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*** Those of you just joining in should consult the last three columns wherein you’ll find the roster and league rules for this case study, as well as the operative principles guiding our statistical analysis. If you’re planning on following the column, I’d recommend printing the roster and rules out, as otherwise there might be too much information to keep in your head. Also, as this column is intended to be interactive, I’ll be devoting the last section to responding to reader input. ***

 

Quinnians,

 

Welcome to the third installment of our rebuild case study! If you’ve been following the column, then you know how desperately our teams needs to be shaken up and rebuilt, so today we’ll be looking at the team and trying to do the necessary groundwork that will enable us to engineer a trade proposal that a) has a chance of being accepted, and b) will help get the team back on its feet.

Keep in mind that we’re dealing with a dynasty league, here, so at this point in the process we’re primarily concerned with the long game. We’re operating according to a three-year plan, meaning we’re expecting our team to get spanked like a rebellious, little monkey in 2013 and 2014, and to compete in 2015. In keeping with that plan, we’ll be adding two years to every player’s age as we go through our roster, in order to remind ourselves of how old the player will be by the time we’re ready to start competing.

Lets look at the pieces we have to play with:

 

QB

J. Cutler $$

P. Rivers $

RB

S. Greene *

D. Sproles ***

J. Dwyer **

A. Green *

B. Bolden *

M. Smith (TBB) *

R. Turbin $

 

 

 

WR

K. Britt *

M. Manningham

A. Brown (PIT)

Brandon Gibson

DeSean Jackson **

A. Jeffery $$$

TE

B. Myers ***

DE

J. Peppers **

C. Wake **

LB

A. Ayers **

J-M. Johnson

J. Durrant

N. Roach (CHI)

E. Henderson (MIN) *

A. Spencer

Picks

1.01 ***

1.07

2.01

2.07 **

2.12 **

3.01 ***

 

You’ll notice that I’ve put an “*’s” by certain players/picks, and a “$’s” by others: the former are the players I think we should actively be trying to shop, and the latter are players I’d prefer to hang onto barring a Godfather-type offer. The number of *’s/$’s range from one to three, with three indicating the strongest desire to buy/sell. The unmarked players are unmarked because I’m ambivalent about them.

Remember two things: 1) every player on our/any team should be available at the right price, and 2) never force a deal, or do a deal just for the sake of doing a deal. I despise DJAX, however, I’m wouldn’t be willing to trade him for a 3rd, because, as erratic as he is, he’s worth more than that. His age and big play ability mean that he’ll have the capacity to contribute three years from now if we can’t unload him, so unless we can get a 2nd or a 3rd+, we’ll hang onto him. Likewise for Cutler and Rivers. I’ve stated before that I believe Cutler is ascending, and that we’ll be looking at a top 12 QB once the problems with the Bears’ offensive line are fixed. He’ll be 33 at the start of 2015, meaning we can reasonably expect three decent years of production from him (his aged 33, 34, & 35 seasons), so I’d rather hang onto him. Rivers is in a similar, but not identical position, which is to say that he’s currently undervalued and likely to post two or three productive seasons after we start competing. We should be more willing to trade Rivers than Cutler given that he’s slightly older, and in a far less certain situation, however I’d want AT LEAST a high 2nd.

A brief analysis of some of the remaining players on our list:

 

S. Greene *

He’s perennially underwhelming and will be 28 at the start of next season. He won’t fetch much, so I’d ship him out for a 4th.

 

D. Sproles ***

Given our plans, this guy is only going to hurt us. He’s a 30 year-old, top 10 back. We either get top dollar for him now, or risk getting nothing for him later. If we can’t get a 1st+, I would hold onto him until someone’s starter goes down, or a team wants to load up for the stretch run, but there’s no way I want him on our roster past week 12.

 

J. Dwyer **

Lets get what we can before the Steelers take an RB in the draft and/or people realize he’s not that good. I’d take a high 4th for him.

 

A. Green *

            If roster space ever became an issue, I’d strongly consider dumping this guy. We should take what we can get.

 

B. Bolden *

Drug issues and a crowded Pats backfield overshadow his talent. I’d trade him for a 3rd or a prospect.

 

M. Smith (TBB) *

His value should increase after the Bucs 86 Blount, but not by much. If we can con a 2nd out of someone, or trade him to a Martin owner for a package, good; if not, we’ll keep him stashed on our taxi and hope that something happens to Martin.

 

R. Turbin $

Lynch is only 26, but Turbin’s got skills, and Lynch is perpetually a handgun and van-ride away from prison.

 

K. Britt *

He’s a very talented, utterly daft WR coming off a significant injury. I’d trade him for a high second.

 

DeSean Jackson **

A one trick pony who disappears against premier cover-men, who, despite his age, won’t help us when we’re ready to compete because he relies entirely on straight-line speed, which doesn’t tend to stick around.

 

A. Jeffery $$$

Young, big, and physical with a rocket-armed QB, he’s a hella-good WR

that we can build around.

