I got my start in this industry five years ago by launching my own website dedicated to fantasy football trade analysis. With so many excellent writers out there I felt it was absolutely necessary to carve out a niche in order to get some traction as a writer. At the time of launch I could not find any place online to get free comprehensive, on-demand trade analysis. Sure there were and still are tons of robo-analyzers out there, but anyone who knows anything about fantasy trades realizes those are trash. They do not take into account your roster construction, league parameters, schedule, upside, risk or any other factors really aside from their own numerical measuring stick – which is often wrong! My goal was simple – create a place where you can enter the details of the offer and receive an email back within 24 hours. I knew if I was seeking out a tool like this I couldn’t be alone and I was right! Fast forward to today where I am currently analyzing hundreds of trades per week via various channels (by the way, follow me on twitter if you have a trade question – @tradefantasy). My writing has expanded beyond trade analysis but it is still my bread and butter and one of my favorite aspects of the game. I love making deals and I love helping others navigate their own deals. There is an art to making a deal in any situation, whether it be in life or fantasy football. Understanding the basic principles of deal making will give you an edge on the trade market your opponents may not possess. So before we dive into some of the players I’ve been seeing involved in deals this week, let’s start with a few tricks of the trade:
Supply and Demand
This principle is so simple yet so often overlooked. The supply of a certain position has almost as much to do with that position’s value on the trade market as the players themselves do. You probably see it every year, a person in your league drafts a high-end quarterback early then grabs an upside pick like Marcus Mariota later on usually declaring that player as “trade bait” the moment they make the selection. Most leagues start one quarterback, meaning there are literally 32 viable options (some better than others) any given week aside from bye weeks. There is very little positional scarcity at quarterback; therefore, there is almost no demand for the position on the trade market. It’s that simple. This same principle applies to all positions but quarterback best illustrates the principle.
Help me help you
Hands down, the easiest way to complete a trade is to help another manager fill a need on his or her team. I often get questions like “What wide receiver can I get for C.J. Anderson?” I love these because the answer is simple – “locate someone who could use Anderson and see what they have to spare.” The answer to that question is entirely linked to the current state of the other teams in your league. If everyone is pretty well off at running back, you will have a hard time finding a suitor which will, in turn, drive down Anderson’s price at that time. If, however, you have a guy who went heavy on wide receivers in the draft, you may well have a perfect trade partner so target him first. Another time would be after a significant injury. If someone just lost a key running back don’t go banging on their door as they lick their wounds but let it be known that you have a running back available. If there is no need, there is no deal.
Conceal Your Intentions
I’ll close this little learning session with one of my favorite tactics because it flat out works. Whether I’m shopping a player or trying to obtain a player, very rarely will I point blank advertise the player I want to move or am going after. If I want a guy’s RB2 I will usually inquire about his RB1 first and back down to his RB2. Sometimes I end up getting the RB1 for a better price than I thought I would! Conversely, if I want to move my WR2 I’ll often advertise my WR1 to draw in the fish. Make no mistake, I am absolutely willing to move my WR1 for the right price but during the negotiation process I make a point to slip in the fact that WR2 can be had for a good bit cheaper. This tactic opens up your options with the maximum number of trade suitors at the table.
Enough talk of tactics. Let’s take a look at some players who keep popping up in trade questions this week!