Draft Strategy

Fantasy Trade Advice Week 10: Final Chapter

Fantasy Trades

What do we do about Matt Forte? What should we make of Dez Bryant’s return to stardom? Is Darren McFadden for real? Read on for answers.

Fantasy Trade Advice Week 10

Fantasy Football Trade AdviceI got a lot of positive feedback and questions from last week’s trade examples / FAQs, so I’m going back to the well one more time. Below are more example trades from readers with my analysis, and also an answer to a very frequently asked question from the week.

This is also the final week I will be posting about trades, as trade deadlines are either just passed or coming up in 1-2 weeks.

Beginning next week, I will be writing about fantasy playoff matchups. Specifically, I will be looking at things like temperature, wind, divisional games, whether real NFL playoff seedings are on the line, etc. The idea is that, by playoff time, you will have a nice little cheat sheet to tell you which games to target.

With that, let’s go to the phones:

Real Trade Examples

Three weeks ago, I wrote about how to evaluate trades the right way. Let’s recap the important aspects of a favorable trade:

Critical Factors:

  1. Obtain the best player
  2. Obtain more studs than you give up
  3.  Improve your roster’s upside, with emphasis on your starting lineup
  4. Obtain more value than you give up (i.e., buy low, sell high)


  1. Active/inactive nature of your league and trading partner (i.e., will you get a better offer?)
  2. Playoff matchups
  3. Positional value (generally, give up QBs when you can, as they are easy to replace)
  4. Injury prone nature of players in the trade
  5. Number of players giving/receiving (create extra roster spots when you can)

Now let’s look at some reader trades and why I did/did not recommend them using the factors identified above:

Example #1

(trade from reader Justin S.)

Doug Martin FantasyGive up:

 RB Doug Martin


 WR Dez Bryant

Why to accept this trade:

Critical Factor #1 Obtain the best player – Martin has been good, but Dez is definitely the superior player (more on this in a second).

Critical Factor #3 Improve roster upside – An unbalanced trade like this only makes sense if you have a passable RB to plug into Martin’s spot. Justin’s league requires starting 2RB/2WR/1FLEX.

Justin’s RBs: Lamar Miller, Adrian Peterson, Martin, and Ameer Adbullah

Justin’s WRs: Alshon Jeffery, Allen Robinson, Andre Johnson, and Kamar Aiken

This is truly a swap of the flex position in his starting lineup, and Dez provides more upside than Martin.

Critical Factor #4 Obtain more value than you give up – This one is more or less the same as Critical Factor #1 in a one-for-one swap, but it’s still important to keep track of.

Additional thoughts: Why do I think Dez has more upside than Martin? Isn’t he just coming back from an injury and playing with Matt Cassel? Yes, he is. But Tony Romo is coming back in just two weeks, and that will vault Bryant back to elite WR1 status. Justin’s opponent overlooked that fact in this trade, and Justin took advantage.

Example #2

(trade from reader Jeff M.)

Give up:

RB Mark Ingram


RB Darren McFadden

RB Danny Woodhead

Why to accept this trade:

Critical Factor #3 Improve roster upside – This is a rare case where I am breaking my own rule (giving away the best player in a trade), and it’s for good reason: Jeff lost Dion Lewis to season ending injury, and had no viable replacement on the roster. His team also isn’t quite good enough to win the league with a hole at RB2. This one-for-two swap gives him a better chance to win the league.

Critical Factor #4 Obtain more value than you give up – The Dez Bryant analysis above applies equally to Darren McFadden. McFadden has zero competition for touches, and he’s already running well with Matt Cassel playing QB. Imagine what he will do when he has Romo back to keep the chains moving and keep defenses honest?

Meanwhile, I wrote that Danny Woodhead was a player to trade away a few weeks ago; however, in the wake of the massive injuries to San Diego’s pass catchers, Woodhead has become much more valuable. He could see ~10 passing targets per game to finish out the season.

Additional thoughts: This is a great example of an exception to the rule. Sometimes, you really do have to trade for depth, and when you do, try to get players with upside. Jeff was able to do that in this case and I think he still stands an excellent chance to win his league because of it.

Example #3

(trade from reader Gerry G.)

Justin Forsett FantasyGive up:

RB Matt Forte


RB Justin Forsett

WR Vincent Jackson

Why to accept this trade:

This is another ‘exception to the rules’ sort of trade, as it is primarily about risk. As you will see below, many readers are asking about what to do with Matt Forte, and the answer is, of course, it depends. There is an exception though: if you can dump Forte for someone of near-equal caliber, like Forsett, you should pull the trigger. Think of the two extreme cases:

Case 1: Forte returns in 2 weeks and plays at a high level. In this case, you will experience a slight drop off, as Forsett is very good but probably not quite the same as Forte.

Case 2: Forte gets shut down for the season. Game set match, in your favor.

I think this was a no brainer decision for Gerry. But it’s not always going to be that easy. What if you are getting low ball offers for Forte? And for those of you who don’t own Forte, should you be sending those low ball offers yourselves? Let’s discuss:

Question of the week: What do I do about Matt Forte?

Matt ForteMultiple readers sent in offers either receiving or giving away Forte, so instead of listing them out individually, I think it’s best to talk about Forte’s situation and how it can help or hurt your team.

I’m going to dig deep into the archive here, back to my week 3 post. Forte’s situation is one that is far too uncertain to quantify. John Fox guards his players’ injury statuses as if they were nuclear launch codes. For all we know, Forte could return in two weeks, or he could be shut down for the entire season.

In week 3, I wrote about the inability to quantify risk, and how we can take advantage of it. That same idea applies here. No one can properly quantify the risk of owning (or trading away) Forte, and that presents a tremendous opportunity for us. So how can we use it?

If you are a Forte owner:

Keep him if you have a weaker team (or unless you can get another very good RB for him in exchange – someone like Justin Forsett). Essentially, you can’t afford to sell low here, because doing so will make your already weak team even weaker. You have to hope that he comes back quickly and gives you your upside back.

Trade him if you have an already strong team. You can afford to sell a little low if it means getting a solid contributor back in return. In week 8, I wrote that having ‘solid contributor’ type players is OK if the rest of your team is very strong. That’s the case here.

If you are not a Forte owner:

Try to trade for him if you need upside. You are electing to take the risk that he will come back soon, and then you will have obtained an elite player at a discount. If he doesn’t come back soon, well, that sucks, but you were lacking upside with your current roster so your odds of winning weren’t good anyway.

Avoid trading for him if you already have a strong team. There’s no reason to take on such a huge risk late in the season unless you have to.


Talking about trades has been really fun this season. If your trade deadline hasn’t passed, keep sending me trade questions (@JJRaleigh87) and I’ll keep sending answers. Thanks to everyone who has sent them in already!

Stay tuned next week for the first look at fantasy playoff implications.

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