Matthew Berry of ESPN in his weekly column discussed what he believes are essential trading rules to live by. It's week 6, maybe you've made a few trades or maybe you're thinking about pulling the trigger on swapping backup wide receivers because you're sick and tired of losing sleep over that agonizing decision. I'm going to throw in with a few rules of my own and show some of my actual trades so far this year to illustrate how to structure successful trades.
Rule #1 - Trading should be beneficial to both parties.
If you're trying to rip a guy off and then brag about it later, please leave this article and I hope we're never in the same league. Trade in the world of markets happens because it benefits both sides. If you're structuring trades by only thinking about how it makes your squad better, you're not doing it right. Some of the most satisfying trades are ones that benefit both parties.
Example: I traded Jerrick McKinnon and Sterling Shepard for Jordy Nelson
My trade partner had just lost Adrian Peterson and had nothing to back him up. While Jordy has found paydirt frequently, he hasn't been lighting the world on fire just yet. Another plus is that my trade partner had a higher evaluation that even I did on Sterling Shepard. From his perspective, he was sacrificing a small gap between Nelson and Shepard to fill in a gaping hole at RB. From my perspective, I was able to upgrade from Shepard to Nelson by giving up on a completely unknown quantity.
Rule #2 - Trade from strength...if you can.
If you were able to hit on, say, two tight ends or two quarterbacks, or all the wide receivers you drafted seemed to pan out, they're doing you no good rotting away on your bench. Shop them around, see if you can improve an area that isn't as strong. Maybe you won't get full price for the guy you're peddling, but if you can get more points on the field and off your bench, it's a win. The only real exception would be running backs. I'd be worried about trading away depth at running back with injuries.
Example: I traded Mike Evans and Isaiah Crowell for Todd Gurley and Travis Benjamin.
There is some context needed here. It's a 0.5 PPR and we will both be able to keep Evans and Gurley on next year's roster for about 13% of our overall budgets. I had just lost Keenan Allen for the year, but I still had Alshon Jeffery and Antonio Brown. He was in a panic about the first game for Gurley. We really didn't know much about Crowell or Benjamin. Even with losing Evans, a guy I really like, I felt I was able to justify it with the depth of WR elsewhere and the lack of running backs on the other side of my roster. We can debate whether or not Todd Gurley for 2 years will be worth losing Mike Evans, but the move helped balance my roster and gives me upside on a talented back.
Rule #3 - If you really, really like a guy, go out and get him.
If there's a player that you just have to have on your squad to make the enjoyment of your season, go out and get him. If your opponent is maybe taking a little more from you to get it done, know that it's just a premium that you're paying. If you can't accept that premium, then you probably didn't want the player that bad to begin with.
Example: I traded Allen Robinson and Latavius Murray for David Johnson.
If you've read this column with any kind of consistency, you no doubt know that I love David Johnson. We went to the same college and he just seems like a great guy to cheer for. At the time of the trade, Murray was healthy and looking like the lead back on a good offense. Robinson started off slow but was my 1st round pick. I got about 5 texts after the trade went through, telling me I gave up too much. My response: "Don't care - wanted him bad!"
Rule #4 - Always counter or give a response quickly.
There's nothing worse than not hearing back from a trade offer. I almost always give a counter unless I just can't think of anything that makes sense for both parties. Maybe your trade partner has a higher value on a player than you do and you can get something that you will be interested in. They took the time to send you an offer. Take the time to tell them no quickly or give them a response in the form of something you would like.
Example: I traded Cameron Artis-Payne for an injured Donte Moncrief
A small trade but one that I'm fine with. My partner was desperate for points to scrape together a win and offered me a player I wasn't particularly interested in for CAP. CAP was in my starting lineup and ready to start a couple games for Jonathan Stewart. He wasn't a long term play but he certainly had short term value at the time. Moncrief wasn't doing him and good at the time but since I'm out to a better start, I can afford the risk of waiting on him. I countered his offer for Moncrief and he accepted and I finally got Moncrief on a squad.
Rule #5 - If you're agonizing over it, just hit accept.
I rarely get everything I want in a trade. The only time that happens is when you have two people with widely different valuations of a player. Don't hold your breath for those situations because they happen rarely. Most of the time, people want to give their guys a 25-50% bump in value just because they're on their roster. First - don't be that guy. Second, if you're getting most of what you want or need in a trade, just hit accept. No one can truly know what will happen and if you "lose" a trade in hindsight - who cares? You can only do the best you can. Plus, the more trades you make, the more likely you'll be able to make more trades down the road.
Example: I traded Jeremy Hill for Demaryius Thomas.
I wanted to get Larry Fitzgerald for Hill, but the offer stood strong at Thomas. I decided to just pull the trigger as a I needed a WR and could spare Hill from my roster. I watched Hill put up a fantastic performance that weekend. My response was simply - good, I'm glad that he's getting value out of this trade.
Some other tips to keep in mind:
- If you have two guys that you value equally for one spot and are deciding who to trade - give your partner the choice. If I can say, "I'd like Player X, you can pick between Player A, B, and C" I'm much more likely to get a yes than if I'm trying to dictate all of the option.
- Don't be the person who offers bench players for all stars and defends it by saying it's just "a starting point." If I can't come up with a great offer, I'll send a note that says, "Hey, what's the price on LeSean McCoy."
- The only way to know evaluation of your trade partner is to ask. You can send me a thousand trade offers that have Ryan Mathews in it and I'll never accept it because I have no interest in that player. One text message or email would reveal that.
- Don't let anyone be "untouchable." There are few things more frustrating than trying to get a trade done with someone who insists half his team is untouchable. All of my players are available in every league - it's just a matter of what you're willing to pay.
Share your tips and some of your favorite trades below in the comments.
Some quick hitters:
Shotgun Longshot - Alex Smith (25% owned)
Smith is a popular streaming option this week and it has a lot to do with Oakland's defense struggling to maintain a consistent pass rush and the early game flow of Raiders games to be shoot outs. Smith generally isn't going to win you many weeks but if you're desperate, he's a guy that can be counted on to provide a solid floor.
Toss Sweep Sleeper - Darren Sproles (60% owned)
I'm breaking my 50% rule because it's desolate out there. Sproles might be out there for you and he's been his usual swiss army knife self for the Eagles this year. I like the matchup against Washington as I can imagine Wentz needing an outlet to avoid Josh Norman. Particularly if you're in a PPR league, dial up the pocket sized dynamo.
Fly Route Flier - Cameron Meredith (47% owned)
Wow! Chicago WR Cameron Meredith went from completely unowned to sitting on a roster in almost half the leagues in the fantasy universe. Chicago gets the Jaguars this weekend and that all signs point to that Brian Hoyer - Cam Meredith connected revving up again. Plus...how cool would it be to beat your opponent because you had the cajones to start Cam Meredith? Long time favorite Quincy Enunwa is equally owned and gets a permanent bump with Eric Decker on IR. See if either is on the wire.
That's it this week. Let's hear it in the comments how everyone is doing so far.