Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trade Advice: Play the Hand you Have

Written by:  Luke Maschmeyer

Today’s article takes the mind of the card player and puts it into a fantasy football perspective. In my high school days (I know… I know… you’re thinking “yea okay sure let me just skip this fish tale and get to the facts” but I suggest you read this little blurp so you can make sense of the rest of the article), I used to pay for my weekend fun whether it was movies, eating out, or a trip downtown by being one of the better poker players out of my group of friends. This is not to say my poker game was by any means flawless , but I did make use of the cards dealt to me and knew when to make strategic moves as the short/big stack (player with the least/most chips) or depending upon the position I was in as the hand was dealt. Poker you see is a lot like Fantasy football, those with the most skill and strategy will often be the ones who over the long haul win more often than not. The players that make the most of the cards dealt tend to leave other participants cursing about how they knew they should have folded. In the same manner, a diligent fantasy football manager will make the most of his roster by strategically moving or choosing to keep individual players at crucial points of the season. This is the idea of knowing when to stay in the hand, raise the stakes, or just plain fold and minimize the damage.


Forcing yourself to take an objective look at your fantasy roster and determine which players have performed up to standards and which haven’t is the first step in determining whether or not you need to make a move. I think the best way to do this is to look at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) as a whole and give a rating of sorts to that position. Are you top heavy with one star and left starting a scrub? Are you loaded at one position but weak at another? Do you have good overall balance but really lack a star QB? These are often good questions to ask when looking to trade. Once you have a good general analysis of the players you have in your theoretical “poker hand” it’s time to then take a look at the other teams in the league. In a good trade, you want to match strengths to weaknesses and vice versa. Once you have done that start mixing and matching until you find a trade that you are comfortable with as well as one the other team’s manager would be comfortable with (This is very important… don’t make one sided trade offers). If a trade is rejected, don’t be offended just try another owner and try and find out what the first manager did not like about the trade. He may just have a no trade policy on a proven guy like Adrian Peterson or a player who has burst on to the scene such as Arian Foster or Hakeeem Nicks.

Now that you have at least a general idea of what to do let’s highlight a few players who you might be looking to involve in a trade. Some of these are big names and some are not so keep that in mind when determining what you might be willing to offer.

Justin Forsett (RB –SEA): What is it about Cal running backs being fantasy relevant right now? I think Forsett at some point is going to break into a feature role in Pete Carroll’s offense. He’s an all around back with speed and strength and boasts an impressive 5.8ypc. At some point Pete Carroll will stop smelling the roses from his days at USC and realize that Forsett has more potential than Jones or Washington.
     What’s he worth at the poker table: If you can get him for a WR3 such as Louis Murphy or Jabar Gaffney or RB that only has temporary value like Snelling or Tolbert, make the move and stash him away until he breaks out.

Wes Welker (WR – NE): Okay I get it Wes Welker is Tom Brady’s bread and butter and he’s the reason their offense operates on third and short. What he is not though is the Meat and Potatoes of the Patriot’s offense. That distinction goes to the connection between Tom Brady and Randy Moss. I saw three things in the Pats week 2 game: Randy Moss make one handed TD catches look easy, Aaron Hernandez emerge as a third receiving threat, and Wes Welker getting the endzone for the third time this year. I don’t think Welker will continue to put up Touchdowns making him a serviceable WR2, but if you can move him for a better piece do so and do it quick before he returns to his 9 catches for 78 yards weekly stat lines.
     What’s he worth at the poker table: Look to move Welker for a RB with great upside like McFadden or Bradshaw or another WR more destine for the end zone.

Shonn Greene (RB –NYJ): After a terrible week 1 for fantasy owners, Greene came back in a timeshare with LT. I think Tomlinson will continue to be involved, but I think Greene will get 13-18 touches per game and the goal line work which still makes him the more valuable back in the long run. If acquired at the right price Greene could be a key part of Fantasy team looking to build a championship roster.
     What’s he worth at the poker table: If you can get Greene without giving up elite talent, he’s worth it. He’s not going to turn into Ray Rice but I don’t think you can call him a bust just yet. Be willing to move a QB2 or WR2 for him in the right trade.

Joe Flacco (QB – BAL): I was never one to be Wacco for Flacco, but I did think he would be a serviceable starting QB in 12 team leagues. He’s started out with two terrible games, but I think BAL will give him better protection and easy dump off’s Ray Rice to open up his ability to throw the ball down field.
     What’s he worth at the poker table: If you don’t have an elite QB, getting Flacco at what should be his low point might not be a bad option for the long haul. Look to trade your third RB or WR if you feel you have good replacements on the bench.

Colston has great hands, huge biceps, and enormous potential
Marques Colston (WR- NO): Colston’s numbers after two weeks are not flattering (10 catches 129 yards 0TD), but Colston is the go to guy in the Saints offense and with Reggie Bush being out there are more receptions to be distributed among the Saints wideouts. Colston will be a beneficiary of that and is a matchup nightmare for smaller DBs.
     What’s he worth at the poker table: Colston has elite WR potential and I would target whatever weakness a Colston owner might have.

Kyle Orton (QB – DEN): Do I think Kyle Orton will throw for 300yards a game? No. Do I think Kyle Orton is in a great system for a passer? Yes and that’s what matters for fantasy owners. Kyle Orton was a sleeper QB for me last year and in his second year in Denver he is beginning to show that he understands the system (67.4% completion percentage and 103.9 QB Rating). He has a group of young WR that appear ready to accept the challenge of replacing the production of Brandon Marshall without the Diva attitude. Look for Orton to be a top 12 and maybe even top 10 Quarterback by season’s end making him a serviceable guy with the right matchup or even a borderline weekly starter.
     What’s he worth at the poker table: Depending on your needs at QB and depth at other positions Orton could be worth anywhere from a bench player with good potential to a WR2/RB2.

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