Strategy topic of the week: how should you go about evaluating and responding to a trade offer?
When you're offered a trade in your fantasy football league, you'll often have a visceral reaction to the proposal. Whether your instinct is to hit the "Accept" button before the offer is withdrawn or respond with a snarky note questioning the other owner's heritage, there is a four-step process I'd recommend. To keep the discussion relatively simple I'm assuming that you're playing in a redraft league (i.e. -- teams do not have the option to keep players from one season to the next).
- Categorize the offer. Ideally, the other owner has already looked over your roster, determined that your respective teams' strengths complement each others' weaknesses, and made the case as to how their proposal will improve your team.
Of course that doesn't happen as often as it should in real life, but don't take offense. If the trade offer is ridiculous (e.g. -- the other owner offers to trade you their injured kicker who's on a bye week in exchange for Darren McFadden), skip ahead to the last step.
- Compare the offer to your alternatives. Of course, you have no obligation to accept a trade proposal, even if the person proposing the trade is your partner, boss, or relative. You essentially have five alternatives when a trade is proposed to you: (1) refuse the offer and stand pat, (2) accept the trade as proposed, (3) respond with a counterproposal, (4) examine the alternatives available to you on your league's waiver wire, and (5) investigate trade opportunities with other owners.
- Decide whether to accept the offer. A one-for-one trade involving players at the same position is the easiest to evaluate -- just determine which player you think will have the greater fantasy value over the remainder of your league's regular season (don't forget to factor in bye weeks if one player's team has already had their bye week and the other player's team hasn't). Unless your team's record is at least 4-2 at this point and your team is among the league's leaders in points scored, you shouldn't be paying any attention to the players' schedules during your league's playoff weeks.
A one-for-one trade involving players at different positions is slightly more challenging to evaluate. Is there another player currently on your roster or available on the waiver wire (think of the waiver wire as your "practice squad") who could replace the player you'd be trading away? If the expected drop-off in fantasy value at the position for the player you'd be trading away is greater than the expected gain in fantasy value at the position for the player you'd be acquiring, then the trade doesn't make sense from your team's perspective.
For proposed trades involving more than two players the thought process is almost exactly the same. The only difference is that if you'd be receiving more players than you'd be trading away, you'll have to decide which players currently on your roster you'll put on waivers to make room for your team's new acquisitions.
Keep in mind that your potential trading partner may also be exploring other options, so a delay on your part may result in a lost opportunity, and the circumstances of the players involved in the proposed deal can also change before you respond (e.g. -- serious injury).
- Respond to the offer. Again, even if you believe that the trade proposal you received was dumb or intended to take advantage of you, resist the urge to lash out at your fellow owner or question their intelligence. Doing so may only serve to reduce the number of potential trading partners you'll have in the future. A simple "yes", "no", or "no, but ..." is all that's required. Above all, remember that fantasy football is supposed to be fun, and proposing trades is just part of that experience for many owners. Be courteous and gracious, no matter how much you may now dislike the original proposal, if not the person who made it.
Players you'll wish you hadn't started this week
QB: Matt Ryan (@ Detroit), Cam Newton (vs. Washington), Joe Flacco (@ Jacksonville)
RB: Adrian Peterson (vs. Green Bay), Chris Johnson (vs. Houston), Montario Hardesty (vs. Seattle)
WR: Vincent Jackson (@ NY Jets), Devin Hester (@ Tampa Bay), Doug Baldwin (@ Cleveland)
TE: Antonio Gates (@ NY Jets), Todd Heap (vs. Pittsburgh), Anthony Fasano (vs. Denver)
DEF: NY Jets (vs. San Diego), Atlanta (@ Detroit), Oakland (vs. Kansas City)
K: Mason Crobsy (@ Minnesota), Sebastian Janikowski (vs. Kansas City), Billy Cundiff (@ Jacksonville)
Player's you'll wish you had started this week
QB: Tim Tebow (@ Miami), Matt Cassel (@ Oakland), Matt Moore (vs. Denver)
RB: Ryan Mathews (@ NY Jets), Earnest Graham (vs. Chicago), Beanie Wells (vs. Pittsburgh)
WR: Greg Little (vs. Seattle), Antonio Brown (@ Arizona), Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. Kansas City)
TE: Daniel Fells (@ Miami), Jeremy Shockey (vs. Washington), Visanthe Shiancoe (vs. Green Bay)
DEF: San Diego (vs. NY Jets), Seattle (@ Cleveland), Cleveland (vs. Seattle)
K: Jason Hanson (vs. Atlanta), Shaun Suisham (@ Arizona), Adam Vinatieri (@ New Orleans)