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Article 6


(June/July Trading Strategies)

by Steve Stegeman (June 26, 2000)
Correspondent, FootballInsider.com

 

 

 

     It’s late June, and useless information is abound:  the daily guessing games, articles of “unbridled negativity” towards certain NFL players predicted to disappoint, nostalgic “looks-back” at this year’s big quarterback departures, Steve Young (and Dan Marino), Monday Night Football booth chatter now primarily surrounding Dennis Miller (currently ranked low, but a sleeper, on my fantasy commentators rankings list), debates on who should be the 1st pick overall in a fantasy draft (uh, is anybody familiar with a guy named Edgerrin James?), all the material regarding crimes committed by NFL players, “regularly-updated” player rankings, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

 

On the last of that list I must digress.  Whenever I see that “regularly-updated” indemnification clause, I want to retch.  Yea, I’m as addicted to player rankings as much as the next fantasy footballer, but, come on, what’s up with these things?  Why are they updated regularly?  One reason - because they didn’t or couldn’t get it right the first time.  These things are like a weatherman’s predictions, and we all know the stereotype of weathermen, often wrong and giving their “‘updated’ five-day forecast.”  Where’s fantasy football’s version of Nostradamus when you need him?  Nowhere to be found.  There’s nothing bold about “updated predictions.”  Actually, half of the problem lies in the fact that we treat these rankings as predictions (for the upcoming season).  They’re not!  These rankings are based on how things look now, which is even more useless as “now” doesn’t matter.  No games are being played now.  What we need is some insight as to how things are going to pan out come September 3rd.  Outside of really unexpected injuries these guys are supposed to foresee these happenings that cause them to have to revise their rankings.  Occurrences between the day they make their predictions and season’s end, including some predictable injuries, are exactly what they are supposed to be forecasting.  Anyone can look out the window, see it’s raining, tell people it’s raining and proclaim himself a meteorologist, but that doesn’t make him a weatherman.  If you are not willing to stick by your original predictions, perhaps you shouldn’t be making them so early.  Make them a week or two before the season starts or make them substantive like I did in my “Rookie Rankings” article.  With each player I ranked, I included a meaty little paragraph.  Even if my rankings end up being a little off or you disagree with them, you can at least take away some valuable information about each player listed vis-à-vis some useless, nevertheless witty, one-liner or, in most cases, nothing.

 

     Alright, enough digression, let’s get to my point which is getting you fantasy footballers out there something useful with which you can go to work (on some deals).  At this point in the offseason there are some players that, given their circumstances, are in a prime position to be acquired, and with a nudge in the right direction from yours truly, you could cut a deal now that could contribute in a big way to a strong season.  So, what does it mean to be “in a prime position to be acquired (traded for)?”  It means that trading for these players presents little risk, but could pay off huge dividends, or, in other words, has a huge upside, and there is little guesswork involved, just applied reason, logic and a little common sense.  On that note, let’s get to it.  I will present the first 15 in an order roughly according to how I see it.  But, as always, you need to factor in your team’s special needs.

 

Primed to be acquired:

 

1)  Vinny Testaverde – This guy is currently being so underrated.  I rarely see him in the Top-20 on any list.  He’s a total bargain.  What you will have to give up for him is so much less than his potential, and, yet, you are almost guaranteed to get out of him what you gave up for him.  Yes, he’s coming off a serious injury; he’s no spring chicken; there’s no more Keyshawn.  The latest headlines claim “Vinny - not 100%”.  No *@!&, Sherlock.  The injury takes an estimated 9 to 12 months to heal.  He’s in the 10th month.  It was Vinny, himself, who came out and made the statement anyway, and he wasn’t putting a negative spin on it, as the headline implies.  He was merely stating fact and being real.  He may be a little rusty at first, but he’ll be fine in the long-run.  On the second point, whatever, he’s still the man in New York for the next year or two.  As for replacing Johnson, the Jets (and Parcells) are going to solve that whether by acquiring Pickens or Dawkins or Laveraneus Coles stepping up, which is what I think will happen at least in the long-run.  At that time, Testaverde will move up on all those “updated player” rankings.  How bold?  By the way, I put my money where my mouth is regarding Vinny.  If you visit our league’s web site (http://www.fantasyfootballer.com), you will see that I have traded for him this offseason.

