Trader Joe's - Week 8

  Posted 10/28 by Jeff Pasquino, Exclusive for 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.

Here we are in Week 8, and there are still four painful weeks of byes to go, with two more weeks of six clubs taking a break. That means the Bengals, Chiefs, Patriots, Steelers, Buccaneers and Redskins are off this time, but there's good news as Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Seattle and Tennessee all return to action. Some owners are trading players from these teams just to be able to field a lineup, so look for opportunities if you have depth right now. Also, if you are struggling, this may be the first and last time you are happy to trade Randy Moss for Mike Sims-Walker, but bye weeks make strange bedfellows.

So now with just a few weeks to go, things are really taking shape. After seven weeks, NFL teams have a good sense of what and who they are, and this is also true for most fantasy rosters. The NFL may still have their majority of the regular season to go, but most of you are at or past the midpoint of the season. It is now crunch time and as playoff pushes loom, trading players can help a team immensely.

With playoffs on the minds of at least half of your league, you have to remain active in the trading marketplace. We have a lot of owners who are doing just that, so let's delve into some of their 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 Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Who do you recommend?"

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

"I have three Top 10 running backs (Forte, MJD, Chris Johnson) and a Top 10 WR (Boldin), 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: Dealing Players Heading in Opposite Directions
  • Question 2: August Values Have No Value After August
  • Question 3: Numbers Over Names
  • Question 4: Losing Early Means Avoiding Byes
  • Question 5: Sometimes Dynasty Leagues are "Win Now"

So let's get to it.

Question 1

The first question this week comes from "football newbie", who is trying to evaluate a deal involving two running backs:

Hi Jeff.

Do you like Lynch or Addai the rest of this year?

I thought I'd get your opinion of two of my RBs, one of which I'll probably trade along with a WR for a little better WR and a serviceable RB.

Using LD, especially with better playoff week 14, 15, 16 projections, Lynch is the choice to keep. But Addai has been fairly consistent so far, and Indy is a much better offensive team than Buffalo.

Does anything jump out at you when trying to project those two over the rest of the year?

Thanks again.

  • 12-team NON-PPR redraft league
  • Start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 WR/RB Flex, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF
  • 16 player roster.
  • Passing TDs = 4 pts, all others 6 pts
  • 1 pt for 10 yards rushing and receiving.

My Team

  • QB: Hasselbeck, Garrard, Shaun Hill
  • RB: AP, Ronnie Brown, Addai, Lynch, Chester Taylor
  • WR: Roddy White, B Edwards, Berrian, Roy Williams
  • TE: Vernon Davis
  • DEF: Phil, GB
  • K: Tynes

So here was my reply:

Hey football newbie,

I'd rather have a guy getting increased work (Lynch) than decreased (Addai). There's no rookie nipping at Lynch's heels, plus he's the offense in Buffalo (whatever that's good for). Peyton could make Addai have a bad day if he blows up.

Good luck.

Two players that may look even today may actually just be equal for the short term. A player whose value is heading upward (along with his touches) is nearly always worth more than a player heading in the opposite direction. Evaluate deals between comparable players not just on today's value but the likely value in the future.

Question 2

Our next question comes from "Sclaffer", who is too focused on August values rather than those of today:

Hi Jeff,

  • 10 team redraft league
  • Decimal scoring, non ppr
  • 1 pt per 10 yds rushing/receiving
  • 1 pt per 20 yds passing
  • 2 pt bonus for +100 yds rush/rec - +300 yds passing
  • Start: QB/2RB/2WR/TE/Flex - (RB/WR/TE)/K/Def

My team

  • QB - Big Ben/Eli Manning
  • RB - Brandon Jacobs, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, LT, Sproles, Chester Taylor
  • WR - Steve Smith (CAR), Santonio Holmes, Devin Hester, Garcon, Braylon Edwards, Bernard Berrian
  • TE - Zach Miller
  • K - Kaeding
  • Def - Green Bay, Seattle

