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TDS Community Special: The Trade-Maker with Milner M95

Here at The Draft Society we’ve always said that what makes the draft game different is the community that is has fostered. It’s all love, baby. The support we get from each and every one of you every day of every week is beyond anything we could ever have imagined when we founded back in March of 2021. And whilst we’ll never be able to thank you all enough for this, we hope that we can give a little something back in the best way we know how: the Community Special.

Each week the_innergeek will write up a personalised article for the league of one lucky winner. It’s your call on the topic. Whether it’s a Trade-Maker Special, a Gameweek Preview, or The Crystal Ball Breakdown, the Inner Geek has you covered. A word of warning, though: no punches will be pulled when the Inner Geek gets to work! This week’s winner is Milner M95, who chose to have their league’s rosters analysed and some trades proposed by the Inner Geek. A fair, honest, and impartial third party, think of the Inner Geek as everything that Mina Raiola is not. So Milner, are you and your rivals ready?

Whilst this article will aim to provide some legitimate trade suggestions for this specific league, it is very likely that you will be able to take some of the insights and advice and apply them to your own teams. And if not, well, you can always enter next time to try and get a personalised article for your own league. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and keep an eye out on Sunday evenings when the advertising post will go live.

Note: Numbers in brackets indicate the player’s position in our recent Consensus Ranks, published on Tuesday September 7th.

The Rosters

1. Mane on a Mission trade Matthew Cash (79) and Leandro Trossard (82) to Carlos Chino Terriers for Luke Shaw (29) and Kelechi Iheanacho (105)

This is a very good roster put together by Mane on a Mission, and some managers in that position would avoid making a trade for fear of messing things up. But those managers don’t win championships. This is the time to capitalize and Mane on a Mission can do this by downgrading Leandro Trossard to Kelechi Iheanacho and upgrading Matthew Cash to Luke Shaw. Losing out on Trossard hurts – the Brighton man will come good sooner rather than later – but they can afford to lose one of their seven midfielders because they’ll almost always play a 343 given their embarrassment of riches up top. And Iheanacho is a nice little backup to have in store in case Trincao fades or gets tired, or, heaven forbid, CR7 or Mane get injured. Kelechi will get his chance at some point in the season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take it like he did last season when he had 9 double-digit returns in the final 12 games of the season.

Carlos Chino Terriers could do with a midfielder – particularly one with a higher ceiling than their current crop of “steady Eddie’s” – and Trossard fits the bill here. Offloading 5th choice forward Iheanacho in exchange is a no-brainer. The downgrade for them comes in defence, but a couple of things here: first, I was much lower on Shaw than the rest of my fellow TDS writers – so I’m not sure the gap between the United left-back and the Villa right-back is as great as the consensus ranks suggest. And second, to say Shaw’s start to the season is a slow one would be being very generous, and you could easily argue that last season’s 10.3 FP/G was an aberration rather than the new norm. This trade gives Carlos Chino Terriers a much needed bit of bang in midfield and gives Mane on a Mission a more balanced – and therefore better – roster. There’s no loser in this one.

2. Dynamo Chicken Kiev trade Andrew Robertson (25) and Hakim Ziyech (103) to Willian $ Baby for Jannik Vestergaard (147) and Phil Foden (22)

Manchester City assets are a frustrating bunch – capable of putting up big numbers pretty much every week, but also equally likely to sit out entirely courtesy of Pep Roulette. Dynamo Chicken Kiev has arguably three of the worst for this in Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus, and Ferran Torres. Avoiding them all together is one way around this (see number 10 on this Trade-Maker list) but you can also try and cover yourself. Acquiring Phil Foden – a guy that will probably play Jesus’ right wing role, alongside others – does just that. Foden has fallen 8 spots in the TDS ranks but that will be almost entirely injury-related. The guy is an absolute baller – he finished with the 3rd highest % of Q90 starts in the league last season (for those of you unfamiliar, this is the next big metric in draft fantasy, courtesy of those wizards at OverThinkingFootball) – and is guaranteed to improve a very average looking midfield for Dynamo.

All of these reasons are probably why Willian $ Baby actually own Foden (they have Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva also on the roster), and swapping Foden for Ziyech is not ideal in anyone’s book. But Ziyech will get his chances (Tuchel has become as bad a Pep for rotation) and when he does he could have a Mahrez-type fantasy impact. In an improved Chelsea team now with a forward who can score Premier League goals, Ziyech could easily put up 15+ pointers every time he starts…it’s just that this may not be that often. But hey, that’s what benches are for. More importantly, though, this trade improves Willian $’s defence, which, let’s be honest, is pretty dire. Andrew Robertson will fix that and bring some reliability to a defence that is fairly clean sheet dependent.

