The Art of Trading

A crucial component to Dynasty football success is your ability to win trades and put your team in a better position to compete now or in the future. The “art of trading” is often overlooked by Dynasty owners, which can lead to frustrating experiences during negotiation. Taking the time to master the art of trading could pay dividends in your Dynasty league, and I’m here to provide you with a few tips to help hone those skills. So sit tight, enjoy, and let’s get ready to win some fantasy football leagues.

Trade Block 

Placing players on the trade block is a great way to generate interest without blindly sending out offers. If you place a player on the block and wait for your league mates to come to you, that could give you leverage to drive the negotiation and maximize the value you get in the trade. But understand that the trade block can be a double-edged sword. Some league mates may take this as an invitation to send you a lowball offer, assuming you’re lower than the market on your player. Make sure you know the minimum value you’d accept for your player on the trade block, and stick to that. If you only get lowball offers, don’t feel obligated to ship them off for a discount. Hold them for a value you’re comfortable with and be sure to consistently check the market for reference.

Disclosing Info

Simply put: don’t be the first guy to show your cards. Often, you may have a league mate who reaches out and asks you to rank your players or his players at a particular position, so they can send you an offer you both agree on. Disclosing how you value certain players may speed up the negotiation process. But on the other hand, it may also lead to you overpaying for an asset when you otherwise wouldn’t have. 

For instance, when someone asks me if I prefer Player A or B, I restrain from divulging that information immediately. If you’re higher on Player B than your league mate and you let them know this ahead of time, they will try and sell that player for a premium. You may get more deals done this way, but the quality of your trades will suffer. 

Trading Picks

I am seeing more and more teams in startup drafts take on the strategy of “productive struggle” or even full-on rebuild, willing to forfeit success in Year 1 in the hope of fantasy dominance down the road. Because of this, I’ve embraced the contending approach in Year 1 more often. After all, when everyone is zigging, you should zag. One way to get a leg up in 2023 is to trade away your future 1st for immediate production now. Owners may be hesitant to trade away their first-rounder because they can no longer “blow it up” and shoot for the 1.01 in 2024 if things don’t roll their way. But if you’re confident in your projected 2023 production, don’t be afraid to “mortgage your future” and put your chips in for this year. After all, the point of fantasy football is to win championships, right? 

That 2024 first will be a late pick if you are a true contender. Most owners aren’t viewing the pick this way in a startup; they more or less view all firsts as equal. In my experience, teams that decide to go for the immediate rebuild and sell startup picks for as many future firsts as possible are often willing to sell at a discount. For instance, in a recent startup, I traded away my 2024 first for the 5.04 in the startup, where I selected Josh Jacobs. If my team face-plants and that ends up being an early first, I will likely lose that trade. But with the win-now roster I had constructed up to that point, as well as the fact that so many teams embraced the “productive struggle” or rebuild strategy in this startup, I feel confident in my 2023 odds and even more confident that my 2024 first will be a late pick. I don’t know anyone who would willingly give up Josh Jacobs for a 2024 pick they knew was in the 1.10-1.12 range, but I got this deal done because my league mate was looking to acquire future picks by any means possible. They weren’t considering where that future pick may end up. 

If you sell future picks for immediate production and it doesn’t pan out, you can always sell those players to the contending teams in-season. No rule says you must ride off into the sunset with these veterans. While you may not be able to get your future first back, you can still acquire young talent that should appreciate in value. Look to contend if many others aren’t, and reassess team needs in-season. If your league is active enough, you’ll figure it out. 

Fire Sale

If you’re ready to blow your team up and start a rebuild, or you’ve taken over an orphan that looks like a long-term project, you may be eager to sell off those productive veterans as quickly as possible to get your rebuild underway. But you could get yourself into trouble if you get too antsy when sending out offers. I’ve fallen into this trap myself in the past. Remember: rebuilding doesn’t mean you need to have a fire sale. We’re still months away from the start of the season. Don’t sweat it if you can’t sell all your veterans in one weekend. You have plenty of time. In many scenarios, selling these guys in-season to a contending team makes more sense. For instance, if you’re trying to sell a veteran QB this offseason, like Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers, or Matthew Stafford, you’ll likely be disappointed in the offers you get from your league mates. But in-season, if a contending team is dealing with QB injuries and needs to pivot quickly to stay in the hunt, you can sell those QBs for way more than you could now. So be patient with your rebuild. Often it makes sense to let your league mates come to you.

Sending Initial Offers

I’ll keep this one brief. If you send out an initial trade offer, ensure it’s not a smash decline. This will alienate you from your league mates and make it harder to negotiate in the future. It’s fine to send an initial offer where you’d be willing to give up a bit more, as you want to see if your league mate will bite. But sending an offer that no one in their right mind would accept is not a way to “get the conversation started”. I’m less inclined to send a counteroffer when someone sends me a disgusting initial offer because I assume we won’t find a middle ground. And I’ll keep that in the back of my mind going forward and generally steer clear of sending that owner trade offers in the future. 

Team Strategy

When sending out trade offers, it’s essential to be conscious of your league mates’ team outlook and strategy. For instance, let’s say you’re rebuilding and looking to acquire youth and future picks. You send an offer to a team, sending them Austin Ekeler and getting a 2024 first in return. If this team is not competing for 2023, it won’t make sense for them to accept this trade. Ekeler will do nothing for them in the long term, so they would essentially be giving away a future first for nothing. Make sure you’re sending mutually beneficial trades. Send contenders immediate production, and send non-contenders assets that project to increase in value. Catering to their team needs will help get your foot in the door for negotiations and may get you a discount on a deal. You’ll find that many owners are willing to “lose” a trade if it aligns with whatever their team strategy is at that time. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I hope you got some valuable information you can use for your fantasy team! If you’d like additional insight into Dynasty Football news and analysis, please follow me on Twitter at @DynastySavant. Until next time, keep grinding out there, Dynasty family! #DFFArmy #AlwaysBeBuilding

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