My team has been awful so far this year, as I am sitting at 2-4 in my division, and am not scoring a ton of points. As you can see, I've handcuffed a couple of RBs, either by draft (LT and Sproles) or via waiver wire (Williams). My problem, as I see it has been my WRs. I'm just not getting the production from them. I picked up Garcon after his big games. Berrian, up until recently hasn't been doing much. We all know about Smith (CAR) and his QB problems. Holmes is doing OK, as is Hester (not great, but OK)

This past week, I've received some offers for LT. Of course, LT was my first round draft pick, but he hasn't been doing much this year so far, as well all know. My problem is that San Diego's schedule for the upcoming weeks looks promising for LT to get back to scoring TDs, assuming SD doesn't do what they did last week and pull LT on 3rd and Goal to put Sproles in (which in my case would have been good, if I had started Sproles this week.)

  • Offer #1: Ahmad Bradshaw and DeSean Jackson for LT and Hester
  • Offer #2: Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks for LT and Hester
  • Offer #3: Cadillac Williams and Santana Moss for LT

Offers 1 & 2 came from the same owner (1st place in my division), who's team looks like this

  • QB - Flacco, Rodgers
  • RB - Bradshaw, Jamal Lewis, McFadden, Mendenhall, FWP, Turner
  • WR - Antonio Bryant, Harvin, DeSean Jackson, Andre Johnson, Hakeem Nicks
  • TE - Cooley, Shiancoe
  • K - Crosby
  • Def - Bengals, Steelers

Offer 3 came from this owner (1st place in other division)

  • QB - Brees, Favre
  • RB - Fred Jackson, Thomas Jones, Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams, DeAngelo Williams
  • WR - Austin Miles, Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshal, Santana Moss, Roddy White
  • TE - Clark, Winslow
  • K - Prater, Succop
  • Def - Colts, Saints

I know I really need to either upgrade my WR position, or have my current stable of WRs start performing as they should. But do I give up LT to get better WRs. I'm not convinced that the receivers I've been offered are worth the perceived future value that I have of LT in the coming weeks. All WRs being offered has scored more fantasy points this year than my highest scoring WR (Holmes), with the exception of Nicks. I also find myself pigeon holes in having as many handcuffed RBs as I have, especially if I pull the trigger to get Bradshaw.

Do I stick with what I've got and hope for the best, or do I start to trade off my RBs for better WRs? We do have position limits in place (no more than 6 RBs and 6 WRs per team).


Long question, but there's some value here. Here was my reply:

Hi Sclaffer,

My word, I take that first deal and run! DeSean is a WR1 and Bradshaw is a great handcuff to Jacobs. You already have Ronnie Brown so your RB situation is covered (except Week 10, you'll live).

Who cares if LT was your top pick? Points matter now, not draft rounds.

Make that move and don't look back.

Good luck.

A common error by traders is to focus on the initial value that they placed on a player back on Draft Day. That happens even in Dynasty leagues ("But he was my first round rookie last year!"). You have to forget all of that and look solely at the player's value, not where he was drafted.

Question 3

Question 3 comes from "Freeby", who is working on a deal with some big names and some big numbers, but they aren't necessarily the same guys:

Hi Jeff,
The guy I am negotiating with started L. Murphy, B. Berrian, and M. Jenkins so his team is not that great. I am currently 3-3 with the most points scored in the league (boo bad luck!)

  • I made the proposal to trade Celek / Avery / Hester for A. Gates & Berrian as a starting point.
  • He countered with Celek / MSW / Hester for Gates and Berrian

I am kind of torn and feel that I may be giving up to much. My team feels pretty solid as is and I am not sure if this makes me a ton better or if I am giving to much. I would prefer to put Avery in for Hester.

We start 2RB 3WR 1 RB/WR and TE and Std ESPN scoring w/ bones for 40yd plus td

Current Starters

  • Cutler
  • R. Rice, M. Turner, MJD (Acquired MJD through a 3-1 trade)
  • G. Jennings, R. White, MSW
  • Celek

Bench: LJ, Avery, Hester, Moore, Fargas,

The trade would leave me stating Moore or Berrian each week and I would probably pick up Coles from F/A.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Here was my initial answer:

Hi Freeby,

I would not move Celek for Gates, even straight up. That may sound crazy but check the production this year.