Dynamo Chicken will be okay defensively without the Liverpool left back and get to improve a midfield that is basically just Soucek and Gundogan. Willian $ bring in a top-drawer defender that makes them far more comfortable if they need to play a 4 (or even a 5!) at the back…something they may need to do from time to time, given the lack of depth on their roster. Done deal.

3. Shed Eleven trade Jarrod Bowen (62) to Trust Le Process for Nicolas Pepe (66)

Rumour has it that Shed Eleven’s trade strategy is like Arsenal’s goal of the month competition: non-existent. This is a shame, particularly when the roster is as god-awful as this one is. Patrick Bamford as the number one forward has wooden spoon written all over it. So how to fix this mess? Well, the first step is to swap Jarrod Bowen for Nicolas Pepe. This weakens the midfield, of course, but Raphinha and McNeil can carry that area more than Bamford can carry the attack on his own. Bowen and Pepe had very similar FP/G’s last season (7.4 and 7.5, respectively) and are likely to have similar numbers again this year – hence the consensus ranks.

Trust Le Process’s roster is hardly any better, but they do have Jamie Vardy up top, as well as Wilfried Zaha. Bertrand Traore provides a nice option too when he starts, so losing Pepe can be tolerated if it means adding in Jarrod Bowen. The current five midfield options are okay, but when Havertz is benched, it’s all defensive/box-to-box – and there’s nothing exciting about that, nor is there much boom potential. A bit of Bowen would fit in nicely.

An alternative, or perhaps additional trade between these two could be Harvey Elliott for Bertrand Traore. Again, this serves the function of improving Shed Eleven’s forward contingent whilst adding in some bang to Trust Le Process’ midfield. It’s a trade with the potential to end up very lopsided…but both ways. If Elliott nails down his place in the Liverpool team, he could be the attacking midfielder that Liverpool have missed for the last 14 months (as well as taking over some set piece duties!), whilst Bertrand Traore is one injury away from being a starter for what looks a decent and attacking Aston Villa side. Neither may happen, but it’s a trade that would be tempting from both sides.

*Zaha is an interesting one. Ideally you ship him out, but his value is probably at rock bottom right now. And the fact that he almost always starts and plays 90 minutes means that if you own him, you probably do start him – even if he is currently doing his best to show that last season’s disappointing production can be topped.

4. Flying Without Ings trade Dominic Calvert-Lewin (15) to Bielsalona for Reece James (31) and Mason Greenwood (67)

It’s absolutely criminal to be holding six defenders on a roster, so getting rid of one is the name of the game for Bielsalona. Unfortunately for them, five of the six have absolutely zero trade value, so it’s going to have to be Chelsea’s Reece James that makes way. I like the midfield options, even though it’s all boom-or-bust* and whilst the forward four is nice too, it’s here where I would upgrade. Trading for Dominic Calvert-Lewin immediately strengthens it – which will be important when Brentford and Watford face difficult matchups. I’m still high on Greenwood, despite Ronaldo’s arrival (I had him at 43 in my ranks), but he’s still the 3rd/4th choice forward on this roster.

What’s the benefit of this trade to Flying Without Ings? Well, the improvement in defence is obvious. With Timothy Castagne’s place in Leicester’s starting 11 looking precarious and Mason Holgate likely to return to Mason Holgate numbers imminently, having Reece James in there fills a need. DCL is one of six forwards on the roster, and whilst he’s the best of the bunch, the other five are all solid – enough so that I think you can play the matchups each weekend and not really lose to much from letting the Everton man go. I think building around a Jimenez, Bailey, Armstrong, and Greenwood front four would put this roster in a very strong position going forwards. Now, if they could then find a way to get a premium midfielder in for Demarai Gray and/or Christian Benteke, we could be talking about a potential championship…

*I don’t normally advise same position trades, but Bielsalona could certainly look to Carlos Chino Terriers or Trust Le Process to maybe swap some explosiveness for reliability…Dan James for Stuart Dallas, perhaps?

5. Kempy’s Not Starting XI trade James Maddison (41) and Rodrigo (95)/Sergi Canos (99) to Napoliard for Aaron Cresswell (68) and Christian Pulisic (77)/Andros Townsend (80)

Like Bielsalona, Napoliard have somehow found themselves in the position of holding six defenders – an inexcusable strategy in the world of fantasy football. Unlike Bielsalona, the defenders being held are actually quite good, and so this time we are going to offload Aaron Cresswell as part of a package to bring in James Maddison plus either Rodrigo or Sergi Canos. With five others to choose from, there should be no loss in seeing Cresswell exit, yet a lot of excitement in bringing in Canos or Rodrigo. Rodrigo’s place is under threat from the arrival of Dan James at Elland Road, but he flashed moments of brilliance (and fantasy productiveness) last season and if he can do so again then he would make a decent 3rd forward (4th when Rashford returns) for Napoliard. Canos hasn’t done much since his blistering 22-point start to the season against Arsenal, but he looks locked in as a 90-minute man for Brentford – a nice positive for a side looking for another forward.

