So you just lost Aaron Rodgers… what are you going to do? You could curl up in the fetal position and give up on the season, but you are better than that. You could panic and trade off one of your valuable running backs or wide receivers for a “legit starter” but you don’t want to get the short end of the stick. You could go pick up whatever is left on the waiver wire, but what if you play in a deep league? No matter what you choose to do, you better do it quick. Weeks 7-10 are critical for deciding the playoff race and you don’t want to get behind the eight-ball while you try to figure out what to do with what is typically your team’s highest scoring position.
Given that so many people were likely affected by this unfortunate injury, I want to focus on trade strategies for attempting to replace Rodgers (if that can be done) If you would like some one off trade advice you can always find me on twitter.
So the first thing you want to do is not panic. Quarterback is a plentiful position in fantasy football especially if you play in a 10-12 team league. Leagues of that size likely have viable options sitting on the waiver wire to which I say as of right now you are officially grabbing the best two QB’s you see and playing the match-ups until further notice. But let’s say you are in a 14+ team league or that everyone in your 10-12 team league is rostering two quarterbacks. You’ll have to trade and people know it.
The next thing you want to do is identify viable trade partners. These are people who have two solid quarterbacks and have likely been waiting for this moment to happen. These could also be owners who lost some key positional players at a position where you have depth. Ideally you’ll find an owner who is thin somewhere where you are deep and owns two quarterbacks – that’s your perfect dance partner.
Now that we know what kind of owner we’re looking for, which players should be on our radar? Well that’s sort of the wrong question – it all depends on who owns whom in your league! I’ve fielded 100+ trade questions today and found a few common denominators. Lets look at these one at a time:
The high-end QB + Watson owner
Unless you are absolutely stacked it’s unlikely you have enough to make a serious run at Deshaun Watson so in this case you are likely going to target the player this owner initially drafted to be his or her starter. I have seen a large number of Drew Brees + Watson owners. Brees is an excellent trade target in a situation like this and it’s a perfect opportunity to grab him coming off a lackluster outing at home vs the Lions. Now, we know that this poor outing was due largely to the Saints’ defense playing lights out along with a big game from Mark Ingram (I hope you traded for Ingram like I told you to two weeks ago.) Brees wasn’t required to sling it like we all expected going into the week so his numbers were low (186 passing yards, 2 touchdowns). This would be a great fit because your team essentially wouldn’t skip a beat but the situation has to be right. If you find this exact duo, its likely that owner is sick of having to decide between Brees or Watson each week, so there is some incentive to move one of them which of course works in your favor. I’ve also seen a ton of people who took Carson Wentz as a late flier and are now looking to offload the person they initially drafted to be their starter. The idea is to find the highest-end replacement at the lowest possible price. Brees will still cost you despite less than amazing stats through 6 weeks but he’s worth looking into – you never know how someone values a particular player until you inquire about their availability.
The “I scooped Alex Smith off the waiver wire” owner
I hate this guy. He probably grabbed Smith after he went off vs. New England on opening night and has been shopping him ever since. Well now is his chance to offload him and he’s likely tired of rostering him. Odds are good this owner has been getting turned down every week as he’s tried to sell high on Smith and now that he finally has his opportunity Smith is coming off by far his worst game of the season! This works perfectly for your needs. The other owner knows he needs to sell now before Smith’s value drops any lower and you know Smith’s value took a hit when he hung a meager 15 points on Pittsburgh in Week 6. He’s still a Top-5 quarterback statistically but I can’t imagine too many people truly have a ton of confidence in Alex Smith keeping up his current pace. He should be obtainable for an RB2 but if the owner thinks he’s got the real deal in Smith (and he might be the real deal) there’s no problem looking up his other quarterback. I’d be shocked if the Alex Smith owner isn’t rostering a decent QB2, doing so would be foolish outside of the shallowest leagues.
The “wait on QB / play the match-up” owners
This is likely going to be where you find your deal. These guys are plentiful! Seriously, the “wait on QB strategy” has a borderline cult following and their most endearing quality is that they flat out don’t care about the Quarterback position. These guys this season tend to own combos like Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers or Kirk Cousins and Tyrod Taylor. They are usually realistic about their players’ values and are more likely to come off a quarterback a lot easier than those who hold the position in high regard. At this point you are looking for something north of the waiver wire but south of “give me your first born” price so don’t be too picky, just get the best value.
As always with trades (and I can’t stress this enough) the deal is as much about the other owner’s needs as it is yours. So don’t bother knocking on the other guy’s door if you don’t have something they need! Also, be sure to remember to target owners, not players. The key to making a successful deal is to find A) an owner with a need or B) an owner with a surplus – preferably both!
One final note – players have been dropping like flies this year! Another route would be to roster players like Jimmy Garoppolo and Patrick Mahomes – high upside players who might be able to step right in and be rock stars should the guys ahead of them fall victim to the 2017 injury bug.
Best of luck in your Week 7 deals! As always hit me up on Twitter for daily trade advice!