Nease’s Insights—Fantasy Football: The Art of the Trade

One of my greatest joys in fantasy football is trading players and draft choices with my fellow owners. In my dynasty league, that I have played in since 1985, everyone is a friend and that helps to stimulate year-round trading and talk about football. Over the long time we have been playing, trading has become commonplace and it plays a big role in our team-building strategies.

Unfortunately, trading is not too common in most leagues and owners are missing out on a “special” part of our great game. In fact, to my way of thinking, trading is something that really spices fantasy football up. It is like a salad. Yes, a mix of lettuce and tomatoes, topped with a salad dressing is good, but adding cucumber, radishes, various types of onions, carrots, bacon bits, hard-boiled eggs and croutons can make it delicious, not just good. If we can spice up our dinner table, we ought to be able to do the same thing with our game.

Like a salad, fantasy football comes to us in many different ways. It has become a game that many enjoy on free platforms—ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, etc. These leagues are ok, but where does the enjoyment come from? You usually play with an auto-filled league, with some owners being competent and others, not so much. It is so mechanical—draft and play, perform some waivers, blah, blah, blah. There is no camaraderie or trash talk. There almost certainly is no trading here.

I always recommend a keeper, or dynasty league, played with friends. You can still use whatever game platform you prefer. This approach makes the game personal and a lot more fun.

In a keeper league you usually keep about 2-4 players each, with a limit to keep them of, say three years. Keeping a player that was a 10th Round pick originally, will cost you a 9th, 8th and 7th rounder over the three years he is on your roster. What happens though if you have a good team, with perhaps 6 keeper-quality players?

You can trade them and get something back, rather than simply releasing them. Your opponents who have a weaker team can obtain them cheap and build their teams up. This is a win-win situation for both of you, a perfect trade opportunity. Even getting a 7th or 8th round pick is acceptable here.

In a re-drafter, trading is usually not done at all. Personally, I prefer to use waivers to help my ream and I do not like helping opponents. In my experience, players in re-drafter leagues have a hard time proposing a balanced trade. To me, the answer as to why lies in the intrinsic, unique nature if a re-drafter league. There are no future draft picks. That is the roadblock stopping trading from happening in our most played fantasy football format. And that my friends, is why I prefer a dynasty league. Unfortunately, most people want to only commit from year-to-year and they disdain the dynasty concept.

That is why I ask you to embrace the dynasty concept with your friends, family and other acquaintances. There is the concept of actual ownership. After the initial stocking draft, you can drop any number of players each year. You generally have a couple years of future draft slots. Each year you get several picks allocated to you. If you get six for example and you need to draft 10, you gain picks in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th rounds, However, you may only trade the initially allocated 1st-6th Round picks.

With this kind of team, everything remains in place and does not vanish into our memories when the last game of a season is played. That sense of actual ownership is what sets a dynasty league apart at the top of the fantasy football satisfaction pyramid.

There are many more options at your fingertips, but trading is my favorite. The biggest obstacle to making a trade offer that is utterly ridiculously one-sided in your favor. Other owners will look at you as being unrealistic and they will eventually get perturbed. The artful part of trading is to consummate a trade that is fair to both sides.

Using current and future draft picks to balance a trade is a good method to use. In fact, trading future picks to gain current picks gives you an opportunity to in essence borrow against their future value to help your current draft. Once you get into that mode, you can do it every year, but you will benefit the most in the year you start it.

To optimize draft pick trading, obtain future picks and well as current ones. Trade players starting to fade before their talent level plummets and they have no value. Players like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, LeSean McCoy and Delanie Walker are good examples. Then you fill their vacated roster spots with younger players who you rank highly.

That is how you use trading to keep your team strong. This is how you actually build a team that is a dynasty in a dynasty league. Doesn’t this make you want to play in one? Why play in one of those auto-filled re-drafter leagues that you can easily win?

Make 2018 the year you say “no more” to not being challenged. Round up another 11 of your friends and setup a new dynasty league. Trade away the boredom and step up to real fantasy football in a dynasty league. You will not regret it. 

Now there are only a few weeks left until training camps open. Buckle up for the journey. My colleagues and I at Big Guy Fantasy Sports are intent on helping you become the champion you want to be. With our poignant articles and being the home base for the consistency theory, a sound mathematically-based alternative to ADP, we will be with you for the 2018 season in its entirety. What happens then? That my friends, is easy. We start over and do it all again in 2019!

Over the years many readers have contacted me personally for fantasy football questions throughout the year. I look forward to helping you in your quest to win championships this year. You can contact me by email with any questions you may have on fantasy football generally, or on consistency specifically, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., follow me on Twitter @mikeinsights, or join me as a member of Couch Tomatoes, my fantasy football discussion group on Facebook.

Good luck! Have fun!

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