Week One is in the books. There were surprises and there was some of the same old-same old. Regardless of all the numbers, articles, talk, projections, and rankings, we aren’t perfect. (I know, I know, that’s a shock to some). Every game affects a player’s value in some fashion and I’m here to give you my take on those fluctuating values and how you can take advantage of general perception of particular players.
Perception is reality
Much of fantasy football is perception. Outside of the numbers and stats, there are the emotions. The “what have you done for me lately” mentality pervades this “sport” in a large way. A big name first rounder doesn’t have a monster game and the word “bust” starts coming up on Twitter. Someone we’ve never heard of comes out of nowhere, has a big game, and everyone picks him up… only for him to quickly fade back into the oblivion from which he came. You know who I’m talking about. This happens. It’s football and we’re supposed to be able to tell the future and say whether these are indicators of future behavior or a mere blip on the radar. It is this perception that you look for when seeking out trades. You need to know your leaguemates’ favorite teams. It is a large part of a perceived value. Again, a big name has a down week? Throw an offer out there to get them from a possibly frustrated owner. It’s all a part of perception.
I feel I need to say this a lot.
When seeking trades, don’t just go after the one name that you want. The best chance at trade success is to use your strength to help someone’s weakness. Think of a position for which you have a lot of depth, seek a trade partner who is weak at that position. To illustrate, you may have drafted running back heavy early in your draft, which left you wanting a top wide receiver. Chances are that someone who drafted those top end receivers are in need of running backs. Use your depth to get the best trade possible. A trade needs to help both parties involved. That is why a trade may sound good on the surface, but isn’t in reality. If you offer a couple wide receivers for someone’s LeSean McCoy, but the McCoy owner has almost no other running backs. There’s no amount of receivers you could offer up, the owner simply can’t give up Shady.
I could go on a much longer rant about the things that I’ve seen, regarding trades. Maybe I’ll save it for another article.
Time for my “buy low/ sell high” picks of the week.
BUY LOW CANDIDATES
At this early point in the season, it’s all about finding overreacting owners. This is why the next few names are quite familiar ones.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
Okay, it’s hard to “buy low” on someone’s first round pick, but it’s possible that there is a frustrated owner that is tired of seeing Megatron getting his touchdowns called back. It wouldn’t hurt to throw some feelers out there and test the waters. Who knows, you just might hit gold.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Similar to Calvin Johnson, this is a case of seeing if there’s any sense of overreaction at this point. A Doug Martin owner could possibly be worried that he didn’t have much of a game when it was the stinking, horrible, Jets. But guess what? The defensive front is pretty much the best part of the Jets. They are a very strong unit and obviously keyed in on stopping Martin. The kid is pivotal to the Bucs future success. They want the ball in his hands. He’ll be alright. Get him if you can at a discount.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
Fred Jackson out rushed him. That’s gotta mean something bad, right? Nah. I’m not worried. I still believe fully in him and have got several offers out there to acquire his services. He is one of the most explosive running backs in the league. He is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. Until further notice, I am fully invested in him.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
The Seahawks have a tough defense. While Newton was able to manage a respectable day it likely wasn’t the kind of day owners drafted him for. He can be a volatile fantasy asset, but the second half of 2012 showed us what he is capable of.
SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
First off, this should be a disclaimer before every “sell high” piece:
Just because I say someone is a sell high does not mean I think they are going to fall off the face of the fantasy planet. I simply believe that their value is higher than what it should be after any given week. Clearly, it would be a good time to cash in on that elevated value.
Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Boldin is a great example of what I mentioned above. I’ve always liked Boldin as a (solid) fantasy receiver. In Week 1, he came in and lit the world on fire in his first game as a Niner. This sounds a little familiar to me though. In his first game as a Raven in 2010, he posted a nice 7 reception, 110 yard game. He looked very promising going forward. Outside of a 142 yard, 3 touchdown game in Week 3 of that year, most weeks he was just… solid. His value is currently the highest it’s ever been, why not try and cash in on that now?
Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins
He seems to randomly put up big games. His value skyrocketed last year after his 253 yard, 1 TD game against Arizona, only to fall back to earth in the following weeks. He’s always been “the other guy” in the passing game and I don’t believe this will carry on in a week-to-week basis.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
He survived a game! Sell him while he’s “healthy.”
Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
Maybe someone in your league thinks they will go back to the Chan Gailey days of using Jackson more than they should? Him and McFadden are both guys that will miss time at some point and if you have them, try to sell them while they are looking good. I’m just not a believer in either of these two… wait a second… that reminds me of…
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
He had his first touchdown reception of his career AND he didn’t get hurt. This puts him in that similar category of my previous two back that I’ve mentioned.
And keeping with this theme…
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles Vick is another guy that we were skeptical of, but everything is looking promising after Week 1. But can they keep it up? Can Vick stay healthy? Maybe. The offense is built around a lot of misdirection and avoiding contact. So it’s possible to keep Vick from getting hit as much as before. But why wait? You got him at minimal cost on draft day, why not try to capitalize on the risen value?
I do want to make note, I am holding more on Julius Thomas and Jared Cook. They look like consistent options that have quickly become plug and play tight ends. Ride those ponies into the ground.