Fantasy Football Trades: How to Strike Up A Deal

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Opinions

Making a trade can be a difficult process. When done successfully, your team can enjoy the benefits from analyzing your strengths and weaknesses. (

Besides people who drive on the road with no sense of direction or purpose and girls who abuse the word “like,” my other biggest pet peeve are those who rip off the less experienced owners of fantasy football teams. The goal is to be like an actual team – trades are so rare to begin with and never as rip-off as those proposed in leagues.

I can understand if someone who is 1-4 or 2-3 at this point making an unbalanced trade because they’re desperate and need to take a risk. As long as it’s somewhat legit. But when people try trading guys who are on IR or just got demoted to become a non-factor, that’s just dumb.

I participate in many leagues yearly. This year, I co-manage a team in my girlfriend’s 8-team family league. Granted my presence may be unofficially known, one of her uncles thought he could pull a fast one on her. Weeks ago, he asked her for Ronnie Brown. In return, he would send her David Akers. Yes, the Philly kicker. For a top 20 running back. We countered with a proposal for Tom Brady, Roddy White, and Jason Witten for our kicker, Dan Carpenter. Shockingly, the deal was declined.

Inspired by the NFL trade deadline approaching next week, I thought it would be a good idea to post ideas about how to execute an effective, balanced trade in fantasy football. Especially as most leagues use the actual NFL date to finalize swapping players, it makes sense to cover this now before it’s too late.

1. Make sure you propose a trade to the right owner: The first key of trading in fantasy is to search the league up and down to find a team that has a player you’re interesting in acquiring but has an obvious void to fill on their roster. For example, if I’m loaded at running back and I need a wide receiver, I look for a guy whose got a WR to spare with no RB depth. It makes no sense to offer a trade to a guy who has 3 awesome running backs if you’re going to offer him a running back in return as the cornerstone of your end of the deal.

2. Try to get a feel for another person’s tendencies: It’s very common to find the guy whose got the lowest waiver wire priority to have a roster loaded with one-hit wonders from a week prior. The same guy that’s probably got Louis Murphy off waivers got Brandon Jackson, Kevin Walter, Shaun Hill, etc. One good game means a pickup for some owners. Keep this in mind when trying to find a partner to trade with. If you happen to obtain one of the one-week stars, try to ship him in the deal as bait.

3. Sell high, buy low: If you have just an alright player and he goes off for a phenomenal week (Matt Forte, Austin Collie, etc.), try to sell him when his stock is the highest, knowing it will be unlikely he repeats that great success. You don’t want to try to sell those guys when they bottom out or move down on the depth chart. The counter argument is to try to trade for players who have great upside but have yet to “go off.” For example, I’m trying to acquire Marcus Colston from one of my uncles in a league for either Ronnie Brown or an injured, uninvolved Knowsean Moreno when he returns to playing. I need a 3rd WR and have a plethora of decent backs. This move looks even, but Colston is set to go off very soon as the Saints need to return to throwing first, running second.

4. Make a strong opening offer and get ready to go back and forth: Don’t make a lopsided opening offer and insult the person you’re talking to. I like to inform the owner I’m trying to trade with that I’m interested in a certain player and then make an opening offer that obviously favors me. Similar to selling a house on the real estate market, always start too high and work your way down. Try to make the offer balanced but favorable and see if you can’t “dumb” it down as the negotiations continue. Just make sure it doesn’t end up becoming a rip-off for you.

5. Try to sell out your bench for impact starters: Bench players earn ZERO points, so why have them? I’m much more content having all impact players than a balanced roster. Trade your best bench players for someone you can use week in and out. Bye weeks make this difficult, but smart draft day selections should help ease this process.

6. Never insult the tradee – don’t burn a bridge: Once you make a successful trade, make sure you talk with that owner as the season goes on whether you or him ended up reaping the most benefits. Nothing is a guarantee, especially in a hard-hitting sport like the NFL. You can make a great trade and your new superstar could go on IR the next week. Keep all your connections open.


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