Welcome to Week 11 and the final few weeks of the fantasy season. We’re close to the start of asterisk season. You know, that beautiful little star that denotes your team has secured a spot in the post season. Man, I love asterisks.
But before we earn those asterisks, there is still work to be done! Week 12 ends the bye weeks for the league and for most of us, trade deadlines are coming up soon if they haven’t happened already. My ten thoughts on trades:
- When constructing a trade, you absolutely have to understand where you’re at in the scheme of the league. You’re going to be in one of three camps. There’s the Juggernaut teams where you can afford to drop a couple games while you focus in on the playoff weeks. There’s the Scrappy teams where you’re fighting on the wire every week to squeeze out an extra point or two as every game is important for a playoff berth. Finally, there’s the Deadmeat teams, lifeless carcasses of disappointment and failure that aren’t getting to the playoffs. Make an honest call.
- If you’ve got a Deadmeat team, ask yourself if you’re in a redraft league or is there some kind of dynasty / keeper element to it. If you’re in a boring old redraft league, just sit on your hands. There’s nothing that can be done. Don’t trade your only productive player to your best friend to make a playoff run. Just play out the string and wallow in self-pity. If you happen to play in a league that allows for draft pick trades or keepers, try and ship any assets you have to competitive teams for players with good value in 2020. A little work now can set you up big in next year’s draft season. Think about a player like Devin Singletary who looks like he’ll be the bellcow in 2020 or maybe someone held onto AJ Green all year after getting a cheap share at the draft. Look around and evaluate the best keepers and swing for the fences.
- If you’re a Scrappy team, do whatever you can to win week to week. That might mean taking a hit in a trade to secure better odds of pulling out a win or two in the remaining weeks. Desperate times can call for desperate measures. Once you get into the playoffs, a lot of it comes down to luck. Fortunes change quickly in the fantasy playoffs but none of that matters if you’re sitting on the sidelines.
- If you’ve got a Juggernaut, take advantage of the above two. Flags fly forever. Go out and trade that futures share of Mecole Hardman for someone who can help you down the stretch. Take advantage of the desperate 5-5 squad by consolidating your depth for front-line talent. Use your leverage!
- One more for the Juggernaut’s - if you can make moves that help you in your playoff weeks, do it now. If that means targeting good defenses for the playoff weeks, roster an extra defense. If that means protecting your star running back with their handcuff, pick them up or trade for them. Be smart.
- Trading should be fun and it should also help both parties. If you’re only focused on how it makes you better, you’ll never get a trade accepted. If you’re someone who is trying to rip off another person or are obsessed with “winning the trade,” you’re probably not going to be successful in the long run.
- One of my favorite trade techniques is asking a potential trading partner to rank a position group I’m looking to trade to them. Maybe they value someone at a higher level than I do and I can use that information to craft a trade that will get accepted faster. I also think it’s important to be direct. “Hey, are you willing to talk about trading Christian McCaffrey or is he off limits?”
- Giving someone choices is always a good thing. “I’m interested in either Mark Ingram or Marlon Mack. I can move either Julian Edelman or Stefon Diggs in exchange. What works for you?” If you can offer that, it almost forces them to start crafting a trade in their minds. “Oh, I could give up Marlon Mack for receiver help and I really like the idea of getting Edelman in this PPR league!” Boom, you’ve got yourself a trade.
- If nothing else, respond quickly to trade offers. If you’re not interested, hit decline, maybe include a note as to why. If someone is sending you terrible trades, counter with a similarly bad trade in reverse. You want my Keenan Allen for your Gus Edwards? Well, I counter with my Bills defense for your Saquon Barkley!
- If a trade is close enough for you to agonize over, just hit accept. I know, we all want everything to work out perfectly, but trading is kind of fun. It can create a fun talking point that can be entertaining in and of itself. My home league uses an auction draft and you can sign players drafted early to contracts. I drafted and signed Christian McCaffrey as a rookie, traded him for stretch run help and won a championship. That guy then rode McCaffrey’s second year to an early lead in the standings, traded him for more immediate help and he won the championship last year. Now, in year 3, McCaffrey is helping a third team to the playoffs and may ultimately knock me or that other team out as all three of us will likely make the playoffs! It’s the McCaffrey curse! All that could’ve been different had I just played it safe but it has delivered a lot of entertainment to our league.
Good luck, gamers. Let’s go out and chase some banners.
Jeff Berckes can be found on the Twitter machine @gridironborn. Whiskey Ranger, who filled in admirably the last three weeks to the point where he should probably just take over the column, is found @whiskeyranger29.