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How to Be Aggressive Without Alienating League Members (Fantasy Football)

by Shane Manila | @ShaneIsTheWorst | Featured Writer
Apr 25, 2020

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Before we discuss why it’s important to be aggressive without alienating your fellow league members, let’s talk about why it matters. I’m sure everyone has heard the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” It may sound trite, but it’s true. Think of your interactions with league mates. Are you more likely to want to deal with someone who is reasonable and doesn’t question your fantasy football skills, or would you rather deal with someone who lashes out and questions your sanity every time you send them a trade offer?

I know some owners think it doesn’t matter, it’s all business, and none of it’s personal, at least that’s what they say. If you could peek into someone’s mind, you would see certain biases they rather not admit to, and $10 will get $20 not wanting to deal with difficult people is one of those biases. All business is personal, whether we would like to admit to it or not. I know when I’m looking to make moves, I tend to look to the owners who I’ve been able to work well with in the past, who I know won’t lose it if they think my offer is a tad weak. With that out of the way, what are things you should keep in mind when you don’t want to alienate your fellow league members? Read below for the answer!

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Don’t Spam

What is “Spam?” Per thenextweb.com, “spam can be defined as irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the Internet. These are usually sent to a large number of users for a variety of use cases such as advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc.” For our purposes, spam trade offers are pretty well defined by the first part of that definition “…… irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the Internet.” There are few fantasy football related moments sadder than receiving a trade offer only to open your inbox and seeing that it’s a trash trade offer. You know the type of offers I’m referring to. Another owner sends you an offer of Patrick Laird and a 2020 5.03 rookie pick for your Tyler Boyd (a real-world offer I received this morning). That offer, in and of itself, is bad enough. But then you see that the same owner has sent you six different trade offers, and every single last one of them is just as bad. These are offers that are unsolicited and irrelevant. There is no chance that any fantasy football player worth his or her salt would accept an offer like that. Nor does this tactic open up a dialogue, as some owners might claim. Sending offers, and multiple variations, of this offer, causes most owners to discount you as someone to deal with.

Pay Attention 

This is going to be one of those “Do as I say, not do as I do” scenarios. I often forget what league owners say to me in their comments when rejecting a trade. Sometimes that will lead to a flustered league mate emailing me and asking if me if I know how to read, or something to that effect. My excuse, though it’s not a good one, is that I play in 40+ leagues, so sometimes I might not remember things people have told me regarding a player or picks, or what it is they’re looking for in an offer. Don’t be like me, be better.

If your league is hosted on MFL, they have a scratchpad that you can add to the league’s main page that is only visible to you. Use the scratchpad to keep notes on the other owners in your league. When you make a trade offer to an owner, and they reject it with a comment like “I don’t want Kareem Hunt and don’t own him in any leagues,” make a note of it on the scratchpad. You might have sent an offer to an owner, and they noted in their comments when turning down the trade, they have no interest in buying wide receivers 29 years or older because they are rebuilding. Note their feedback on your scratchpad. This way, you avoid sending this owner offers that another owner has no interest in. Most reasonable people are okay with repeating themselves once. Still, if you continue to send offers that another owner has no interest in after they specifically told you they have no interest in the assets you’re offering, they become less reasonable. They could even become downright indignant if you continue sending them offers they told you they don’t want. If your league platform doesn’t have a scratchpad function, you can easily keep a Google Sheet or Doc that you use to keep notes about your leagues in.

Mutual Benefit

When you are constructing a trade offer in your leagues, it makes sense to review the roster of your potential trade partner. You should do this not to just find out what value you can extract from their roster but also to see where you can provide them with value. Along this same line of thinking, make sure you aware of the starting requirements of your league before blasting out trade offers. If you send an offer including an RB3 to a team that has three top 15 running backs, in a league that only requires one starting running back, how exactly does that help that other team? It doesn’t.

The same theory holds for every other position. Offering a tight end to the George Kittle owner in a start one tight end league is not going to help that owner build a stronger roster. Look for the weaknesses on another owner’s roster, and see if they have a piece at another position that you need. When you send offers that don’t help other owners, it lets them know you didn’t bother to take the time even look at the state of their roster. It shows that you’re either lazy or selfish, neither particularly appealing qualities. Doing the bare minimum, taking their needs into account, can go a long way to keeping a positive image to your league mates.

It doesn’t take a genius to not alienate your league mates. You don’t need to understand analytics or regression trees or know how to grind tape. Just be kind, respectful, and treat folks the way you want people to treat you. It’s that simple. Thanks for reading!

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

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