Talking Fantasy Football Trades: Part 1

Once you think you know what’s going to happen, checked the waiver wire, and reflected on the season thus far, it’s time to think about making your fantasy team better. Andrew Jordan works through how to do that with a strategy for trades.

Fantasy football is an odd monster. Writers and analysts work tirelessly in the offseason to create beautiful and informative pieces that have great overarching themes. The largest ones involve roster construction: Zero RB, Late Round QB, and Value Based Drafting are the headliners, all of which help give owners a unique way to approach their draft. These pieces take the long view, helping you win in Week 1 and Week 10 alike. Once Week 1 rolls around though, the perpetual two minute drill to get a piece completed begins. The long view might not vanish, but it shrinks in favor of optimizing one’s current lineup for the week at hand.

There is one in-season topic that holds the same long view we were all concerned with just a couple of months ago: Trading. Fantasy trades are seldom made for a one week advantage. A case could be made for trading as the most enjoyable in-season aspect of fantasy football. Two teams believe they got the better end of the deal and the promise of what is to come from a player or players will never be brighter. Considering the importance of trading to fantasy football it is odd that we don’t highlight who you should be trading with, or the steps to really make the most out of your trades.

Before you examine the bounty that is the rosters of your league mates, you need to know what you need. Where do you have a surplus of talent? Where are your deficits? Who could be part of a package deal? Taking a critical assessment of your roster from the top down is a crucial part of fantasy trading because knowing the true value of your players prevents you from accepting lowball offers. You also need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Who on your bench does not have a legitimate shot at starting in your lineup unless things go horribly wrong? Find these, and any other players you’re wary to start and nail down if they have any trade value.

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People You Already Talk To

Now that you know what you have, it is time to look at who you can open up trade talks with. Mark in the next cubicle next door, the Joan from accounting, Sam, your in-league nemesis that you get lunch with on Mondays and Fridays, all of these people have the rosters you should be looking at first. Trading is easier when you have a good rapport with your trade partner. “Hey great stuff on that TPS Report, oh and by the way how attached are you to Lamar Miller?” Having face to face conversations makes working in fantasy negotiations at the end of chats simple and often times leads to deals getting done quickly. Yes, you will need to be a little more on your toes with these negotiations but in the long run, doing things face to face always helps.

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Owners That Have Been Hit By Injuries

You know that owner who started the draft taking Keenan Allen, Doug Martin, Donte Moncrief? They are dying to compete again! Find your top bench option or a flex player you think you could live without and open up some talks. This is where you look for those package deals, moving two or three of your players for their top option and a mid-upside bench player. Someone who is trying to salvage their season will deal a top option if it means they don’t have to start a flex they hate week in and week out. If you happen to be the owner of one of those teams it is then decision time. Are you so enamored with having Allen Robinson that you’re also willing to start Tavon Austin in your flex spot and Orleans Darkwa as your only viable RB2?

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Owners With Disappointing Starts

This is where the “points for” stat is a huge help. Is there a 1-4 team that somehow has the third most points in the league? These teams are either facing a logjam of talent that has suffered heartbreaking losses or they have enjoyed banner days from players who have not had a good game since. If we are dealing with the former, there is a good chance that, despite the talent they have, they’re becoming frustrated with their win total. Often times these owners are willing to make a move, any move, to feel more in control of their team and its results. Maybe they want to move a talented running back just to infuse a new wide receiver into their team, or maybe they want to deal their flex player for a shiny new quarterback or tight end. The tinkering is inevitable so why not be the one to help them?

Here are a quick couple things to never do when it comes to trades: Do not trash the team of the owner you are talking to. There is need to “neg” them, you are not a pickup artist and if you were, well that would be sad. Maybe the biggest “no” when it comes to trades is vetoing. Do not ever veto a trade. And yes, I know, collusion is the exception. Beyond that, do not try to run another team; if a trade happened that you don’t like, maybe you should have made one of those teams a better offer.

This is all just one part of trading, the very first step. Later in the week I will have a trade targets and trade bait piece, but finding out who you can talk terms with is half the battle. As far as the types of players to look at, there are no unexplored areas. I look for the ones that got away on draft day. Maybe you liked something Doug Moore had to say in a Bold Prediction piece, or Sharona made a point you liked planning out her DFS lineup. The possibilities are entirely up to you.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @The_ATJ. Check out Andrew’s article on key to running back handcuffs.

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