There is an art to knowing when to cut bait on an underperforming player in fantasy, and that time is almost never after a horrible performance. Simply put, who wants to buy a racehorse when it is limping? Unquestionably there will be someone who wants your underperforming player, someone who believes in him more than you do, but that buyer won’t give away great value to get someone who’s playing poorly. In short, you want to get the best value that you can for your player, and no time is better than after he has posted some stellar stats.
Take David Wilson, for example. He has been an absolute disappointment for his owners all season to this point, scoring a paltry 6 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. In fact, in week one he had -1 point, the first time I’ve seen a #1 runner put up negative points in an outing. If you tried to trade him right now you probably couldn’t get any kind of good back for him. Perhaps you could get a Montee Ball, or a Felix Jones for him, and they’re not going to get you much more than the 6 points put up so far by Wilson. You may be frustrated with his level of play to this point, but don’t get desperate enough to make that deal. You’ll regret it next week.
Because… if all goes as it should for Wilson, this week will be a high-water mark for the Giants’ running game. And the man to benefit from that windfall will be Wilson. Yes, Brandon Jacobs will get some goal-line work, but I don’t anticipate the Giants will need much of that in this game against the Eagles’ porous run defense. Wilson won’t even have competition for catches out of the backfield, as the Giants this week showed their confidence in him by releasing Da’Rel Scott, who had been stealing those touches from Wilson the first three weeks. Wilson should be a star this week on the field, and in fantasy. If you’ve been waiting the past few weeks with Wilson on your bench, this is the week to get him active… and then cut bait.
That’s the key. It’s what also makes Wilson my possible sell high fantasy player of the week. After the game on Sunday afternoon, and after Wilson has made you a ton of fantasy points, put him up as trade bait, sky’s the limit. Well, not sky, since no one is going to give up Adrian Peterson or Doug Martin for him, but you could possibly get yourself a Chris Johnson or a Trent Richardson in exchange. And that is called trading up for value. Because while Wilson probably won’t duplicate the stats from the Eagles game, Johnson and/or Richardson will get back on track at some point this season. They’ve done it before, while Wilson has not. It’s a gamble, but it’s a calculated one. And if Wilson is the reason you’re 1-3 instead of 3-1 (in one of my leagues that is the case), you’re better off not getting an ulcer every Sunday wondering whether or not you can suck it up if he loses another one for you.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because he does well in this one game that he has “turned a corner.” The Giants offensive line won’t have magically gotten better, and the other woes of the Giants offense won’t suddenly fix themselves. You got yourself into the Wilson situation during the draft, for all the right reasons, and now you’re getting rid of him for all the right reasons. And good riddance, too.
Oh, and the same is true of C.J. Spiller. Don’t be swayed by that 54-yard run on Thursday night against the Browns. Yes, Spiller has that possibility on every run, but with the exception of that one run he hasn’t cashed in on it this year. Again, don’t gamble on it happening again because you’ll more than likely be disappointed. With Fred Jackson still clearly outperforming Spiller, the Bills are finding ways of getting Jackson in each and every game. And look who was doing the goal-line work: Jackson, not Spiller. Sell high on him right now while others in your league are only seeing the 54-yard run and not the 7 other rushes for a grand total of 12 yards that Spiller had on the night. Mark my words.