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 help close those key fantasy football trades.
It’s Always Hard to Sell – Let’s Make It A Little Easier
I have a particular fondness for the SoS Streamer as it was a big part of the Fantasy Douche’s original vision for the site and a tool he used to devastating effect in his own leagues. He called it the Buy Low Machine, and Jack has helped readers buy low on players all year.
How To Sell
One obvious way to buy or sell is to use our advanced schedule metrics to simply buy players with easy upcoming schedules and sell players with poor schedules. I certainly recommend that. You can also try to find players who are moving from easy to neutral (sell) or hard to neutral (buy). It can be easy to forget that the schedule to this point has played a role in a player’s scoring and thus current trade value.
In this piece, I’ve been focusing on the most extreme examples – players who are transitioning from easy to difficult.
Unfortunately, that has included RotoViz favorites like Stefon Diggs and Cooper Kupp. Two weeks ago, the Streamer insisted on selling Kupp. The Rams were about to go from the No. 2 schedule over the first eight weeks to the No. 32 schedule over the last eight. A bye and a goose egg later, and the value of his 35-point game in Week 8 has been wiped out.
You’re obviously not buying or selling in BestBall10s, but the Win Rates app can provide a look at how individual games are helping or hurting owners.
The situation with Diggs has been just as bad. Despite the slow start, he was on fire by the end of Week 8. Sadly, his schedule was about to flip.
Diggs scheduled ranked No. 1 over the first eight weeks and No. 31 over the final eight. The first two games in this stretch haven’t been encouraging.
I don’t anticipate a player of Diggs’ caliber being held down to this extent going forward, but there’s still a lot of red in his upcoming matchups.
By contrast, another RotoViz favorite looked like a sell three weeks ago, but he fortified his breakout instead. D.J. Moore had the No. 1 schedule from Weeks 1 to 7, but the No. 30 schedule since.
Moore didn’t find the end zone, but he took a step forward in targets, receptions, and yards. He’s done this with a backup quarterback and against elite defenses. If you can pry him away from his dynasty owner, this may be your last chance to buy at anything resembling reasonable prices. His schedule now flips back to the positive. Only three teams have better WR schedules the rest of the way.
We’ll look at the full schedule rankings as we get into our sell candidates.
Trade Deadline Sells
The trade deadline occurs before Week 11 in many formats. If your league fits in that category, this is your last chance to make league-winning moves.
To get a sense of just how efficient Cooper has been this season, you really need to read Blair Andrews’ Week 10 EP Report. He’s the only non-QB anywhere close to Christian McCaffrey in fantasy points over expectation (FPOE), in part buoyed by another standout performance on Sunday night.
Cooper has been a true star with the Cowboys, but he’s also benefited from the third-easiest schedule to date. Even when we include a favorable matchup in Week 11 against Detroit, he faces the No. 28 schedule the rest of the way.
If your trade deadline is another week away, you might choose to wait on Cooper. But it might also make sense to use that Detroit matchup as a carrot to get the deal done. After such a big game on prime time, you should be able to sell very high and also avoid any potential injury issue that may arise from his current maladies.1
If you weren’t familiar with the Buffalo Bills, Brown’s profile would be a little surprising. He ranks 15th in targets and sixth in air yards but sits at only WR27 in PPG.
We can see from his No. 34 rank in Expected Points per game (EP/G) that he’s not getting the red zone targets you would like, and that’s reflected in the two touchdowns he’s scored.
It’s possible to make a buy-low argument from this, but offensive environment probably gets in the way. Josh Allen has generated -4.5 passing fantasy points over expectation and ranks No. 22 with only 10 passing TDs. This isn’t a case where more high-value targets are likely to go Brown’s way, as he’s already the offensive focal point.
Brown’s ceiling is also mitigated by team philosophy. The Bills have passed at a 57% clip in 2019 – far above the likes of San Francisco, Baltimore, and Minnesota – and they’re middle of the pack in offensive tempo (26.3 secs/snap). That still leaves them with only 34 passing attempts per 60 minutes.
You can peruse all of the pace statistics and break them down by quarter, point differential, spread, over/under, and more using the NFL Pace Tool.
All of which is to say, while Brown has untapped upside, there’s also plenty of downside risk, especially when you consider his schedule.
As was the case with Cooper, Brown has one more favorable matchup to go, and that could help you get the deal done. Following Week 11, Brown will have faced the No. 3 WR schedule. Through the last two weeks of the regular season and the fantasy playoffs, it will be the most difficult.
WR Strength of Schedule – Week 12-16
After his masterful three-TD breakout that included both a long score and a sensational one-handed, end-zone stab, Kirk was the headliner for this week’s WR FPOE article. There was also some bad news for Kirk enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, this is probably also the time to sell in seasonal leagues. He capitalized on the best matchup of the season and now enters a brutal stretch.
Owners are familiar with what San Francisco has been doing to opponents. Add in the bye, the Rams, and a rising Steelers defense that just locked down Cooper Kupp and embarrassed Jared Goff, and you’ve got a recipe for disappointment. If a Kirk owner happens to be a championship threat in your dynasty league, you might point out this schedule and see if they’ll part with the future star.
Starting this week, only the Rams have a worse rest-of-season schedule.
Last week I looked at four RBs to sell before the deadline. All of those sells are still in effect.
There’s also another sneaky trade possibility for RotoViz owners. Jump over to the Strength of Schedule Streamer, and you’ll see that our recent breakout Zero RB used a soft schedule to make his move. He faces a much tougher schedule the rest of the way.
You can also use the Streamer to find the best moves at QB and TE. Two TE sleeper options jump out as ROS possibilities for Austin Hooper owners. Or you can click over to Neil Dutton’s always-on-the-money TE Streamer article for Week 11.
I’m constantly impressed at the depth and breadth of the information in tools built by Mike Beers, Dave Caban, and Anthony Shook. If you enjoyed some of the visualizations used in this piece, make sure to check out the NFL Stat Explorer, the NFL Pace app, the Best Ball Win Rates tool, the Game Splits app, the RotoViz Screener, and the Weekly Stats tool.
Image Credit: Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Stefon Diggs.
- It can seem like these injuries are irrelevant after a huge performance, but we only have to look to someone like George Kittle to see a recent example of a player excelling through injuries only to miss games anyway. (back)