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Taco Tuesday or (The Unexpected Virtue of Fallacy): Questioning Authority

If you’re reading this, odds are that you’re a dynasty football enthusiast.  You frequent the sites- Dynasty Pros, Dynasty Nerds, Dynasty Football Warehouse, r/DynastyFF on Reddit.  Guides that identify the buy-low players and offer rebuilding advice are a dime a dozen- perhaps you’ve even read mine, conveniently linked here-So You Adopted a Team.  You may have noticed, however, that while many of those guides provide in-depth explanations as to why you should target certain players, none offer explicit advice as to how to go about convincing your leaguemates to part with them.  That guide didn’t exist until now.  Taco Tuesday is an in-depth study on how to consciously use logical fallacies to buy and sell players for a (fantasy) profit.  In today’s first weekly installment, we will discuss how to effectively use an appeal to authority to sell your trading partner on player values.  But first, I would be remiss if I did not go over the indispensably important Jan Michael Larkin Trading Guidelines.

  1. Know your audience. If your trade partner does particularly thorough research before making a trade, avoid the use of selective statistics.  If they are disdainful of “experts”, avoid appealing to authority.  If they undervalue or overvalue draft picks or will overpay for players from their favorite team, be aware of it.  Tailor your approach to your target.
  1. Don’t be pushy, don’t make insulting offers, and be willing to take no for an answer (eventually).  It is not in your best interest to alienate potential trade partners by aggressively pursuing trades in which they’re not interested or by offering trades that insult their intelligence.  Having a more relaxed attitude and approach makes your offers seem less suspicious and keeps you from developing a reputation as a shark, which can make trading difficult.
  1. Avoid being “that guy”.  While the point of this guide is to help add value to your team at the expense of others, sufficiently lopsided trades have the potential to ruin leagues.  You want to be the guy who got his less-savvy friend to trade him Keenan Allen for 1.07, not the guy who got his ten-year-old cousin to trade him Amari Cooper for Tom Brady.

If you bear these guidelines in mind, logical fallacies and misleading statistics can be your friends.  They can help you sell a bad player for much more than he’s worth or buy a great player for much less.  They can convince your trade partner that they’re walking away with a steal when they really just handed you the keys to the safe.  Use them wisely and watch the value of your team grow.

Now, if your trade partner is like the majority of fantasy football managers, their research into your offer will likely consist of looking up the “expert” rankings, or possibly checking a trade calculator.  The idea here is that if they align their position with that of an expert, they can insulate themselves from being taken advantage of- the only problem being that sometimes experts are wrong too, and different experts don’t always agree with one another.  While an appeal to authority can make it more difficult to buy low on players who are well-regarded by the consensus (or sell high on those who are not), the variability of different rankings allows us to play it to our advantage.  Different sites can have strikingly different values for the same players, so in most cases it is possible to find a semi-credible “expert” with an off-the-wall opinion you can cite as evidence of your offer being reasonable.  Below are overviews for the two most popular trade calculators you will find as well as one popular ranking list and a popular ranking aggregator.

Dynasty Trade Calculator (http://www.dynastytradecalculator.com/calculator.html)

Characteristics: This calculator places a premium on developed as opposed to developing receivers and places little to no weight on their age until they are firmly in their thirties.  It also places a higher premium on the wide receiver position than the DynastyFFTools calculator, and an even higher premium still on stud players.  Draft picks 1.01 and 1.02 have lower relative value here than in the other calculator, but picks beyond 1.02 have higher relative value (mid-1st round picks having the largest discrepancy).

Best Used For: Trades where you are giving up the top asset involved in exchange for a package.  Buying players who are either still developing or have red flags.  Selling WRs for any non-WR asset of a similar tier.  Selling any draft pick later than 1.02.  Buying picks 1.01 or 1.02.

