Harris: The Fantasy Trade Game Begins Now
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By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Week 3 is a magical fantasy week for me because I allow myself to begin trading. Up until now, not enough time had passed to establish firm opinions on various players on my team and others to commit to a trade.
Also, just enough time has passed for certain fantasy owners to panic on their early-round draft picks and for people to overestimate the value of breakout players from Weeks 1 and 2.
Enter Adam Harris, who loves selling high and buying low.
Below are a list of players you should target via trade and a list of players you can dump with high value.
Selling high means you trade a player at his highest value. The player you trade may continue to produce at a high level, but it will not be at the same level as when you traded him. Thus, you acquired talent in return that matched your previous player’s hype but not future production.
Darren McFadden (RB-OAK) – Darren McFadden had a nice week last week, and scored a touchdown in Week 1. This is great for McFadden owners, because it can be used to sell him a little higher than his projected value for the rest of the season.
McFadden’s next three opponents, Denver, Washington and San Diego have given up the 24th, 30th and 17th most fantasy points to running backs this year. He should do well those weeks but will eventually come back down to the McFadden we all know and love.
The injury prone, 3.5 yards per carry, no touchdown McFadden will come back and you will have wanted to dump him by then. Couple McFadden with a solid WR2 and get a WR1 (Dez Bryant-DAL) and RB2 (Lamar Miller-MIA).
Michael Vick (QB-PHI) – Speaking of injury prone, Michael Vick has been injured the last three seasons, and I do not expect him to last this entire year healthy. The Eagles are on pace to run 1,080 plays from scrimmage, which is one more play than they ran last year, and 42 more than the year before, both years Vick was hurt.
I look back to an exhausted Vick quote after the Eagles beat the Redskins in Week 1. “This is going to be a long year,” Vick said.
Well I think it’ll be a short one for Vick. Trade him for a top-tier WR to a team looking for a spark; this assuming you drafted Vick as your backup.
Desean Jackson (WR-PHI) - DJax is a fun player to both own in fantasy, and watch as an NFL fan, but he will not have Michael Vick all year (see above). The new Chip Kelly offense runs best with Vick at quarterback, not Nick Foles.
In order for Jackson to be as impressive as he has been, he needs a productive quarterback. Currently, Jackson is the highest-scoring fantasy WR (.5 PPR) this year. That is not going to keep up, which makes him great trade bait. The numerous productive wide outs this year make sacrificing Desean Jackson for an Antonio Brown (WR-PITT) and a Chris Johnson (RB-TENN) well worth it.
Demaryius Thomas (WR-DEN) - Demaryius had an unreal Week 1 scoring 30.5 points (.5 PPR) but he needed two late touchdowns to get those points – one of which was a 78-yard screen pass where the Ravens defense blew several coverages.
Thomas is the ninth best fantasy wide out right now, but is being looked at as at top five wide out. In Week 2, Thomas caught five balls for 52 yards and that inconsistency cannot be tolerated for a guy who is put on a fantasy WR pedestal. There too many weapons on this Bronco team, all of which I would be happy to own, including DThomas.
But the numerous weapons takes away from Thomas’ value, in particular because he is perceived by fantasy owners as a Brandon Marshall (WR-CHI) or Julio Jones (WR-ATL) when in reality he is more of a third-tier fantasy wide out.
He is the odd man out for me in Denver because of how “sexy” he is to owners. If you can get a Pierre Garçon (WR-WASH) and a Frank Gore (RB-SF) in return, I would shop DThomas.
When I buy low, I like to buy really LOW. I will take a chance on a player who came into the year with high expectations and is disappointing his fantasy owner to the point of complete dismissal. The examples below are worth a trading stab.
Stevan Ridley (RB-NE) – If you are a regular reader or listener of mine (#NERDHERD) you will know my allegiance to anyone on the Patriots. Stevan Ridley has been an utter disappointment, accumulating six fantasy points in two games and nearly fumbling his job away.
There is a silver lining, as the Pats have tight end Rob Gronkowski returning either this week or next. This will open up the passing game and give Tom Brady a sense of comfortability he hasn’t felt all year. The Patriots will get into a groove and they will re-learn how to lean on their running game.
Ridley spoke a determined game in the locker room Monday with reporters, talking about how he needs to step up and hold the ball. He will be a beneficiary of the Patriots offense once it opens up.
Take it from me, Ridley owners are anxious to get rid of him.
Tom Brady (QB-NE) – Tom Brady has averaged 37 touchdown passes and over 4600 yards in his last five full seasons. This year, Tom Brady is on pace to throw 24 touchdowns and 3,784 yards. He is going to perform much better than his projections, which means the remaining 14 games will be fun for him. Think about how much catching up he has to do!
Think about what he will be once Gronkowski returns. Think about what Brady will be once the running game returns. I still say Brady ranks just behind the top three, Peyton Manning (QB-DEN), Aaron Rodgers (QB-GB), and Drew Brees (QB-NO), for the rest of the year. You can acquire Brady for a top tier-QB, listed above, and a nice WR as a compliment.
DeMarco Murray (RB-DAL) – The Cowboys are 1-1 and need to commit to the running game. Tony Romo will not last the season if they keep passing the ball at 67% (95/135) rate. Head coach Jason Garrett told reporters he wants to have more of a balance on offense, and that can only help Murray improve.
Murray will get his opportunities this week, and if he capitalizes, he will be off the market quickly. Go at Murray now. You can trade a Ty Hilton (WR-IND) and Daryl Richardson (RB-STL) for Murray and a low WR2 and be happy later.
GOOD FOR BOTH SIDES
Ben Tate (RB-HOU) – Arian Foster has looked tired, and Ben Tate has not. I think Tate is a great back to acquire if you are an Arian Foster owner, and trade if you are trading to an Arian Foster owner. This is the only scenario that would give Tate owners maximum return value, and give Foster owners the security of a legitimate backup for your first or second round pick.
Each owner needs one another.
Tate is averaging 8.33 yards per carry through two weeks, while Foster is averaging just 3.67 yards per carry, but Foster leads Tate in touches 37 to 18. Sending Tate to the Arian team makes too much sense for both owners, and should happen in all leagues.
Feel free to keep an eye on these players and act quickly on a few of them. Do not wait too long or the value with drop so low no one will want your bait, or raise so high the buy lows become unattainable.
Follow Adam Harris on Twitter @AHarris670 and ask him Fantasy Football questions. Also, listen to the Friday Fantasy Nerd Herd Hour on Friday nights/Saturday mornings with Joe Ostrowski.