Trader Joe's - Week 14

  Posted 12/3 by Jeff Pasquino, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Welcome one and all to "Trader Joe's", the trading outpost here at Footballguys.com. Over the course of this season this will be the place where we talk about trading strategy and trade dynamics. All types of leagues will be discussed, but given that so many fantasy football leagues are redraft in nature we will focus primarily on redraft leagues.

I will be your usual host and respond to your questions and comments as quickly as possible. The best questions I receive in the Assistant Coach Forum at Footballguys.com will likely also appear in this column, whereupon I will add more commentary.

Just like the seasons, this column will be evolving throughout all 17 weeks of the NFL season. From the first weeks of the year and then to midseason and onward to the playoffs, we will address the timing of the trade market and how the dynamics of the season also play an important part in trading.

Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat, as they say, and hopefully so are your fantasy football teams. As we step into the first full week of December here in NFL Week 14, oddly enough it seems that several of the NFL playoff spots are all but locked up, but there are still teams battling for both playoff spots and byes for January. Both of those scenarios are good for fantasy team owners as it is now highly unlikely that anyone but Tennessee or the Giants will be considering resting starters down the home stretch, something that no fantasy football player wants to see.

The fantasy playoff picture is most likely already set in your league, so if you made it into your postseason, congratulations. Hopefully Footballguys and/or Trader Joe's helped you along the way. If you had some misfortune or injuries that knocked you out, or if a bunch of other Footballguys subscribers ended your year early, you may want to consider the added challenge of Keeper or Dynasty Leagues. These multi-year challenges keep your interest most every month of the year, and Footballguys is THE PLACE for your Football info all year round. Even the NFL has recognized how year-round they have become with the NFL Network televising not just the NFL Draft but also the NFL Combine and even NFL and college football bowl games once again this year.

These multi-year leagues go year round, and even more trading takes place as there are just more things to trade. Not only are there players, but now there are draft picks to consider. There may even be salary cap or contract implications to every deal, so the game becomes much more cerebral. If you're looking for a league like this, check out the Looking for Leagues Forum right here at Footballguys, and look for "The Crown" on any thread in the Shark Pool for Keeper and Dynasty conversations.

Now, many leagues have ended their trading season, but there are still a few good questions to discuss between now and the New Year. For the next few weeks I will be focusing on "Year in Review" columns, so this is the last one for 2008 with new questions. Don't worry, Trader Joe's is always open, so feel free to drop in and ask your question anytime, but for now let's have at the Week 14 questions.

Once again this year we will keep the standard format. The questions I receive in the Assistant Coach Forum can be on any topic within your league, but I would advise you that the more general the question, the more applicable it becomes to everyone and thus it is more beneficial to all. The "Who should I trade" questions are still welcome (as long as they follow the format outlined below), but if you'd like to see your question in my column, strategy and/or trade philosophy is highly recommended.

For Example

Team / league specific question:

"I can keep three players. I have Brian Westbrook, LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and Terrell Owens. Who do you recommend?"

The better way to generalize the question, yet still get your answer:

"I have three Top 10 running backs (Westbrook, Tomlinson, Larry Johnson) and a Top 10 WR (Terrell Owens), but I can only keep three. Is it better to keep three running backs, or should I keep a top shelf WR and two backs?"

I would request that you include the following regarding your trade questions:

  • Type of league (Dynasty, Keeper, Contract, Auction, Redraft, other)
  • Starting Roster (positions you play each week)
  • Scoring format
  • Number of teams in your league
  • Roster size
  • Regarding keepers - if you ask a "who should I keep" question, please note the "penalty", if any, for keeping a player (i.e. a draft pick)
  • Regarding a trade - post the other team(s) roster(s) of the teams with which you are negotiating
  • Any other pertinent info that would help me to help you

Let's get to some trade talks. In an effort to expedite finding a particular scenario of interest to all of our readers, I will number each question and provide a brief synopsis here:

  • Question 1: Bottoms Up Evaluations
  • Question 2: Youth Has Value In Keeper Leagues
  • Question 3: Keep Talent Over Need
  • Question 4: A Proven Player Vs. A Draft Pick
  • Question 5: Future Draft Pick Values

So let's get to it.

