Tricks of the Trade

I finally got my lineup figured out – chock full of rock stars, ready to dominate. And then I got a trade offer that made me take pause.

Now, it’s not unusual for me to get trade offers. Partially this is because there are a couple of guys in our league who are majorly trade-happy. I think partially too, these guys don’t know me and see me only as a female name and a losing record. I must not know what I’m doing, they think, so they can take advantage of me by making insultingly low offers for my starters. A.J. Green for Will Fuller? No thank you. Green’s a WR1 and Fuller’s barely a flex option. Melvin Gordon for Eric Decker? Are you kidding me? I’m not an idiot – Decker’s injured, and I’m not giving up a starter for a guy who may not come back for weeks and may not be full-speed when he does. Then there’s the constant offers for Julian Edelman, as though I don’t see the long-term upside to him and might be ready to sell him off after his first few rough weeks. I drafted him, guys, I get it. And I drafted Brady too. I know what’s going on with New England’s offense, I’m aware of how it’s going to get better. I get offers like these pretty much every day, sometimes six or eight times a day. So at this point, it’s a reflex action to reject any trade offer that comes my way.

But this one, I have to at least consider. This one is Ezekiel Elliott for Odell Beckham Jr.

Now, I don’t want to get rid of Ezekiel Elliott. I would hate it, actually. He’s been consistently good for double digits every week. And Beckham is a huge talent, but he’s not without risk. He hasn’t scored a touchdown all year, and he’s been throwing tantrums on the sidelines and picking fights with defenders and referees. He could, any minute, shape up his act and go off for multiple touchdowns and dozens of points every week. If he’s playing up to his potential, he’s one of the best, if not the best, WR in the league. But he could just as easily go the other way, keep alienating his team, get ejected from games, get suspended, and be a complete bust.

So this incarnation of the trade, no. The price is too high. But now I know that my opponent is interested in getting rid of Beckham. So maybe it’s worth it to see how low I can get him for. If the risk does pay off, he’s a huge asset, so maybe I can pick him up cheap.

I’ve got a couple of pieces that I’d be willing to part with for a trade like this. A couple of them are riding my bench, although they would have upside as starters on a team that’s not as deep as mine. Gary Barnidge would be the most obvious, as Kyle Rudolph is proving himself as a long-term TE starter for me. He went for 11 points last night, and Minnesota’s offense is not slowing down, so he should keep up the pace going forward. Barnidge’s production has picked up after his slow start, but I’m still happier going with Rudolph on a week-to-week basis. But Barnidge could be a starter-level guy for a team that has fewer options. He’s better than anyone on the waiver wire, anyway. So maybe that’s a fair trade.

Tyrod Taylor is another interesting option. He’s recovered from his weak start, at least somewhat, and he’s averaging about 15 points a week. Not elite for a QB, but dependable, and with potential to grow. He could definitely be valuable to somebody who doesn’t have one of the top-tier guys (like Brady – welcome back, Brady!) in their lineup.

However, I’ve studied this potential trading partner’s lineup, trying to figure out what his holes are and therefore what trades he might be most open to. And I don’t think he’d bite on either of those pieces. He has two TEs already – Travis Kelce, on a bye this week but a clear stud when he’s playing, and Eric Ebron, in his lineup this week as a backup. Barnidge is an upgrade over Ebron and may be tempting for that reason, as what would essentially be a streaming piece. But I’m not sure I see it as a trade for Beckham. Taylor’s got even lower odds of going through. He’s about equivalent to the QB my opponent already has in Phillip Rivers, and honestly, Rivers is more dependable. I’d probably have to package Taylor with another piece to get him to take that trade, and I don’t think I have another piece I’d be wiling to throw in there. Except for Barnidge himself, and the value on the two of them together seems high to me compared to Beckham’s risk.

The hole this opponent does have, however, is at RB. Which is why he’s going after the best of mine. Dream big, I guess? His regular RB, Jamaal Charles, is on a bye this week. (He’s also been injured and is just working his way back, so I can see why he’d want to upgrade at the position instead of just streaming a replacement.) I’m strong on RBs, so I’m the right person for him to go after. In addition to my three amazing starters, I have Paul Perkins, who is starting to see action for the Giants and had 7 points last night. (He also missed a block and got his quarterback sacked, so he’s not about to take over the starter’s role or anything, but he’s progressing as a rookie should be, and by the second half of the season he should be a capable fill-in.) I could change my flex from RB to WR, especially if I had Beckham to add to Green and Edelman, and still be strong. Provided that Edelman performs now that Brady’s back – he will – and that Beckham gets his act together – and who knows, but that’s what the flex position is for? And I have Randall Cobb too, who could also get his act together and be worthy of the starting lineup. So if Beckham does bust I wouldn’t be completely stranded.

I don’t need another WR, is what I’m trying to say, even though it’s my thinnest position in terms of points production. And yet, I can’t turn down the opportunity to have one of the top ones in the league. And if the way to get him is to part with a RB…

I could give up Frank Gore.

I am not in love with this idea, as Gore has been a dependable player for me and should continue producing 8-12 points per week easy. The risk of Beckham vs. the dependability of Gore doesn’t thrill me.

But ultimately, this trade does make sense. I’d be using Beckham in the flex position, at least until he proves something. Gore is my current flex, so the value is equivalent. I’d hate to introduce uncertainty into my lineup just when I finally had nine clear starters. But it’s just so hard to pass on the upside that Beckham could have.

So I’m going to counter this trade. Either with Barnidge, or with Barnidge and Taylor together, or with Gore. I do not think it will go through, as the fact that my opponent went after my best player in terms of points average per game tells me that he’s not looking to sell Beckham low. But Gore’s as high as I’m willing to go. So we’ll see what happens.

I’ll report back when I have results!

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