2020 Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 5 Buy Low, Sell High Trade Targets - Roto Street Journal
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2020 Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 5 Buy Low, Sell High Trade Targets

Week 4 was yet another tough week for injuries to key fantasy players like Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler. Due to the ever-growing list of running back injuries, this week’s article focuses on potential replacements. I previously outlined a detailed strategy on how to negotiate better trades, which could help you this week when making moves.

Anyway, we’re onto the Week 5 Buy Low, Sell High.

Buy Low

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Edwards-Helaire was a supremely talented prospect coming out of LSU. He has great instincts at the running back position to go along with solid measurables. 

CEH is putting up dependable, yet unspectacular numbers, averaging 15.8 PPR points through four weeks. He is the RB12 in PPR despite scoring only one touchdown.

As I mentioned last week, we want to target bell-cow running backs. Bell-cow backs play a ton of snaps and get plenty of opportunities in both the run and pass game. CEH fits the bill, averaging a solid 17.75 carries and 4.75 targets per game. He also saw a healthy 75 percent snap share in week 4.

Edwards-Helaire has everything we’re looking for in a stud running back. His talent, usage, and key role in the explosive Chiefs offense set up perfectly for a high-end RB1 performance the rest of the season.

Depending on when your league drafted, Edwards-Helaire could have been drafted anywhere from the number one overall pick to the third round. While his draft position in your league does not affect his true value today, it might still be influencing his owner. This phenomenon is known as the anchoring effect:

When people are trying to make a decision, they often use an anchor or focal point as a reference or starting point. Psychologists have found that people have a tendency to rely too heavily on the very first piece of information they learn, which can have a serious impact on the decision they end up making.

In psychology, this type of cognitive bias is known as the anchoring bias or anchoring effect.

You can take advantage of the anchoring effect in fantasy football. Most likely, the later CEH was drafted in your league, the easier it will be to acquire him. Fantasy owners find it easier psychologically to part with their third-round pick instead of their top-5 gem, even if both players are great.

If he was drafted in the first round of your league, I would still consider making an offer. But if you drafted before Damien Williams opted out, CEH could have the perfect storm of talent, opportunity, and cognitive bias to win you your league.

The Raiders, the Chiefs’ Week 5 opponent, give up the most fantasy points to running backs in PPR this year. Get him now while you still can!

James Robinson

James Robinson might be the breakout star of 2020. He is averaging 19.2 points per game, good for RB6 in PPR. There is a good chance he went undrafted in your league.

You clearly aren’t buying low on the production, and I’m not saying Robinson will finish the season as a top-5 RB. But like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, anchoring bias is on your side if you want to trade for Robinson.

Every Robinson owner either drafted him extremely late or picked him up off waivers in the first couple weeks of the season. They probably have only started him for one or two weeks. Even if they don’t realize it, they might subconsciously be “anchored” to his value of a waiver wire dart throw, and value him lower than they should.

Remember the snap share tweet with Edwards-Helaire? Robinson boasted the same 75 percent snap share in Week 4. Even better, Chris Thompson, Robinson’s only real backup, was held without a single touch.

Robinson turned his true bell-cow usage in Week 4 into over 100 scrimmage yards, and I see no reason why that usage should stop. Take advantage of your opponents’ anchoring bias and make an offer for Robinson.

Miles Sanders

Are you seeing a pattern here? Miles Sanders saw an elite 80 percent snap share in week 4. He is getting true bell-cow usage and claiming nearly all the team’s carries and RB targets.

Sanders has been productive with his touches, averaging 17 carries, 78.7 rushing yards, 3 catches, and 26 receiving yards in his three healthy games. However, the 49ers held him to 9.6 PPR points in Week 4.

Your league’s Sanders owner might be a little concerned about upcoming matchups against the Steelers and Ravens, but Sanders’ dominant snap share and passing game role still make him a viable option against elite defenses. After the Ravens in Week 6, his schedule is much smoother the rest of the way.

Given the schedule, you’re probably okay with waiting a week or two on Sanders if it makes more sense for your team. But if you’re desperate for running back help today, Sanders is a bell-cow you can rely on.

Sell High

Mike Evans

Evans dropped a 7-122-1 line on the Chargers in Week 4 despite battling through an ankle injury. He is the WR12 in PPR behind a ridiculous 5 TDs on only 26 targets on the season. Over 16 games, he’s on pace for only 104 targets. If you own him, now is the time to capitalize on his unsustainable production and sell.

To make matters worse, Chris Godwin has missed two games. In those two games without Godwin, Evans has seen a healthy 18 targets. But in the two games with Godwin, Evans has only received 8 total targets. Godwin seems likely to return within the next few weeks, so look to sell Evans while his value is high.

Todd Gurley

Just like Evans, Todd Gurley is keeping his fantasy status afloat by scoring touchdowns. Gurley is RB19 in PPR. He is averaging 13.6 PPG largely due to scoring four TDs through Week 4.

While Gurley is averaging a healthy 16.25 carries per game, he has been nonexistent in the passing game. For the entire season, he has 4 catches for 9 yards. That’s not going to get it done.

Gurley is also only playing a hair over half the snaps, with snap shares of 46 percent, 64 percent, 51 percent, and 54 percent over the first four weeks. I would look to sell Gurley to an owner ravaged by RB injuries. He is not seeing enough snaps or receiving volume to sustain his current RB2 status.

Hold

Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler

If you’re sitting at 0-4 or 1-3, or your league has very few playoff spots, you should consider selling Chubb or Ekeler. You probably need some win-now players to save your season. But if the rest of your roster is good enough to stay afloat, try to resist the lowball offers that should come pouring in.

I’ve previously been critical of Chubb. But if you’re 4-0 and easily going to make the playoffs, the upside of having a star RB for the fantasy playoffs might be worth the cost today.

At the same time, be sure you know your league settings before making an offer for one of these injured stars. You need to consider the value of winning now to secure a possible first-round bye, how many playoff spots are available, and potentially other league-specific factors.

League-Specific Factors

As a general rule, my first priority would be securing a first-round bye if your league has them. Assuming 50 percent odds of winning each playoff game, 6 total playoff teams, and 2 first-round byes, a first-round bye doubles your chances of winning the league. With a bye, your odds of winning are 25 percent (.5*.5). If you make the playoffs without a bye, your odds are only 12.5 percent (.5*.5*.5).

These assumptions aren’t perfect, but getting a first-round bye is critical if your league has them. Injured stars like Chubb and Ekeler are less valuable if your league has first-round byes. They won’t be able to help you win games for the next several weeks, making securing a bye much harder.

In addition, the more playoff spots your league has, the more valuable the injured stars are. More playoff spots give you more margin for error to lose games in the regular season. For example, assuming no byes, Ekeler and Chubb would be much more valuable in a 12-team league with 8 playoff spots than a 12-team league with 4 playoff spots.

Upside wins championships in fantasy football, and Ekeler and Chubb clearly have upside. But make sure to evaluate the whole situation before making a move.

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