Step One: Finding Team Needs
Don’t trade just for the sake of it or to mix up your roster. A successful trade in fantasy football must be one that improves your team in a previous area of weakness. If your team has many areas of weakness perhaps consider playing fantasy golf next year instead.
Step Two: Players that Help your Team Needs
Once a need is discovered, such as touchdowns from your receiving corps, a player must be located who improves upon that weakness. A key of successful trading is finding a little-known player who is performing exceptionally well or who you expect will perform above his current status as the year progresses. If you are in the unfortunate position of having many areas of weakness on your team and thus exhibit very little fantasy football acumen, perhaps take someone else’s advice other than your own on finding a player expected to perform above their means.
Step Three: A Trade Partner
Finding a trade partner is not as easy as it seems. The key is to find someone who has an obvious need you can exploit…err, help fill. If someone is starting a very weak quarterback and you have a backup quarterback on your bench who serves no purpose to you, this can be deemed a win-win situation.
If no obvious needs jump out on teams that have players you desire, take another course of action.
Step Three (Alternate): Find a Sucker
If finding a compatible trading partner is becoming cumbersome, find a sucker, i.e. someone who is near the bottom of the standings, has made very questionable roster decisions in the past and a person who the rest of the league talks about behind their back as sucking or being a sucker.
If you are not privy to these conversations or are not aware that they exist, and your team has many notable weaknesses, paraphrasing what Matt Damon once famously paraphrased, you are probably the sucker. Perhaps consider taking up fantasy horse racing next season.
Step Four: Gaining Acceptance
Just offering a “fair” trade is not always enough. Sometimes a fellow owner must be coaxed or convinced into dealing. Even if a trade seems even, some players are hesitant to deal away someone they were relying on or drafted from the beginning. It becomes necessary to explain what they will gain from this trade and how they can afford to give up whatever you desire.
Fantasy football is such a luck-based activity that not all trades, even the most well thought out, will work in your favor. Sometimes drafting the best player in fantasy over the past three seasons at a fair price to start the year turns into your roster relying on Chris Johnson in 2011 and you not being able to/not wanting to bench him.
In much the same way, trades can go awry. It is important to boast and brag about this never being the case however. Even if a trade seems to be teeter tottering against you, always talk up how you hustled the other owner and how you are in great shape heading towards the fantasy playoffs.
Even though no one can be “psyched out” in fantasy sports since no defense is played against a matched up opponent, it is important to display confidence and bravado in the face of your league mates. Otherwise, come next season, a number of trade offers will find their way towards you because, despite your best efforts, everyone seems to think you are some sort of sucker.