Fantasy Football: How to Evaluate a Trade

Trading is a necessity in the business of fantasy football. It is a great way to improve your team and manage injuries and bye weeks. But trading can be intimidating for novice fantasy football players, and before you know it, you may be faced with some fast and furious trade offers. That’s why I’m here to help. Here is a quick guideline on how to analyze a trade.

A fantasy team comes with responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is checking your league emails. Scattered in those league emails will be trade offers. There is nothing worse than spending time trying to research a trade to better your team, only to have it go unnoticed. So always observe. Check your emails, check your texts. Someone is spending time to improve their team. The least you can do is look at the offer. Trust me, when you have two running backs down with injury, you will want someone to listen to your trade offers to rebuild your team.

First, you need to identify the skill level of each player. If you click on the players name it will bring up the fantasy scores by week. Check the player being offered first because you should have a pretty decent idea of the fantasy value of your own players. The two main things you will need to check are: the health of the player(s) offered, and the average points per game. Don’t just go by name recognition. Be sure to evaluate the player. Next, compare the player being offered to the player you would have to give up. Never take a player whose average points per game are much lower than who you are trading away. A couple of points difference is fine. Especially if you have a need for that particular position. But a fair trade is going to be pretty balanced. If a trade seems too good to be true, it probably is. Now this will be about the only time in fantasy football that bye weeks matter. If you are desperate for a tight end, you’re not going to want a tight end fast approaching a bye week. Not only that but check match ups. If a player is going up against some really tough defenses (just check the current defensive rankings) then it’s going to affect their fantasy value. There’s a lot to evaluate in a fantasy trade. Don’t take it lightly. 

Of course, there will be times that you will be desperate for a player or a particular position, and if a suitable player can’t be found on the waiver wire, you may end up with a trade that is a little more unbalanced than you would like. These will be a little harder to analyze. To make some headway into solving this tricky situation, you will first need to determine just how badly you’re in need. Rank your situation from 1:You need a player but you can afford to find a subpar replacement off the waiver wire if you can’t make a trade happen, to 10: Your season will END if you don’t make this trade. If the player’s game average falls within one point of your above ranking then the trade is an option. Here’s some more advice. A kicker and a defense will pretty much always be of less value than any other position. And the inverse to this player dilemma is true as well. If you know a fellow league manager is scrambling for a position that you have some depth at, make them an offer. You may end up getting a great value out of the deal.

But for every good trade that goes through, you will see plenty that you’re going to decline. Here’s the deal though; Even if you don’t like a trade at first glance, don’t just click the “deny” button, take the time to analyze the offer. This is as much for your benefit, as for the benefit of other league members. Even if a trade seems unbalanced, take five minutes to study and consider it. Yeah I know, there is no way that you’re trading your stud quarterback for a kicker. But by analyzing the offer you can deduce a few things. First, it reveals the needs of other teams, and what they have to offer for value. Second, it can show you the value of the players you have. So even a dead end trade offer can be enlightening. The opposite is true as well. Never automatically accept a trade. Always analyze the offer.

If you have sat staring at your screen, switching back and forth between ESPN and Yahoo, and you really can’t decide if a trade is in your best interest, you can always check out fantasy football trade analyzers. There are more than a few out there. Google it, try out a few, find one you like and stick with it. They will analyze your trade offer for free, and give you some good feedback. And if you want to crowdsource an assessment, check out twitter. Use the #fantasyfootballhelp to encourage people to weigh in. People love to share their opinion and one or two may have some really insightful criticism.

The key is to take your time and make the most educated decision you can. Even a bad trade can be remedied with some quality time on the waiver wire. Fantasy football is constantly changing, so just make sure you’re ready when it does.  

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2015 Fantasy Football: Week 2 Waiver Wire Adds

Your Fantasy Football Coach

Well, Week 1 of the 2015 Fantasy Football season has come and gone. Some Fantasy rosters are feeling the pain, and owners are starting to panic after their studs let them down. There were some injuries, there were some duds and there were some players who didn’t even make the field. For those feeling the pinch, there is some relief in sight. The waiver wire is full of options to supplement your roster. Here are some guys to target in Week 2. Ownership of these players will vary by format and league, but these are some options that should largely be available on waivers.

Week 2 Waiver Wire Picks

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith, KC- Owned in 20% of leagues

Travis Kelce is the real deal. He impressed…

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A Beginners Guide to the Waiver Wire

For those just starting out, the Waiver Wire can be tricky to navigate. Not only do you have to decide who you’re going to pick up but you may not even know how to take advantage of it. I’m reblogging an article I wrote last season around this time, because it’s still just as relevant. For those just starting out, I’ve broken down the waiver wire into the 5 W’s. Who, What, When, Where, Why. Check it out here:

https://footballfemme.com/2014/09/01/the-5-ws-of-the-wavier-wire/

Dez Bryants Injury and Who You Should Target As A Replacement

Twitter is blowing up. The Dallas Cowboys will be missing their stud wide receiver for at least 4-6 weeks due to a broken foot. This is a huge blow for The Cowboys, and likely a few fantasy teams. Dez Bryant was a popular first round choice, and was an anticipated top five fantasy receiver. Due to this injury all that is in question.

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsAccording to what I assume to be a credible twitter source Bryant is looking at a long recovery time. With the Cowboys having a bye week during week six, this may lessen the blow. However, teams who drafted Dez, and other savvy fantasy players, are going to want to find an advantage to Byrant’s vacancy.

