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The Art of the Draft Day Deal

The NFL draft, one of the holiest days in dynasty fantasy football, is just around the corner. There have already been some trades leading up to the draft and will likely be many trades during the draft. In dynasty, the excitement of the rookie draft can spur stagnant owners into action.

I use the slow draft method for my rookie and start-up drafts so I am using the term “draft day” pretty loosely. A 5-round rookie slow draft can take 3-7 days on average with each owner having 4-6 hours to make their selection.

I like to get my rankings set and then take a look at my leagues mates teams and figure out who I can target during the draft. I have three strategies that I use when doing draft day trades.

  1. Opportunities to package picks to move up or down for a player that I want
  2. I look for veterans that might be able to improve my depth or maybe a second or third-year guy that I like better than the available rookies or
  3. Lastly, I look for opportunities to pick up future picks.

The draft is underway and its time to craft a deal. I have set up my rankings and know who I am targeting with my picks. I have also looked at who might be available a few picks in front of or in back of where I am picking. In…

Scenario #1 I am going to try to use draft picks to move into a spot where I can get a particular player.  There is nothing wrong with going up and getting your guy. Let’s say I’m picking at the 1.10 and I have decided that Royce Freeman was drafted by the Colts is “my guy”. The Colts provide a real opportunity for a running back to get early playing time. I have made the judgment that Freeman will likely be gone when I pick at the 1.10.

What is it going to take to get the 1.07? For starters I’m offering the 1.10 and because I like my team and think I will be championship competitive I am willing to move my 2019 first as well. That tilts the trade pretty heavily against me so I am going to be looking for the other owner to add another draft pick – a 2018 second or early third at the worst. Player options that could be included instead of the later draft pick could be someone like James White or Pierre Garcon. On the flip side, maybe I am not able to move up and Freeman is gone when I get ready to pick at 1.10, none of the other options are intriguing to me so I hit up the 2.01 for a move back. Last year I made a draft-day trade of this nature. I was picking at 1.10 and took Alvin Kamara.  I was torn, I really expected Zay Jones to step into that Buffalo offense and produce and I needed a WR so with Jones available at 2.01 I offered Kamara to the Tennessee grad holding the 2.01. I was willing to trade Kamara for a few reasons – he was not able to wrest the top job away from John Kelly and Jaylen Hurd in college, Mark Ingram had finally started to produce on a three-down basis in New Orleans and along with Jones at 2.01 I believed I could get Marlon Mack with the 2.09 which I would also receive in the deal. Trade executed, I get Jones and Mack. Now I get to tell the story over and over about trading away Alvin Kamara. Kamara may be able to duplicate or even surpass his 2017 numbers in the future but the odds are not in favor of that happening.

Scenario #2 usually takes place in the early second round for me. If I’m not sold on any of the options available I might look a player with some NFL experience versus an incoming rookie. I have the 2.03 and the prospects of Josh Adams, Michael Gallup, Auden Tate or Akrum Wadley leave me looking for veteran depth. Tarik Cohen is a second-year role player who doesn’t need a lot of touches to produce which works in his favor at 5’6” 180 pounds. Cohen is a bye week fill-in level player that has a creative head coach and plays in tandem with a two down back. New England has a couple options at wide receiver that might be a fit for this trading strategy. Chris Hogan has some explosiveness to his game but can be inconsistent from week to week. Julian Edelman is coming off an injury but when healthy he has been one of Tom Brady’s favorite receivers. A high second round pick for Edelman might be a bit of an overpay but you are going to get a couple more years of production out of him and having him as your wide receiver 3-4 is a solid depth play.

Finally, we have…

Scenario #3 Trading a current pick for a future pick(s). The name of the game is DYNASTY and when you play it right you build a great team for today and you set yourself up with young players who will develop into studs on your team or tradeable assets to get more studs on your team. Before the draft, you will evaluate your team and identify weaknesses. If you need to get a young quarterback but you don’t want to spend your 1.10 and you don’t think the guy you want will be available at 2.10. IF the situation is right you could offer the 1.10/2.10 for the 2.06/2019 first. This gives you the quarterback you want and an additional first round pick next year. Maybe it gets rejected and you counter back with 1.10 for 2.06/2019 second to get the deal done. If you have done the pre-draft preparation you will put yourself in position to be competitive year after year.

Now is the time to prepare for the draft, you do not want to be the guy drafting KD Cannon or Keyarris Garrett. Look for deals that can help both teams and while the old adage, One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, applies to a lot of situations, don’t get the reputation as the person who offers lopsided, trash trades. That will take the fun out of trading you and your league mates.

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