Jack Miller has done an excellent job this season using the Strength of Schedule Streaming tool to help you buy players before they benefited from easier schedules. In this companion piece, Shawn Siegele suggests a few sell options to make those purchases.
The Always Difficult Decision to Sell Star Players
Last week, I recommended selling Chris Carson, Mark Ingram, Stefon Diggs, and D.J. Moore. Those sells are still in effect, as you’ll see when we dive into the schedule grids. Part of the sell plan for Diggs was to use the plum matchup with Washington to entice your leaguemates. If you weren’t able to get a deal done, his third straight game with 140-plus yards should do the trick.
If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown of Diggs’ performance and why I’d consider trading my favorite fantasy player, check out this week’s breakdown of the top wide receiver performances.
This week I’m adding two more stars of the NFL’s first half.
In discussing the 2019’s land mine backs, Fournette is the one instance where I’ve had a change of heart. A month ago I was able to acquire him in one of my key dynasty leagues, and I like his intermediate career outlook. The NFL Stat Explorer helps us visualize just how perfect Fournette’s opportunity has been this year.
Fournette ranks No. 1 in opportunities, with a balanced profile that sits top five in both carries and targets. He’s No. 2 in expected points (EP) per game and just outside of the top 10 in actual points.
He’s accomplished this against one of the five easiest RB schedules over the first eight weeks.
Running Back Strength of Schedule – Weeks 1-8
Unfortunately, it flips to one of the five worst schedules between now and the beginning of the fantasy playoffs.
In the first visualization, you will have noted the one real blemish on Fournette’s 2019 resume. He ranks No. 135 in fantasy points over expectation (FPOE). Fournette is a pass-catching version of Derrick Henry. He’ll break off a few big runs to go with a lot of stuffs. Only the Titans bell cow has been stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage as many times this season.
Fournette is also not among the league-leaders in either carries inside the 5-yard line (4) or TDs from that distance (1). As a result of this rushing profile, the Jaguars star has registered negative fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) in six of eight games as a rusher.
He’s been only slightly better as a receiver, where he averages -0.7 FPOE per game.
Fournette’s efficiency struggles aren’t new. He ranked No. 135 in this category in 2018 as well, and questions about talent combined with character and injury red flags to push his ADP down. If he’s having these types of difficulties against one of the NFL’s easiest schedules, what will happen when it morphs into one of the hardest?
Kupp is challenging Diggs in the favorite player department after his fourth game with 25-plus points pulled our official RotoViz FFPC Main Event team back into fourth place following a Week 7 disaster. Earlier this week, I broke down the specific elements of Kupp’s profile that allowed him to take the next step in 2019.
The current overall WR2 has so much trade value that he can radically remake your team for a more balanced postseason push. Now might be the time to sell.
Wide Receiver Strength of Schedule – Weeks 1-8
The Rams haven’t benefited from an easy schedule to nearly the extent of the Vikings and Diggs, but they have faced the fourth-easiest schedule over the first half. Unfortunately, that completely flips the rest of the way. Only two teams face a more difficult schedule down the stretch.
The Week 9 bye for Kupp provides an easy justification for opening trade discussions, and your trade partner may think he’s benefiting in negotiations from the bye-week crunch.
How to Play It
I don’t want you to trade Fournette or Kupp for pennies on the dollar just because their schedules get more difficult, but it always makes sense to take advantage of a player’s current value, especially if that value may not be as high in a month.
Because we’re looking at two 2019 stars, the flexibility exists to make the type of move that will address your particular issues. First-place owners may want to look at a 1-for-1 deal where they address a positional weakness or merely swap in a better schedule. Struggling owners can look for opportunities for 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trades that add more overall firepower to their lineups.
It’s easy to fixate on the worst trades you’ve ever made when considering whether or not to move a star. If you’re dealing with that anxiety, make a list of all of the positive trades you’ve made and why you made them. If your list is short, you may be letting the risks get in the way of the rewards when it comes to fantasy trading.
Whether you’re making the decision to trade away the best player in a 2-for-1 deal or you’re simply moving equal players at different positions, it’s always difficult to part with players who are performing well and contributing to your success. Our Strength of Schedule tool with advanced schedule strength metrics from Dave Caban helps to make these decisions easier.