At this point in the season, much like a person who has won the lotto, Fantasy coaches are burning through trades trying to grab every single cheap player that pops up. This week, coaches are rushing out to buy Nathan Cleary at $1.05M, selling keepers like David Fifita in the process. It is with this craziness, that I want to bring you a reminder.
One of the rule changes for 2022 was the modifications to the trades, where coaches will be able to use 4 TRADES PER WEEK FROM ROUND 13 ONWARDS. Basically, if you max trade, you will run out of trades in week 16 before burning the 4 you were forced to hold in round 20 when they become available. During that time, smart coaches that avoided sideways or backwards trades (like Jack Bird to Beau Fermor and similar moves being suggested) will be able to trade at their leisure, and will pass you in the rankings so fast it will make your head spin. At this time, we should ONLY be trading unless it is absolutely necessary otherwise you miss the opportunity through the bye rounds.
Bringing you all back to our “game theory” article, here is what we had to say on the value of a trade:
THEORY 4: SAVE THE TRADES, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM
One of the most important elements of NRL Fantasy is saving trades where possible when others are spending them to give you the inevitable late season advantage. Mathematically speaking, the best time to use a trade (but only a good trade) is early in the season, because you have more weeks to benefit from the decision you made. Jumping onto a cash cow you missed after one week might seem sideways or a waste, but if you ask all of us who decided not to bother with the cash cow Nicho Hynes last year, we will tell you that we wish we had spent that trade. The trick is identifying the Nicho Hynes from the Tom Starling, and the truth is there is a fair bit of luck involved.
If you work backwards from the end result, you can see the value of a trade.
Ideally, in your “final team” you want to have 18 guns, with a solid 19 backup and two cheap “plug ins”. I wouldn’t worry too much about red dots for doing the loophole, because chances are one of your top 19 is going to be injured anyway.
The top 18 players price wise at the moment range from $1.05M to $720k, with all but 3 at $800K or less. So lets say by the end of the year you want 13x $750k average players, the 3 elite guys averaging about $900k, and two centres plus your 19th man at $650k. Two cheap guys at $400k. That adds up to about $15M and is really the best case scenario, but lets shoot for the stars and then worst case scenario we land on the moon.
Your starting team is worth $9.4M, so lets say you need to gain about $5.5M in value across the year. You get 36 trades, but you need to save a third of those (minimum) for injuries. This means, with your remaining 24 trades and 21 players in your squad, you need to make a profit of $230k for every trade you spend. Now you might be thinking “but Amateurs, hardly any players have $230k value, thats like almost 20 point increase on their BE” – and you would be correct.
Luckily for you, the starting players that you bring into your team do not require a trade.
Unluckily for you, like the 1/3 injury rule, we have to expect that 1/3 of the guys you start with are going to flop and underperform or get injured. Also keep in mind, thanks to rule #1, you are starting with Cleary so you actually only have 20 roster spots. Also, because you are diligent studiers of the Fantasy Amateurs website you are also going to start with Ryan Papenhuyzen and Harry Grant, which means you have 18 spots to make money with.
Now you have to ask yourself: are there any other players I can start with that will save me a trade and give me the above mentioned players I need (a high 50s/60+ average player or a 50ish average centre/19th man) without me paying full price? Of course these “keeper” players exist, but you will need to work out who they are. It is my belief that you should be able to locate at least 3 of these players making about $100k per player in addition to Grant and Papenhuyzen, plus Captain Cleary holding value, meaning you can save 6 trades and fill spots in your final team with 15 spots remaining, $5M to make and a full compliment of 24 trades to get there, bringing you down to $208K per roster spot.
With your 15 starting players and 24 trades to spend, thats a total of 39 players you can use to generate that $5M, so the actual value required per trade/player is $128K, or about 10 points of value. This is why you hear experienced players talking about looking for either 10 points of value, or less value but still an under priced in a “keeper” player.
I really actually cannot stress this enough, as I have heard many experienced fantasy managers, even on expert analysis podcasts, discussing taking reduced value (only 5 or so points) players like Kobe Hetherington because of tough positions. I think we actually did it on our own podcast at one point too. Just don’t do it. If they don’t have 10 points value, they need to be a potential keeper (50+ average) our an out and out gun with some value. If you can’t find value in the position, then you need to make your 3-4 “potential guns” players in that position. End of story.
The bit in bold is the key, and what you really need to ask yourself is: “will the player I am trading to make $128k more than the player I am trading from?”. If you hear someone say something like “I think that player has a bit of cash to make” that isn’t good analysis. You need a concrete path to 10 points of value MORE THAN THE PLAYER YOU ARE SELLING.
I am not telling you not to trade at all, I am tell you to trade smart. Don’t piss them up the wall trading sideways. Don’t sell keepers. If you need to sell keepers to get Cleary, don’t get Cleary (yet). Trust the fantasy gods and the opportunities will show themselves.