The big name, of course, is James Maddison, who is rivalling Luke Shaw and Harvey Barnes for the title of ‘most underwhelming start to the season’. It was only 12 months ago that pundits were debating who was better: Maddison, Foden, or Grealish. Now that question is laughable. But the Leicester man might just be recovering from his injury still. He’s had FP/G’s of 12.7 (2018-19) and 12.3 (2019-20) and was on track for 11.8 before the hip injury back in February. His future is anyone’s guess, and you could just as easily see him returning to former glories as you can see him drifting into the Aubameyang-inspired obscurity.

For Kempy’s Not Starting XI, this trade may well hinge on the status of Seamus Coleman. If the Everton right back’s hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared, then improving the defence may not be necessary – at least not at the expense of Maddison plus Rodrigo/Canos. But if Coleman is out for an extended period, then this makes a lot of sense. Christian Pulisic and Andros Townsend are both players who will likely start just 15-20 games this season, but when they do, you would back them to drop a 10+ pointer. Yes, the rotation risk is inconvenient, but it’s also quite fun – if you’ve got a full 11 of guaranteed starters then what have you got to do at 2pm on a Saturday when the lineups are announced? Nothing – and that’s boring. Let Maddison and Canos go, take Creswell and Pulisic. Improve the defence and add a bit of spice to the midfield. For Napoliard, you’re getting a much needed 4th forward, and the potential upside of James Maddison.

6. Mane on a Mission trade Stuart Armstrong (102) to Flying Without Ings for Demarai Gray (89)

A nice and simple one here, with Stuart Armstrong heading over to Flying Without Ings and Demarai Gray going to Mane on a Mission. A look at the rosters should tell you all you need to know about this one: six forwards for Flying Without Ings and three forwards for Mane on a Mission. Why not make that five and four? That’s much more reasonable. What’s more, neither player currently gets into their respective fantasy side, with Armstrong probably fifth choice at Mane on a Mission (in a team playing 343 or 433) and Gray probably 6th choice at Flying Without Ings. Admittedly, Gray still doesn’t get into the starting 11 after this trade, but he’s a helluva first choice backup. I don’t think much else is needed here – trades don’t come any more straightforward than this one. I guess one final benefit is that Amstrong’s move to Flying Without Ings would mean both Stuart and Adam are on the same roster…if they can then get hold of Ashley Barnes we could be set up for all sorts of confusion, and everyone likes that.

7. DC United trade Riyad Mahrez (21) and Pascal Gross (37) to Willian $ Baby for Adama Traore (10)

Adama Traore ends the season as a top 5 fantasy asset – you heard it here first. Acquiring him gives DC United the best one-two punch in the league with Salah alongside him up top. And with Said Benrahama and Che Adams as the 3rd and 4th choice, you have a forward line that can carry the mediocre midfield and defence. With that said, why would Willian $ Baby let go of a man who’s scored 18, 21.5, and 20 in three games despite not scoring or assisting once? Because it strengthens the overall roster, that’s why. Willian $ Baby currently own Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and Bernardo Silva and adding Riyad Mahrez into the mix increases the security that you’re going to get 1 or 2 of them starting – and when they start, Manchester City assets almost always make it worth it. On the occasions that Mahrez doesn’t start, the side can still put out Danny Ings and Emmanuel Dennis – potentially Odsonne Edouard or Timo Werner too – so it’s not like they will struggle in that area.

The clincher, though, is getting Pascal Gross in the deal. The Brighton man has had a fine start to the season, with 2 assists and 44.5 points scored and is needed at a side that can only really count on McGinn plus one of the City contingent as guaranteed starters. On the flip side, DC United would surely like to keep Gross, but with Solly March/Marc Cucurella and Shane Duffy already on board, losing a bit of reliance on Brighton may not be the worst thing.

8. Harrisonians trade Emile Smith Rowe (83) and Roberto Firmino (56) to Kempy’s Not Starting XI for James Maddison (41) and Alexandre Lacazette (128)

Another trade suggestion involving James Maddison and it probably shows how the Leicester man is sitting in a place of purgatory at the moment – some managers may see a former undisputed 2nd rounder capable of returning to those lofty heights, others may see a disgruntled midfielder, pining for a move away and not fully recovered from previous injuries. Anyone that says they know for sure which one is right is lying. This is essentially a mid-fwd for mid-fwd deal, but with the stronger player (at least according to our Consensus Ranks) being different on each side. Bringing Smith Rowe over to Kempy’s Not Starting XI is logical too. He is probably a less frustrating player to own if nothing else. And whilst we’ve yet to see him produce big fantasy points, anyone who has watched him will tell you that he passes the eye test with ease*.

