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It takes two to tango. We have all heard the saying before, and when it comes to making a trade in fantasy football, it’s no different. One attribute that has made me successful in playing fantasy sports is my ability to make trades. It never fails though, as soon as a trade is pushed through, someone will make a comment about how awful the trade was or how someone has given up. Like I already said, it takes two people, one to send the offer and one to hit accept. As long as those two people feel like they made a good deal, then it was a good deal.

Making a trade in fantasy football is an art form to me. It takes careful consideration and planning. Now that we have reached Week 5 of the season, teams will know where they stand. Owners who have a team off to a slow start will be looking for a spark. Owners with a team dominating may shore up a position or two. Owners who are winless, well, it’s time to start planning for next year.

There are some major differences between making trades in dynasty leagues and redraft leagues. You have to approach trades much differently in each format. So this is your guide to capturing some of that trade magic. Doesn’t matter the league, format or your record, there will be something for you in this article. We will discuss the differences in trading for redraft and dynasty leagues, some tips for trading and a few “Don’t be that person” inserts that if you don’t understand, you’re probably that person.

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Use Your Assets in Dynasty Leagues

Some owners are always set in win-now mode. Doesn’t matter the record or time of year, winning now is more important than waiting until next year. As one of those people, I can appreciate always playing to win now. If that’s the case, you need to learn to leverage your assets. Draft picks could be a dime a dozen for you, but find the owners in your league that truly appreciate the art of drafting. They will be the ones to give you the most value for those draft picks. Don’t waste your time trying to construct deals around draft picks for other owners who are in the same mode as you. They will be looking for the same type of players to help in the current year. If you find yourself with a minimal amount of picks each draft, you have to make those count. Finding players in the draft with high upside potential can be huge trade pieces later in the season when you are looking to make moves. In redraft leagues, you don’t have that little extra something to compliment a deal. I have had trade offers before where the other owner will tell me how close we are, but they need a little something more. That is where those picks, or young talent with upside come into play. It doesn’t matter how many picks you get in a year; rookie picks are not worth more than current top-end talent. I use a very simple “rule of three” that if a pick is not in the top three, I am not interested in it.


Tip #1

Do not be afraid to open up a conversation with someone about a trade and on the flip side, don’t tell people to just “send me an offer.” A trade doesn’t work out well for both sides if we just send random trades in the dark. It takes more time and it frustrates owners quicker, leading to a breakdown in negotiations. If your league has a chat tool (whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, GroupMe or a chat within your league) use it to your advantage. Send a message with a starting offer to an owner you are interested in making a deal with. “Hey, I see you may need help at this position and I am thinking of sending a trade your way. Need help anywhere else?” A little conversation goes a long way.

Don’t Be Afraid to Cash It In

In redraft leagues, once you’re out of the race, there really isn’t anything left to do. You could make some trades to try and get back in it, but at some point you know the season has become a lost cause. In a dynasty league, there is always next year.  You still have this year to put in work though, don’t be afraid to start building towards next year when you know it’s over. When that time has come, start searching for the owners who have injuries or ineffective players and need a boost to their team. You could really grab some long term assets by selling veterans to owners willing to overpay while trying to make a run. If you are in this scenario, take a look at injured players on a roster. Young guys that may be done for the current year, but would be a huge addition to your team next year. Right now, I would be targeting a player like Dalvin Cook if a playoff team had been relying on him. If you have some solid veteran pieces, you could make the move to bring in the young Cook. There is no shame in looking towards the future in a dynasty league.


Tip #2

Don’t criticize the other owner in the middle of trade talks, especially at the very beginning. If you get an offer that you don’t like, just tell the owner that. If the offer is way off from what you would want, let them know you are too far apart and ask them to submit something else. The owner doesn’t need to hear 20 reasons why that is the worst offer you have ever seen. The owner also doesn’t need to know why you are offended. Honestly, they don’t care. You’re just making yourself look bad.

Don’t Be That Person!

When you engage in trade talks with another owner, don’t be the owner that trashes the players you are trading for. You are not going to convince me to trade my players for less just because you throw out every reason why Julio Jones is going to deal with nagging injuries and won’t be a WR1. There is a difference between trashing a player to get them cheaper and sharing concerns about a player because you don’t believe they are worth the asking price. If the owner you are dealing with wants an extra pick in the deal, but you don’t think that is worth it, let them know why you have concerns. That conversation could help you on the price. Trashing the player or players could lead to the other owner just driving up the price.