Question 1

Our first question this week comes from "gbill2004", who is considering a move in his Keeper League that gets him talented and younger players:

Should I make this trade?

  • I get Adrian Peterson and Torry Holt
  • I give up Andre Johnson and Chris Johnson

My full roster is below. I'm currently 9-3 in my league, in first place and have clinched a playoff spot.

12 team redraft league - standard scoring (yardage + 6pts for all TDs) - roster below:

  • QB (start 2) - Tony Romo, Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Marc Bulger
  • WR (start 4) - Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Kevin Curtis
  • RB (start 2 + 1 flex) - Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Cedric Benson, Kevin Smith, Ladell Betts
  • TE (start 2) - Chris Cooley, Tony Scheffler
  • K (start 2) - Nate Kaeding, Nick Folk
  • DEF (start 2) - Tennessee, Philadelphia
  • IDP (start 2) - DeMarcus Ware, Jon Beason

So here was my response:

Hi gbill2004,

Torry Holt is almost unrosterable. Chris Johnson is RB2/RB1 material and AJ is also close to WR1.

If you had to start fewer WRs I might say go for the RB upgrade, but you need 4 starters.

I'd pass.

Good luck.

He replied:

Thank you for your reply! A few notes of consideration:

  1. I do have Kevin Curtis on my bench and he could step in to replace AJ.
  2. I am a little concerned that the Titans will rest Chris Johnson come FF playoff time.
  3. Holt has been coming on the last couple games - and with the return or Pace and Sjax, it should open up the passing game a little more.

Your thoughts based on this?

Clarifying my thoughts:

  1. Kevin Curtis is no AJ - by a longshot.
  2. Good concern, but I think you have to hold him.
  3. Holt is unreliable and not AJ and Bulger's under duress all game, even with Pace back.

Some trades are best gauged by the weakest link in the deal. Torry Holt is actually the worst player of the four, so when you look at a deal from the bottom up it can become very clear as to who wins a deal.

Question 2

The next question this week comes from "Underachievers", who is considering a move in his Keeper League that gets him talented and younger players:

Morning Jeff!

Would you trade (12 team TD only keeper league)...my Brian Westbrook and Kevin Walter for Chris Johnson and Anthony Gonzalez?

So here was my reply:

Hi Underachievers,

You're getting younger at RB and you're getting a WR with a bigger upside.

Considering Westbrook is 29 and Tennessee loves to run, I'd make this move. Gonzalez is also more likely to post good TD numbers with Peyton Manning than Kevin Walter, as he has to compete with Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Steve Slaton for TD catches.

Good luck.

In both Keepers and Dynasty Leagues, age is a factor. Whenever weighing a deal, you have to think about player value both now and into the future. I like to never project more than three years out as that can get you into trouble (too much changes in two years, let alone three) but once a RB approaches 30 there is cause for concern.

Question 3

Our next question comes from "CCThunder", who is in a 4-player Keeper League and is making plans for the future:

League is a 4 player keeper with cut downs in August, and a max of 2 franchise players (drafted in first 2 rounds)

14 teams league (one big conference)

Scoring - completions 0.25, TD 6, int -4, pass yards 0.05, rec & rush yards 0.10

Starters are 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K & 1 DST

Roster limit is 16 (+ 1 for IR if applicable)

No penalties for keepers, no transaction fees...nothing else really

  • QB-Orton, Schaub(F), Pennington
  • RB-Fargas, Sammy Morris, Peyton Hillis, Buckhalter, Derrick Ward, JJ Arrington
  • WR-Calvin Johnson(F), Eddie Royal, Braylon Edwards (F), Chad Johnson
  • TE-Zach Miller
  • K-Matt Bryant
  • D-Jets

League is RB heavy, lack of quality RB's has killed me this year and can be difficult at the draft. BUT we have almost up until Draft day until we have to do cut downs to 4 keepers to wheel and deal players. I may squeak into the playoffs (6-6, tied 7th place, 1GB) but don't see the team as a threat for the title. So who is worth me dropping to take a chance on picking up somebody like Edgerrin James (a franchise keeper I dropped 2 weeks ago) that might be in a better situation next year? (someone scooped up Maroney last week) And does somebody like Peyton Hillis have a future or will the "system" reboot next year and he is worthless in 2009?

