Week #10: A Holler from the Cheap Seats
John Holler

With the annual trade deadline in most fantasy leagues approaching very soon, there is a finite window to potentially acquire players before that opportunity has come and gone. After that, fantasy owners will be left to their own devices as to how to approach the final few weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.

At question will be what type of people are in your league as far as the way they approach setting their lineups and making critical decisions that could impact you. Are you a player who believes in cutting off someone’s water by trying to potentially negate some of their heavy-hitters? For example, if you’re playing against Odell Beckham Jr. and you have Eli Manning, do you play Manning even if you might have a better option? At this time of year, knowing the mindset of the owners in your league can be critical. No two are exactly the same, but having the insight can help you both now and down the line as wins become more critical.

Fantasy owners come in several distinct groups. Odds are that you fit into one of these categories. Here are the basic groupings of owner profiles that are in just about every league out there.

The Standby Guy – For the most part, barring injury or bye week complications, this owner doesn’t make many changes in his lineup from one week to the next. There are always some variations brought on by a player being listed on the injury report, a bench player having a successful season or simply a hunch. But, when he picks his lineup for the week, unless there are injuries or bye weeks that impact his lineup, he tends to go with the same guys from one week to the next to the next. This owner can potentially be persuaded into trading bench depth players if you can point out that he hasn’t used them and could provide an opening for the potential of strengthening weaknesses on your own roster. He also is likely to tip his hand ahead of time as to who is going to be in his starting lineup, which can be used to your advantage by adding backups or, in the case of a QB like Drew Brees, one of his offensive weapons in case you feel you need to add a player to help attempt to negate or minimize the damage Brees can cause.

The Hermit – This owner either won’t listen to trade offers or, if he does, wants an embarrassment of riches from you in exchange for magic beans. For the most part, these owners are a pain in the butt to deal with and, as they prefer, are most often just left alone by the other owners to sink or swim on his own.

The Spurned Lover – Some owners have a certain element of self-loathing to them that gets them salty with their own roster and envious of everyone else’s. These people can easily be manipulated. If a star player hasn’t scored in a while and has been wildly inconsistent – Dez Bryant comes to mind – his value now isn’t what it was on draft day. If you can package a deal with a hot flavor of the month type who is currently putting up good numbers, this is an owner that might be willing to part with a player who is underperforming, but has breakout ability.

The Micromanager – This is the guy who is always first to make waiver claims every week in search of the next big thing. Most leagues charge a fee for roster moves that typically are paid out either as part of the playoff pot or a Week 17 free-for-all for transaction money and usually there are one or two owners who make up a disproportionate amount of those transactions. While every good fantasy owner can jump at the opportunity to add a "next man up" type player, there are some owners that just can’t help themselves. Where this owner can be exploited is who he or she dumps in order to make a pickup. They’re the reason other owners watch the waiver wire on the reverse side of things. If the Micromanager perceives a need a running back, he may release a wide receiver or quarterback or another running back that may provide you with a roster upgrade on the bottom end of your roster or a player who can serve as insurance for your roster. There’s no sin in opening a dialogue with that owner that could pry a solid player away from him because he isn’t in the current micromanagement plan.

The Hoarder – This typically happens at the quarterback position, where an owner – either on draft day or early in the season – doesn’t feel others should get a player for a bargain price and adds that player to his own roster despite having solid depth in front of him. Invariably, The Hoarder is stuck with all three QBs because he overvalues the first one he took and other owners aren’t willing to gut other positions for the chance of adding Dak Prescott or Jay Cutler types. The tactic to take with The Hoarder is to devise a trade offer of what you would be willing to part with for one of his overstocked positions and then make a low-ball offer including other players. Chances are, the initial offer will be denied (unless you’re lucky). You then make a second offer that was the original offer you concocted in the first place. It gives the impression that are sweetening the deal and willing to be flexible when in fact, your second offer is really your first. The problem with The Hoarder is that they tend to be recidivist hoarders and find it hard to part with anything or anyone.

The Grass Is Always Greener Guy – The reality of every fantasy season is that there are some teams that just stink. They may be among the league leaders in scoring, but every week somebody has the monster game that puts them away – like Latavius Murray and Jimmy Graham did last week. At 3-6 or 2-7, they’re drowning and they know it. In leagues that allow carryover players, these people can be exploited because of the promise of something better next year. For a player who is currently injured, if you still have them – like Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles or even a healthy player doing little like Todd Gurley – the promise of a brighter tomorrow for the owner currently down on his luck can result in a fire sale. We don’t recommend trading future draft picks, because that can come back to bite you the following year, but offering someone who will be an attractive option going into next season for a lesser talent that can help you now is always a viable strategy to take.

Dead Man Walking – These are the scourge of fantasy leagues, owners who have sucked out and don’t even fill out weekly rosters after they’ve started 0-6 or 1-5 and can see the handwriting on the wall. These are the types that won’t replace dead players, submit a roster that has injured players or players on byes, etc. They aren’t all that different than the Grass is Greener Guy, but they’ve made it obvious they no longer care (likely millennials) and talent can be had for a cheaper price with them because they’ve checked out emotionally. Most leagues have one of these. Offering them a plum for the future in exchange for help to your roster now might come cheaper than you think.

The Overthinker – This owner tends to languish over every roster decision, especially when it comes to picking a lineup from one week to the next. They tend to give an inordinate amount of attention to matchups and will pick and choose players and make multiple roster changes in the days and hours leading up to the start of games. The best strategy to take advantage of this type is to offer them someone that will be in their lineup every week in order to get more than one player that could potentially be a regular starter or semi-regular starter for you – for example, if an owner has Eli Manning and Carson Palmer as his quarterbacks and is consistently picking the wrong one each week (something Overthinkers do all the time), an offer of someone like Matt Ryan for one of the QBs and a starting running back or wide receiver can pay off for you and give the Overthinker one less decision to lament over.

With the trade deadline quickly approaching in most leagues, knowing the style of play that other owners use is similar to that of playing poker. If they have a "tell" that is obvious to you, why not use it to your own advantage. The fantasy playoffs are still a month away in most leagues, but sizing up your competition now and taking the steps to maximize your position of strength could be the difference between having a good season and having a championship year.



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