Fantasy Football: How to Evaluate a Trade

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Trading is a necessity in the business of fantasy football. It is a great way to improve your team and manage injuries and bye weeks. But trading can be intimidating for novice fantasy football players, and before you know it, you may be faced with some fast and furious trade offers. That’s why I’m here to help. Here is a quick guideline on how to analyze a trade.

A fantasy team comes with responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is checking your league emails. Scattered in those league emails will be trade offers. There is nothing worse than spending time trying to research a trade to better your team, only to have it go unnoticed. So always observe. Check your emails, check your texts. Someone is spending time to improve their team. The least you can do is look at the offer. Trust me, when you have two running backs down with injury, you will want someone to listen to your trade offers to rebuild your team.

First, you need to identify the skill level of each player. If you click on the players name it will bring up the fantasy scores by week. Check the player being offered first because you should have a pretty decent idea of the fantasy value of your own players. The two main things you will need to check are: the health of the player(s) offered, and the average points per game. Don’t just go by name recognition. Be sure to evaluate the player. Next, compare the player being offered to the player you would have to give up. Never take a player whose average points per game are much lower than who you are trading away. A couple of points difference is fine. Especially if you have a need for that particular position. But a fair trade is going to be pretty balanced. If a trade seems too good to be true, it probably is. Now this will be about the only time in fantasy football that bye weeks matter. If you are desperate for a tight end, you’re not going to want a tight end fast approaching a bye week. Not only that but check match ups. If a player is going up against some really tough defenses (just check the current defensive rankings) then it’s going to affect their fantasy value. There’s a lot to evaluate in a fantasy trade. Don’t take it lightly. 

Of course, there will be times that you will be desperate for a player or a particular position, and if a suitable player can’t be found on the waiver wire, you may end up with a trade that is a little more unbalanced than you would like. These will be a little harder to analyze. To make some headway into solving this tricky situation, you will first need to determine just how badly you’re in need. Rank your situation from 1:You need a player but you can afford to find a subpar replacement off the waiver wire if you can’t make a trade happen, to 10: Your season will END if you don’t make this trade. If the player’s game average falls within one point of your above ranking then the trade is an option. Here’s some more advice. A kicker and a defense will pretty much always be of less value than any other position. And the inverse to this player dilemma is true as well. If you know a fellow league manager is scrambling for a position that you have some depth at, make them an offer. You may end up getting a great value out of the deal.

But for every good trade that goes through, you will see plenty that you’re going to decline. Here’s the deal though; Even if you don’t like a trade at first glance, don’t just click the “deny” button, take the time to analyze the offer. This is as much for your benefit, as for the benefit of other league members. Even if a trade seems unbalanced, take five minutes to study and consider it. Yeah I know, there is no way that you’re trading your stud quarterback for a kicker. But by analyzing the offer you can deduce a few things. First, it reveals the needs of other teams, and what they have to offer for value. Second, it can show you the value of the players you have. So even a dead end trade offer can be enlightening. The opposite is true as well. Never automatically accept a trade. Always analyze the offer.

If you have sat staring at your screen, switching back and forth between ESPN and Yahoo, and you really can’t decide if a trade is in your best interest, you can always check out fantasy football trade analyzers. There are more than a few out there. Google it, try out a few, find one you like and stick with it. They will analyze your trade offer for free, and give you some good feedback. And if you want to crowdsource an assessment, check out twitter. Use the #fantasyfootballhelp to encourage people to weigh in. People love to share their opinion and one or two may have some really insightful criticism.

The key is to take your time and make the most educated decision you can. Even a bad trade can be remedied with some quality time on the waiver wire. Fantasy football is constantly changing, so just make sure you’re ready when it does.  

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