By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Wheeling and dealing. It comes with the territory when owning and running a successful fantasy football team. After Week 2, the trade talk seems to escalate, as teams decide which way the NFL season is heading, and who their new targets are. This is the first time, since the draft, that teams get to target players that are not on their team, yet.
Below is a list of key points that will keep you grounded, and make sure you get the targeted deal you want, without dipping too far into your team's bank. Toward the bottom is an example of a trade I recently completed in a league of mine that I think follows these guidelines. It was exciting to make my first trade, but I wont stop trying to improve my team.
Understand Your Leverage
Hopefully you are trading from a position of power. Hopefully you are looking to improve your team, which is already 2-0, and hopefully you are trading with a desperate team that suffered a few injuries and is sitting in the lower third of the standings. A main way to gain leverage is to wheel and deal with a team that needs what you have an excess of. If you have depth at running back, find a team that is weak there, and strike up a conversation.
Another way to generate leverage, is to talk trades with a few teams at a time, fishing for offers. This way you can see what your options are, and even put a time crunch on someone who is on the fence with a trade that you want to go through.
Have Confidence When Saying 'No'
If you are dealing from a position with little leverage, do not be afraid to say "no," and walk away from the deal completely. Even though you want to deal Jamaal Charles because of his poor first two weeks, doesn't mean you should accept any offer. It seems like a simple concept, but it is tough to follow when caught up in trade talk. Set a goal for what you want to get out of the trade, and do not accept anything less. Saying "no" is a major part of trading. It can also shift power and leverage towards you.
Make Your First Proposal Almost Unrealistic
Right off the bat, ask for more than you expect to get in the end. Set your precedent high and early when negotiating a trade so later it seems like you are conceding when you pull back on your offer. You are still going to get what you want, but this way the counter offer will look reasonable compared to your first offer.
Do not patronize your opponent with an offer out of this world, but if your are aiming for Chris Johnson and the team you're negotiating with also has Darren McFadden, ask for RUN DMC, and work down towards CJ2K.
Pay Attention Solely To Your Team
Don't put the kibosh on a deal because of how much better you are making the other team. If the trade helps you're team, thats all that matters. Trades are supposed to help both parties. I guess what I am saying is don't go into a deal trying to rip someone off. Focus on how you can improve your team, not how much you can hurt another's. Don't worry about what they are getting, focus on what you are getting because that is what matters.
Check Your Ego At The Door
Just because you spoke highly on Matt Forte during the draft, and just because he was your second round pick, doesn't mean you aren't wrong about him. If a player is having a bad year and all signs point to it continuing, trade him, and get what you can. Tip your hat to the party that is trading you a player they grabbed late in the seventh round and cut your losses. Now that the season has started, preseason rankings matter less and less as the weeks go on. Understand actual value, not potential preseason value. Swallow your pride, and sell low. Don't be afraid to sell low if you think the player will stay low.
Make Fair And Reasonable Offers
Don't be "that guy" that people roll their eyes at when a trade talk begins between two parties. People need to respect your offers, and not think you're trying to get more than you deserve every single time. You will lose respect around the league, and no one will want to deal with you. Make sure your opponent is going to benefit as well from the trade. If you show that good faith, the other party will as well, and a deal is way more likely to get done.
Tell the other party what you want. After a few offers have gone unsuccessfully back and forth, open up. Let the other owner know what you want and what you're willing to give up. You can mention names, but start with positions. "I need a RB and am wiling to trade one of my WRs." Respectful and fair negotiations will transpire from here, which will make it more likely that you will get what you want.
Understand Your Waiver Situation
If you can improve your team, via free agency, that is always option number one. Take a look at who is on the waiver wire, and what you would be trading for. If Cedric Benson is on the wire, and you are after a slash player, why go through the process of trade? Go after Benson and don't give anything of importance up.
Don't Offer Something Until You Are Ready To Deal
Every time an offer is made, whether it via text, email, Twitter, Facebook, or talking, it is an official offer. Do not be the guy that tries to feel someone out by giving hypothetical scenarios to the other party. For example, do not say "would you trade BLAH and BLAH for BLAH?" If those words are spoken or written, that's the official offer. You do not get to bait and switch in fantasy football. This is a common technique used by fantasy players, unsure of themselves when trading. Be aware of this technique and call the other party out once it is used.
Stay Grounded, Don't Overpay
Understand the value of the position you are dealing and the position you are in need of. Running backs are a hot commodity this year, just like most other years. Understand that a wide out can have a good game, but it is based on how many looks he will get. A solid running back is involved in around 25 snaps a game and will produce more because of that. Do not make a trade to just make a trade. Look at it from an outsider and see if you really need Eric Decker, or if you just need a wide out and it is not worth giving up your second running back for.
I recently made a trade giving up CJ2K and Alfred Morris for Frank Gore and Owen Daniels. I needed an upgrade at my TE position, but really just wanted to get more consistency out of my RB2 position. I am 2-0 in the league and have a flurry of backs (Darren McFadden, Steven Ridley, Kevin Smith, and now Frank Gore). The party I traded with is 0-2 and needed a splash at RB. Maybe CJ2K bounces back from the first two weeks, and maybe Alfred Morris becomes a solid starter, like he has been the first two weeks. This trade helps both teams out and was done respectfully and with the use of many steps from above.
We will see if it works out.
Ask Adam Harris fantasy football questions on Twitter @AHarris670 .
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