Trading Strategies, Buy Low/Sell High Targets and More
When playing in a keeper or dynasty league, many owners worry about next year, or even two or three years down the line. But, you should play to win this season, especially since you never know if a league will even be back next year or the year after; leagues disband all the time. I want to win now. That’s not to say I would just give away players in a trade. But if I have to sell a player who is so-so this year but can be kept for the next couple of years for a player that can help me this season but maybe can’t be kept or doesn’t have as good a keeper value, I’m still likely to do it. An example would be my home league. It’s a superflex league with six points for a TD pass so all QBs have immense value. I happen to have four starting QBs in that league (Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston, Mitch Trubisky). I’m trying to sell high on Trubisky, as he has nine TD passes over his past two games. He can be kept in the 18th round next season, so his value is very good. I’m trying to acquire from QB-needy teams either Tyreek Hill, Brandin Cooks, or Odell Beckham. None of that trio can be kept beyond this season. Yes, I would like to keep Trubisky next year, but I want to make sure I can win this year. I’ll worry about next year, next year.
In this column, we will take a quick look at three players who are buy lows, three that are sell highs, three that you’d like to deal but can’t get equal value for, and three you should hold.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: Now might be the time to pounce on the Gronkowski owner whose patience is running out. Gronk only caught three passes Sunday night, but maybe more importantly, was only targeted four times. The original excuse for his disappointing numbers this season was teams were double covering him. That’s now not the case with Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon aboard. Then it was his sprained ankle, which is a cause for worry if it’s not any better after not playing a game in 10 days. If you’re team is cruising towards the playoffs, you may be able to pay a cheaper price for Gronk and in the end, you may not be worried about how he’s playing now, but how he will perform once your playoffs begin.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts: Hilton has now missed back-to-back games and there is no guarantee that he will play this coming Sunday versus Buffalo either. Once again, you’re buying for the future here. You may be able to push his owner to sell by pointing out that Hilton may not play this week and even if he does, it’s against a tough Buffalo secondary. Then, they have a bye coming up. As I said, you’re playing the long game here, and only if the price is to your liking.
Michael Crabtree, Baltimore Ravens: The time to buy low may have ended with his performance Sunday (6-93-1), but Crabtree wasn’t doing all that well with Joe Flacco before then. Flacco seemed to have better chemistry with John Brown in the offense, plus Crabtree had a case of the drops. Well, teams have started figuring out how to stop the deep passes to Brown. This has once again made Crabtree a bigger part of the offense.
Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There was some hope that following the team’s bye week the Bucs would install rookie Ronald Jones as their starting RB. That didn’t happen, as Barber had a big game. Barber owners should be looking to move him now. That big game came against a defense that couldn’t stop a high school RB, and Barber was worthless before that game. Life is likely to get harder for Barber in the coming weeks, not easier.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers: Olsen will need surgery after the season to repair his foot. That would indicate to me that although he can play through the injury right now, he is at greater risk to suffer his third injury to that foot in just over a year. I had my doubts about Olsen going into this season already. If someone wants to pay for his name, let them.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers: I answer 100s of questions each week on various platforms and Ekeler has been a popular one that past couple of Sundays. Fantasy owners want to start him over proven commodities and my answer is almost always to bench Ekeler. Yes, he’s a fun player to watch when he plays, but he’s still little more than a handcuff to Melvin Gordon or a bye week starter. If you own him and someone believes bigger and better things are coming, I’d move on.
James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers: You have to wonder if the Steelers would’ve done things differently had they truly known what they have in Conner; perhaps they would’ve traded Le’Veon Bell during the offseason. The Steelers are on bye this week and as of this writing, Bell still hasn’t reported to the team, but he’s supposed to report at some point this week. Conner has been great, but the Steelers still know that Bell is gone after this season. The team is still likely to use Bell as much as they possibly can for the remainder of the season, which would make Conner more of a very good handcuff than a starter.
Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders: What else could go wrong for Cooper owners? The team is a mess. Derek Carr suffered an arm injury Sunday. Cooper was knocked out with a concussion. The Raiders are on bye this week. There are rumors the team wants to trade Cooper. Oh, and he has had a very disappointing season. Unless you have a Raiders’ fan in your league, you’re not getting anything for him. He’s closer to a release candidate than a trade one.
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings: You could sell low on Cook if you wanted to, but the bottom line is this: although he’s a much better player than a Peyton Barber, you will need a performance like Barber had Sunday in order to increase his trade value should you feel the need to move on. At this point in time, you just need to hold tight and hope he will get back into the lineup sooner rather than later.
Odell Beckham, New York Giants: Yes, the Giants are a dumpster fire. The offensive line is still garbage and Eli Manning looks to check the ball down to Saquon Barkley much more than he does to sned the ball deep to Beckham. Still, Beckham does have three 100-yard games this season and the schedule does get easier.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins: How ironic is it that of all the injuries to the Washington passing game, it’s Reed who has stayed healthy to this point all season? Okay, that’s probably not making his owners feel any better, and seeing Vernon Davis catch a TD pass Sunday over Reed was annoying to say the least, But, better days are ahead and even if you wanted to move him, his value is at it’s lowest and it’s not like this league is loaded with Fantasy friendly TEs right now.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints: Many Fantasy owners panicked because in his first game back from suspension Mark Ingram was given a heavier workload than expected and had a big game against Washington. If anything, I would look at this as head coach Sean Peyton just wanting to give Kamara sort of any extra bye week. The Saints will return to using the two-back system that was so successful last year. Kamara is still a high-end RB1.