Fantasy Trade Advice Week 9: Crunch Time

Fantasy Trade Advice Week 9

Fantasy Football Trade AdviceMost league trade deadlines are coming up fast. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and you can see your chances of making the playoffs and winning the championship.

If you need to make moves, now is the time.

With that in mind, I want to take a look at some real trade examples you all have sent me (or that I have executed myself) and also at a couple of frequently asked questions that I’ve gotten from you.

Real Trade Examples

Two 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)

Tiebreakers:

  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 get to the examples. The idea here is to give you a framework for constructing trades in case you are struggling with where to start, and also to show how to apply the aspects identified above:

Example #1

(this is a trade from one of my leagues)

Andy Dalton Give up:

 QB Andy Dalton

 WR John Brown

Receive:

 RB LeSean McCoy

 WR Steve Smith, Sr. (unfortunately, the injury occurred just a couple of days after the trade, but for the purposes of evaluation, pretend everyone is healthy)

Why to accept this trade:

#1 Obtain the best player – I actually think McCoy and Smith were the best TWO players in this trade.
#3 Improve roster upside – Another capable QB was on the roster (Tannehill), while McCoy was a massive upgrade over the incumbent RB2 (Melvin Gordon).
#4 Obtain more value than you give up – Buying low on McCoy; selling high on Dalton and, to a lesser extent, John Brown.
#5 Inactivity of the trade market – this was one of only two guys who actually responded to offers, and the other guy rejected everything without counteroffers.
#7 Positional value – I was able to give up a QB to get an RB.

Additional thoughts: I also judged Steve Smith’s weekly upside to be higher than John Brown’s. Although the injury makes this trade look a lot worse, at the time, it was one of the easiest trades in the world for me to say yes to.

Example #2

(this is a trade from reader Jeff M.)

TY HiltonGive up:

 WR T.Y. Hilton

 TE Jason Witten

Receive:

 WR Donte Moncrief

 TE Jordan Reed

Why to accept this trade:
#3 Improve roster upside – Hilton ~ Moncrief, Reed >>> Witten (Delanie Walker is also a capable if uninspiring backup on the bench).
#4 Obtain more value than you give up – this trade was made last week, right off of Hilton’s huge game where he scored twice against the Saints on fluky plays, and also on Reed’s bye week, which gave him lower perceived value.

Additional thoughts: Hilton and Moncrief are essentially equal, but this deal happened because the other owner overreacted to Hilton’s huge game. Meanwhile, Reed and Witten were two players I identified last week as players to target, and trade away, respectively. Reed has massive risk, but he has massive upside. Witten is a much better real life football player and name than he is fantasy asset. Having Walker on the bench as a backup is nice, but it still shouldn’t matter too much. If you are starting a guy like Walker or Witten, you are hurting anyway, and you should look for a TE with more upside.

Example #3

(trade from reader Dave B.)

Drew BreesGive up:

 QB Drew Brees

 RB Arian Foster (this deal occurred prior to week 7, so for argument’s sake, let’s assume Foster isn’t hurt)

 WR Martavis Bryant

Receive:

 RB Eddie Lacy

 WR Antonio Brown

 WR Donte Moncrief

Why to accept this trade:
#1 Obtain the best player in the deal – unquestionably, Antonio Brown.
#3 Improve roster upside – also has Tom Brady to start at QB; Brown substantially better than next best WR on the roster (Eric Decker).
#4 Obtain more value than you give up – Brown was a buy-low with Vick playing; Lacy’s value was at an all-time low.
#7 Positional value – giving up a QB to obtain a WR.

Additional thoughts: But omg Drew Brees just threw for 500 yards and 7 TDs… how can this trade be good???

I would trade a QB like Brees every single time if I was able to land someone like Brown – and that’s even if I didn’t have Tom Brady to start. QBs are just plain less valuable, as the mediocre ones on the waiver wire can still score a lot of points. And my best evidence of that is, of course, Brees himself, who only a few weeks ago was flirting with waiver wire status.

