Trade Tips: Exploiting Emotion

My "day job" is in advertising, Creative Director/Copywriter at a Boston agency. Book- and column-writing contributes to the St. Amant family coffers, sure, but it doesn't pay for my daughter's check-ups, and a Brinks truck sure doesn't dump gold pirate doubloons on my doorstep twice a month.

I'm not complaining. Just dispelling the myth that author life is one big Great Gatsby party with free-range swans and flappers doing the backstroke in gilded champagne fountains. But even if I were making Stephen King money, I'd keep my ad gig. It's really the only "career" I've ever had -- aside from a one-week stint as a waiter where I was fired for serving a fettuccini Alfredo with a rusty metal bolt in it. And there's something challenging about writing words that help convince people to take some sort of consumer action.

Translation: I'll soon be inside your head. Does that make you uncomfortable? It should. I'm not very good at keeping secrets. Like when you ran over that drifter on that desolate country road back in '85 and just left him for dead. Be a shame if anyone ever found out about that.

A consumer's decision always comes down to two mindsets - Rational vs. Emotional. This comes into play whether someone's buying a car ("10-year/100,000 mile warranty and 24 MPG" vs. "I feel cool driving it and chicks dig it") or dishwashing detergent ("It has dual-action streak-resistant scrubbing particles" vs. "It smells lemony, like grandma's kitchen used to"). And this clunky segue brings us to fantasy football trades . . .

Making a fantasy trade offer is also a type of marketing. Whether you're low key or you take the Billy Mays approach - more on Billy later -- you have to pitch/sell your product (i.e. a player) to your consumer (i.e. your trade partner) as effectively as possible. You have to know what he/she needs, why he/she needs it, and what's going to make him/her act in the way you want (i.e. buy). And you have to appeal to the Rational and>/i> try to exploit the Emotional.

Rational: A league mate needs a WR. Emotional: he's also raging Texans homer, so he might overpay for Kevin Walter. Do your research. Know what each team in your league needs and why. Know your league mates' past trade tendencies - i.e. are they fair, or do they only trade if they're treating you like Zed treated Marcellus beneath the pawn shop? And, whenever possible, make sure the player you're offering removes soap scum . . .without the harsh fumes!

Oh, and when someone makes you an imbecilic offer like Kerry Collins for Darren McFadden, with the weak rationale that you need a 3rd QB for "bench depth," resist the urge to pour sugar in his gas tank. I can tell you first hand that the fines and legal fees just aren't worth it.


Steven Jackson It took a couple games, but former coach Linehan finally fed SJax, and he responded against a solid Bills defense. The window may have closed to buy low, but maybe his owner has bye week panic, so give it a shot using the "The Rams are a mess!" sales pitch.

Rudi Johnson: Yes, he's been promoted to starter. But this is the Lions we're talking about. They've got the Bears (#6 rush D) and Vikes (#3) coming up next two weeks, mixed in with the 'Skins (#11), Bears again, Panthers (one rush TD against), and Bucs (zero rushing TDs against).

And it's not like Rudi is spry. But his value hasn't been higher all season - not much Rational evidence that he still blows -- and many Emotionally assume he'll be "old Bengals Rudi." So trade him now to the Kevin Smith owner (or anyone else) before his weak games against CHI and MIN send his value back down.

Santonio Holmes: Only three catches last week, but he looked electric on his TD, the Ravens kept the Steeler offense off the field and Ben only had 14 completions. However, for once this season, Roethlisberger looked for Santonio early and often, not Hines (7 total targets to Ward's 3). And I was surprised to learn that, thus far, he and Ward have the exact number of targets (26).

Justin Gage: Has always clicked with Collins and is the clear WR1. On the Titans, yes, okay. But if you need a bye week replacement or Flex WR, you might be able to acquire him for next to nothing.

Santana Moss: Now Randy is the second best Moss. Don't sell high on Santana, He's legit in this new 'Skins offense.

