Monday morning – We all know how this worked out for me. Celek had a career day and outperformed Gronk. Pitta, on my bench, is looking like added protection for me at the tight end position. Jamaal Charles didn’t do much (fortunately I also started Reggie Bush and CJ Spiller, who more than made up for that), but Kevin Smith didn’t have a huge day either. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with this team right now, so am not actively looking to make trades.
The next few weeks, though, particularly as we start to get into bye weeks, are prime time for trade offers in most leagues. Given that, I thought I’d use this last experience to offer some advice in wheeling and dealing:
1. Don’t act desperate – You may be desperate to replace someone in your starting line up, but try not to show it. The best way to convince another team to trade with you is to have an aloof, “hey, this works out great for both of us” attitude. The minute you show signs of desperation, other managers will either walk away or try to take advantage of you with lopsided deals. In fact, just don’t be desperate, period. Always have a back up plan (ie, grabbing a deep sleeper off the waiver wires), rather than agreeing to an obviously lopsided trade and subjecting yourself tot he ire of the rest of the league.
2. Remember who you’re dealing with – It’s rare that players with exact parity are traded head-to-head. More likely, you’re giving up something in one position to improve another, or immediate performance is traded for greater upside. Teams that are doing well are likely to only make trades that significantly improve a position that might be mediocre, or to improve the long-term (ie, playoff week) upside potential of their bench. Teams that are struggling are more willing to take on injury-risk or threat of drop-off, if they can obtain a player who’s certain to give them immediate production. Make offers accordingly.
3. Consider the timing - When you offer a trade can be as important as what you offer. If you’re dealing with a team who’s doing better than you, make the offer earlier in the week. They won’t be eager to pull the trigger, so giving them the extra time to mull it over will work to your advantage. By making the offer before the first waiver clearance, you also have the potential to sweeten the deal by using your money or higher waiver priority to pick up a free agent they have their eye on. If you’re dealing with a team that appears desperate (see point 1), a last minute offer might pressure them into accepting, without having time to shop around. If you’re worried they might have something in the works with another team, shoot them an email earlier in the week saying, for example, “I think I can help you out with your RB issues–let me know if you’re interested, I just need some time to figure out who I’m willing to give up, and if there’s anyone on your team I want.”
Not only is timing within each week important, but timing throughout the season is as well. For example, if you anticipate having a number of starters on a bye in Week Seven, start throwing out trade offers in Week Four or Five, so the other teams don’t see what you’re up to. This works especially well if you’re making an offer for a player who’s on a bye that week.