Frequently Asked Questions

I also wanted to share my answers to a couple of questions I’ve been seeing frequently, because I think the answers further illustrate some of the points I’ve been trying to drive home throughout the season.

Question #1: Should I trade for Eddie Lacy?

Eddie Lacy Fantasy FootballThink about it this way: should you try and trade for a player who has shown a high ceiling in past seasons, and who plays on a very talented offense, but who has struggled for the first 8 weeks of this season?

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that my answer is yes.

With 8 weeks of disappointing outputs on your side, you can make an extremely compelling case against Lacy. And I’m not going to argue that with you. The reasons I’d still go for a guy like Lacy are not specific to Lacy himself; rather, they are reasons that could be applied to many other players:

  • His stock is at an all-time low.
  • He has shown huge upside in the past.
  • He has great opportunity.

It might not work this time – just like (for you poker players out there) you might lose to A-10 offsuit with pocket kings, or (for you blackjack players out there) you might stay on 20 only to see the Blackjack dealer turn over 21 – but in the long run, buying low on a proven stock with great opportunity is the profitable play, and if you keep making profitable moves, you will be rewarded. Plus, his stock is so low right now that you shouldn’t have to give up much at all to land him.

Question #2: Should I trade for an elite player if it weakens an already weak position on my roster?

When I’ve seen this asked, it’s usually in the context of “I know I’m getting a good deal in this trade, but it leaves me with poor depth or a mediocre starter at another position.”

Consider a very simple example of a RB/WR combo in a 0.5 PPR league:

You have:

 RB Giovani Bernard

 WR Eric Decker

You can trade Decker, Bernard, and another player to receive Julio Jones, and your new starters would then be:

 RB Shane Vereen

 WR Julio Jones

Think about it for a second. What is your perception of each player? Do you feel comfortable starting Vereen? If you looked at this 2v2 matchup each week so far this season, what do you think the win-loss record would be?

I’m going to advocate for the Jones/Vereen side. Upside, upside, upside. To illustrate, let’s walk through some quick numbers:

  • Of the 4 players, Vereen averages the lowest PPG at 8.9, with three games of less than three points.
  • Excluding weeks where one player had a bye, this 2v2 matchup would split, three wins a piece; however, the average margin of victory for Jones/Vereen was 22 points while the average margin of victory for Decker/Bernard was just 10 points.
  • In all three wins for Jones/Vereen, Jones outscored Decker/Bernard by himself (!!!).
  • Vereen’s season-high output was 21 points in Week 5; that is higher than both Decker’s season-high (19.7 points in Week 2) and Bernard’s season-high (15.4 points in Week 2).

What these numbers mean:

  • Studs can compensate for other players having terrible performances – whether they be unreliable scrubs or other studs. What if you weren’t starting Vereen, but someone like Adrian Peterson, and he inexplicably got bottled up for a 3 point game? Having someone like Julio Jones on your team could erase that problem for you. Guys like Bernard and Decker can’t do that.
  • Mediocre (or worse) players can still have good games. As unreliable as Vereen is, he still put up weeks of 21, 16.3, and 13.5 points. You already see that a stud can compensate for a goose egg, and if your stud hits at the same time that your unreliable player hits, you will be unstoppable.
  • A team full of Deckers and Vereens can eke out tight victories, but it’s never going to win big, and it’s never going to pull you the upset. If your team is made up of guys like that, and your opponent’s stud players go off, you’re finished.

Conclusion

Don’t be afraid to take risks and be wrong. Don’t be afraid to go for that stud player if it means starting a weaker player at another position. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to target talented players in good situations that have severely deflated value.

Keep sending me trade questions (@JJRaleigh87) and I’ll keep sending answers. Thanks to everyone who has sent them in already! By the way, I’ve gone through my entire season’s worth of trade advice to you all, and as of right now I am hitting correctly on roughly 80% of the trades that you send me. With the variance we see in the NFL today.. well. I’ll happily take 4 out of 5.

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