Speaking only from my personal experience after a decade of playing fantasy football, I have only been involved in a handful of trades on any of my teams over the years.
I normally field about 3-4 fantasy football teams in different leagues, including one salary cap league in which team owners and opponents can have several of the same players, as long as both are under the team assigned salary cap total.
In the draft leagues of which I have 2-3 teams, the last few years my attitude toward trades has changed. It seems more and more fantasy football team owners have become so demanding in their trade proposals, or in their counter proposals to my original trade proposals, I say why bother?
I have submitted trade proposals to other team owners when an injury or a series of injuries has left my roster depleted of depth at a certain position, usually running back. There are so many injuries at the running back position, it’s a good idea to have at least 2-3 reserves.
I have had reasonable proposals made to other owners with a plethora of depth at a position shot down immediately. Some reasonable proposals have been countered with the other owner offering, say Jerome Harrison for Peyton Manning or Drew Brees.
If you don’t know the other team owner personally, it’s hard to tell if the counter is a joke, the person messing with you, or if this person really doesn’t know that a reserve running back is not worth a starting QB.
It has gotten to the point that I don’t bother with trades or trade proposals. If one of my fantasy football players goes down with an injury, I simply pick up the player’s backup on the waiver wire, if available, or scan the waiver wire for a replacement.
That’s why it’s often a good idea at the running back position to draft the backup in the late rounds of your fantasy football draft. That move is commonly referred to as “handcuffing”. No, it has nothing to do with the Cincinnati Bengals and their raft of players who have run afoul of the law, even though the Bengals wear orange and have stripes on their helmets…
For example, if you have Frank Gore as your #1 running back, it would be a good idea to have backup Anthony Dixon as a late round addition or waiver pickup in case Gore is suspended after an encounter with a masseuse. Oops, wrong Gore.
Anyhow, with the RB injury situation, having your main runner’s backup on your roster covers your behind, not to mention keeps jerkwater owners from beating you to the backup on the waiver wire and offering them to you in a trade for, again, roughly half your team roster.
In short, there are too many breakout players who come out of oblivion to starring roles after the season starts to worry with trades. Just work the waiver wire and don’t pass up a high quality player who is undrafted or waived by an impatient owner early in the season, even if you have players at their position.
That’s of course, if you don’t have a shortage of depth at another position. The biggest mistake I ever made in fantasy football was a few years back. I had Larry Johnson of KC on my roster at a time when Priest Holmes was still a stud. Johnson had a critical fumble on MNF, so I figured that was it for LJ, who had been called out not long before by Dick Vermeil for his attitude. I cut Johnson the next day to shore up depth at another position.
Problem was, Holmes got hurt at midseason and Vermeil dusted off LJ and Johnson went crazy the rest of the season as one of my opponents rode LJ to the championship. Just another example of why working the waiver wire is preferable to trying to trade your way to the top of your fantasy football league.
My recommendation is: unless one of your opponents makes you a ridiculously good offer, don’t bother with trades. If someone does offer you a deal that seems ridiculous, first check NFL.com or espn.com to make sure the player hasn’t been suspended or injured before accepting.
Next: staggering bye weeks in drafting your fantasy football team.