Admit it. The second after your draft your Fantasy Football team and the team pages go up, you’re looking for a trade. No matter how much you liked your draft, you want to get even better before the season starts. Someone else took your sleeper or you read an article that changed your train of thought. Whatever the case may be, you’re looking to deal.
Don’t worry, that’s human nature. Charles Darwin might as well be considered the Father of Fantasy Sports, as it is the same concept as Survival of the Fittest. In a nutshell, if you’re not taking steps forward, you’re moving backward, thus making our desire to improve our team before a single snap is a basic human need. So yea, it’s not your fault that you want to trade. What would be your fault, however, is making the wrong trade. Here are some players/sets of players that will have their moments of stardom early in the season, thus making them a prime “sell-high” candidate as the season progresses.
Frank Gore (SF, RB)
Early Season Opponents: Cowboys and Bears
The knock on Gore is that he is old, and that once again, the Niners drafted a young high-upside backup running back, both of which are factual concerns (although, I’m rarely the owner who jumps off the bandwagon a year early). That being said, the Fantasy community is one of short term gratification and after two big weeks, I think it is very possible that you see plenty of owners overvalue him after undervaluing him all preseason long. Dallas and Chicago gave up 4,639 yards (5.04 yards per carry) and 39 touchdowns last season … in a pass-heavy league that is abandoning the running game! The Cowboys defense could be worse than they were last season and while the Bears are different, are they much better? An aging Gore is going to be at his physical prime in the early going, when the weather is nice (his yards per carry over his last two September’s is 9.1 percent higher than his career average and he has scored five rushing touchdowns in those eight games), making him the perfect sell high candidate. I’m a big Ray Rice believer and would assume that you could pair Gore with a WR2 in the middle of September for Rice and a WR2.
Robert Griffin III and DeSean Jackson (WSH, QB/WR)
Early Season Opponents: Texans, Jaguars, Eagles, and Giants
I’m down a bit on the Redskins attack as a whole, but even I have to admit that the early season schedule lines up nicely. These four opponents combined to allow 112 passing touchdowns while intercepting just 53 passes (including a league worst 29:7 ratio from the Texans), thus giving this passing offense considerable Fantasy upside. Only two defenses in all of football allowed a higher QB Rating and more passing yards than the Jags last season, while the Eagles fast paced offense resulted in their defense giving up the most yards through the air in the league. At the end of the month, the Giants come to town, an opponent that both Griffin and Jackson have exploited in the last two years. In three games, Griffin has completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 628 yards, four touchdowns, and just one interception. He has also looked great outside of the pocket, rushing for 249 yards on 26 carries, displaying the ability to add significant Fantasy value. Jackson, as a member of the Eagles, has hauled in 21 passes for 294 yards and three scores in his last three games vs the G-men. Jay Cutler has a difficult opening schedule, but is still a player I’d prefer long term to RG3 and would make for an interesting post-September target in a Griffin deal. As far as Jackson is concerned, it is possible that, based on schedule, Antonio Brown struggles a bit out of the gate and could be available at a slightly discounted rate (maybe a hot Jackson and a low end WR3). Griffin has yet to display the consistent ability to connect on the deep ball, something that a nice four game streak wouldn’t nullify, thus making DJax a great sell-high should he start on fire.
Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Floyd (AZ, QB/WR/WR)
Early Season Opponents: Chargers, Giants, 49ers, BYE, Broncos, Redskins, Raiders, Eagles, Cowboys, and Rams
This one may not be an early sell, but it is worth noting that the schedule is slanted in a dramatic way and the fate of your playoff future could rely on making a move just prior to the stretch run. The Chargers, Raiders, and the aforementioned Cowboys ranked among the worst pass defenses from a Fantasy perspective last season, something I don’t see changing in a big way this year. As for the others: the Giants ranked in the bottom quarter of the league in pass attempts against (“opportunity drives production”), the Broncos gave up the sixth most yards/seventh most touchdowns, the Redskins allowed quarterbacks to complete nearly two-thirds of their passes, the Eagles gave up the most passing yards, and the Rams allowed the highest completion percentage in all of football. Ok, ok, the 49ers are good, but eight solid matchups in the first 10 weeks of the season? The schedule gets much more difficult when all the Fantasy chips are on the table, as both games against Seattle and another against San Francisco are played in the final six weeks, potentially dooming Fantasy owners that rode the Cardinals passing attack to a high seed. If you’re going to sell-high, I’d look to target the Cowboys passing attack as they have a late bye before six favorable winter matchups. Besides, it is very possible that these games mean nothing as far as the standings are concerned, so why wouldn’t Dallas’ position players light the world on fire? I’m not 100 percent sold on Floyd as the “next big thing” this season, and even if he has a good season up to this point, consider trading him for a Terrence Williams package.
One final time … even if Floyd is taking the world by storm, the numbers in the past mean nothing. After Week 10, you want the players (in redraft leagues that is) that are going to help you win a championship, and if Williams is in a better position to do that, you make a move. It’s that simple, especially if you have the opportunity to gain another asset as well.
Kenny Britt and Jared Cook (STL, WR/TE):
Early Season Opponents: Vikings, Buccaneers, Cowboys, BYE, and Eagles
This might be mean, but this is where you take advantage of other owners in your league. Listen, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and you gain respect by making savvy moves. Neither one of these jokers should be owned in shallow leagues, but if you participate in a deep league and took a flier, you have to sell them as soon as they show any signs of life. Both players have lost what little value they had in the Fantasy community as a result of the Sam Bradford injury, but a hot start with a “new” quarterback will generate excitement. Is this the next big time connection? Britt has always had talent; is Shaun Hill the perfect fit? These are insane questions, but someone in your league is going to answer “yes” if Britt or Cook show signs of Fantasy life in the first month of the season. I’m not saying you can get tremendous value here, but if Britt opens up with 320 yards and two scores in four weeks, could you potentially land a struggling Markus Wheaton? Or when Jared Cook has his annual big game, could you then flip him for a slow-starting Charles Clay? One owner is going to take the bait and you can improve your depth by locating the weak link and taking advantage. If you are that owner … ummm … join my league next year, but resistant the temptation to buy either of these Rams this season. The division is brutal and Hill hasn’t started a game since the 2010 season finale for a reason.