Particularly Overvalued Players/Picks: Demaryius Thomas, AJ Green, 1.05, 1.06

Particularly Undervalued Players/Picks: Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, Sammy Watkins, Melvin Gordon


DynastyFFTools Calculator

Characteristics: Player value decreases at a less exponential rate in this calculator, which results in less of a premium on studs but makes depth and developing players more expensive to obtain (perhaps indicating a userbase that plays in deeper leagues).  The premium on wide receivers is also somewhat less pronounced in most cases than in the Dynasty Trade Calculator, making this your calculator of choice when seeking to acquire most WRs.  Draft picks 1.01 and 1.02 have higher relative value here, but all other picks have lower relative value (and the gap widens as you go deeper into the draft).  A few particular players also seem highly overvalued or undervalued independent of the overall tendencies of the calculator.

Best Used For: Trades where you are giving up a package in exchange for the top asset involved in the deal.  Selling players who are either still developing or have red flags.  Buying WRs for any non-WR asset of a similar tier.  Buying any draft pick later than 1.02 (especially late first and early second round picks).  Selling picks 1.01 or 1.02.  Buying Aaron Rodgers (do this if at all possible).  Buying lottery ticket players with low current value but decent to great upside, particularly RBs.

Overvalued: Jordan Reed, Spencer Ware, Kelvin Benjamin, Will Fuller

Undervalued: Aaron Rodgers, Ameer Abdullah, Eddie Lacy, Isaiah Crowell, Giovani Bernard, draft picks 1.05-1.12


Dynasty Nerds Rank Aggregator (http://www.dynastynerds.com/fantasy-football-dynasty-rankings/rankings/)

Characteristics: Has the inherent credibility of being an aggregation of ranks from multiple experts, which eliminates the potential for outliers based on the opinion of one person.  Is based on full-PPR scoring so there is a pronounced premium on WRs.  There is also a heavy premium on talent, whether it has yet manifested in the form of consistent fantasy production yet or not.  A few particular players also seem highly overvalued or undervalued independent of the overall tendencies of the rankings.

Best Used For: Selling WRs for any non-WR asset of a similar tier.  Selling hyped young receivers that you have less faith in than the general consensus.  Buying or selling certain specific players whose rank here seems bizarrely out of sync with their talent and/or production (see lists below).  Swaying the somewhat-savvier owners in your leagues (aggregated expert ranks are inherently a bit more credible than anything made by one individual).

Overvalued: Laquon Treadwell, DaVante Parker, Jordan Matthews, Randall Cobb, John Brown, Dorial Green-Beckham

Undervalued: Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor, Breshad Perriman, Cameron Meredith


Mike Clay’s Top 200 Dynasty Rankings (http://www.espn.com/fantasy/football/story/_/id/15698900/mike-clay-top-200-dynasty-fantasy-football-rankings-nfl)

Characteristics: Is compiled entirely by one guy, which increases the potential for outliers based on a single personal opinion and limits credibility.  Is based on non-PPR scoring so lacks the WR premium present in both calculators and the aggregated rankings.  Intra-positional rankings often diverge strongly from general community consensus due to Mr. Clay’s propensity for “hot takes” (Jordan Howard and Jay Ajayi over Todd Gurley, Demaryius Thomas over Stefon Diggs and Donte Moncrief).

Best Used For: Selling RBs.  Buying WRs for any non-WR asset of a similar tier.  Buying Hunter Henry (do this if at all possible).

Overvalued: Matt Ryan, Jordan Reed, Demaryius Thomas

Undervalued: Tevin Coleman, Tyler Eifert, Hunter Henry


Now, it is entirely possible that a savvy leaguemate will counter your appeal to authority by simply citing a different calculator or ranking list in which your target player is more reasonably valued, and in that case you may be out of luck, but a possible response is to undermine the credibility of their chosen calculator or list.  To do so, simply cite the misvalued players I identified above for whichever specific list or calculator your trade partner has chosen to use against you.  If you can convince them that your sources are reputable and/or theirs are not, you essentially dictate player value and should be able to secure your target at a discount.

And that’s all for today, ladies and gents!  Tune in next Taco Tuesday for JML’s tips on how to best utilize the lingua franca of bullshit- statistics.

Note- Part Two (Siren Song of Statistics) has been released!

About the author

Jan Michael Larkin

By law, can only be in one quadrant at once.

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