Terrance Williams is listed as the number two receiver on The Cowboys depth chart, and made some valuable catches during The Giants game. He’s currently owned in about 44% of ESPN leagues. Williams has the same height and build as Bryant, so he should be an easy fill in on the field. In 2014 he manage to haul in eight touchdowns (second only to Bryant) so he’s an established endzone threat. Last season, Bryant raked in an impressive 16 touchdowns. Those targets are going to have to go to someone, and I predict that someone will be Williams.

If you miss out on Williams, another great Cowboys pick up is running back Lance Dunbar. Dunbar made some impressive grabs on the final Cowboys drive, and came away with the most receptions. (3 more than Williams) With Bryant out, Tony Romo is going to need another receiving option. While Bryant is a great touchdown target, only 27 of his 88 catches were over 20 yards. So while Williams may get more of the endzone looks, Dunbar should see a healthy increase in his targets and receptions. With Dunbar only owned in 3.4% of leagues, and all eyes on Williams, you should have a good shot at claiming him off the wire. He could end up being a super sneaky pick up, particularly in PPR leagues.

While his absence will be felt by many, this still doesn’t mean an end to The Dallas Cowboys playoff chances, or their fantasy offensive numbers. Bryant will be back eventually, and until then he’ll be a vocal resident of the sideline. Even on the way out Bryant was still supporting his team.

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Hopefully we’ll see him back on the field soon.

Streaming Defenses: What it is, and Why it matters

If you’ve read any of my articles on draft strategy, you know I advocate for taking a defense and kicker in the last two rounds. The reason I lump kickers and defenses into the same category is that they have similar value. But, what makes up a players value? Basically three things: Points they produce, scarcity of position, and how many roles they can fill for your team: basic supply and demand. (More on that later). But what if the defense you draft, suffers some injuries, has a tough matchup week one, or just plain looks like crap during the preseason? No problem. As a matter of fact there will be multiple games where even the top defenses are absolutely unplayable. Opponents such as The Packers, The Steelers, and The Broncos are tough no matter who you are. But does this mean you need to draft a back up defense? Uh NO! Due to the reasons I will outline later, this is just silly. So what do I recommend instead? Streaming Defenses. This is simply picking up a favored defense on a weekly basis. Easy as that. Defenses that play teams such as The Rams, The Jaguars, or The Buccaneers are going to perform better quite frankly because these are pretty sub par offensive teams. Now, these are the best and the worst from last season, so things may change, but it’s a really good place to start.

Why Streaming Defenses is the best strategy.

Okay let’s go back to those three things I mentioned before, points, scarcity, and role fulfillment. These are things are how we decide how valuable a position is. We’ll get into points and scarcity later, but let’s talk about role fulfillment. A defense can only play in one roster spot for your team. You don’t have to play multiple defenses. A defense can’t fill a flex spot on your roster. One spot, that’s it. Now let’s look at points and scarcity. These are last season’s top performing defenses.

1. Bills

2. Eagles

3. Seahawks

4. Texans

5. Lions

6. Panthers

7. Ravens

8. Packers

9. Rams

10. 49ers

Between these top guys, there was a four point difference in game average between numero uno The Bills, and the tenth best guys the 49ers. Not too much of a spread. But the kicker is that after that there isn’t much of a fall off. The team that was 12th from the bottom. (20th overall) There was only a 1.5 point difference. And even the worst of the worst, The Raiders, had at least one game where they scored in the double digits. (against the 49ers, who last season were the 25th ranked offensive team) This tells us that as far points go, defenses don’t have a lot of value. (Not much point discrepancy) It also tells us that there is a lot of available teams to fill your roster needs. Every single team was playable at least once during regular season, and the top twenty were all within about 5 points of each other. This is why you don’t want to draft a defense early, and why it doesn’t make sense to carry more than one on your roster. They don’t have a lot of positional value. Instead stock up on receiver, or running back depth. Speaking of….

For reference lets check out running backs. You hear a lot about running backs right? They seem pretty important? Well these are last season’s top performers:

1.Demarco Murray

2. Le’Veon Bell

3. Marshawn Lynch

4. Matt Forte

5. Arian Foster

6. Eddie Lacy

7. Jamaal Charles

8. Justin Forsett

9. Lamar Miller

10. Jeremy Hill

Now between these guys there is almost a nine point discrepancy in points per game. (*ahem* double the point spread between defenses) And the discrepancy between the 10th RB Hill, and the 35th ranked RB LeGarrett Blount? 5 points. More than the spread between the top ranked kickers. The worst ranked RB literally had a negative PPG average, -.1. It wasn’t until the 154th ranked RB that a running back had a positive PPG average. It was a whopping .1. But what about role fulfillment? While defenses can only fill one role on standard rosters, running backs can fill three. You are required to start at least two running backs, and they can also fill your flex position. So while standard 10 team leagues only require 10 defenses, they can need up to 30 running backs. So their point production is more relevant, and their role fulfillment is three times as useful. How about scarcity? The number of running backs available affects the scarcity. You have a 1 in 250 chance of drafting the top running back (based on rankings for 2014). You have a 1 in 32 chance of drafting the top defense. Simple. Drop that extra defense and get more depth at running back, or wide receiver. That’s an order.

So what did we learn?

1.To stream a defense means to pick up a defense based on weekly matchups

2. DON’T carry more than one defense on your fantasy team. (seriously)

Good luck!