Edgerrin James: His big Jets game might've made you misty, harkening back to the days when "Edge vs. Priest vs. Faulk at #1" was the subject of many a heated message board flame war. But while the two TDs were nice, that doesn't change the fact that A) Hightower is the future for the Cards at RB; B) that future could come quickly if the Cards fall out of contention; C) Edge has serious tread on the tires; and D) the two scores obscured his paltry 29 yards rushing. Find the Hightower owner and sell high.

Matt Schaub: A great fantasy combo: potentially potent passing offense (apologies for the ample agonizing alliteration) and a bad defense. And with Andre Johnson (if he learns to catch footballs for a living), Kevin Walter, Owen Daniels and Steve Slaton (another riser), he's got some weapons, and the Texans' tough early schedule lightens up a bit moving forward. Schaub won't land you a stud in a 1-for-1 deal quite yet, but when he lights up the Sanders-less Colts pass D, he could be an attractive option for a QB-starved team.

Mewelde Moore: Pittsburgh RB's must've guzzled from the same tainted water supply as Seattle WR's. (I picture them all in a hospital, legs in traction, with Spinal Tap-esque cold sores on their upper lips.) But beware, the Steelers just re-signed a certain RB who's fond of defecating into laundry hampers. Speaking of Dookie, maybe I'm old fashioned, but to me that act always seemed more chivalristic than he was given credit for. Her hamper clothes were already dirty, right? At least he had the class not to drop a Najeh nugget into her cashmere sweater drawer.)

Lance Moore: Broke out in a big way last week and is the new WR2 in a pass happy offense. (And somewhere, a silent tear rolls down Robert Meachem's cheek.) Rosenthal called him this year's Wes Welker today. With apologies to Anthony Gonzalez, who would be this year's Welker if Dallas Clark would stay hurt, I concur.

Julianne Moore: Just wanted to add another Moore. And Julianne looks better naked than Michael.

Leon Washington: Thomas Jones looks slower than ever. Just sayin' . . .

LT: That's more like it. It did take a late TD last week to boost otherwise average numbers, last year, Turner would have gotten those garbage points, so that's a plus. But while my "sell while he has name value" sentiments of past weeks are waning, if you get a killer offer you have to consider it because he just doesn't look as explosive anymore (maybe because, I don't know, turf toe?) and still falls down for no reason 2.3 yards past scrimmage too often for my tastes.

Taser & pepper spray retailers/Bail bondsmen in Cincinnati: Cedric Benson has arrived. Meaning Chris Henry no longer has to bear the burden of supporting these cottage industries alone.

Laveranues Coles: Coles' first name is spelled "La-vara-newz," but pronounced "La-ver-knee-us." Favre's last name is spelled "Fa-vuh-ra," but pronounced "Farve." No wonder they get along so well now. Probably bonded over being picked on in school for having phonetically incorrect names. (Kids can be so cruel). Regardless, Coles re-established himself as the WR1 last week and the Jets won't stop throwing (NFL-leading 12 passing TDs). That said, Cotchery produced, too, and is sort of a WR1-A, so if you're wary of his injury potential and want to capitalize on his monster Week 4, feel free to package Coles with a RB or QB for an upgrade.

Dwyane Bowe: Denver knew exactly where Huard was throwing and they still couldn't stop Bowe. Kid's size and aggressiveness has been known to cause dark stains to appear in the crotches of embarrassed d-backs. Offer a struggling "name stud" like Holt or Housh along with a lesser RB to a less-than-informed league mate - i.e. not a Rotoworld reader - for Bowe and a better RB. Just might work.

Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache: No way the name "Neal" goes with the exotic last name "ElAttrache." It clearly requires a dull last name such as "Flump" or "Peart." Second, as a worried Pats fan, I can't help picture a diploma from Hollyood Upstairs Medical College on his office wall.

That said, no other orthopedic surgeon's stock rose more quickly this week after it was learned that golden boy Tom Brady chose ElAttrache to perform the surgery on his golden knee. From his web site: "Dr. ElAttrache has authored 14 textbooks and 25 journal publications, filmed 10 orthopedic instructional videos, and has been a facilitator for over 150 lectures." Still, he better not walk into the O.R. saying "Hi, everybody!"