2)  Corey Dillon – Here’s a great, 24 year-old running back who almost definitely would be ranked in the Top-10 if not for his contract situation (and will be in those “update player rankings” the moment he signs or gets traded).  He may not end up being a factor until Week 10 of the season, but, at least, you acquire him knowing that.  You can get him now, potentially for up to half his value if he were not holding out.  As opposed to Vinny, whose days are undeniably, somewhat numbered, Dillon is without doubt a keeper-league special.  I know some of you may be having flashbacks to Errict Rhett, but there are a few important fundamental differences.  Rhett intended on sitting out and did, in fact, sit out the whole year, and he did not rush for 1,000+ yards his first three seasons as a pro.  Dillon’s the real deal.  Rhett was not.  Also of note, I put my money where my mouth is with this guy too this offseason.  Go check it out!

3)  Natrone Means – Talk about bold, huh?  This guy is not quite done yet.  The Panthers were way too eager and quick to acquire him, and then let Fred Lane go.  According to Natrone’s pattern since entering the NFL, he may actually be due for a good year.  At age 28, he is in that 26 to 29 year old range that many football aficionados identify as a running back’s prime.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think he’ll ever be great like he was in his second season (when I won a championship with him), but I do think he is capable of putting up some good numbers in individual games when given the opportunity.  If Tim Biakabutuka “breaks” in this, his make-or-break season, Means, if not “broken” himself, could be a real find.  Even if not, he is very likely to see the ball on the goal-line, and, thus, could be quite valuable in TD leagues.  The bottom line herein is, though, that he probably is on someone’s roster in your league, and he can be gotten for just about nothing, a measly protection spot, late-round draft pick or the like.  If you have room on your roster, what the heck, go and get him!

4)  Albert Connell – Here’s a guy who can’t get any respect.  You will rarely see him ranked in the Top-20 anywhere.  Yet, he was a starting-quality fantasy receiver last season, and he is a contract-year special, whose career is apparently on the upswing.  The better he does this year, the more value he will have as a free-agent next year.  On top of all that, the Redskins are stocked at quarterback with Brad Johnson and Jeff George, so there is virtually no threat that the signal-caller there will not be able to get the ball to Connell, the team’s deep-threat.  Get him now while you can, for much less than his potential value.  He definitely will not be on this list next year at this time.  I have Connell on my roster, and I believe in him, and even I offered him in a trade for less than he is worth due to the make-up of my roster and what I was trying to accomplish with the trade. But, the owner took another player I offered, who will also appear on this list shortly, rather than Connell.

5)  Wayne Chrebet – Another Jet and another receiver not getting much respect this offseason, unable to be found in almost anyone’s Top-25 or sometimes even Top-30.  Yes, Chrebet is a career #2 guy, and if the Jets were not to adequately replace Keyshawn, Chrebet might be in for a tough year.  But, as previously stated, that will not be the case.  With a decent #1 guy, ideally one lesser in skill than Johnson, opposite him taking the defensive pressure off him, he should thrive, especially since he, no matter what, will be the guy who’s been there longer.  Given that, the 2000 Jets could actually end up producing a #2 receiver with better stats than their “#1”.  You probably have a little time to work with to get Chrebet as I don’t see his value increasing anytime before the season begins.

6)  Rod Smith – Yet another underrated receiver in the fantasy football world.  This is the second straight year you cannot find this guy in the Top-20 anywhere, in the Top-25 in many places, and oftentimes not even in the Top-30.  With Griese in his second year at the helm, Davis coming back, an anticipated easier schedule and all his injuries healed, Smith is poised for a comeback year, not that last year was all too bad.  You definitely do not have to spend much to get this guy on your roster this offseason.  By the way, Rod was the player taken over Connell in the aforementioned trade.

