Identifying plausible buy-low and sell-high candidates for Week 1 is child's play once the games have concluded. Problem is, your competitors can spot them too, and may muck up the market. If six of you make trade offers for Ray Rice after he falls on his face against the Broncos this week, his owner, no matter how daft, will become suspicious. The price thus rises, defeating the whole buy-low purpose.
We are here to help you conquer the market before it ever develops. We're going to tell you who is likely to flourish or flounder, unexpectedly, so you can start priming their fantasy owner, while everyone else is still trying to figure out what defense to start. We also offer a Five-Star Preemptive Strike: a player move you must make before he has a surely stellar performance and prices himself out of consideration.
- WEEK 1 - BUY LOW
Ray Rice - we mentioned Rice in the opening, and while it is hard to imagine the best player within the reigning Super Bowl Champion offense having difficulty, Denver was brutal against opposing running backs in 2012. Yes, Rice had a healthy effort against the Broncos in that memorable Divisional playoff game, but that was the post season. Rice has hardly touched a football since then. Expect Denver's D to be alert, angry and looking for some payback. Make a low-ball offer now. If your trade proposal is sitting there when your league's Rice owner overreacts, you will benefit greatly and exclusively.
Chris Johnson - talk of CJ's rebirth is effusive. He slid down most draft boards, though, indicating owners are still wary. This includes those who picked him, and if he stumbles against the Steelers in the opener, prepare for a yard sale. Get out in front of it by getting in the ear of your fickle, fellow team owner now. Throw Fred Davis out there, and by the time Pittsburgh makes its second tackle in the backfield, Johnson will be yours.
For Your Consideration - Players likely to raise questions, i.e., draw attention, with Week 1 struggles: QB Cam Newton (Carolina going against Seattle), RB Marshawn Lynch (Seattle v Carolina; two good defenses here), WR Mike Wallace (Miami v Cleveland).
- SELL HIGH
Jay Cutler - If you were naive enough to draft Cutler, perhaps you can salvage what's left of your reputation, and your fantasy season, by getting rid of him now. Any, or every, former Jay Cutler owner can tell you you do not want this pouty under-producer on your team. Yeah, he had a few good games last year, but he also excreted four weeks with a quarterback rating under 60. Who could forget the four INTs he threw against Green Bay, or the Houston game were he actually netted negative fantasy points? Cutler's former owners remember it all to keenly, and you would do well to become a former owner immediately. You won't get much, but that hardly matters. What you want is to be free of this albatross. Target anyone in your league from Chicago, those of a quarterback hoarding inclination, or anyone who doesn't pay too close attention and get what you can. Do it today, or find Cutler a permanent stain on your roster after the Bengals run him over.
Tampa Bay's D - Give us a second with this one. We are not suggesting, as with our other recommendations, that you start floating trade proposals for a currently valueless defense. We do, however, advise you go get, and start Tampa's D in every league in which you participate. They're going against the Jets, and you will win the week, and very likely your league, with this move alone. Delight in every turnover, yardage and points-allowed bonus offered by your league, then swap Tampa with Lynch's panicked owner.
For Your Consideration - Dangle these players now, or be stuck with them when they falter in the near future: QB Carson Palmer (Arizona v St. Louis), RB Darren McFadden (Stinking Raiders v Anybody), TE Zach Sudfeld (New England v Buffalo).
Maurice Jones Drew - Injury concerns plague this man, but while he's on the field, MJD produces at a level that far exceeds any investment. Whoever took him in your league probably got him at a discount as fears of last year, and every year, limit Drew's true draft value. If you wait until after the Jags Week 1 game against Kansas City, you are going to have to pay much more than you want to for MJD, and certainly more than he'll be worth when he gets hurt again next month.