Fantasy Football Trade Tips & Advice
Don’t forget to tweet trades to me (@JJRaleigh87) for advice and possible future use in Fantasy Trade Advice articles! Include the players and a summary of your league settings (PPR, keeper, etc.) and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can with my thoughts. I’ll also be using your trades as examples in future articles!
To everyone who sent trade offers my way last week, including Mike W., Justin D. Courtney A., Ronald L., Jonathon T., and Firawan S. Keep ‘em coming!
To quote head writer, Mike Rigz, “You guys work hard on your articles, but as soon the games start for the week, all of your predictions and insights go out the window.”
Weeks 1 and 2 happened, and Mike couldn’t be more correct.
Let me show you. Consider the following trade in a redraft PPR fantasy league:
You give up WR Keenan Allen; you receive WR Demaryius Thomas.
If you offered this trade to an opponent, consider the following times and their expected responses:
|Time of trade||If you offered this trade, your opponent would probably…|
|Before Week 1||Laugh mercilessly in your face.|
|After Week 1||Stare at it, sweat it out, ask some friends, flip a coin.|
|After Week 2||Laugh mercilessly on your face.|
We are emotionally drawn to the ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality. Maintaining your awareness of this feeling, and resisting it as much as possible, is critical to maximizing your success in the trade market.
Quantifying and Accepting Risk Early in the Season
So what does the seasoned fantasy football pro do in the above situation? After Week 1 (Keenan’s monstrous game and Thomas’ dud), I asked my friend and fellow Gridiron Experts writer, Brian Jester, what he thought of the trade. His post-Week 1 response:
“I’m holding [not doing the trade] if I have Demaryius. But I’m also holding if I have Allen and that’s offered to me. If that makes sense.”
Brian’s opinion about the trade makes sense because he’s trying to take into account the data point we had at the time (Allen’s huge game, and the Peyton-Demaryius dud), while also trying not to overreact.
So, is his answer the correct one?
Truthfully, there isn’t a correct answer after one week of the season. And that is exactly the point. If Week 1 repeated itself for 4 or 5 weeks, you’d know the right answer (Allen is more valuable than Thomas). If Week 2 repeated itself for 4 or 5 weeks, you’d know the right answer (Thomas is more valuable than Allen). However, in either case, your opponent would know the correct answer, too, and you wouldn’t be able to exploit this uncertainty to your advantage.
With this example in mind, let’s take a look at some other players who might be frustrating their fantasy owners who had high expectations.
Revisiting Rule #2: Anticipate Expectations
In my article titled Fantasy Trade Advice: The Survival Guide, I discussed the importance – and fun – of fantasy football trades. I also outlined seven rules for maximizing your success on the trade market. The second rule – Anticipate Expectations – is the name of the game this week.
You most likely aren’t going to be able to trade for a stud player at a discounted price just one week into the season because owner expectations in those players is solidified by a history of production. You may, however, be able to get a lesser player who had some short term hype, but disappointed in Weeks 1 and/or 2. And luckily, we have a great measure of short term hype in the form of rising preseason Average Draft Positions (ADP).
I compared the ADP of players using an ‘old’ and ‘new’ ADP: the ‘old’ ADP was just prior to Preseason Week 2, while the ‘new’ ADP was just after Preseason Week 4. Let’s take a look at the big ADP risers who are falling short of expectations:
Potential Target #1:
It should be no surprise that Funchess’ ADP experienced a meteoric rise when Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL. Funchess has disappointingly operated as the 3rd or 4th receiver on Carolina so far this year. In week 1, he turned in just one catch and committed a drop. In Week 2, he finished with fewer targets than both Ted Ginn and Philly Brown. However, it’s not like he’s competing with all stars for snaps. You might be able to obtain him for mere pennies on the dollar from an owner looking to jump ship after burning a mid-round draft pick on him.
Potential Target #2:
After being one of the most hyped players in the league following Jordy Nelson’s ACL injury, Adams is flying as under the radar as he can right now. While fantasy owners see James Jones stealing media attention, have a conversation with the Davante Adams owner in your league. Adams led the Packers in both targets (8) and receiving yards (59) in week 1, and still logged 5 catches for 33 yards in Week 2 despite injuring his ankle and seeing a lot of Richard Sherman. We know the Packer offense can support fantasy value for 3 wideouts, and you might be able to get Adams for close to nothing right now.
Potential Target #3:
Maclin had a massive game in Week 3 of the preseason, which caused his ADP to surge. And other than that? Not much. Maclin hasn’t thrown up complete duds so far (5 catches for 52 yards Week 1, 4 catches for 57 yards Week 2), but he is definitely flying under the radar after Travis Kelce stole the show in Week 1 and Jamaal Charles fumbled away the game in primetime in Week 2. You might be able to get Maclin for dirt cheap.
Potential Target #4:
This one isn’t so much for right now; Wright blew up in Week 1, and owners will not have forgotten that. However, he had a complete dud in Week 2, and if he underperforms again in Week 3, we might have an opportunity to buy low. Think about a Wright owner’s expectation levels… after a bunch of preseason hype and a strong Week 1, back to back bad performances might be enough to get them to jump ship. This logic doesn’t work on proven stud players who have years of production under their belts, but it could work on Wright, who was barely talked about up until a month ago. Wright should be a consistent presence on the resurgent Titans offense, and getting him on the cheap would be a great addition, especially in PPR leagues.
One week is just one data point. At the end of the season, we will barely remember what happened during a particular week (especially one early in the season). Right now, two weeks are all we have, and that’s why it’s so easy to overreact. But instead, we are thinking strategically by anticipating our opponents’ overreactions, and we are looking to take advantage.
Making a move after one or two weeks is not without risk to your team. You could be wrong just as your opponent could be. That’s why Brian’s answer to my trade example – hold onto his player, regardless of whether it was Thomas or Allen – makes sense in a vacuum. But when you replace the vacuum with your specific team’s situation and assess your strength relative to the rest of your opponents, you might get a clear answer as to how much risk/reward you should take early in the season.
Stay tuned next week when we will take a look at how to trade for stud players. Every trade and every league is different, but I will share some tips and tricks I’ve learned for getting owners to part with top players. Additionally, there are several top players who, if they have another poor showing in Week 3, will be prime targets for trades going into Week 4.
Don’t forget to tweet trades to me (@JJRaleigh87) for advice and possible future use in Fantasy Trading Post articles!