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Trades: How to Be the Most Aggressive Player in the League (Fantasy Football)

by Shane Manila | @ShaneIsTheWorst | Featured Writer
Mar 3, 2020

Though I’m not a fan of trade deadlines in dynasty leagues, they do serve one function. They tend to lead to a flurry of trades. I’m not the type that needs artificial deadlines to force me into action. When it comes to trading, I’ve stolen the mantra of many a cheerleader and decided I will always “Be Aggressive, Be Be Aggressive.” If you’re more the wallflower type, that’s okay too; I am going to share some simple steps with you that you can take to become a more aggressive trader.

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Scanning Rosters

Most fantasy leagues consist of 12 to 14 teams. This makes it really easy to pull up every other team’s roster when looking for trade partners. You should review absolutely every other roster in the league to see if there’s a way you can get something you need from an owner for any assets you have a surplus of. If you happen to own an abundance of starting running backs but need another starting wide receiver, look through for the rosters that are in the opposite position. You should also look to see which teams have very little depth beyond their starting lineup (or are even thin for starters as well). Look to target these teams with two for one offers, where you trade away two lesser players and secure the best player in the trade. I will typically open up a tab on my laptop with the league’s rosters and open another tab for sending trade offers.

Reviewing Trade Histories

Reviewing the trade history of your league mates is one of the most underrated ways to facilitate trades. “Actions speak louder than words” is one of my favorite adages. People can say whatever they want, but if you want to know what they actually value, look to their past actions. An owner’s trade history gives you a blueprint on what you should offer them when crafting a trade proposal. Previous trades provide vital information to the thought process of other owners in your league. Their trades tell you what positions they value and which positions they don’t value. It will let you know if they are willing to overpay for assets, and it will tell you how they value rookie draft picks.

Nearly every hosting platform has an area where you can review a league’s transaction history. Most of the leagues I play in are hosted on My Fantasy League, and the set up to review trade history is simple. Go the “Transactions tab” on the league’s main page, select “Trades” next to Show Me, then select the Franchise whose history you want to look through.

So go take a look at your potential trading partners’ trade history to give yourself a leg up in all of your trade negotiations.

Communicating with Your League

As most couples therapists will tell you, communication is key to a healthy relationship. What’s awesome about communicating in fantasy football leagues is you can do all your communicating without ever being forced to speak to another person. Every league I play in has a place where all the league owners can chat. You can set up a direct message for the league on Twitter, create a GroupMe chat, or utilize other services like Voxer or Slack.

Where you communicate with each other is less important than the act of actually communicating. If you want everyone in your league to know that you’re ready to move some pieces, you can send out a message to the entire league. Naming the players, you’re prepared to move in your league’s chat often resembles dropping chum into the shark tank. The feeding frenzy commences almost immediately. You’ll receive messages from other interested owners, while other owners will cut to the chase and send you actual offers. You can also reach out to specific owners privately if they have players or picks you’re looking to trade for.

The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that it’s important to be responsive. If another owner messages you or sends you an offer make sure you respond. Ignoring someone’s messages is a turn-off for many owners, as is allowing trade offers to expire. If someone takes the time to craft a trade offer or send you a message the least you can do is respond in kind.

Sending Out Offers

This may seem obvious, but in far too many leagues I play in, it seems to be something that should be stated. If you want to make a trade, send out trade offers. Too often, trade discussions fail to produce tangible results. Finding yourself in endless discussion after endless discussion with someone that never leads to a trade can lead to an aversion to engaging with that league mate. Or some league owners may know that they are too easily swayed when engaged in conversation and would rather not talk about trades at all to counter this. On a personal level, I prefer sending out offers to talking about trades because I am a visual person. Looking at an actual offer in black in white helps me to digest it in a way that talking about a trade doesn’t. It allows me to put a trade in context when thinking about how the trade will affect my overall roster.

Whatever the reason, the simple act of sending a trade offer is the most important part of a trade. Even if the trade isn’t accepted, it shows your league mate you’re a man or woman of action and ready to make moves. They can quickly look at the offer, decide what they do or do not like about it and refer to it when making a counteroffer. Make sure you don’t limit yourself to just one potential trade partner, either. When I’m looking to buy or sell a player or rookie picks, I’ll blanket the entire league with offers. If you need to acquire an RB2, shoot out offers to everyone in your league who owns one. The more offers you have out, the more likely that one will be accepted.

It’s that simple. If you want to be aggressive than just be aggressive. You don’t need to be adept at analytics or tape to be aggressive, all you need is the desire to make moves.

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Shane Manila is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive and follow him @ShaneIsTheWorst.

Featured, Featured Link, NFL, Trades