• Buying low is one of the only avenues to bolster the long term outlook of a fantasy team during the season.  In order to buy low, fantasy owners need to be savvy and strike at the optimal time.  Making offers on a buy low target before that player’s perceived value has substantially depreciated will often times backfire by making the buy low target’s owner feel more committed to this player.

    Before I move on, I cannot stress enough, knowing the personalities of the other league owners is essential to making trades.  Some owners will simply not trade their guys, or be open for buy lows, don’t waste your time on them.  Instead, try to find buy low targets on teams with owners who are willing to deal.

    Now, lets take a look at how to identify buy lows.  When you offer a trade in Yahoo leagues, this is the first image the other manager sees:

    This screen provides two relevant data points.  What is marked above as 1, is the pre-season rank for the player or, more importantly, the player’s expected production coming into the season.  The number marked as 2 is the season rank, representing the player’s overall value thus far.  The ownership percentage is also listed, but this is increasingly irrelevant the better the players in the trade are.  Looking at this screen, the opposing owner is immediately hit with two pieces of information; expected value and total season value to date.

    Now if the opposing manager remains interested, they will click on the player profile and see the screen below:

    Marked with the number 3 is the player’s recent game log.  This will give an owner an opportunity to try and reconcile the first two numbers they saw.  Is this player hot?  Was there a fluky start?  Has his value dropped since an injured player returned?  etc.

    My strategy is to have at least two of the three factors (expected value, actual season value, recent game log) appear negative before making a buy low offer.  The two of three strategy makes buying low early in the season the optimal time since the recent game log will likely match up with a low season-to-date value.

    I have also boxed and marked the number 4.  While this isn’t exactly buying low, it does relate to being undervalued.  Since these are the three statistics most prominently displayed, they take on added importance.  Players who don’t produce gaudy statistics in these three categories (and especially points and assists) are more likely to be undervalued assets.  Keep this in mind when bargain hunting.

    Let’s now take a look at Darren Collison using the above criteria to determine if he is a buy low target.  While his pre-season rank is fairly low, his current rank is high which leaves the game log as the determining factor.  In terms of assessing the game log, focus on the player’s most valuable stat – for Collison its assists.  Since his assists look good, his game log is probably too good for a buy low.  Since Collison only meets one of the three criteria, he is not a buy low target.

    How about Aaron Gordon?  His preseason rank and season rank are similar to Collison’s, but his game log looks like this:

    Gordon’s best category is points, and his points only seem to have been a positive in 2 of his past 7 games.  Ideally, you would like one more low scoring game from Gordon to get that bottom 22 points off the screen.  At that point, it looks like Gordon’s scoring is trending down, and his early season scoring outburst was more likely a fluke than a harbinger of things to come.  Still, the 22 point game on the bottom remains for now, so 3 of the 8 games listed show good scoring output.  Gordon is also displaying some nice rebound figures with two double digit games and two nine rebound games.  Ultimately, Gordon’s game log is mediocre which, when combined with his low preseason rank, arguably makes him a buy low target.  One more low scoring game, however, and he becomes a bona fide buy low.

    As you can see, there is a great deal of subjective analysis in assessing whether the game log fits the buy low criteria or not, but the primary stats to focus on should be points and assists, while giving some attention to double digit rebounding.  Percentages and the money counters will usually not figure too heavily in buying low.  Using this framework should allow you to target buy lows at the right time in order to get the deal done.

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