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How To Evaluate Fantasy Football Trades

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Guide To Evaluating Fantasy Football Trades

Legendary former Dallas Cowboys GM Tex Schram had a theory about NFL trades: if you make a trade involving a superstar, always be the one getting superstar. The idea is that average players are a lot easier to replace than a superstar. You want difference makers. Fantasy football trades are very similar to NFL trades in that way. When you evaluate a fantasy football trade, you’ll need to start with evaluating who the best player in the trade is and decide if the compensation for that player is fair. Evaluating a fantasy football trade can get complicated when a lot of parts are involved, though, so here’s a guide on how to evaluate fantasy football trades.

Evaluating Fantasy Football Trades

When I look at a fantasy football trade, see if you can determine the intent of both teams. The intent of the team adding the best player in the trade is always pretty easy to determine: they’re making their starting lineup better.

The intent of the team giving up the best player in the trade is harder to figure. If the player they are trading is better than any other players at that position on their team, what they get back is going to have to more than make up for the loss in production at that position. If they have the depth to make up the difference, then you can see their intent. Usually, though, team’s giving up the best player are the teams with the worse roster, because they are trying to add 2 or more good players for 1 great player.

This Helps Your Team’s Depth

Don’t fall for the “depth” argument on your team. Worry first about your starting lineup, then about your depth. It doesn’t matter if you have good depth for later in the year, if you’ve just gone on a 4-game losing streak because of your lousy starting lineup. Generally, when team’s tell you “This helps your depth”, decline the trade offer. If they say “This helps your starting lineup”, then verify they’re right and consider their offer.

Are Players Injured?

Also, take a look to see if one of the players has an injury. If so, is it a nagging injury? Could it be something serious? Is the player likely out for the year?

In the first case, a minor injury shouldn’t be much of a factor in a trade. Most NFL players have aches and pains during the season. All of them are playing hurt. In fact, the fact that you know one guy, but not the others, in the trade is hurt might simply be that one teams reports its injuries honestly, while other teams keep theirs secret. If it’s the minor (by NFL standards) bumps and bruises associated with football, don’t get bent out of shape.

If a player looks to be out for the season or out for most of the fantasy football season, I wouldn’t make the trade or let the trade pass (if I’m a commissioner). You have to look at the intent of the team making the trade. If the main player a team is trading for is going to be out with an injury so long that they won’t help the team make the playoffs or win the playoffs, then the trade makes no sense. Certainly, a player with a big name going on I.R. is still no help to a team (except in a keeper league), so don’t allow it.

If an injury could be serious, but no one knows yet about it, this gets into a gray area. Make sure both sides know the risks involved and then let them make their decisions.

How To Evaluate Trades With Wide Receivers

You have to evaluate trades primarily for wide receivers a little different, at least in the first 6 weeks of the season. That’s because there are almost always productive receivers on the waiver wire. In almost every league I’ve ever been in, you can grab a couple of good wide receivers off the free agent pile in the first month or so of the fantasy season. The same can’t be said for running backs or even tight ends.

If you’re evaluating a trade early in the season and one team is trading one of their couple of good WR’s to strengthen some other part of their team, you should probably allow it. That team can replace the lost talent, if they are aggressive in free agency.

How To Evaluate Trades in Keeper League

Keeper leagues and dynasty leagues are different. Teams that are out of the playoff race might trade a talented veteran for either a good young player who should get better or for draft picks the next year. If a team is clearly improving their team for the future by hurting their chances now, you’ll evaluate that trade differently than in a redraft league.

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