LJ: He's made me eat crow the past two weeks. But I'm still not a believer. Every RB has thrashed Denver's rush defense (132 YPG against) and the Broncs managed to allow 370 total yards and 33 points to a Chiefs team that's averaged 286 and 16. And keep in mind, LJ was decimated by his Viking ship galley slave-esque workload the last few years and has averaged 26 carries per game since bitching to Herm about being under-used. That'll take its toll again, count on it. Sell high.


Todd Heap: Remember when we all debated Heap vs. Gonzo vs. Gates? Remember when we all watched "Hard Knocks" and fantasized about doing things to Mrs. Heap that are illegal in 37 states? Wait . . . did I write that? Meant to just think that. Flacco looks better than expected, but Heap is obviously no longer a fantasy starter. Not since Fiona Apple have we seen such a rapid decline of an amazing young talent. That's right -- a horribly dated, nonsensical Fiona Apple reference.

Kevin Smith See "Johnson, Rudi."

Rashard Mendenhall: First, he texts the Ravens and tells the Ravens that he had carnal relations with many of their wives and girlfriends. OK, he didn't text that exactly, but he did send a stupid text message saying he was going to kick ass. Then, he celebrates his first career start by running fracturing his shoulder, costing him the rest of the season. Dynasty leaguers hold on. Everyone else, dump away.

Travis Henry: His coke bust was about as predictable as his fathering another child by the time you finish this sentence.

Bryant Johnson: The slot guy always kills in a Martz offense. A healthy slot guy, that is. Johnson, a nice pre-season sleeper, can't stay healthy. And Ike Bruce is the guy there.

Packers D: A rare D/ST entry, but the loss of Al Harris and Cullen Jenkins, and Woodson's broken toe, has reduced a potentially solid D to a droppable one. And with Rodgers possibly out, the Pack might not jump out to huge leads and force opponents to throw so many juicy, interception-worthy passes.

Bengals. All of 'em: Call the ASPCA because this dead horse is not only beaten, it's being processed into Elmer's as we speak. Palmer's injury sounds serious. The likely starter is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who blipped on the fantasy radar with the Rams in 2005 with a 310 yard/3 TD game subbing for Bulger, but is, well, not good. But he's also from Harvard and kinda looks like Matt Damon without the strong DNA, so is he wicked smaahht enough to muster up some fantasy points on this train wreck of a team? Doubtful. As for Chris Perry, well, when you're injury-prone and might be replaced by a drulnk pontoon boat driver, things are grim.

T.O: Eagles fans love the prospect of Owens going flesh-eating virus on a rival franchise. Now he's complaining about not being used enough, even though he had 17 targets to Witten's 10 last Monday night. Only Bowe (46), Brandon Marshall (44), Santana Moss (43) Larry Fitzgerald (40), Reggie Bush (40), Kellen Winslow (38), Antonio Bryant (37), Jason Witten (37) and Eddie Royal (37) have had more targets than Owens' 36. Maybe he heard about Bryant - sing with me now, "One of these things is not like the other" - and flipped out. No need to start formulating trade packages involving T.O. yet, but monitor closely.

Billy Mays: Not a "faller" by any stretch. Quite the opposite. I just shot some parody infomercials with the king himself, Billy Mays. And while I'm not one to hang on the jocks of athletes or celebs (who may or may not wear jocks), Billy was awesome.

Just a regular guy from Pittsburgh - played high school football; dropped out of West Virginia University to work for his father's hazardous-waste trucking company; cut his teeth hawking products under the tutelage of the old-school Atlantic City boardwalk pitch men -- Billy was gracious and tireless, the kinda guy who shook hands and posed for pictures with every member of the production team when the shoot ended, from the director down to the lowliest assistant junior key grip. So I'm glad he's become a multi-millionaire pitching products like Oxi-CleanT (which, incidentally, is great for getting those tough homeless drifter blood stains out of your clothes).

So take lesson from Billy, folks: grow a thick, lustrous black beard, put on a denim shirt and khakis, raise your voice and start hawking those sell-high players!

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