Brain and Braun is an article written by two self-proclaimed experts on 80’s music, Three Card Monte, 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 9:27 PM, this past Monday night during the Saints / Falcons game, 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: So Dolf….last week we talked about how to promote trading as a commissioner in a league….this week, we wanted to speak about ways you can promote trading as an owner, outside of washing cars and buying cases of good beer.
Dolfi: Sounds like a great idea… what time will you be over to drop off the beer? I’ll have the car and the hose out front for you.
Braun: I’ve seen your team… you’d better stock up on Natty Light and quarters for the Suds n’ Go.
Braun: Seriously, though… what can owners do to make more trades happen in their leagues, or at least have more trades happen for them?
Dolfi: Well, making trades as an owner is more of an art than a science.
Braun: Lay it on me Davinci.
Dolfi: You need to:
1) Understand the climate of your league.
2) Understand the other owners with whom you want to trade.
3) Understand the value of the traded player in your league.
4) Understand what you want to get out of a trade.
5) Understand that as much as you want to screw some guy, and get some amazing player for nothing, that’s NOT the way to make a good trade.
Braun: Ok, you said quite a bit there, but before we get into all of that, let me be honest with you for a second.
Braun: For being the ‘brain’, you used the word “understand” more than I ever have in a single sentence; and a run-on sentence at that. And do you always have to make everything so darn complicated? I’m sick of your making mountains out molehills…..can’t you simply that a bit?
Dolfi: (laughter) Alright, alright. In a nutshell…hmm…I don’t how to simply it. Bottom line, there are a lot of considerations at play, and you can’t overlook any of them or you’re less likely to make that trade you’ve been dreaming about.
Braun: Ok…let me start with this. When you say “understand” the climate and owners you want to trade with, give me an example of what to look for?
Dolfi: Did you just use air quotes when you said “understand”? I swear I almost heard them.
Braun: Actually, I did make air quotes, but I think you’re avoiding the question.
Dolfi: (laughter) Ok, what I mean by understanding the climate, is knowing which players are hot commodities in your league and if there is interest in them. For example, in a league that might have heavy quarterback scoring, owners are going to be a lot hungrier to trade for Carson Palmer than they might be in grabbing a top flight WR.
Braun: So “climate”, as in what positions might be valuable?
Dolfi: YES…but not just what positions are valuable in your league, but who are the hot names guys in your league have their eye on.
Braun: Isn’t it the same hot players in every league?
Dolfi: You would think so, and some of them certainly are, but they’ll be different names week to week and league to league as well. Not only because your scoring system may be different than other league, but more importantly, if you live in Chicago, all the guys in your league are going to get to watch an awful lot of the Bears on the tube. So naturally any Bears players who are hot, are going to be talked about a lot more than how the Tampa wide receivers are doing, or vice versa.
Braun: I got ya….so know who the other owners are fans of and take it from there….that covers some of your first two points. But you also mentioned the value of traded players and what you want to get out of a trade. I’ll tell you what I want, and that’s someone who’s going to immediately help me.
Dolfi: No kidding, we all want that. However, sometimes that player is available to you and sometimes he isn’t. If you have a hole at QB and someone has 3 on his team, you better sure as shangola be talking to that owner. Sometimes there isn’t that immediate impact player available, but remember you’re looking at a 14-16 week fantasy season. So if there is a player likely to blossom later in the season, you can still improve your team even though he’s not going to have a true “instant” impact.
Braun: I hate to admit it…but that makes sense.
Dolfi: Don’t I always make sense?
Braun: Frankly… no.
Dolfi: Ok – let me say it like this then; to really understand what you want to get out of a trade, remember that it’s not always filling the hole you have right now, but adding some depth where you think you’re going to have a hole later on.
Braun: That was a little better, but it sounds like you are saying that I’m going to have to predict which of my players will get hurt in order to do that.
Dolfi: I’m not asking you to do that; heck, no one has a crystal ball giving them the ability to gaze into the future. But, you still know the spots on the team where you are weak, and we all can identify players who are high injury risks. Fred Taylor, anyone?!? I mean Braun, if you have him on your team, he seems to get hurt by week 6 or 7 every year…so it doesn’t matter that he MIGHT get through the season, be proactive and get the dirt ready to fill the Fragile Freddie pit as soon as it opens up.
Braun: Ok…..let’s wrap things up with your final comment, which I loved by the way; don’t look to screw someone for a really good trade….we’ve all seen that.
Dolfi: Absolutely; screwing someone on a trade is going to make you feel great…NO LIE…..but you’d better savor that feeling while it lasts, because no one in your league, especially the guy you traded with, is EVER going to so much as pick up the phone when you call again. The best way you can become an owner that everyone wants to trade with is by making a fair trade.
Braun: Yea…fair, but everyone likes to think they got a “good deal” whether its, on a used car, a blind date, or fantasy trade, right?
Dolfi: Of course; you’re always trying to make a trade that is better for you in the long run, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad for the other owner. For example, if you have 3 solid QBs (like I spoke about earlier) and one of his signal callers is on a bye and the other is injured….your #3 QB is going to be a heck of a lot more valuable to him than he is riding the pine on your team.
Braun: But why would I want to help any of the other owners?
Dolfi: Probably because he’s the guy who has 5 good-scoring WR’s on his team and your flex player for the first couple of weeks has bounced between Travis Taylor and Thomas Jones.
Braun: Let me start wrapping this up, my wings are in the fryer almost done, and New Orleans is looking better with each minute. What if the guy I want to trade with doesn’t feel he has a hole to fill. How can I persuade him? Any special tactic you can give me?
Dolfi There is no ‘magic bullet’ to making a trade happen, but in the case you described, if you need that player badly enough, maybe he’ll take a lesser player and a draft pick in next year’s fantasy draft. Heck, just because he doesn’t have a hole, doesn’t mean his team cant be made better. If he has 3 solid WRs, and you have one great WR and a bunch of stiffs, your team might be better off in the long run by having two solid players you can count on every week than one ‘stud’ WR and a zero in the scoring column each week.
Braun: My head is spinning…
Dolfi: Well what beer are you on?
Braun: (laughter) No – my head is spinning from all this stuff you want me to keep in my head every time I got to make a trade.
Dolfi: Hey man…you asked the question. Listen I could go on and on, but there is no sure-fire way to make a trade; it is indeed an art form. Always keep in mind what the other players need, and that is a good start…from there, keep in mind what they, and you, want. And remember Rembrandt didn’t paint the Mona Lisa on the first try.
Braun: Umm, Rembrandt didn’t paint the Mona Lisa, though…
Dolfi: Quiet, I’m on a roll! (laughter) Besides, you weren’t asking me about art history, we were talking about fantasy football trades. Anyway, my point is: just because the first two or three (or six) owners didn’t want to make a trade with you, doesn’t mean that the next team won’t. If you keep at it, you’ll find that trade that makes your team better… and you can take that to the bank.