7)  Tony Simmons – This guy in most cases isn’t even a blip on the fantasy radar, but with Jefferson gone and injury-prone Terry Glenn across from him, he could be in for his somewhat-anticipated breakout season.  The guy with whom he is directly in competition, Troy Brown, may also be worth considering, but my money is on Simmons.  Brown is a 7-year veteran, who is built and plays similar to Glenn and hasn’t done much and gives me little reason to think that trend will change.  Simmons, in contrast, has shown flashes of greatness in his 2 years as a pro, and, built more in the big-slot-receiver mold at 6’2” 203 lbs., is a much more suitable complement to Glenn.  If anybody happens to have him in your league, and you got the room on your roster to carry him, get him simply because you will for just about nothing.  You can probably get him as just a “throw in.”  If nobody has him, and your league allows for offseason free-agency acquisitions, grab him now.

8)  Ahman Green – Forget about rankings.  Mike Holmgren liked this guy a lot.  I know I would trust his judgment as his former team the Packers obviously did when they, without hesitation, acquired him.  It’s not hard to read between the lines here.  Ahman is explosively fast and no twerp at 6’ 215 lbs. and, I believe, the future running back of the “new” Pack.  Dorsey Levens is aging and injury-prone.  After they teach Green how to catch Favre’s short passes, I foresee a changing of the guard from Levens to Green in somewhat similar fashion to when Levens took over for Edgar Bennett.  This probably won’t happen this year, but Green still remains an injury away from being “da’ man” in Green Bay.  Again, the reason for his listing here is similar to the reason for Simmons’s above.  If anybody happens to have him in your league, and you got the room on your roster to carry him, …(ditto above).

9)  Charlie Garner – Another underrated player you cannot find in the Top-20 of any rankings list and sometimes not even in the Top-25.  This guy put up solid #2-worthy numbers, to say the least, a year ago, 1,764 yards and 6 TD’s combined, rushing and receiving.  Nevertheless, many forecasters give the reasons he should have failed last year as the reasons he will fail this year.  The truth is Garcia will be in his 2nd year in the system; the offensive line is thought to be improving; they will probably play a weaker schedule; Garner showed some durability as the workhorse of a miserable team for practically a whole season.  Now, you won’t be able to get this guy for nothing, but I suspect he can be had for much less than the numbers he is capable of putting up this season.

10)     Kerry Collins – Another New York quarterback getting no respect, at least in most fantasy football polls.  Collins doesn’t crack the Top-25 in (too) many places.  This guy played some great ball for the Giants last year, and with the acquisition of Ron Dayne, I think it’s a trend, not an aberration.  He has two super targets in Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard (another bargain-basement special, who I, myself, just “gave” away in a trade) and a great offensive-minded head coach in Jim Fassell.  This guy is well on his way to getting back on track, and right now you can claim him for relatively little.

11)     Troy Edwards – This guy doesn’t really come in clearly on the fantasy football radar, never climbing into the Top-20 and scarcely ever into the Top-30.  This rookie caught for 714 yards and 5 TD’s from the Steelers miserable hurlers last year.  Something is going to break this year regarding the Steelers QB situation.  Either Kordell is finally going to step up or Graham, who has a strong arm, is going to take over.  Whatever, my guess is it’s going to be better than last year’s cumulative heap!  As for the presence of one of this year’s rookie-receiver sensations, Plaxico Burress (Edwards was last year’s, by the way), as I contended in my last article ranking the rookies, it’s an ideal fit.  The big Burress will line up great alongside the speedster Edwards, and as Burress is the rook, Edwards will benefit more early on from this symbiotic relationship.  Edwards is one of those guys you can probably get right now for, relatively speaking, next to nothing.

