One of the most exciting events in a fantasy football season is a trade. More so if it’s a trade with which you’re involved. Trades give owners a way to bolster a position of weakness, cover up a draft mistake, or in the case of a dynasty league, make a push for a championship at the expense of the future. A good trade is entirely subjective and nearly impossible to quantify, since your goal at the end of the trade can be wildly different each time. Additionally, what your trade partner is looking to get out of the deal can often also be wildly different each time. Realizing exactly what your needs and your trade partner’s needs are, can be the single biggest factor in getting a deal done. The trick is to get that deal done and give up the least necessary amount to do it. For the purposes of this initial article we will be focusing on some common types of trades, why you’d want to be involved with one, and how to approach them.
Leveling Out A Position Strength
As you analyze your fantasy team you’ll likely notice that there is position at which you feel very strong. You’re equally likely to notice that you have a position that isn’t going to perform very strongly from week to week. As you look at the other rosters in your league you’ll see that many of them are in a similar position. These are the bread and butter of fantasy trades. Each of you fill a need and have a more consistent team from week to week.
You’re likely to get a pretty fair deal in this scenario. You won’t get something for nothing but you’ll usually be able to complete this without overpaying.
Your team may more consistent but you give up the ability to have a position you could pretty much set and forget.
Be open with your trade partner about who you are willing to give up and who they are willing to deal. Players will often be slightly different in terms of fantasy value. In dynasty leagues, this is where your mid-to-late round draft picks become useful tools. Giving one up or asking for one is a great and easy way to level out the trade. If your position of strength is at quarterback or tight end, you are going to get a lot less back for what you are giving up. This works both ways though, as you can often get a good quarterback or a starting level tight end for a mid-level wide receiver or running back. In Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, defenders will often carry less value even at similar point totals because the defensive player market is far more volatile. If you pick the least valuable player at the position you need that you still feel would be a serviceable player for you, you can often get them for less than normal market value. Lastly, don’t offer your Mike Wallace for their Ezekiel Elliott. This just insults the other person and lets them know not to waste their time with you, as your respective player values will probably not match up.
Everyone has looked at a draft pick shortly after completion and thought “I’ve made a huge mistake.” In dynasty leagues a player who has been a starter for years, possibly an anchor of your team, is just flat out old, and you want to get something for him before he signs his retirement papers *cough* Frank Gore and Larry Fitzgerald *cough*. If there’s no question in your mind that you don’t want this person taking up a roster space for you this year it’s time to attempt the jettison.
You can get something for a player you didn’t want, or future draft picks or backup depth for an aging player who might have another year or two in them before riding into the sunset … otherwise known as ESPN.
You’ll never get fair market value for a guy you just need to dump unless you know someone in your league is a super fan of theirs. For older players, you’re going to be in contact with a lot of league mates to find someone willing to take on your geriatric guy on the cheap.
Almost every player in the league has an owner out there who values that guy more than you do. Maybe you are done trying to get a stretch of three consecutive weeks out of Sammy Watkins. It won’t be too hard to find another owner who hasn’t lived his injury nightmare and just sees Buffalo’s WR1. Once you lock down a target owner, you can usually get close to market value. Again, a mid-round pick or a backup player to that owner in addition to your player might entice them to ignore the issues that you don’t think you can live with anymore. For older players, you have to decide what player/pick you could get for them that will be worth giving away their last years of usefulness. A guy like Frank Gore still put up close to 1,000 yards in the twilight of his career, but he’s not likely to continue to do that. If you can get a mid-to-late third-round rookie pick from an owner who thinks he has a shot at the title this year then take it and run. Someone like Larry Fitzgerald however, led the league in receptions last year despite getting up in years. Even though he is likely to retire after this season, it’s not unreasonable to seek a late second-round rookie draft pick from someone desperate for wide receiver help now. The level of compensation you’re willing to take will determine if and when you’ll be able to deal your unwanted asset.