week. Battle does not come close to fitting that description (neither does Hillis, but he at least will get a larger workload and produces in the passing game). He will likely continue to be a decent low end RB2/flex guy, but who knows if he can even physically handle being a bellcow back, let alone produce good numbers. There are likely plenty of teams in need of an RB in your league- you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a good deal.
KEEP SELLING- Anquan Boldin, Michael Turner (after this week if possible), Shonn Greene, Demarco Murray
I hope you are all enjoying these columns, thanks for reading! Happy trading, and give me a follow on Twitter: @AsherMolk