Last Free Agent pickups are this week (Tuesday night for Waivers, FA after that) and then the roster is locked. RB - Edge, Rudi Johnson, Chris Perry. QB-Russell, O'Sullivan, David Carr (ha ha, kidding) WR-none better than the 4 I have

Which QB's and WR's are worth planning on keeping? I'm leaning away from OchoCinco, Royal and Pennington



And my reply:

Hi CCThunder,

Sorry to have missed this one. Please PM me next time I miss it.

Tough roster decisions for sure. With emphasis on RB you have to gamble on one of them - else trade a stud WR for a RB. That might be the better way to go if you can pull that off.

Calvin Johnson, Braylon Edwards and Eddie Royal are all keeper-quality WRs. Chad Johnson is also borderline.

If you can trade a WR for something, I would do it and roll some dice on Peyton Hillis and 3 WRs. Schaub may also be worth something before next August, but that's probably not worth a keeper. 3 WR / 1 RB or 4 WR and some trading feels like your best options.

Good luck.

Keeper decisions are not made in a vacuum. The rest of your league is also keeping players, so that will set the open market as well. If everyone else grabs 3-4 RBs, the RB market will dry up quickly. The same can be said about other kinds of player hoarding. If you are lacking in one position but strong in another, keep the best players you can and look to wheel and deal before your draft or even next year.

Question 4

Next we have a good question about dealing a future draft pick for a proven player. "shahekee" writes:


Would you trade next year's 1.02 in a PPR for Marshall. Is either side getting a particularly good deal there? I'm thinking about making an offer similar to this.


Gotta love it when they call me "Joe". Oh well, here's my reply:

Hi shahekee,

Brandon Marshall for a 1.02 is a good trade - I'd much rather have the proven player (who is also young) than a 50/50 coin flip on a college player.

Good luck.

Proven players are always worth more to me than draft picks. While everyone else chases the next Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson, I'll gladly take someone who has proven to be not only capable but also that is putting up good numbers on the next level.

Question 5

Question 5 is here already - and so it ends for this week. This one is a little different, as . "Sanboy" has another very good question to wrap up this week's Trader Joe's:


Playing around with your draft pick calculator. Good stuff. I was wondering what if I was looking to trade a first round 2009 pick 1.08 or 1.09 if my guy isn't there for a first 2010 pick (weak team?) and maybe pick up an extra pick in the mid rounds or swap 2009 picks to jump earlier in the round. Could I structure that? I guess the later I could do with just this years picks.


And here was my reply:

Hi Tony,

Interesting question.

There are many problems with pushing out a late 1st in 09 to a 1st in 2010. First, you get zero value in 2009. Second, a late 2009 can turn out to be a Matt Forte or Chris Johnson next year, and you'd hate to lose out on that. Even Maurice Jones-Drew was a late 1st/early 2nd his rookie year. Yes it is a gamble, but sometimes you have to roll the dice.

The general rule of thumb is to subtract a round per year - meaning a 2010 first is worth a 2009 second. That's the "time value of picks" in effect (you get no value of 2010 picks in 2009). Trading the 1.08 or 1.09 in 2009 for a 2010 first, you absolutely need more added to that deal for it to be even a consideration.

Draft pick future values are one of the hardest things to gauge, which is one reason why I made my Dynasty Draft Pick Calculator. The nice part about it is that it is very customizable, not just for Dynasty but also for redraft as well. Check it out. It takes into account such extra factors as roster size and lineups and also gives the "pick to make even" feature that tells you what pick it would take to make the deal of equal value.

So that will do it for the Week 14 edition of Trader Joe's, and I sincerely hope that I helped some of you owners out there to think about some trades and new ways to improve your team. Until next week, I'll see you at Trader Joe's.


Trader Joe's from the Assistant Coach Forum at Footballguys.com.
The Dynasty Draft Pick Calculator, written by Jeff Pasquino. First introduced here.
Tricks of the T.R.A.D.E., written by Jeff Pasquino.