Dynasty Fantasy Football Trading
June 20, 2015 | Kevin O'Brien
The basic concept of trading is to exchange expendable goods or services for necessary goods or services. Far too often we lose sight of this fundamental principle. The best trades you can make are the ones that get you closer to winning a championship, not public opinion. Often I read about a trade where immediately after the trade, people are anxious to know “who won?” or “which side?”. Let me answer a question with a few questions; are you contending? Is your roster at risk of an age-cliff? Do you have younger prospects that you believe in? How long is your outlook? Have you considered the immediate decrease in production for next season? Assume for a moment you don’t know a single player on the Colts roster. If the Colts traded Duron Carter for Russell Wilson, wouldn’t the Colts “win” that trade? Knowing that in reality they do have Luck, this would be a ridiculous trade for the Colts to make. Once we fill in the details of current QB, contract involved, even starting lineups the trade can be viewed drastically different. What if the Colts could start two QBs? Suddenly it’s a great move for the Colts, right? These questions are critical to understanding the reasoning behind making a trade in the first place. But, before we break down an example, let’s go through the art of the trade.
There is an art to trading, far from science, that involves many different aspects. League construction, roster size, scoring, superflex, devy, all have added complexities in forming a trade scenario. My first step when I look to trade is to go right to the roster page and review each team. I will go as far as running what is called a SWOT analysis. SWOT is used in business to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I look for leaguemates who are thin at a particular position and heavy in another position group. I then cross-reference this to last years’ standings and determine which leaguemates might feel they are an RB2 away, or a QB, away etc. These owners are my primary targets to identify a player within a specific positional group who will bolster my team but at the same time fill a need of that owner with an expendable player of mine. Back to basics of trading; exchange need for need. This type of approach leads to finding good matches and being able to capture good “value” in return for your expendable player.
Another approach to trading I favor is to look at NFL teams that have a void in touches or targets from the previous year who may have acquired a player that did not have similar opportunity with his previous team. The greatest past example was Golden Tate, a quality WR leaving a small scale offense, to fill a role in a larger scale offense. In hindsight, we can review many cases of these opportunities. Emmanuel Sanders, Brandon LaFell, Steve Smith, and so on. How do we preemptively identify these? There are a number of resources available, but I look first look at the scale of offenses. Below is a table of 2014 passing attempts.
Theoretically, based on these 2014 numbers a WR2 or WR3 will likely see more targets in Indy, New Orleans, or Atlanta, then in Dallas or Seattle. Once we have scale, we need to validate our information. Are there any changes to these teams that may impact 2015? For instance, the Colts are losing Reggie Wayne and the Saints are losing multiple players in their offense as well. The Saints have lost Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills’ 201 targets. While its possible they run more, pass less, I would identify the Saints offense as a place a WR2 might thrive. At the time of writing this, they have not added a receiving player that I would really commit to taking over these targets. Now that the draft has come and gone, I don’t see a clear WR talented enough to warrant the targets in 2015. This may take some time to develop, but in the meantime, I’ve acquired very inexpensive shares of Brandon Coleman and Seantavius Jones.
Another approach that I have used is to look for WRs who may have had success if not for an injury or an injury to the teams’ QB or key RB that had an effect on the offense. One example is Larry Fitzgerald. Using Rotoviz.com’s Game Split App, I looked at how much Carson Palmer’s absence had an impact of Fitzgerald’s production.
This split shows that in games Fitzgerald had Palmer at QB, he was on pace for 243.8 points in full point ppr which would have been good enough for WR13. Without Palmer, Fitz had abysmal, near waiver wire production. Most of my leagues I can start up to 5 WRs, and if my depth on my contending team is a bit shallow, Fitzgerald might just be a valuable asset on a contender, while seen as an aging WR on a rebuilding roster.
There are many other approaches to identify players to acquire, no matter the approach, the next step is to move on what you have deemed actionable intelligence. Even though choosing the right players to target is a challenge of its own, acquiring for the right price can be an even greater challenge.
Gauging market value can be tough, and in Dynasty Fantasy Football Trading, there is no paint by numbers chart which can encompass all variables & formats. There are a number of things I have found to make it easier to form an informed opinion on value. One way is to use the twitter search function and run a search on ‘dynastytrades <insert player name>’. For instance, ‘dynastytrades fitzgerald’. The search results typically yield a number of trades involving multiple players, which can complicate a player like Fitzgerald as he likely was not the main target of the trade. However, you will usually find a straight deal for a rookie pick. I found a recent deal that had Fitzgerald costing a 2.07 rookie pick. Depending on your assets and how comfortable you are with the overall age of your team. I would say the 2.07 is expendable.
Overall, I recommend to be active. Whether an owner has a player you like on the block or not, whats the harm in asking, “what would you want for player X?” So many times I’ve seen a player move teams and I’m left thinking, “c’mon, I would’ve paid more,” until I realized, maybe I need to be more proactive and seek out the goods.