Few things can be as satisfying to a fantasy football manager than executing a successful trade. To add to the excitement, my primary league added the ability to trade future draft picks for the first time this year. So you get to this point in the season when there are teams at the bottom who realize it’s highly unlikely they make the playoffs, and it creates a fire-sale of their decent players that they can trade for better draft picks next year in advance of the trade deadline. Additionally, our league picks in reverse order of final standings, with each round snaking, so there’s pretty good visibility right now as to where within each round a team’s pick will be.
With all this going on, I decided to make some offers. I offered my 1st round pick for Darren McFadden–I thought a compelling offer. I also had Shonn Greene and Reggie Bush both offered to me in exchange for my 2nd round pick. Ultimately, through trades with two different teams, this is what I ended up with: I gave up my 2nd Round pick. In return, I got Reggie Bush, Ben Tate, upgraded my 3rd Round pick and got an additional early 7th Round pick.
From my perspective, I’m tenuously in 2nd place with an ok shot at the title, but, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a little unsatisfied with my RB options. So if I have the option of giving something away that in NO WAY effects my chances of winning this year, and, in return, I improve my team, why would I not take it? “Because you’re at a disadvantage next year,” you say. Not so. Consider this:
1. Each team in our league keeps one player. So you know in advance at least one (typically Round 1 or 2-tiered) player on your team, and you also know 13 others who will not be available. However, this also significantly narrows the availability of conventional 1st round picks in our 1st round, particularly as you get toward the end of the round. My keeper this year was Drew Brees, and he probably will be again next year, barring any major developments between now and then. He has anchored my team and allows me security at the QB position during the draft, so I can focus on taking risks elsewhere.
2. My first round pick this year (28th overall, including keepers) was Felix Jones. What a stinker. Other first round stinkers in our league included Hakeem Nicks, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, and to a certain extent Larry Fitzgerald. Add to that the disappointing keepers: Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers and Andre Johnson, and that’s almost a full rounds worth of players who are relative duds, or at least not worth a Round 1 pick.
3. My 3rd highest producer is Steve Smith, who I drafted in the 7th Round. Fred Jackson, a clear top 10 RB, was drafted in our 3rd Round. Willis McGahee went in the 5th Round; Michael Bush in the 7th. Antonio Brown, AJ Green, Demarco Murray were all post-draft acquisitions. There are players all over the place producing as much or more than some of the first and second-rounders.
So the message is it’s impossible to judge in August how the season will play out for each player, and therefore impossible to assign a value to each pick. On the flip side, I know that Reggie Bush and Ben Tate are improvements over my existing RB corp of Felix, Brandon Jacobs, Jackie Battle, and formerly Isaac Redman and Javon Ringer. And while neither Bush or Tate are must-starts, their playoff week match-ups are particularly compelling–five of the six teams they face are in the top ten of fantasy points given up to RBs, including Tate facing Carolina and Indy (the 2nd and 1st most generous run defenses) in Weeks 15 and 16.
I’m feeling pretty good about this…here’s to hoping it wins me the title, and I don’t end up being the Vinny Cerrato of fantasy football.