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Fantasy Football Success at the Trade Deadline

Pascal Visentin(1L)

In most leagues, November signifies the approach of trade deadlines and what will likely be your last chance to make substantive improvements to your roster before the playoffs. If you sit atop your league’s standings, congratulations! Few obstacles remain to obstruct your path to victory and the ensuing rush of fulfilment may just fill the inner chasm left by law school’s relentless erosion of your self-worth. If you find yourself on the cusp of joining other fantasy football gladiators in epic playoff combat, it is time to grab destiny by the cojones and cement your place in legend! If you sit at the bottom of your league’s standings, I guess there’s always next year. Loser.

Whatever your position in the standings, and whatever your league format, steel yourself with these 6 trade deadline tips to ensure maximum odds of victory:

Tip #1: Listen to your opponents. Sundays aren’t just for worshipping at the altar of football; they are for reconnaissance. While your friends are preoccupied partaking in the communion of our prophets Miller, Bud, and Molson – as well the accompanying slider sacrifice rituals – they will divulge crucial information. Players they covet, players that have disappointed them, their hopes and their fears for the playoffs. Knowing in advance what the other players want puts you in a powerful bargaining position.

 Tip #2: Buy low, sell hype. Every year, it seems a few players show up off the waver wire and go on a tear right before the playoffs. People are often jump the gun when it come to the hype train and pin their hopes for victory on the idea that these yahoos will continue performing at a stratospheric level. If you own one of these players, disavow yourself of all such notions. Instead, take advantage of the hype and sell high. Their production will invariably regress toward the mean – which, for some of these players, is near fantasy irrelevance. The last thing you need is for this regression to materialize during the one-and-done playoffs. Sell the hype for a true and proven fantasy stud who, perhaps, has recently had a couple of slow games. You’d be surprised how desperate people will get if they have lost a few in a row and are in danger of missing the playoffs.

Tip #3: Use leverage. Speaking of desperation…Look at the depth charts across your league. Identify someone who has depth issues at a particular position and/or whose team is riddled with injuries. You may be able to buy their studs at a very reasonable price. To an owner plagued by injuries, a two-for-one trade they would never consider with a healthy roster can suddenly become an attractive proposition. If you have depth, trade some of it away for a single star. It’s a win-win.  You get to improve your starting lineup; they get to have a full starting lineup. Used in conjunction with tips #1 and #2, this is a powerful move.

Tip #4: Look at the schedule. Matchups are as important as talent in fantasy football, so it is crucial to know the defences your players will be facing in the playoffs. For instance, I would expect Quincy Enunwa against the Saints and their absurd secondary to outperform A.J. Green being shadowed by Josh Norman. Does that mean you should ever trade A.J. away for a third-tier receiver? Of course not! My point is this: the schedule can make or break your fantasy playoffs. Therefore, assess the playoff schedule in every trade proposal to give yourself an edge over your competitors, who will likely be fixated on the stat sheet.

Tip #5: Don’t give up too much for star QBs (or Defences). Just don’t. Did you know that last year you could have feasibly had yourself a no.4 QB equivalent just by streaming week-to-week? True story. Unless you play in a two QB league, QBs just aren’t worth much. There is always a slew of options available on the waiver wire, some of which are bound to have soft matchups. An Andrew Luck or a Drew Brees should be the icing on the cake in a big trade, not the focal point. This is the case even if you are a Saints fan who believes Brees’ steeze is the bee’s knees. Of course, there may be exceptions pursuant to tip #2.

Tip #6: Don’t be an ass. Fantasy football is about having fun. Don’t try to pull a fast one by pawning off a player minutes after they ruptured their spleen in fourteen places. Negotiating in bad faith will make others reluctant to deal with you in the future. Unless this kind of behaviour is the norm in your league, it’s just bad business.