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Facilitating Draft-Day Trades in a Redraft League

So, you and your friends (co-workers? family? sworn enemies?) have decided to further take advantage of the fish in your league by allowing draft-day trades. In a dynasty league, this takes care of itself. I trade my 2010 first-rounder and 2011 third-rounder for a 2011 second-rounder and Ray Rice. Easy enough. In a redraft league, things can get a little more complicated. I’ve decided to give readers a basic formula for facilitating draft-day trades that is easy to use and won’t keep you locked in a building for days negotiating trades with your boss’ cousin’s girlfriend’s dad.

1. Everyone gets a certain amount of negotiating time.

This is absolutely crucial to saving your draft from getting bogged down by trade negotiations. A good total time is five minutes. Whoever is on the clock gets the allocated amount of time to negotiate for the entire draft. One negotiation may take two minutes. Another may take 15 seconds. Once five minutes have been used by a single player, that player can no longer negotiate trades on his/her time.

2. Depending on your free agency/waiver rules, trades may or may not have to involve an equal number of picks coming from both sides.

If teams have to start the season with an equal number of players, then trades must involve an equal number of picks. For example, if Player A is drafting in the No. 1 overall spot and Player C is drafting No. 3 overall, a trade would look like this:

Player A receives Player C’s first- and second-round picks (Nos. 3 and 18 overall). Player C receives Player A’s first- and fourth-round picks (Nos. 1 and 40 overall).

This rule is very flexible and can be tailored to the needs of the league.

3. Use transactions as a trade-sweetener.

Nearly all redraft leagues have a cap on transactions, with overusers getting fined for each transaction over the limit. Allow the trading of transactions as a means of sweetening deals. For example:

Player D receives Player B’s fourth-round pick (No. 39 overall). Player B receives Player D’s fifth-round pick (No. 44 overall) and two transactions.

If the transaction cap on the year was 12, Player B would start the year with 14 transactions and Player D would have 10. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually very easy to do. It’s as simple as writing it down and re-reading it at the end of the year.

4. It’s never too early for collusion.

If you’re the commissioner, make sure collusion is not taking place in draft-day trades. Be flexible, but firm. Players will collude at all times of year, including the draft.

I would also like to say that the easiest way to keep track of trades is to let the original drafter make the choice and just write the name of the new owner next to the player. For example, if Player C received Player B’s No. 2 overall pick and wanted to select Adrian Peterson, it would look like this:

1. Player A – Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
2. Player B (to Player C) – Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
3. Player C (to Player B) – Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC

That way, you can always tell who selected the player by merely looking to your left. Doing it this way makes it easier to enter draft results onto websites. If you are running the league with pen-and-paper, you may find it easier to just do it like this:

1. Player A – Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
2. Player C – Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
3. Player B – Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC

As you can see, it can get a little messy, but it works just the same.

Allowing draft-day trades in your redraft league can be a very rewarding decision. The owners will love the freedom and feeling of control they get from negotiating trades, and it can add to the overall level of excitement on draft day. Be prepared, have firm rules in place, and watch for collusion, and you should be fine.

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