By Leo Paciga ( @FFHoudini )

Trading is an essential component when it comes to fantasy football and being a successful dynasty owner, and more importantly, being comfortable with crafting an initial offer is a required skill.  In talking with many dynasty owners on Twitter or in trade “advice” forums like the one here at DFW, I’ve come to realize that there are quite a few owners out there that struggle with creating an initial trade offer – an offer that is close enough in value to open the door for more dialog and potential negotiations with another owner.

This article will focus on the fundamentals of dynasty trading in an attempt to create a level of comfort for folks out there who simply wrestle with making trade offers.  Some of the experienced owners out there may find this article too basic or uninteresting and honestly that’s ok…this article really isn’t to help the “sharks”; they don’t need the help.  No, instead this article is an attempt to help the folks that are either new to the dynasty format, or that simply haven’t sharpened their trading skills enough yet to be comfortable brewing up initial offers.

This first concept/method is designed to create a value baseline that helps take some of the guess work out of crafting that initial trade offer for owners who struggle with the art of trading.

Crafting the Deal

Step 1 – Award points to each position based on positional rankings or by using a consensus ADP (Average Draft Position) ranking.  I personally prefer using ADP and there are plenty of sites out there that rank dynasty players using data compiled from recent mock drafts in an attempt to assign a fair market value to players across the board.  You can use one of the ADP lists like those found at DFW, or you can create your own value ranking system – but the first step in this process is to assign a point value to each player.  I would recommend assigning value to the top 50 players at each position, the top player receiving 50 points, the 2nd rank player receiving 49 points, the 3rd ranked player would get 48 points and so on.   This list should be updated regularly to account for players trending up or down, off season FA moves, coaching changes, etc.


Step 2 – Apply the same process to the other rosters in your league; especially the teams you’d like to send offers to.  Yes, it’s a time consuming process to go through and apply a value system to multiple rosters, but when all is said and done, it will make those initial offers much easier to make.  Ultimately, the more point values you apply to players, the more comfortable you’ll become making offers and that’s a skill you’ll use FOREVER in fantasy football.

Step 3 – Once you’ve assigned point values to the players on your roster and the roster of your potential trade partner, you can start putting offers together that equal roughly the same number of total points.  For example, let’s say an owner wants to acquire player #A and player #B and add them to squads.  If player #A (45 points) and player #B (33 points) have a combined value of 78 points; then an owner could start trade talks by offering two players fairly close in value points, but also being prepared to sweeten the deal if necessary.

Again, this type of point system isn’t written in stone and there will always be some exceptions, variables and even “strange” owners that will be difficult to account for completely.  It also doesn’t mean that you should throw common sense out the window and start offering deals made up of 5 bench players for an elite producer just because their point totals are equal.  Bottom line, this point system idea is simply a method or tool to help create a base line in value that will hopefully lead to a level of comfort when creating offers and making trades.

Other fundamentals and core principles to consider when you’re working those trade lines…..

Win/Win  –  Ultimately, the best deals are the ones that benefit both teams.  When you’re formulating potential offers, look to not only improve your squad, but to also add value to the squad of your trading partner.  For example, let’s say you have an abundance of depth at one particular position – maybe it’s the TE position and you have three top 10 tight ends sitting on your roster.  You should identify a team in your league that needs some starting TE help and that ALSO has depth at a different position that could help your squad in return.  A situation like that is a deal just waiting to happen!

Responding etiquette  –  Nothing infuriates fantasy football owners more than the deafening sound of silence or having an offer expire and die on the vine.  Make sure as a responsible dynasty owner that you respond to all trade offers in a timely manner.  There’s always one owner that slacks off in responding to trade offers and eventually those offers will dry up and stop completely.  You don’t want to be that owner, trust me.

Add Comments  –  Most fantasy football sites give you a section to add some comments when you’re rejecting a trade offer.  Take a few minutes and type in why you’re rejecting the deal so you can create a level of understanding for future negotiations.  I’m not saying you need to type out a novel, but offer some insight like, “That offer was close, but I value player #A more than that”.  Or maybe the offer isn’t close and you can say, “Sorry, but we’re miles apart” or “Thanks, but I’m not looking to move player #A”.   Also, make sure to thank the other owner for the dialog whether they’re initiating the offer or they’re responding to an inquiry.  Getting to know the other owners in your dynasty league will make future negotiating easier and adding comments to your trade offers/rejections will help in that process.

Don’t Give Advice  –  Adding comments to trade offers is an important part of the trading process, but don’t overstep that imaginary line between good old fashion dialog and offering annoying, unwanted advice.  Every league has that one owner who is nearly impossible to trade with because his/her offers are always accompanied by a long winded explanation as to why their four bench players are better for your squad than keeping an elite producer.

Counter offers  –  Sometimes the initial offer is just that – “initial”…it’s simply an opening bid.  If the initial offer wasn’t quite what you were looking for in terms of value, don’t be afraid to send back a counter offer asking for a little more value.  Counter offers are an essential part of the negotiating process, but some owners will try to top off every single offer they receive by asking for more value – even if the initial off was more than fair.  That practice can become annoying rather quickly and deals can dissolve in an instant if one owner becomes too greedy.  Owners that get a reputation for always having “to win” a deal will get fewer and fewer offers in their in-boxes as time goes by.

Sending Emails  –  You can always send out an email to a fellow owner asking about the availability of a certain player.  Some owners are simply more comfortable working on the early stages of a deal via email instead of sending out official offers right away.  The important thing is that you negotiate and keep the dialog open and email works just fine for that.

Advice Forums  –  Advice forums are a great tool for getting some additional feedback on potential deals.  Not only can you post offers that are already on the table, but you have an opportunity to ask for some insight while you’re still putting an offer together.  Granted, you may hear from a poster that is more interested in making a joke than actually helping, but more times than not, you’ll get well thought out advice from knowledgeable fantasy owners.

Owner settings  –  Yes, this one is a “no brainer” but you’d be surprised how many owners still forget to check the right boxes.   No matter what on-line site your league may use, make sure you set up the owner settings correctly so that you receive trade notifications in your inbox.

Like I mentioned earlier, trading is a huge part of fantasy football, especially when it comes to our beloved dynasty format.  In redraft leagues, players go back into the bucket and you get to select a whole new team come August.  Dynasty leagues, however, offer a whole off season of endless activity and that activity centers around an owner’s ability to trade his/her way to an improved roster.  Hopefully this article provided some basic insight into crafting a trade offer for those of you still hesitant to fully embrace this necessary element of owning a dynasty team.  Feel free to contact me on Twitter @FFhoudini with any questions or reach out to any of the great folks here at DFW by using the advice forum.  Next week I’ll jump back into the shark invested waters and discuss some players that you shouldn’t be overlooking.  Until then, stay safe and keep building those dynasty rosters.