12)     Brian Griese – Call me crazy, but Griese didn’t look any worse than a sophomore QB coming off the bench to lead a bad team.  And, don’t kid yourself, the Denver Broncos were a bad team last year, albeit from injuries.  Brian is never ranked in the Top-25.  Yet, this year Davis will be back taking a lot heat off of him; Smith is healthy; their schedule is projected to be easier; he will be in his second year at the helm where, moreover, he is starting off.  Don’t believe the negative hype just yet.  Give this guy a chance now by picking him up for a fraction of his potential value this year.

13)     Yancey Thigpen – Has most of the mainstream fantasy football world forgotten about this guy?  I surely haven’t, and the talk out of the Titans camp indicates they haven’t either.  Yet, in many rankings he doesn’t even exist.  The latest talk is about putting the “air” back in “McNair” and the Tennessee offense.  That’s gonna’ take at least one receiver needing to step up.  Is it going to be Dyson or Sanders?  Come on!  Thigpen is the man they are expecting to finally get the job done.  I know Yancey seems to have that “I-was-successful-with-my-original-team-but-will-never-be-successful-with-the-team-that-gave-up-the-whole-kit-and-caboodle-for-me” thing going on, and that might just be true.  All I’m saying is that there is no reason to give up on this guy quite yet when you might be able to get him as a mere throw-in in a bigger trade.

14)     Ike Hilliard – With the emergence of Amani Toomer in New York, Ike has become a forgotten commodity.  In only his 2nd year (last season) as a pro, he caught for 996 yards.  Notwithstanding the fact that he only caught 3 TD’s, that’s not shabby for a 2nd-year guy, especially since the Giants hadn’t ironed out their quarterback situation until significantly into the season.  Touchdowns may still come at a premium to Ike this season, but I see him likely eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark.  Again, this guy can come for as little as a “protection spot” in a keeper league.  I actually gave him away for less.  I value him, but that had to take a back seat to the reality of my position in the league, top looking down, that is ;~) !

15)     The Patriots Anticipated Starting RB – This is one of group thingies.  With J.R. Redmond banged-up, someone has to emerge as the starter there, at least for the beginning of the season.  I guess it’s going to be Faulk or Harris.  I don’t know.  Actually, that rookie they got out of Georgia, Patrick Pass, is the one who intrigues me most.  Anyway, if someone in your league actually has Faulk or Harris on his/her roster or you can acquire them through offseason free-agency, go for it.  It couldn’t hurt because it most definitely won’t cost you much.

 

The next group I call “tweeners” because, for any of a number of reasons ranging from the fact that generally I don’t think they are being valued low enough to the fact that I can’t gauge what their production will be like this year, I don’t think they are totally “ripe for the pickin’”, but, perhaps, ripe enough.  Also, this group is divided into two sub-groups.  The first group are guys I suspect are on someone’s roster in your (keeper) league, and, thus, can be traded for.  The second group I am guessing are probably not on anyone’s roster, so, cannot be acquired unless your league has some kind of offseason, free-agent acquisition system set up.

 

The First “Tweener” Group, in no particular order (I’m too tired.):

Jeff George, Trent Green, Jeff Graham, Warrick Dunn, Curtis Conway, Antowain Smith, Herman Moore, J.J. Johnson, Priest Holmes, Kevin Lockett, Jeff Garcia, Jonathon Linton, Herman Moore, Barry Sanders, Peerless Price, Corey Bradford

 

The Second “Tweener” Group, again, in no particular order:

Jay Fiedler, Brandon Bennett, Moses Moreno, Jim Miller, Mike Cloud, Jake Reed, Danny Kanell, Madre Hill, Thurman Thomas, Michael Basnight, Kimble Anders, Rashaan Shehee, Byron Hanspard, Robert Chancey, Troy Brown

 

This was the first in a number of long-awaited works I will do regarding the art of trading, the key to fantasy football success and enjoyment!  I hope this installment will be of help to you all and cause you to be dubbed your league’s genius.  See you soon!  Class dismissed!

 

 

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Revised: 08 Oct 2014 11:56:24 -0700