and Jon Millman
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2011 4:17 PM
Fantasy Football University – Class VII
In-Season Roster Management – Part II
The Art of Trading
The three most important things in real estate are:
#1 Location #2 Location #3 Location
The three most important things in investing in stocks are:
#1 Timing #2 Timing #3 Timing
The three most important things in trading in Fantasy Football are:
#1 Be Proactive #2 Be Proactive #3 Be Proactive
Step One: Send a blast e-mail to the other members of your league that reads something like: “I am not in love with any members of my team and everyone is available for the right price…” Include a current list of your roster for the owners' convenience. You will be shocked at the response you get, as the league will now think that your team is available, including your studs. The Blast e-mail accomplishes another very important thing: it opens up the dialogue between you and your league and gets the ball rolling!.
Step Two: Target Players you REALLY Want:
Remember the idea of every trade is to make your team better. Don't be afraid to target great players, and try to make deals for the studs. Trying to improve your core players is extremely important. If this was real life and you really did this for a living as a coach, the first objective would be to acquire talent. (Remember in basketball you cannot “teach height” and in fantasy football you cannot “teach talent”). If you recall what we said in a prior chapter of Fantasy Football University about tiering: players can be placed into different groups, which have similar levels of talent. Initially try to target top tier players in your proposal. They are the players you want on your team.
Step Three: Trading Multiple Players to Improve your Core:
Getting back to tiering, one of our most important concepts, it is possible to pull off a BLOCKBUSTER TRADE where you end up acquiring a “First Tier” franchise type superstar for two “Second Tier” players. This strategy is very risky: don't do it unless you have depth at RB & WR. Remember also that it is a lot easier for one player (Brees) to get hurt, then it is for two players (Johnson and Forte).
Step Four: Approach Other Owners who are Particularly Strong (stacked) at one Position.
It is a lot easier for another owner to trade a really good player to you if he has several other good players at that position.
Although talent is usually equally dispersed in a twelve-man league, invariably you will find certain other team's that are overly strong at a particular position. These should be your first contacts as you have the highest probability of completing a deal with them.
When I am engineering trades, my first step is to print the league's rosters. My second step is to circle the guys I covet and will target. And the third step is to locate pockets of depth by other owners. So if I see a guy stacked at a position and one of those guys are one of my targets, I have a good chance of getting something done if I can come up with a deal that he cant say no to. Since I am so active on the waiver wire, I usually have a roster full of solid type players and I can package a few for 1 stud. That's my technique that I use over and over.
Step Five: You can't get Something for Nothing!
The definition of a good trade is that both sides walk away from the negotiating table thinking they got a good deal that makes their team better and brought them one step closer to winning a championship. Remember, BRAGGING RIGHTS ARE PRICELESS! Very few people play Fantasy Football for the money. They play it for the fun, and WINNING IS FUN! When you propose a deal, try to make it as fair as possible to both sides (this increases the chances of getting the deal done and cuts down on the time it takes to close the transaction). If you think you are the type of person who has trouble being fair in general, ask yourself one simple question, “Would you accept either end of the deal?” If the answer is yes, then the chances are the deal is fair.
Step Six: Always Speak HIGHLY of your Players and Explain (politely) how the trade will Benefit the other Owner.
You are trying to win the championship. You do not want to get the reputation of trying to “steal” players or to take advantage of less sophisticated owners. You may scare other owners from trading with you. The other owners in the league are your ALLIES. They possess the assets you desire. People will do business with you if you are nice, fair, and helpful to them. You might be able to point out the benefits of certain players to them that they originally did not realize. Since the trade you are offering is fair by definition (refer to step 5) your job is to get the other owner to say yes. It is a lot easier for him to say yes when you offer real value in return.
Step Seven: Think Long Term
This rule particularly applies to keeper leagues. It is also important in leagues where you can protect a limited number of players. Education may be wasted on the young, but fantasy football value is not. Simply stated, if you perceive that two players have equal value, always choose the younger one. Remember, it's a marathon not a sprint. The idea is not to win one game in week three; the idea is to win the Championship. More importantly, the idea is to put yourself in position to win year in and year out. This rule obviously does not apply to re-draft leagues.
Step Eight: Trade Players At Their Peak
If you don't want a player that is playing bad, neither does anyone else. The player that you want to trade is the one that came out like Gangbusters and is playing way over his head. Try to trade these over-achievers for underachievers that you think will improve -- which brings me to the next rule…
Step Nine: Trade For Players Whose Values Are Down.
Look for guys that have posted below average numbers so far this year. These guys, unless they lost their QB's, or are playing without their two best offensive linemen, or are in some other unforeseen situation, are going to come back and put up big numbers. Make a list of players you think are really great, but just haven't shown it yet. Go after them hard. Now is the only time you will be able to get them. If you are right, your bet will pay off big. Remember, the concepts of Risk/Reward. You are taking a big risk by trying to get this current non-performing player. If he continues to not do well you may be sorry. So try not to give up very much.
Step Ten: Target Players From Fantasy Teams That Are Basically Out Of The Fantasy Playoffs.
Unfortunately in all leagues, a couple of teams stink. It may not be their fault; they may have met with a series of injuries. Maybe it is their fault and they just exercised poor judgment. Whatever the reason, the reality is that they are out of it. They are already looking ahead to next year. They may be open to trading you players (very good players) that will help you this year for either draft picks for next year, or rookies that are not producing this year but will next year. There is a trade-off here: you don't want to mortgage your future to get a marginal player. However, if you can get a player that can put you over the top and helps you to win the championship this year than: JUST DO IT! Championships are hard to come by, so when you are close do whatever it takes to get you that trophy.
Step 11: Trade From Your Strengths
Ultimately you have one position that you can clearly say is your strongest position. Remember, if it is your strongest position it is somebody else's weakest. Pick out a couple of teams that are week at the position you are strong at. See if they have strength at a position you are weak at.
Step 12: Check the Schedule
Look for teams that are going into a stretch of the season where the schedule for their team is going to get a lot easier. Usually these guys had a tough go at it because the schedule has been tough. Their value will be way down; you can scoop them up cheap, and be on your way to the trophy. It does not take a rocket scientist to take advantage of this rule and there is no excuse not to use it. Go to the schedule right now, and pick out the teams that have easy late season schedules. Be prepared to trade for players from these teams when the time comes.
Step 13: Targeting the Freshmen
This is a highly risky strategy, but can pay enormous dividends especially in keeper leagues. Freshmen are obviously unproven and may not be able to make it to the “next level”. This being said, there are situations where taking a shot is warranted. The offensive scheme he is walking into is one thing to keep an eye on.
Step 14: Do Not Deplete Depth
One of the biggest mistakes I see owners make is to trade away too much depth. They ride high because their team looks stacked and they think they are going to kill everyone else -- what they didn't realize is that they now have no backup Quarterbacks when their star passer goes out for the year with an injury, their season is over. Make sure you secure depth on the waiver wire or get a valuable “throw in” to a trade that will reestablish your depth. Sometimes another owner will give up a good player as a throw in just to get the deal done.
In conclusion, remember to be proactive. The idea is to get the trade done.
Sometimes you have to accept less than you had hoped for; sometimes you'll get more than you had ever imagined. Oh yeah, one last thing the final rule of trading is to make sure you cannot do better.
Before you make a trade you should shop the same players you are about to trade around the league because somebody else might give you more for them. I know that it feels good when somebody says yes to one of your deals, remember if somebody thinks that you are going to make a trade they might up the ante because, they really want the player but didn't think you were serious, or they want to stop the other owner from getting him.
As Always, GOOD LUCK. May The Trading Gods Be With You.