September 24, 2010

The Art of the Fantasy Football Trade

The season has started. Your roster is set for week 3. But maybe you don't really like what you're looking at. There's only going to be 4 or 5 worthwhile waiver wire pickups from here on out, so whats a manager to do. Well, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, "No [fantasy team] was ever ruined by trade". Ok, maybe I took a little liberty with how I translated the word "nation", but the idea remains the same. As long as you make a beneficial trade, your team will only get better. Of course, in trade between nations, the benefits are explicit, whereas fantasy value is strictly speculative. But that's all the fun in this game. Do you have faith in a player that everyone has written off, jump on it. Capitalize. Its the American way. So, without further ado let me tell you a few tips on how to make a great trade.

Make a high offer:
There's no harm to be done if you ask for a little too much. I mean, best case scenario they say yes and you get a great deal. Wost case, they say no and you can start the negotiations.

...but not too high:
Throwing out an offer to test the waters is one thing, but trying to convince another owner to give you Peyton Manning for Rashad Jennings will get you nowhere. Even if the other owner is interested in picking up a handcuff for MJD, asking for an exorbitant amount of value will cause them to toss aside any offers you make in the future.

Include a note:
Trading is like sales. You need to convince the owner that they need what you have, and they don't need what they're giving up. If you solely send out an offer with no explanation, your trademate can sit back and think of all the reasons they do or do not want to do the deal. If you tell them why, that will be the most powerful thought in their head, and push them into doing the deal if they are on the fence.

Beware of the bye:
If you read my draft day tips article, this is probably a familiar sight. However, just because a few weeks have passed doesn't mean you can take your eye off the bye. If anything, it should be one of the first things you check for about the players you are dealing for. It would be a travesty to deal for a great RB2 only to find out that both will be resting week 10, a key match-up with a division rival. Of course, the bye can be a positive as well. If you manage to trade for a player with a week 7 bye for a replacement with a week 4 bye in week 7, you just got an entire week's production out of what should be similar talents.

Pull the trigger:
That sentence should have been preceded by "If it feels right," but that seemed like a clunky section title. This is probably the best piece of advice I can give though. If you have an overwhelming feeling telling you to do the deal, go for it. Don't let your mind try to talk yourself out of doing a good deal.

With all of that said, trading is still an art that depends on talent recognition. As long as you can pick out guys who other owners might be down on, or might not necessarily need as much as a player that you have, you will be successful in fantasy. So go out into your league, look at the rosters and diagnose who you think you can get. After that, its a whole 'nother game to play.