Berrian is also too mercurial for me to start - he's so hit or miss. Sidney Rice and Vishante Shiancoe are getting the love from Favre, not Berrian.

Check the numbers and forget the names this time of year.

Forget these deals and stand pat.

Good luck.

Here's an exercise that is worth doing now and then. Take the statistics of the players involved in a potential trade and write them down, but do not put the names next to the numbers. It can be pretty enlightening. After all, all you want is production, whether it is Cedric Benson or LaDainian Tomlinson.

Question 4

Next we have a good question about a struggling team."jobarules" writes:

Hi Jeff,

  • My RBs: Thomas, Choice, McGahee, Green-Ellis (yeah I know they suck)
  • My WRs: RMoss, SSmith (CAR), Owens, Collie, Knox

I was offered Turner & Hester for RMoss in a .5 PPR league. I'm leaning towards no but maybe I'm just too high on Choice going forward. I'm 1-5 and Moss has a bye next week which is also a factor.

And here was my reply:

Hi jobarules,

At 1-5 you cannot afford any more losses. You have to deal Moss and get rid of that zero on your schedule on his bye and get Hester and Turner. Steve Smith and TO or Hester at WR might help your overall team knowing your RBs are improving.

Good luck.

Deal evaluation really changes when your team is hurting. Once you get four five losses before the end of October, you really cannot afford any more of them. Holding onto a player that might explode in December gives you no value at all if you do not make the postseason. Another subtle difference is that bye weeks can crush you, as you need all hands on deck every week to prevent more losses. That means you may have to trade good players with byes remaining on their schedule to get those wins today.

Question 5

Question 5 is here already - always comes too soon. "Don" has another very good question to wrap up this week's Trader Joe's:

Hi Jeff,
I am in a league where we pretty much keep all of our players. My relevant current roster is:

  • QB (Start 1, Max 3) - Palmer, Stafford, Russell
  • RB (Start 2, Max 5) - Portis, Betts, Westbrook, McCoy, Bradshaw
  • WR (Start 2, Max 6) - Randy Moss, Ochocinco, Antonio Bryant, Donnie Avery, Crabtree, Josh Morgan
  • TE (Start 1, Max 3) - Tony G, Jared Cook

This team is in first place and scoring better than all teams in this 14 team league with pretty close to standard scoring (except rushing and receiving yards are 1 pt/5yds)

I am thinking of trading Moss and Bradshaw for Kevin Smith, Mike Sims-Walker and Kellen Winslow, Jr.

My thinking is that Kevin Smith is a far better keeper for RB than Bradshaw because Detroit is completely committed to the 22 y/o Smith and Bradshaw, while very dynamic, isn't likely going to be "the guy" in NY. Moss has been great, but he's on the downside of his career and, before last week, has looked like a guy that can be handled by opposing teams more than the beast he has been. Sims-Walker reminds me of Rod Smith back in the day. A guy that just makes plays whenever he's on the field. And, he's very young. Plus, I have decent chance of Avery, Crabtree, Morgan and/or Bryant being a solid #2 with 85. Plus, I get Winslow as the "heir apparent" to Tony G (along with Cook having seriously potential).

All and all, I think it might cost me a couple of points a game this year. But, in the long run, it makes my team more resilient.

Am I nuts?

Great question. Once again, my reply:

Hi Don,

That's a Dynasty League if you keep most everyone.

Here's the questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Can you make this deal after this season? If so, wait.
  2. If you cannot wait, does this trade weaken you to the point where you cannot win the league? After all, that's the goal - win the championship. I'd rather win one championship and take 1-2 years to get fine tuned again, especially in a money league, than to be the 4th-5th best team every year.

My preference would be to make that deal in January as you're then getting the advantage of the points this season and then get younger after the fact. If not, I think you're costing yourself the best chance you have to win the league in 2009.

Good luck.

Trade evaluating in Dynasty leagues can be difficult. I've long been a proponent of grabbing good players and riding them into the ground - why get rid of them? I understand the want to get better and younger, but if you are in a position to win a league championship, you owe it to yourself to try and lock that up. Do not always build for next year, that's a January to August job. Win the trophy when you can.

So that will do it for the Week 8 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.