Many fantasy football commissioners (and managers) have different views on trading. Some view it as one of the most enjoyable and exciting aspects of fantasy football, even going as far as over-drafting a particular position (usually RB) with the intent to use some of the players at that position as trade bait. Some see it as just another part of the game, while others view trading as something that shouldn’t be allowed in their leagues for various reasons. While everyone has their own opinions on trading, it’s traditionally been a part of most fantasy leagues because it promotes fun, involvement and strategy. I first mentioned this subject in my Commissioner’s Guide to Setting up a Fantasy Football League, but I want to go into a bit more detail here. I want to first discuss the pros and cons of allowing trades, and then present a methodology for implementing
trading in your league.
Pros of Allowing Trading
First and foremost, trading keeps managers involved with the league. If a manager gets in a rut at a particular position and loses faith, there’s the possibility of pulling off a trade to help out at that position, and more than likely, that manager will think about trade opportunities with other managers as well. This involves contacting the managers (in person, via phone, e-mail, text message, etc.) and discussing the possibilities. On any level, this is good for leagues. Obviously, some leagues are more active than others, and the more active and competitive a league, the better.
Another reason to allow trading is simply for tradition. Trading has traditionally been apart of fantasy football for quite some time. It’s usually a part of the default settings for most providers, which means it’s more commonly allowed than not.
Although the fantasy world is completely different than real world, trading is a part of real football. So if it’s possible in real football, why shouldn’t it be a part of fantasy football?
Cons of Allowing Trading
Trading does open the window for colluding in leagues, and is one of the most common methods of colluding. As well, it also allows skilled, seasoned managers to take advantage of less-knowledgeable, amateur managers. Luckily, both of these negatives are
usually easy to spot if you know the fantasy skill set of each manager involved in the trade.
However, almost every league provider allows commissioners and/or managers to deny trades before they happen (in some way or another), and/or allows commissioners to reverse trades
after they happen. Because of this, neither case should be a problem for a decent commissioner, so these cons can be avoided in most leagues.
The biggest con (because it is harder to deal with) is that trades tend to intensify the blurred line between what is and what is not colluding. As an example, let’s say Manager X
has better options at RB on his bench than Manager Y has in his starting lineup. Manager Y happens to be playing manager Z this week, and most managers (including manager X) want to see Manager Y win the game because it would help them in the standings. So, Manager X trades manager Y a good RB for a decent WR with a pre-trade, verbal agreement that they will trade back those same players when the week is over. Should Manager X (as well as the other benefitting managers) be rewarded for having such a deep bench, especially if manager X does this with other managers? Or is this just another form of collusion? Trades open up questions like these, but again, good commissioners should know how to deal with them create new rules based on them.