Time in fantasy football is running out.
For most leagues, there is only four weeks left in the regular season. Trade deadlines are approaching.
It's absolutely critical to manage your team efficiently during this time period. For some, it may mean prestige and honor. For others, it may be the difference between financial distress or financial success.
Here are five tips or moves you must make in order to finish your fantasy football season as strong as possible.
Yes, this is not the most awesome tip you've ever received. You hear it so often.
But, it's so critical.
As a fantasy football owner, the early part of the season is for compiling talent.
Now, it's time to unload all that depth you've compiled. Trade fruitlessly. Make other managers in your league think you're Bill Belichick by all the trades you send every day.
The obvious reasoning behind unloading depth is you want your starters to be as good as possible. After all, the starters are the only ones who gain points for you. By unloading depth, your team may score less fantasy points as a whole, but your starters can score more.
And that's all that really matters come fantasy playoff time.
Here are five possible trades to help facilitate the trade machine within your brain:
- Trade Matt Forte and A.J. Green for Adrian Peterson: You give up the ninth best fantasy receiver and the sixth best running back for the third best running back.
- Trade Fred Jackson and Brandon Marshall for Lesean McCoy: You give up the fourth best fantasy running back and a decent receiver for the second best fantasy running back.
- Trade Vincent Jackson, Steven Jackson, and Cedric Benson for Calvin Johnson.
- Trade Shonn Greene and Hakeem Nicks for Mike Wallace.
- Trade Jermichael Finley and Rashard Mendenhall for Jimmy Graham.
Keep in mind the smaller the league is, the more you have to give up to trade up. For example, in my six team league, I offered Jermichael Finley and Steven Jackson for Jimmy Graham, and I was denied. Jackson is a top ten running back right now.
Every single time there is breaking news in the NFL, shrewd fantasy football owners are always the first to discover any associated fantasy implications.
Take Matt Schaub's injury, for example. The Texans were already running heavily with Schaub, and without Schaub, there's no reason for them to stop running. In fact, they will probably run even more.
Foster, already the top fantasy running back in points per game, seeks to benefit the most from this. He'll also be the target of the many short check-downs Matt Leinart is destined to throw.
I view Foster as the number one back in fantasy now. By all means, acquire this guy, and trade for him before his value soars even higher; even if he calls you "sick".
Oh, and as a side note, get Ben Tate as well. He may start for you, and if you give up a lot for Foster, you might as well get some insurance.
Here are five example trades to look at:
- Trade Wes Welker and Michael Turner for Arian Foster and Eric Decker: You're giving up the second best receiver and a top ten running back for the best running back and a top fifteen receiver. This deal is actually very good for you, but the opposing owner may not know it.
- Trade Shonn Greene and Sidney Rice for Ben Tate.
- Trade Hakeem Nicks and Maurice Jones-Drew for Arian Foster.
- Trade Marques Colston and Michael Turner for Arian Foster.
- Trade Reggie Wayne for Ben Tate: This trade is a bit lopsided, but the opposing manager may not know. If he does, add in someone like Mark Ingram.
If you can't get him, that's okay. But at least make an effort.
This guy has an affinity for trading.
1. Don't put any players off limit for trading. If someone is really interested in one of your players, you definitely want to put him on the market. Anyways, rarely do guys who start the year as the best finish the year even better. The best performer when its all said and done may be the guy who's currently second best.
Obviously, don't trade these guys just to trade them; expect to get a rich offer in return.
Example Players: Calvin Johnson, Lesean McCoy
2. Trade up if possible. Trading up is so much more rewarding than trading down, in most cases. Not only do you upgrade a starting position, but you open up a free agent spot. There are always late bloomers who perform well at the end when coaches are just experimenting for next year. You will want free agent spots to snag these players.
Example Players (from the past): Jerome Harrison, Jamaal Charles (2009)
3. If I were to offer you Frank Gore and Hakeem Nicks for Ray Rice, and also offer you Ahmad Bradshaw and Victor Cruz for Rice, which would you accept? You'd be much more inclined to accept the former, even though the latter deal is tremendously better.
The point is: Trade for overrated players just so you can flip them. Of course, this advice may not work in a league where everyone is experts, but this advice helps even in most Winner leagues.
Examples: Trade Eric Decker for Desean Jackson
Obviously, you can trade for a ton of different players. The guys I've listed are either big name guys you can get for cheap (and potentially flip later), or they are extremely underrated guys.
Chris Johnson: Johnson is getting back in the groove of things. And besides, he can't get any worse. Since trading up for Johnson makes it seem as if you are desperate, and trading down is generally a bad idea, make a trade where you get an upgrade at WR and downgrade at RB. For example, offer Fred Jackson and Brandon Marshall and for Chris Johnson and Steve Smith (Car).
Victor Cruz: If we take out the first two games in which Cruz barely played, he's a top ten receiver. You can get this guy dirt cheap.
Eric Decker: As with Chris Johnson, make him a complementary part of the deal rather than the main focus.
Andre Johnson: Make sure when offering a deal for him you bring up the fact that Schaub is injured.
Larry Fitzgerald: It may just be me, but I was shocked when I saw Larry Fitzgerald was the No. 6 receiver in fantasy. It's because his quarterback is just so bad. Well, feel free to trade for this guy.
Jordy Nelson: He's a top ten receiver. Since he's Aaron Rodger's second favorite target, not many people know.
Miles Austin: If you can survive a few weeks of injury, you're getting back a big upgrade in talent.
Dez Bryant: Bryant is one of the good players with the potential to become elite in the last few weeks.
Darren Mcfadden: He's been under the radar ever since he got injured.
Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson: They can't get any worse.
If you own these guys, try getting rid of them.
Steven Jackson: Jackson is a pretty difficult guy to trade, but you need to do it. No one knows that he's been a top 10 running back this year, since the Rams have been terrible, but you need to convince someone he is before the wear and tear starts having an effect on him.
Michael Turner: Leading the league in carries two of the past three years is sooner or later going to have a toll on him.
Cam Newton: Cam Newton is legit, but if you can trade him in a fair deal, don't hesitate. There's a risk Newton hits a rookie wall and you want to trade him while he's still the second best fantasy quarterback. For example, you may be able to net Michael Vick and A.J. Green for this guy (and possibly more).
Wes Welker: Welker's tough, but defenses have been insanely physical with him. It's hard seeing him push through with this type of production. Excellent if you want to trade up for someone like Arian Foster (Trade Welker and Ray Rice for Foster and Mike Wallace).
Fred Jackson: He will drop to around 8th-10th in running back rankings by the time the year ends. Trade him while he's still fourth.
I hate referencing Bill Belichick so much, but he's quite the savvy trader, and he's a guy who usually always finishes the year strong.
So take a page from his book. Swarm opposing managers with trades. Don't be hesitant, and don't be discouraged if they decline. Once a trade is finally accepted, you'll feel like all the declined trades were worth it.
I seriously think trading is also one of the most fun parts of fantasy football. You can get so creative with it, and find serious kinks to push your team to the top. Make the most of this amazing feature before the trade deadline hits.
Thanks for reading and good luck!