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KEEPING AHEAD: Trade Season Tips

This is my absolute favorite time of the fantasy football season?

Draft day? Meh.

Playoffs? Whatever.

Championship game? Child, please.

The best time of the fantasy football season is trade season.

I love it. I crave it. I can’t get enough of it.

Now you may be thinking, “MJ, you doofus, all season-long is trade season” and to that I’d say ‘hey, don’t be mean.” I’d also tell you that you are entirely wrong. Right now, this week and next, is the prime-time for trading.

MJ Trade Nugget #1 – Weeks 2-4 are the best times of the year to make significant trades

The reasons for this are plentiful. First, you have owners that really don’t know what they have or, even more importantly, what they want in their roster. Leaving the draft, most owners feel fairly comfortable that they were able to snag “their guys” and feel as though they had built a contender. But there are also owners whom, for whatever reason, botched the whole process and are already left with a smoldering wreck of a team that needs a fire extinguisher badly. These are the owners to target and target quickly.

Second, and perhaps more importantly to note, owners panic. Starting 0-2 is a nightmare scenario and couple that with an injury or two and you have the recipe for absolute trade dominance in your favor. Given that you are all sharks here, you have no doubt acquired or drafted a surplus of young, exciting talent on your bench. These are now assets that you can use to convince the owner of a struggling team that they will need moving forward. Tell them that they cannot risk counting on the return of a star player. Sell them on the hype they are getting on Fantasy Sharks. Whatever it takes. Which brings me to my second….

MJ Trade Nugget #2 – Always try to walk away with the best player in every deal

While this may seem obvious, you’d be shocked at how often you can make a package deal that nets you the best player while leaving your trade partner holding waiver wire pickups and second year question marks. We preached having depth all offseason, but let’s not beat around the bush – studs win championships and few championships are won with the likes of Marvin Jones or David Johnson, no matter how “known” their names may be. Create a package of WR2’s from your bench to get Allen Robinson. Turn Myles Gaskin and James Robinson into Joe Mixon. Walk away with the best player in every deal and you’ll reap the benefits down the line.

MJ Trade Nugget #3 – Take advantage of ignorance regarding the IR designation

Raise your hand if you were aware that the Injured Reserve list is handled differently this year in the NFL than it ever has been in the past.

So here’s the deal: this year, the NFL changed its policy for designating a player onto injured reserve from 6 weeks to 3 weeks. This move was primarily done to account for COVID as well as the changed schedule of the NFL with the eliminated preseason.

There are two big elements to note here:

One, a player going to IR is much less severe than it has been in the past. Hearing that Sterling Shepard is being placed on IR sounds horrid, when, in reality, it may only be a 3 week absence, which isn’t all that bad. Owners who are unaware of this may want to avoid the IR-designated player completely and allow you to swoop in and claim them for yourself.

Two, and this is a big one, if a player is injured and isn’t placed on IR this needs to immediately signal to you that the injury will only keep them out of the game 1-2 weeks. If an NFL team is certain that an injury will keep a player sidelined for 3 weeks than there is no reason not to place them on IR and elevate another player to their 53-man roster, so you need to take their inaction as a sign for you to act and quickly try to trade for a highly regarded player that may suddenly be available. We’ve had two excellent examples in this already this year with Kenny Golladay and Michael Thomas. Both have started the year injured and very likely hurt their fantasy owners with their absences. But neither went on IR and, at least in the case of Golladay, look likely to have only missed two total weeks. If you can trade bench players for him? Yes, please.

MJ Trade Nugget #4 Be willing to break up

This one comes courtesy of the wife, so you know it’s good.

Breaking up is difficult. We hate to do it. Especially with those we have become fond of.

But if it is in your best interests?


Too often fantasy owners grow an unhealthy attachment to their roster and are afraid to let players go in a trade, even if it benefits them, for fear of “their guy” being successful for someone else. As a result, you end up with trade offers of horrible players bouncing around the league because everyone wants to hold onto their “good” players.


If YOU don’t want them, chances are not many others do as well. This means you have to be willing to move on from some of your project RB2’s or rookie WR3’s in order to follow the instructions above and end up with a WR1. Will you be wrong sometimes? Absolutely. But if you don’t give yourself the chance to see what else is out there, you may become stuck in an unhealthy relationship the rest of the season.

Good luck and happy trading. Send me your best ones to the email below and I will share your victories with the masses.

Read on for Hits, Holds and Folds on page 2..

About MJ Brown

MJ Brown has been an avid fantasy football keeper league enthusiast and player for over a decade. A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, MJ delivers weekly content on multiple platforms, bringing a combination of advice, humor, and tips to keep your team at the top of your league.