Fantasy Etiquette: A Smarter Way To Trade

Now that I’m in my 4th year of Fantasy Football, I guess I can say that I’m completely hooked.  I don’t mess around… I work smart trades, my waiver game is tight, and I handle my business.  In this time, I’ve been offered and heard of some of the most ridiculous trades known to man.  It’s great for entertainment (there’s one person that I can count on for lots of laughs, even though he’s serious).  What folks fail to realize is that when you’re throwing out seriously lopsided trade offers fishing for a sucker, you pretty much guarantee that you will get no respect and will not be taken seriously at all.

With that, I’ve come up with some FFL Trade Etiquette rules for the dummies err, I mean… “average” FFL participate to follow.

Know Your Needs!

There are a lot of people out there that make trades just for the sake of making trades.  Perhaps they feel that they’re really doing good if their team is involved in deals.  This only puts a team manager in the position to being suckered or putting themselves in a bind if they’re making or accepting trades ‘just because’.

Before offering a trade, first decide if you need to offer the trade in the first place.  Ask yourself:

  • What positions are weakest that need improving?
  • Are there any waiver or free agent options available that would fill that need?
  • What do I have to offer that is of value that I can afford to lose?
  • Is the upgrade that I would get significant enough to offset whatever I trade away?

Also, don’t just look at the players themselves!  Consider this…

  • Great player… but what team is he on?  Good WR with a crappy QB?  Great QB with crappy receivers?  Great RB with an offensive line that is just plain offensive?
  • How’s the strength of schedule?  You don’t need to acquire an ‘elite’ player if you have just a ‘really good’ player going up against a bunch of creampuff defenses in upcoming games.
  • Watch those bye weeks!  A good looking trade can turn into a scramble if you end up with too may players on bye during the same week.
  • Gimp Alert!  Watch out for players that are injured or injury prone!

If someone is offering you a trade, ask the same questions!

Know The Other Team’s Needs Too!

It’s really easy to just cast bait on a trade based on what you need alone, and it’s just as easy for those trades to fall flat without a moment’s consideration.  If you really want to make a trade happen, then make it appealing and mutually beneficial.  Take a good look at their roster, and ask the same questions that you asked of your own roster.

If what you can offer doesn’t line up with what they need, then find another team to work with (unless you know that team has an affinity for a player you are offering, or disdain for the player you want).


Depending on your league, you may or may not have regular communication with the other team managers.  In either case, it is always worth the effort to add a little dialogue to a trade offer instead of just sending it and praying for a response.  Not all team managers will be as diligent as you, so while you have checked their roster and see some glaring weakness that would be helped in the trade that you are offering, they may not have a clue.  So give them that clue in a way that makes them feel like this trade really does work for both sides.

Most FF sites have an option where you can email the team manager.  Send a message and just say “Hey, I’d like to make this happen, let me know what you think.”  If it is someone you have more regular contact with, then you can really get down to business.  Hit the messenger, text, or just pick up the phone and start dealing!

Integrity Intact!

Sometimes you’ll make a deal that is based on a tentative situation.  You may be having trade talks but not be in position to submit and accept it right away (although these days with smartphones in everyone’s hands, that’s rare).  Or the deal may be dependant on a waiver pickup from someone that you’re dealing with that’s high in the waiver order. Situations like this require trust and integrity.

Don’t be that person that “handshakes” on a deal, but then welches when someone else offers a better deal at the last second.  In cases like the waiver deal mentioned above, make absolutely sure that you trust the other person involved to follow through if you’re making the waiver move on their behalf.

Welching and all around bad faith dealing is a quick way to find yourself put out of leagues and relegated to the bottom-feeder leagues where cats don’t care, don’t update rosters, and just don’t play the game.  You know, where you deserve to be.

That’s all folks…. keep dealing, keep winning, and KEEP TALKING TRASH!  Good luck!

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