Young Players Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

I have made this mistake a couple of times, and I’m here to tell you not to do the same thing. When you have young studs, you hold onto them unless you are getting young studs in return. I’ll share one of my worst trades with you, which came early in the 2016 season. In a 12-team league, I was facing serious issues with depth at receiver and needed to make a move. Marvin Jones was just coming off a huge game against the Packers and I thought he was in for a big season. So, against my better judgment, I traded Odell Beckham Jr. for Jeremy Maclin and Jones. I can promise you I will never make that mistake again. Young players are just like veterans in redraft, it’s all about what can you do for me now. In a dynasty league though, you don’t trade young studs for a bunch of picks, or depth, or anything other than good young players. Even if you are one of those owners looking to make a win-now move, you need to trade young talent for young talent in dynasty leagues. For owners who are switching over to dynasty after playing redraft for many years, this can be difficult to gauge sometimes. A player like Beckham, Le’Veon Bell, Mike Evans or other top young talent gets an extra boost to value based on their age and potential alone.


Tip #3

Don’t rush trade talks. If your gut doesn’t tell you to make a deal right away, then listen to it. A lot of times an owner may give you a deadline on accepting a trade, but you don’t need to worry about making deals with that owner. If your team needs help, try to be as patient as possible. Don’t make trades out of anger or disappointment. Those don’t turn out to be good trades in the end. Do your research of each team and breakdown different scenarios for trades. Make a list of players you like from each team. Don’t just send mass trade offers either. A lot of times owners will send offers to several teams at once, but you should start with your top trade target and work your way down. Take a few days to let these talks work out and see what happens. Also take your time with players who struggle at the beginning of the season. You own them because you had a good feeling during the offseason, a couple of bad weeks shouldn’t change your mind. In the case of a player like Isaiah Crowell, we are heading into Week 5 without a decent performance yet. Now would be the time to worry about players like that, not the first couple of weeks.

Don’t Be That Person!

Don’t be the person who gloats to the league after making a trade. Yes, you are pumped that you just made a deal that potentially will make your team great. Gloating about how you got the better end of a deal will turn owners off to making deals in the future. Thank the other owner for a great trade and move on.

Equal Trades vs Lopsided Trades

In a redraft league, trades will tend to look more even than in a dynasty league. In a redraft league, everyone is playing to win right now, so both owners will need players to accomplish that. In a dynasty league, teams could be playing for this year or next year. If you have a league that utilizes a veto rule, keep this in mind when voting. Don’t be afraid to accept an offer that looks lopsided against you. While it doesn’t look great right now, it could look great in a year or two. It also depends on how each person values draft picks. If you want to build your team through the draft, trading some players for just draft picks will look off, but value is in the eye of the beholder. You can also use this to your advantage when sending offers. If you need a piece to win now and your willing to leverage future pieces to make the deal, then you can always make it seem lopsided in the other owner’s favor. Just a little illusion to make things work out for you.


Tip #4

This is a big pet peeve of mine. Don’t send me offers that obviously do not help me. Take some time to review a roster before sending any offers. If the team is stacked at receiver, thin at running back and appears to have the same needs as you, you probably can’t make a deal work. Don’t send them an offer asking for a running back in exchange for a receiver. Putting in a little extra time to review an owners roster and submitting a good initial offer will lead to a better counter offer.

Don’t Be That Person!

Offer counters! Don’t ignore offers when they come in. Owners will say quite often that a player is not available, but I don’t believe that for a second. Everyone has a price on a player. If you get an offer for Beckham, but don’t want to trade him, still send a counter. Who cares what the counter is, send what you want. If the owner wants a player bad enough, they will pay up. If not, they will reject the offer and move on. Counters could become very productive if someone is willing to pay your asking price.

Evaluate the Standings from Top to Bottom

In a dynasty league, start sending your offers to teams that are out of the running first. When looking at rosters, take a look at veteran players that offer great value this year but that you can get for future assets. You could give up some late round picks or young players that have not started contributing for their teams. Owners who are out of the race are looking for something to keep them in tune with the league, and that is working on deals focused for next year. Owners who are at the top of the standings will be looking at deals that help now and that need to be more even. If you are out of the race as well, then go at this in reverse. Start looking at competing teams and how you can help get them to the playoffs.


More 2017 Dynasty League Strategy