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Fantasy Football Trading Tips & Strategy

Fantasy football is a business and with any business, comes negotiations. That is why it is so important to win on your fantasy trade. Today, I offer five tips you can take into that boardroom and make that fantasy trade that puts you over the top and snares you a title.

A trade can win you or cost you the championship with the right or wrong move. One of the worst rookie mistakes I made in my first couple of years of fantasy football was over trading. After a few years of settling down and taking my lumps, I have become rather savvy at pulling off trades. I have winning records in all of my leagues this season, and have some beasts of teams that were crafted through smart drafting and even smarter trading. It is not rocket science, yet it is something that can screw up your entire season with one mistake.

[adinserter block=”2″]Don’t insult with your first offer – I put this at the top because this is where most offers fall apart before negotiations even get underway. Maybe I am just sensitive, but I absolutely hate when someone sends me a proposal that is so lopsided, not even the late Al Davis would pull the trigger on it. It is insulting and a complete waste of my time. Generally I won’t even negotiate at that point because what is the point? This owner either has inflated value of his players or thinks I am a moron. In the next area I’ll talk about shooting high, but be realistic. Don’t send someone a trade offer for Calvin Johnson unless you are prepared to pay the price for him. Ridiculous offers are one of my biggest pet peeves and annoyances in fantasy football.

Shoot high with your first offer – This is a business negotiation and you would never go into a negotiation with your best offer on the table right? Have an idea, maybe two of what you are looking for but ask for more on your first offer. Now there is a difference between shooting high and insulting the your trade partner, so make sure you walk that line. Let’s say you want to acquire Philip Rivers from a team that has him and Tom Brady. Ask for Brady or whoever his better QB is first. You never know. Some people do strange things like trade the better player because they think for whatever reason they are smarter than everyone and have a sleeper on their bench. I am shocked at times at what people will accept when the offer I really had in mind was for the lesser player.

Look at numbers, not names – It is really easy to get excited when someone offers you a fantasy stud like Devonta Freeman or Carson Palmer in a package deal for a few of your players. The instinct is to click accept without even thinking about it. However, you really need to do the math first. For example, say you have a QB averaging 21 points and a running back averaging 10 points a game. The offer you get is for a stud RB and an average QB. Now your immediate reaction may be, heck yeah it’s Freeman and Sam Bradford However, you take a look at the points and realize it is the exact same trade or even worse when it comes to total average points per week. Now if you are planning on rolling one of these guys into another trade than maybe you do it. But if it is simply two starters for your two starters, why would you? Instead, you want to package a few bench players in the trade for Foster and keep Stafford if you really want to acquire Foster. The point being, don’t look at the numbers and don’t get caught up in the stardom of a stud player.

Don’t trade for a bye week or one week start – This was a rookie mistake I made in my first fantasy football season several years ago. You roll off to a 5-0, or even 6-1 start and all of the sudden the bye weeks are ahead or one of your guys is hurt for one or two weeks. The paranoid fantasy football player starts to scramble and usually makes an awful trade to plug in for a week or two, giving away more than he or she should. Stay calm. So you go 10-2 instead of 12-0 this season. The wonderful thing about bye weeks is that everyone has them and just about everyone gets bit by the injury bug once a season if not more. If you have a great team, everything will even out by the end of the bye weeks. My rule of thumb is I am only trading for guys that I can plug in as starters.

[adinserter block=”1″]Strengthen a position based on the upcoming schedule – I never look at a schedule during my fantasy football draft. Why would you avoid certain teams in August when you have no idea what the NFL will look like during the season? I don’t, but by November you have a fairly good idea who the tough defenses are and which defense is giving up the points. This is a great time to target someone at a position that will be playing soft defenses during the fantasy playoff weeks, while at the same time dumping someone off that has rough matchups. You need to do your homework here. Look around online at strength of schedules, research team statistics, check out a player’s history against teams he will be playing in the later weeks. Not everyone in your league is doing that kind of work and you could steal someone from an owner who just doesn’t have time or care to do that kind of preparation.

Finally, the best piece of advice I can give you is just to trade smart. It sounds ridiculous to even write, but take a step back before you make any trade and make sure it is the right move. You’d be surprised at how different a trade can look when you sit on it and revisit the proposal 24 hours later.

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