One of the most exciting aspects of fantasy football is negotiating a trade with a fellow owner, then watching on Sundays to see who came out ahead in the deal. The thrill of making a trade is what makes fantasy football fun, yet a majority of owners shy away from trading because they view it as too risky. Many owners worry about making a poor trade because they are incorrect in their valuation of a player, or they are stubborn and refuse to move a player even when a great trade is presented to them. The goal of this article is to explain how valuable trading can be to your team, while presenting a few tips on how to excel in fantasy football negotiations.
Buy Low and Sell High
A common adage used in the financial world regarding buying and selling stocks applies to fantasy football: Buy Low and Sell High. The skilled fantasy football owner will keep tabs on his opponent’s players, looking closely for valuable players who are playing well below their true abilities. These players are referred to as buy low candidates, as they can be acquired for less than their “true” value because they are not playing well up to that point in time. The owner of a buy low player is most likely frustrated by the lack of production from an otherwise good player, and may be willing to cut their losses just to move the player from their team. These players are a goldmine for savvy owners, because these players can traded for a discount in hopes of future value.
Another important trading tip is to sell high on players who have an inflated value based on exceptional play that is above their skill set. For example, a player may have two great games in which they score multiple TD’s, yet the owner of that player does not predict similar play in the future. That owner may try to trade a player based on their inflated value, in hopes of cashing in for more than that player is worth. Selling high can be a great move for owners; however there is always the risk in trading away an up and coming player who will continue to play well, like Miles Austin in the 2009 season.
Use the Draft for Depth and Leverage
When drafting your team at the beginning of the year it is important to think about trade opportunities later in the season. Experienced players know that stacking your roster with multiple running backs is a valuable tactic for trades down the road, as that leverage can be used to make trades that will strengthen your team at weaker positions. For example, I drafted 4 running backs in a row this year with the full intention of using that depth to trade for a wide receiver later in the season. My plan worked out perfectly as I was able to trade one of those running backs and a low value WR for Reggie Wayne.
Offer Trades Based On Need
When submitting a trade offer to another owner, be sure to take the time to study their line up for any possible needs. It is silly to send an offer to an owner who already has significant depth at a certain position, as that owner will not see much value in the deal. That may want to add depth at a position for future trades, however in most cases the trade will be rebuffed with a nasty email message. To avoid this, study your opponents closely and focus on areas of need.
Do Not Make Your Initial Offer Too Low
It is very common for owners to begin trade talks with a low-ball offer for fear of offering too much too early in the process. I agree with this philosophy; however it is a bad idea to make the initial offer too low as you may insult the other owner. Some owners view a low-ball offer as an insult to their football intelligence, and will refuse to trade regardless of the offer.
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