What I love about this trade, though, is that it sends Firmino over to the Diogo Jota owner, and it sends Lacazette over to the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang owner. I’m not a big advocate of the handcuff strategy, but when one falls into your lap like this then it’s a nice little bonus for both sides. Alexandre Lacazette looks set to depart Arsenal at the end of the season. He may even go in January. But it’s almost certain that he will get his chances to start in the time between then – Arsenal’s squad is just not good enough to avoid it. In fact, if Arteta does the unthinkable and actually puts his best players on the pitch, then there’s a chance that he and Auba may both start! And in Lacazette’s last six starts for the club, he’s scored 13 or more points on four occasions – that’ll do nicely. Kempy’s situation here is far more secure. Firmino is definitely going to get game-time – there’s no question there. And therefore having a Harry Kane plus guaranteed Liverpool forward front line should be a very enticing opportunity. And again, there are times when the two may even play together – Klopp has tried this on a number of occasions. A two-way handcuff trade is on offer here – make it happen!

*An alternative suggestion to Emile Smith Rowe in this trade is Wilfred Ndidi (Consensus Rank of 85). For me, there is very little to choose between the two, and it should come down to whether Harrisonians mind/want to have a potential Leicester midfield stack of Ndidi, Lookman, and Maddison.

9. Carlos Chino Terriers trade Ruben Neves (108) to Mane on a Mission for Stuart Armstrong (102)

I said earlier that Carlos Chino Terriers need a bit more explosiveness in midfield, and whilst we’re not exactly going from Wright Brothers to Concorde here, we’re at least getting a bit more oomph with the move from Neves to Armstrong. (Side note: for anyone wondering about these sorts of numbers, check out the brilliant ‘Useful Draft Metrics’ page here and scroll across to ‘Ceiling’ and ‘Floor’ – you can see that whilst Neves and Armstrong had identical points per starts of 8.9, the Southampton man has a ceiling a full point higher than his Wolves counterpart). Explosiveness, boom potential, ceiling, whatever you want to call it, it’s not that much of an issue for Mane on a Mission. With Allan Saint-Maximin, Leandro Trossard, and Michael Olise as midfield options a bit of reliability would actually be quite well received. It’s true that Ruben Neves’ place in the Wolves side is far more secure than Armstrong’s is at Southampton, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue for Carlos Chino Terriers. They will often need to only field four in midfield, and with Declan Rice, Youri Tielemans, and one of N’Golo Kante or Jorginho almost always assured of starting, then the occasional benching can easily be navigated. Again, this is a trade that’s win-win for both sides…the Terriers will just need to make sure they act fast otherwise Flying Without Ings may swoop in and take Armstrong before them.

10. Shed Eleven trade Ben Chilwell (57) and Patrick Bamford (45) to Dynamo Chicken Kiev for Ferran Torres (61) and Gabriel Jesus (42)

Last but not least we have another trade for the reluctant Shed Eleven – if they turn down this one then I’m retiring. Here they should trade away Ben Chilwell – a man with exactly zero minutes played this season despite having no injuries – and Patrick Bamford – a man who made the Andorran centre-backs look like Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta on Sunday night – for Manchester City superstars Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus. Make the trade.

But in all seriousness, this trade once again suits both parties. Chilwell joining Dynamo Chicken Kiev allows them to have arguably the only reliably productive and necessary handcuff in the Premier League – last season the two combined for 422.75 points – far more than the highest scoring defender in the league (Trent Alexander-Arnold at 396.75). In addition, they get Patrick Bamford – starter of 40 of Leeds’ 41 Premier League games since their return – providing a sense of certainty that is currently lacking in a roster that contains Steven Bergwijn, Saul Niguez, Hakim Ziyech, Ilkay Gundogan, Fred, and Mohamed Elyounoussi.

In return, Shed Eleven get a legitimate forward line. Patrick Bamford is an okay number two (which is what he’ll be at Dynamo), but he is not a number one. Bryan Mbeumo, Danny Welbeck, and Edinson Cavani don’t even get numbers – they should be free agent material. Whereas the arrival of Torres and Jesus make this forward group…well, not great…but definitely far less embarrassing. The City forwards have already scored 39.5 and 51.5 points, respectively, this season, and whilst their hot start won’t remain at this pace forever, it is still a great sign for owners that this season could be one where these two make the leap. Everyone’s a winner.

So there we have it. The Trade-Maker's suggestions for Milner M95's league courtesy of The Inner Geek. Some food for thoughts for all managers and hopefully enough to kick-start a few negotiations at the very least! If you want a Community Special article written about YOUR league – whether it’s a Gameweek Preview, a Trade-Maker Special, or The Crystal Ball Breakdown – then make sure you follow The Draft Society on Twitter and keep an eye out on Sunday evenings when the advertising post will go live.

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