 

B. Myers ***

A guy turns 27 and he’s suddenly a good player? I don’t think so. I’m betting 2012 was a fluke, and trading this guy for a 3rd while he’s still highly regarded.

 

A. Ayers **

Yes, he’s young and turned in a solid season in 2012, but one look at his numbers tells you that he relied on big-plays such as TFL’s and Sacks for his fantasy points, plays which statistically speaking, aren’t likely to be regularly repeated. Think Clay Matthews: NFL dominant, fantasy mediocre. Take a low 1st or high 2nd for him.

 

Picks

1.01 ***

Why would I want to trade the I Ching of fantasy drafts? Two reasons, primarily: 1) There’s no clear 1.01-worthy player in the 2013 draft, and 2) Jesus himself isn’t as holey as our team. The deal we’re chasing here is one where we either a) move down in the 1st and get a 2014 1st on top of it, b) get multiple firsts in this year’s draft in exchange for the 1.01, c) get multiple established younger veterans, or d) get an established younger veteran and a 1st.

 

1.07, 2.01

These are good value picks because you can either net the player you like that’s slipped through the cracks, or trade it to someone who wants to net their version of that player. At any rate, I’m not likely to move these picks until draft day if at all.

 

2.07 **, 2.12 **, 3.01 ***

Statistically speaking, picks below the top third of the 2nd round don’t pan out, but most people don’t know it, don’t believe it, or get so caught up in the excitement of the draft that they can’t help themselves. It’s likely we’d be able to find someone to overpay, hopefully at the rate of a one-round bump in the 2014 draft.

 

Setting Up the Trade

 

DFW’s own John Evans dished up some boffo trading advice in his last column, and even if his similes are a little naïve insofar as the real world is concerned,[1] the massive K-bomb[2] he drops in the column will help all of us fantasy footballers improve our teams exponentially. Given that, there’s no need to reiterate each of his points here, so I want to close by elaborating upon a point J-dizzle makes when he writes:

When a man approaches a woman in a bar, it’s understood that he has to impress her with his proposition. He wants her attention and has to prove why she should give it to him. Similarly, a trade offer’s recipient has the advantage. Your offer should immediately make sense, fulfill a need, address a weakness and not create a new one.

 

Considered from a slightly different angle, the above insight not only helps you construct a decent offer, but also benefits your ability to the select your trade partner. J-dizz didn’t fully realize how staggeringly brilliant he was being when he wrote this.

Putting his wisdom to work: lets first, identify our needs, second, characterize the nature of the trade chips we have at our disposal, and third, ask ourselves what type of needs our resources might be able to address. In fulfillment of the first task, we can say that we have a need at every position, with the possible exception of QB. Concerning the second task:  we’ve got two 30 year-old QB1/2’s, a 30 year-old top 10 RB, two young WR2’s with WR1/2 upside, a veteran TE, four tradable LB’s, a half dozen minor prospects and depth-players, and a pile of picks, which means that we can accommodate most of needs a franchise could have. It’s an odd position to be in, to be able to meet every need but your own, but it’s where we are, and so we proceed to pick a specific player—lets use Sproles—and investigate the trade possibilities by trying to match what we have to a team’s need.

 

Team 1’s RBs: M. Forte, M. LeShoure, R. Mathews, and L. McCoy

Teams 2’s RBs: J. Bell, K. Bell, C. Johnson, R. Rice, and D. Williams

Teams 3’s RBs: L. Blount, A. Foster, BJGE, C. Ivory

Teams 4’s RBs: R. Bush, D. Martin, R. Mendenhall, J. Stewart, B. Wells

Teams 5’s RBs: C. James, M. Ingram, K. Moreno, B. Tate, R. Williams

 

I know I’m not really giving you all the information you need, but because of the constraints the medium imposes on the amount of space I can use, I can’t show you the full rosters of each team or list all their picks. So, operating solely based on the knowledge we have: which team is the best fit? Our objective here isn’t so much to come up with a definitive answer to that question, but rather, to learn to think through the pre-trade process in such a way that you can justify each part of the deal. I think you can make a case that any of these teams could use Sproles, but for my money, I’m going to target teams 4 & 5, because a) their RB corps lack stability, and b) both teams can afford to include a young RB as part of their package. And I’m going to largely ignore teams 1 & 2 because, as nice as Sproles is, they’re unlikely to spend big on an RB when they already have two studs starting every week.

 

I’m out of space now, Quinnians, so I’m going to sign off. I’d love to hear any thoughts/statements/objections/knock-knock jokes you may have.

 

Cheers,

 

Q

 


[1] E.g., “Trading is a lot like dating. Being a jerk may pay off in the short run, but being a gentleman will get you farther in the end.” One conversation with Jeff will show you how off base this assertion is: he’s a lifelong gentleman with a heart of gold whose first mouth-to-mouth contact with a woman not named “mom” came only after he pushed her out of the way of a pack of marauding soccer-moms at a Pottery Barn. Had the Almighty Quinn not arranged for his wife’s sister to drag her to the scrapbooking class Jeff attends, Jeff might still be single.

[2] I.e., knowledge.