5 Keys to Pulling Off a Fantasy Football Trade

Having trouble making trades in your fantasy leagues? Try these six tips to get a deal done.

There’s a trading problem in fantasy football. Owners just don’t know how to approach the trade process.  

And it’s because completing a trade can be a delicate process. When done correctly, it can make your league more exciting and bring you and your league mates closer by communicating more. When done incorrectly, you may lose the trust of a league mate and never sniff a trade with that person again. 

No matter how good your team is, it can always improve. And the tips below can help you do just that through a trade.

1. Know your league members. This is much easier to do in leagues made up of lifelong buddies, fraternity brothers, or neighbors, but can be still be done in almost any league. First, you need to have a way to contact every other owner. It doesn’t matter if it’s phone, e-mail, text, whatever, you just need a way to get them in on the trade discussion. 

Start by feeling them out. If you like T.J. Yeldon, send them a message, “How high are you on Yeldon?” Or, based, on his play, “Ready to give up on Yeldon yet?” Depending on the response, you can go from there.

Send out the feeler message to get an idea of where the owner values a player compared to where you do. Many trades never happen because an owner sends the trade and the recipient hits deny and no conversation ever takes place. When you send a trade, let them know it’s been sent. It’s much harder to just hit reject without a reason if you’ve reached out to them.

2. Analyze rosters. This is perhaps the most important key to how to successfully complete trades. For example, Ronnie Hillman is probably most valuable to the C.J. Anderson owner. Ask DeMarco Murray owners who didn’t have Ryan Mathews to plug into their lineup in Week 3 how his last minute inactive status affected their roster. If teams play just two wide receivers a week, and one of them already has Odell Beckham and Julio Jones on their roster, don’t offer them Randall Cobb for one of their top running backs. This trade doesn't help their roster, and has a 99.9% chance of being rejected.

On the other hand, if Team X just lost LeSean McCoy for a few weeks and are in need of running of back help, look to come to their aid. Maybe you have Giovani Bernard on your bench, a player that has performed over expectation and is probably a bench player for you. Offer Bernard to that team and gain value by turning him into a higher ranked wide receiver or other position need for your team.

3. Always get the best player in the deal. If you’ve got the depth and can turn a couple quality starters into a weekly difference maker, do the trade. By the fantasy playoffs, it doesn’t matter how deep your bench is. You just need your starters to outscore the other team’s starters. This is a deal that can usually be done for an under-performing superstar after a few down weeks. 

Two-for-one deals are usually a bad idea for the player giving up the star .Let me preface this by saying, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If your roster is decimated by injury or poor drafting and quality starters are needed to complete a weekly roster, then make the move. If you're moving on from a stud player, make sure you get a haul in return.

4. Buy Low, Sell High. This is easier said than done, as most owners are slow to bail on a player they spend a high draft pick on. Find the right owner, though, and it's possible. This goes back to knowing the tendencies of your league mates. You know the owners that are quick to panic when their team or players are struggling. Take advantage of this. 

Look for players on your bench that are performing well that you can move for a player primed to improve. Always look to improve your roster by doing this. By gaining value through trades, you can then set yourself up to complete more trades if players hit right. Things change quickly in the fantasy world, and the best players know how to adapt. Just a few seasons ago, a tight end would have never even been considered in the first round of any drafts. Depending on how the rest of the season goes, Rob Gronkowski may be in discussion for the first overall pick in next year’s draft.

5. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make. Some trades work out and others don’t. You may complete a trade and think you tricked the owner out of an under-performing CJ Anderson for Duke Johnson. In four weeks, CJ Anderson may find himself third on the depth chart, and Duke Johnson could be a weekly top-15 running back. Another possibility is Anderson regains his form from last season, and Duke Johnson finds out Robert Turbin is the next Jim Brown relegating him back to the bench. 

Until the season is over, most trades can’t be fully judged until a champion is crowned. Which is why, unless there's clear collusion between owners, trades should not be vetoed in any leagues. If your league vetoes trades for any reason other than this, my advice is to find another league.