So, here we are. Week 10 is coming to a close. Playoff positions are beginning to solidify. Fantasy managers are beginning to either lose hope or plan for the playoffs. But, most importantly, trade deadlines are looming over the league.
Besides the draft, the trade deadline is the next most important time when the great managers are separated from the good. Do you sit idly by and let the team that got you there continue to carry you, or do you take a gamble and fill a hole or upgrade a question mark? For the sake of the article, I’m gonna say, it’s trade time.
There’s a few rules of thumb we should go over in the art of trade making:
1. Never make a deal with a guy you’re in direct competition with. It’s not good business. You’d shoot yourself if it was your guy who knocked you out of playoff contention. You may get a good deal, but it’s always a gamble. This is more of a painful thing to watch than a team killer.
2. Saying “I need an RB!” on the message board will not get the job done. When you post that message, you’re basically saying, “I’m desperate! Send me the most ridiculous deal you could imagine.” If you want a leg up, you have to take the initiative. You have to take the time to offer trades. No one is looking to give you LaDanian Tomlinson. They’re looking to see if you’re desperate enough to give up Donovan McNabb for Travis Henry. So, don’t waste your time.
3. Getting one stud for two good players is a good deal. Offering up Phillip Rivers and Terry Glenn for Frank Gore when you’re in a pinch for an RB looks appealing for the other team and works well for you, assuming Rivers is your #2 and you can fill the hole left by Glenn.
4. Multiplayer deals are the way to go. A lot of times you can disguise a lopsided deal by making a 3 for 3 trade. Asking for Larry Johnson and two scrubs in return for three solid players, suddenly makes it seem more bearable to lose LJ for the other guy. Just make sure you try and trade position for position, it will make it seem more fair, because you’re automatically filling the holes you create.
5. Use your Instant Messenger. You offer a trade. Two days later, your deal gets rejected and reworked. A day later, you respond. Before you know it, the trade deadline has passed. Work out a time when you can meet up and talk things out on Yahoo Messenger or AIM. Don’t leave the table until a deal is hammered out. More times than not, vigilance will work out in your benefit. Kind of the way a filibuster works, eventually the other guy will say, “I don’t care anymore, I’ll take the deal just to shut you up!”
6. Know your victim. It’s easy to look at Willie Parker sitting on top of the steaming pile of dook that is the last place team and offer up a deal. I mean, you’re doing him a favor offering him Jeremy Shockey for Parker, right? No, that deal would get vetoed by any league with any amount of dignity. Plus, the poor sap in last place knows that nothing outside of a miracle will save him, so nine times out of ten, he’s not interested in your vulture impression. The top teams won’t want to shake up their team either. No, the team you need to set your sights on is the teams JUST barely out of contention for the playoffs. They’re desperate for a shot in the arm, they’re ready to deal and they want it now. Stick your heart in the freezer and bleed them dry.
7. Be sure to check out the matchups. Sometimes when you get a deal offer, it’s easy to just pull the trigger. But, don’t forget to do your homework. Make sure you check out the matchups during the final four weeks of the season. You don’t want to make the deal of the season just to find out your new stud receiver plays Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Chicago in the three weeks of the playoffs. It’s easy to just jump, it’ll keep you alive if you put on the parachute first.
8. Don’t trade just to trade. One of the worst things you can do is to just make a trade because it’s fun. It never fails that someone will offer you a deal, and it’s not a great deal, but you make a reworked offer. Suddenly, you just made a deal you didn’t need to make just because you got bit by the trade bug. So, put some ointment on it, stick your hands in your pockets, whatever… Just keep that itchy trigger finger away from your mouse.
The late season trade is an art. Take it from the guy who, every season, gets accused of rigging trades or some other underhanded maneuvering. You CAN get the player you want and need. You just have to study the art, hone your craft, and turn off your heart light.