Brain and Braun is an article written by two self-proclaimed experts on tailgating, Spaghetti Westerns, and Fantasy Football; Tom Braun (the Braun) and Chris Dolfi (the Brain). This is normally the part where we share with you the magazines, radio stations, and expert leagues we’ve played in…we won’t waste your time. Bottom line, when it comes to Fantasy Football, let us share the idiot mistakes we’ve witnessed (and made) in the past, and throw in some of the info that has worked for us.
The following is a conversation that actually took place at 5:16 PM, this past Wednesday, documented for you. (None of the names have been changed to protect anyone…like any good Hollywood tramp, they figure any publicity is good publicity.)
Braun: Dolf, Last time I talked to you, I asked you about possible opportunities to trade opportunities…
Dolfi: Yea, are you going to trade me any of those guys who you pummeled me with last week…maybe Ladanian Tomlinson is too heavy on your roster.
Braun: Yea…I’ll trade ya’ LT for your girlfriend….no wait, you’d probably take me up on that. To get LT off me, you’d have to be able to sell ice to an Eskimo.
Dolfi: You want it in 5 pound bags or 10 pound bags?
Braun: (laughter) Save yer’ breath, man. Seriously the real question I wanted to ask you was about trading in general.
Dolfi: Fire away.
Braun: Ok, I know that in many fantasy leagues, just like in real football, there aren’t often a whole lot of trades. Is there a way the commish, or even just an owner, can generate more trading? I mean draft day is often a big day socially, but after that there is usually a big drop off in activity in a lot of leagues.
Dolfi: Well….I’ve been asked this many times before, and there’s actually two questions there. The first question is: ‘What can my league do to promote more trading?’, and the second question is: ‘What can I do as an owner to make more trades happen?’
Braun: OK, I’ll bite…what can my league do to promote more trading?
Dolfi: There is plenty a league can do to encourage trading amongst its members. Some leagues like to make their rosters much larger…say carry 25 people instead of 16 or 18.
Braun: Yea, but wouldn’t that stifle trading having more players on a roster?
Dolfi: While it seems like increasing roster sizes would stifle trading, I haven’t found that to bear out in the real world. Usually smaller rosters stifle trading, as people don’t bother to trade, but would rather grab one of the good players available on the waiver wire. In a league with larger rosters it IS possible for someone who got really lucky picking players to be so deep that they won’t need to trade. But more often, players will find that they still have a hole somewhere, and they can’t just grab someone off the waiver wire – because there isn’t anyone worth grabbing. So when that stud RB goes down to injury, it is going to force you to look for a trade, rather than scour off the waiver wire.
Braun: Yea…but are you saying that even with those larger rosters they wouldn’t have enough depth and they’d have to go searching for a trade?
Dolfi: Take a look at a roster of 25 people…you’re gonna’ find that only the first 18 or 20 are normally worth anything anyway. So even if one of your top RBs goes down, you’re going to have to find guys wanting to trade, rather than go for that 5th or 6th RB on your roster that rarely sees the field, let alone the ball.
Braun: I hate admit it, but that makes sense……now that is one thing a league can do to promote trading…..is there anything else a commish can do? And keep in mind; some leagues are so rabid to entice trading they might want to do everything short of forcing trades…
Dolfi: Sure….there is always drastic things, and more subtle things…..
Braun: I tried the drastic approach one year; I didn’t get the trade and only ended up with a restraining order and an assault collar.
Dolfi: (laughter) Ouch! Yea, that might have been just a tad TOO drastic…
Braun: Ok, smart guy, give me give me an example of each.
Dolfi: A ‘drastic’ approach, but one I’m not a big fan of, is allowing people to trade players for money.
Braun: You mean ‘money’ money?
Braun: Like cash? Moola? Scratch? Greenbacks?
Dolfi: (laughter) Yes.
Braun: I’m not done yet… Coin? Sheckles? Benjamins?
Dolfi: (laughter) Stop already! Yes – that will definitely get you some trades because there will always be a guy willing to pay you $25 or $50 for that player who’s going to make his team that much more likely to win $1000 at the end of the season.
Braun: That’s also a good way to encourage guys to quit a league. Not to mention encouraging loan-sharking, organized crime, and several other possible felonies.
Dolfi: Agreed…this is why I’ve never been a fan of the ‘drastic’ approach. Drastic measures tend to polarize a league.
Braun: Polar-ize? You gonna’ try and sell me more ice now?
Dolfi: (laughter) No, no. Just saying if you use drastic measures to force trades, you’ll likely force some people right out of your league.
Braun: OK. So give me the subtle ‘velvet hammer’ approach…
Dolfi: A more subtle way of doing the same thing is like this; most leagues charge some fee for a transaction anyway, so make each member pay a non-refundable transaction fee deposit. For example, maybe it’s a $100 buy into your league, but you collect $120 from each team – setting up a $20 (non-refundable) fee pool that their first transactions will be drawn from.
Braun: So you collect the fees upfront
Dolfi: Yea…they pay that non-refundable deposit when they pay their league fees. Then every time they make a transaction, the money comes out of that $20, until they go over the $20, and then you just collect the overage. That way, since they aren’t going to get that money back, people are much more likely to make trades so they feel like that money is going for nothing.
Braun: Ok now hold on…..all of those involve cash. In a simple non-cash league, (stop laughing, you know there are some out there), can you think of a way to promote trades under those conditions?
Dolfi: It certainly is harder when you don’t have the lure of money to entice people to trade. But there are still some things you can do.
Braun: Name one.
Dolfi: For example, some keeper leagues may force you to give up a pick in your draft commensurate with where you picked a player in the previous year’s draft. In other words, if you drafted Hines Ward in the 4th round last year and want to keep him, you give up a 4th round pick this year. But, traded players that are kept get some standard draft position……..say a 7th rounder…..that means that the guy who has Hines Ward, may want to make a trade with the guy who has Tory Holt since he would only have to give up a 6th rounder to keep Holt (who he acquired through a trade), rather than the 4th rounder for Ward.
Braun: Sounds complicated……but I certainly see how that would promote a trade.
Dolfi: I just skimmed the surface, but if you put a little thought into it, there are lots of ways to entice people to trade to your league, and we all know it adds a lot more fun, but really there is only so much a ‘league’ to get owners to trade. Its more likely that owners will get owners to trade.
Braun: Right. That brings up the second question you mentioned, ‘What can an owner do to promote trades in his league?’
Dolfi: Well….trading from an owner’s perspective is more of an art than anything else. But you’ve just about used up all my cell phone minutes this week, so I think I’ll have to answer the second question next week.
Braun: (laughter) You mean to tell me a genius like you doesn’t have unlimited calling?
Dolfi: I thought about getting that, but then I realized I’d have to talk to you more often.
Braun: What the heck, he didn’t even say the tag line…
Dolfi: And you can take THAT to the bank…