You go looking around the rosters of the teams in your leagues. You see a few players that pique your interest. Offers are sent. You get varying degrees of interest. Then, that one email comes.
“Are you kidding me?! [Player X] is worth twice that because…(insert list of the players strengths, past stats/fantasy finishes (that contribute positively to his case), and all the positively spun ‘ifs’ you can handle). You are so far off it isn’t even funny. [Player Y – the one you offered] is garbage because…(insert every founded or unfounded negative surrounding the player, questions about work ethic, and what if when his contract expires, he signs with the Browns?). You have offended me, my mother, grandmother, and all the mothers back to Mother Eve. I don’t say this often, but I wish you were dead.”
I don’t think I’m even embellishing that much. This isn’t the only stupid part of trading. Non-responses, that dude who makes the average low ball offer look good, and countering for days – until one or both parties fizzle out. Yup, trading sucks.
Let’s be honest though, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. And sometimes we are the problem. Here’s 3 ways you can make trading less worse:
- Be Brutally Honest with Your Team
Most of the time we overvalue the guys we own, and place lower value on players that others own, or at least what we think we should pay in order to get them. But:
Our brains are programmed in a way that automatically has an attraction/connection to things that we have in our possession. In a TED talk titled “The Surprising Science of Happiness”, Dan Gilbert describes a study in which this point is hammered home. Participants in the study were given 6 paintings to look at. After they ranked them, the researchers offered them to take home a print of one of the paintings (offering the subject the choice of their #3 and #4 ranked paintings). After a period of time, they are asked to re-rank all the paintings. More often than not, the painting they owned was ranked higher, and the one they chose not to take was ranked lower. The same results came as they studied patients with various conditions that sapped them of their memory and the results were the same. We value the things we possess and devalue the things we don’t.
Much of the time, we see our own rosters through this lens. We hold on far to long to players because we have this part of our brain that makes us like them more. It is hard to do, but being brutally honest about your team and the value of the players you have. Keep it in your mind when organizing deals that you will likely have to ask some hard questions – am I holding this player with true conviction or is it simply false hope?
- Trim the Fat
Go to your team right now with the mindset introduced in tip 1 above. Make a list of players that don’t fit into your championship window, whatever timeframe in which that fits. Most of us understand this principle when rebuilding that we sell of vets for picks and young players. It’s harder selling young players for older, producing assets. If you will be competing in 2017, selling off a couple young assets for guys already in position to get your team points may be the smart move. With that list of players that don’t fit your timeline, set a deadline for yourself in which you are going to have them off your team, even if your Twitter followers would roast you for the deal for losing a little value. The deadline will push you to get your offers out there get your due diligence done.
- Study your trade partner’s team just as well as your own.
One of the worst offenses in trading is a sloppily thrown together deal. Its lazy, it wastes time in the long run, and it gives you a stigma in the league that will limit trade partners and opportunities. You have to almost do the exact steps of tip 2 above. Look at how far away their team is, then look for a team that is opposite of you (if you’re contending, find a rebuilder, and vice versa). That will provide fertile promise land of trading. You can craft trades that are mutually beneficial, and in the long run, those are the ones that get done. Find the holes in the other team’s roster, and see if what you have in excess fills a need for them. Discussions based on true study of your and your opponent’s team will only increase your trading success. To take it to an even higher (more degenerate) level, keep a notebook where you identify trends of every owner in your league, even of trades that don’t involve you. Following this practice will make trading life much more tolerable.
Bonus tip/PSA: Don’t take trading/trade offers personal. Everyone is trying to get themselves ahead and most are just too blatant in attempts to do so. If you are offended by a poor trade offer, use whatever winnings you earn in the season to buy some thicker skin. Feel fortunate that you’re getting offers at all. You react like the fictional person from the start of this article, you’re torching all sorts of bridges and will get stranded on an island. Happy trading!