Vicks has given us the opportunity for a sponsored "SB Nation Sleeper of the Week." Get it,"sleeper?"
The Kyle Boller Edition.
Why Kyle Boller? Easy, because we’re still a week away from the Carson Palmer edition, but what a fun thing to continue to talk about. Carson Palmer is playing football again, and somehow Mike Brown got higher value for him than I think anyone anticipated. Despite that, it really wasn’t an overpay if he can give top10 to 15 value at the position. A 1st rounder and a future 2nd is in my eyes fair value for a playoff caliber QB. Let’s connect real versus perceived value in trade while talking about this move by the Raiders.
Real versus Perceived Trading Values
One thing I love about fantasy football general managing in a keeper league is the long term implications. You have to both build your team for the present and keep an eye on the future. Yearly leagues are entertaining, but the strategy dynamic is so different in a keeper league that you find yourself trying to see things differently in order to maximize efficiency. We all become Moneyball GM’s.
One year, for example, my co-GM and I put a 3 year contract on Stephen Gostkowski—a kicker—knowing that he’s on a great offense and perennially a top 5 kicker. Our hope was that then we wouldn’t have to focus on kicker during the draft (kickers tend to start going around round 6-12) and could instead put draft pick resources toward other players when the other teams were focusing on the need of a kicker. It seemed a better move than keeping a 4rd WR or RB or a 2nd TE or 4th LB. (Our league starts 7 IDP’s on defense, 2 per DL, LB, DB and a flex).
Well, that move ended up backfiring as we had to cut him because we had too many other talented guys to keep. But the point remains—you try and find value in places other people haven’t, and I’m still convinced given the right roster construction it would be a great value.
Back to real vs. perceived value and the Raiders trade of a 1st rounder for Carson. In my keeper league (first place pays better than 1k cash) I would happily give up a future 1st and 2nd for the chance to win NOW. Often in dynasty leagues 1st round picks can easily be traded as future collateral for present players. The funny thing is, because the pick is "1st round" people often forget that WHERE in the first round matters as much as the round itself. In a 10 team dynasty league for example, the top three teams’ first round picks are closer to 2nd round in nature. We keep 150 players (15 per team) and have a robust "RFA" – restricted free agent auction-- prior to the draft, and the draft is rookies and players not on our rosters the year before, so the "sure thing" draft picks generally fall no further than 5th in the 1st round, and from then on it is pretty much a crap shoot.
It actually parallels anything beyond the top 10 in the NFL draft to be honest. And like the NFL draft, even those in the "safe zone" often don’t work out. That’s why I love this trade by the Raiders. If you think about the likely draft position, the Raiders are certainly playing for a playoff position and if they get in, that pick will be in the vicinity of the 20’s. When people hear "traded 1st rounder" the common thought is that the lost pick is a difference maker from the top of the round. But if it is a deeper 1st round pick, that value is not nearly as high as the image of a 1st rounders.
I’ll put it this way—the end of the 1st round is filled with lesser prospects who have questions. Players like Lawrence Jackson, Kelly Jennings, and Chris Spencer were all drafted in a relatively reasonable slot area, but none were "first round talents" perception-wise.
So the key, when trading, is to maximize perceived value for your opponent while maximizing true value for yourself. Trading a fading name for a relative unknown on his way up is a great example. I had an offer in one league by an owner attempting just that—he offered me Hines Ward for Erik Decker. Now neither one is a weekly start for me, but which player has the greater upside? Hines Ward is a "you know what you’re going to get" player, whereas Decker has far more upside. Trade declined. I’m the one who is supposed to make that type of offer, not the other way around!
Weekly Sleeper Pick
Maurice Morris, RB Detroit. There is limited upside here as the Falcons Run D is ranked 7th in the league right now, and Maurice Morris is still the lil’ Mo we remember, but now he’s an older (31!) slower version. He does catch the ball well out of the backfield though, and you can hope to pick up some points that way as well.
The only other back I’m seeing who is going to get starter carries who is likely to be on the waiver wire right now is Montario Hardesty, but why pick him against the Hawks Run D? First, we’ve got a better run D than do the Falcons, but more importantly it would be a direct violation of Fantasy Football Rule Number 1!
That’s it for now. I’m going to go get drunk and root for the Huskies and Cougs. Yes. You heard that correctly. As a CWU grad, I can do that. Not going to lie though, when push comes to shove, I’m a Husky not a Coug. But I’m a Washington homer first and foremost, so I support all our home teams.