Zap! You have the lethal, fantasy football death ray in your hands and it's time to use it against the rival, 'wasting' space scum in your league. I'm going to explain how to switch that laser from stun to disintegrate, resulting in mismatched trades in your favor. Now listen up, some of your fantasy foes might be a little too savvy to pull the trigger on one of your 'delicious dishes of deception'. However, most are hungry for a move that appears to fatten their roster but in reality, equals the caloric content of a few carrot sticks.
As the season unfolds, the value of NFL players becomes apparent if not evident. Injuries, demotions, promotions and evolving styles of play can and will affect the value of players- whether they are proven veterans, 2nd tier skill guys or up and comers. A great piece of advice is not to get too sentimental when it comes to name recognition. Just because a guy is a household name and has past seasons of numerical glory to back up his value, doesn't mean he can't turn into a 'Johnny Bum' overnight... even barring a major injury. Sometimes a new coach, system or quarterback can change the dynamic of a team, resulting in a decreased workload or maybe just getting fewer looks while playing the same amount of snaps. Sometimes it's just the player himself; maybe underachieving while team competition at that position is becoming the better option. Bottom line is that fantasy value is hiding all over the place, and if you're smart, you can grab no-namers off the waiver wire as well as an opponent's roster. Names are just names and the past is the past. The present and future are the only factors of time you need to concern yourself with.
Now, with all of the above being said, you can also deal a flash in the pan for a steady, well-known player that might have a minor injury or is just slow getting out of the gate this season. There is no true system or one method that is universal. Like life itself, all decisions are situational. The moves you make are going to depend on your team's needs(injuries, handcuffs, bye-week fillers,etc.) as well as taking advantage of others to strengthen your bench. That is one point I cannot stress enough: build a solid bench! If you are barely hanging on to your fantasy strength by starters only, you need to get on the good foot and start making moves... via trades and free agency. The whole point to any of this is winning your league. Yes, there is luck involved but the best players on the block know how to put together a strong, well-balanced squad.
Entice the competition by making it seem you are unsure or hesitant when making a trade offer. In the comments section of a trade offer sheet, write things such as, "Not sure I want to offer this" or "I'm taking a big risk unloading this guy, but...". This will have people not adept in psychological manipulation thinking that you're the one who doesn't have a fantasy clue. Most times in a competitive league, this won't happen. For every time that it does work, the instant rise in team potential - as well as peace of mind to your fantasy supremacy - will be worth the moves you make. Manipulation is the key factor. Make it seem like you're giving up more to get less even though this isn't the case. You may only be gaining a little from certain trades but any advantage turns you into the victor of the deal. Sure, things can always backfire, that is the nature of sports gambling. Nonetheless, you have to roll the dice.
Here are a few players from the 2016 season to trade for and to trade away:
You want Eddie Lacy. Slow start, but two road games to begin the season with one against a stout Minnesota D. Green Bay's next 4 games are at home against mediocre defenses.
You want Willie Snead. This guy is not a flash in the pan. Check out his numbers through his last 17 games. Almost the same stat line of Miami's Jarvis Landry.
You want Mohamed Sanu. With Julio Jones always nursing some sort of minor injury and still getting double covered, Sanu will be an excellent weekly WR2, especially playing in the warmth of Atlanta.
You want Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's no Joe Namath... yet.
You might want to trade away Travis Benjamin. Emerging as San Diego's WR1 by injury default, he has 2 consecutive double digit weeks and is coming off a monster, 2 TD game. He could be a 'flash in the pan' player as I mentioned earlier and may not live up to his new role as the #1 guy. This makes him excellent trade bait for a quality player with above average weekly consistency over a boom or bust candidate.
You might want to trade away Isaiah Crowell. Coming off two consecutive weeks scoring a TD in each contest and amassing over 230 total yards, his upside looks great. However, Browns' QB Josh McCown got injured, left the game and the team switched to the run... which did not work. Additionally, 85 of Crowell's 133 yards came from one play. I wouldn't say he has no value, but you can find better out there, especially a guy who isn't on the Browns. This is the perfect player to entice a fantasy rookie or someone who doesn't do their research, looking to land a cheap thrill.
You might want to trade away Charles Sims. Definitely some upside with Doug Martin leaving week 2's game with a hamstring injury and no exact timetable for his return. Sure, Sims didn't fare that well this past week, but it was on the road against Arizona's tough defense. He'll have value to those in need of RBs because for the uncertain future, he will be the main ball carrier in Tampa Bay... for now.