Fantasy Football Day Trader: The Finale

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Welcome to the Fantasy Football Day Trader, where I present my favorite players to invest in as well as those to fade.  Fantasy football is a lot like the stock market, and this article series is meant to assist you with your investment portfolio.  I’m here to present my fantasy opinions for your consideration, and these are players that I’m actively trying to trade for/away in my personal leagues.  This article series will present fantasy players that I’m looking to move and the price tag that I think is fair.  You should always try to assess your trade partner’s valuation of players before jumping to a price tag that you assume is fair.  If you’re new to fantasy or if you’d like a refresher on general trade strategy, we have an evergreen article from 2019 to help: The Art of the Fantasy Football Trade.

Introduction

Here we are.  Nearing the end of the regular season.  This is it folks, the final release of Fantasy Football Day Trader of the 2021 season.  In many leagues, the trade deadline has already passed…but I wanted to release one final article for those that can still make trades.

This is a good time of year to reflect on your fantasy leagues.  If you’re reading this article, there’s a very good chance that you’re obsessed with fantasy – like I am.  If you’re in a league that doesn’t trade OR you’re in a league where your league-mates aren’t as savvy, then you should take a leap and find a group of fantasy addicts like yourself to start a league with next year.  Maybe even start/join a dynasty league!  While there are many ways to accomplish this, I recommend joining the #FootClan.  One of the best perks is the ability to join a #FootClan league.  I’m in a #FootClan dynasty league myself…one I joined about four years ago before I became a writer for The Fantasy Footballers.  All twelve of the original members are still in the league, and it’s very active.  Playing in an active league with other fantasy addicts is a lot more fun than winning every year because you’re in a league with your grandparents who don’t know how to use the waiver wire.  Note that I was NOT asked to write this section…I can genuinely say the #FootClan community is the best one I’ve come across for fantasy football fanatics.

Alright, let’s get to the actual trade article!

Playoff Trading Strategy

This week’s article will be unlike any other.  We’re at the point of the season where there are pretty clear goals for each team based on their position.

Playoff Contenders
Optimize your starting lineup for your playoff weeks.  We’re at a point in the season where you know your league better than I do.  You might have to overpay in a trade to beef up your squad for the playoffs, but the goal is to win the league – NOT win every trade.  If it was my team, I’d trade excess depth (i.e. bench players) to improve the probability of scoring huge in the playoffs.  Look to receive the best player overall in a 2:1 trade.  Fantasy football is a mix of skill and luck afterall, and you should be focusing on boosting your odds when it matters.  I would try to trade with a middling team that is missing depth to injury (or bye weeks) and needs to fight and claw to make their way into the playoffs.  Try to trade for a stud that’s going to miss time due to a bye week or an injury.  Stack as many studs as you can and cross your fingers.  It’s almost time for battle.

If you’re in a keeper league or dynasty league, trade away players that are done for the season (i.e. CMC) and future picks for players that can help you win now.  Repeat after me: “The goal is to win a ship, and my window is now!”

Middling Teams
Optimize your starting lineup for next week.  Fight and claw to get into the playoffs and see what happens once you get there.  If your team is 5-7 and you need to be a top-4 team in a 12-team league to make the playoffs, you better focus on winning now…even if that means trading away someone who has a good playoff schedule.  Bye weeks and injuries are your enemy.  You’re looking to be dangerous NOW.  What good is it if your team scores the most points in Week 17 if you don’t make the playoffs?

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If you’re in a keeper league or dynasty league, you have some flexibility.  Depending on your league and the league leaders, you might decide to fight for this season…or maybe it’s time to fold and cash in on resources for future years.  But don’t be too risk averse.

Bad Teams (Out of Contention)
If you’re in a redraft league, please don’t trade away your studs for nothing in return.  That ruins the integrity of the league and frankly, you’re a loser.  Feel free to use the waiver wire in my opinion.  In fact, I’d still be trying to knock out opponents from the playoffs because why not go out fighting?

If you’re in a keeper league or dynasty league, trade “win now” pieces for injured players and picks.  You still have to start your best roster, but why not trade away a player like Darrell Henderson who is a stud this year but will likely back up Cam Akers next season?  Look to make moves that ascend in value so that your team is in the best position possible next season.

Value Charts

I think the most valuable information to look at when considering trades at this point in the season is to look at perceived production, recent production, and playoff schedules.  So, I put all this information into a chart for you for Quarterbacks, Running Backs, and Wide Receivers.  At this point in the season, everyone knows that Jonathan Taylor is one of the best players to roster (…get him if you can, I don’t have to tell you that!)..  But not everyone knows that Melvin Gordon has outscored Najee Harris over their past four games played and Gordon has a top-3 playoff schedule compared to Harris’ 30th ranked playoff schedule.  Now don’t get me wrong, I would prefer to roster Najee Harris…but you can use this information to your advantage.

The tables below show production over the past four games played using data from FantasyData.com as well as season-long production, both in ½-PPR scoring on a points-per-game (avg) basis.  Additionally, the column on the right shows the playoff strength of schedule (SOS) – where 1 is the best/easiest and 32 is the worst/hardest.  Note that I excluded some players that I found to be irrelevant, but I kept some injured players on the list for those in keeper and dynasty leagues.

I hope you find the tables below valuable.  I threw in a bonus and highlighted players in yellow that I think are good targets and attainable in most competitive leagues.  I know, I know…there will be people reading this that say someone like Elijah Mitchell is unattainable.  But just chill out, I’m writing this article from the perspective of giving advice to a wide audience that is relatively savvy but might not have every player’s production profile memorized.

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Enjoy and happy trading!!

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