Dynasty Sharks, Tigers and Trades

Why is trading such a bug-a-boo in Dynasty leagues? Why are most owners so hesitant to pull the trigger?

I’ve personally experienced all of the following reasons. Any of these ring a bell with you?

1. Fear of getting hosed.

I’d rank this as the top reason. Ever since a caveman traded his spear for a chicken, and got attacked by a saber-toothed tiger, people have been hesitant to trade. The guy with the spear started his own empire. And later, his own egg farm.

Most owners fear the shark; the expert, lurking in the weeds; the opportunist, looking to take advantage. Why the fear? Probably because they were burned before, perhaps badly. Like the Red Sox. 

The Deal

Looking for cash to finance the musical “No, No, Nanette,” Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold baseball’s greatest player to the Yankees for $100,000, plus a $300,000 loan, in 1920.

The Impact

Well … ever heard of the “Curse of the Bambino”? 86 years between World Series titles. Shame. Ridicule. I lived it. It was real. Maybe instead of yelling “Yankees suck!” we should have been shouting “Burn in hell Frazee!”

Sure, that’s a worst case scenario. It can’t be that bad in fantasy football. Or can it? 

Reality check

Most fantasy owners aren’t looking to offer a balanced trade that benefits both teams. They’re conspiring to get more than they give up. It’s simply human nature to be competitive. I learned a long time ago that getting pissed at these offers is a waste of energy. 

I’m the Dynasty Dinosaur. In my very first league, started back in 1980, one owner always started trade conversations with outrageous, one-sided offers. He earned his reputation as someone to be weary of, but no one ever accused him of being a chiseler. It’s just his style.  

Ezekiel Elliott

Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

Sharks almost always want one of your best players for a couple draft pix and/or a couple second or third tier players. Example:

My initial offer: My 2nd round pick for her Q. Enunwa

Shark counter: Her Enunwa, James White and a 2019 3rd for my Zeke Elliott

Okay, so you’ve been burned before. Badly. A lack of confidence takes over, a wave of fear, whenever a trade offer hits your in-box. The default action? Reject it. That way it’s gone. You don’t have to deal with it any longer. It made you nervous, so you killed it. But, and I mean this with all my heart: immediate rejection could also mean walking away from an opportunity to improve your team. 

My immediate thought, whenever I don’t like the offer, is to check the offering owner’s roster, and look for an opportunity to counter. Hey, that’s the fun part. Go for it! 

  • Example: I’ve got James Connor in a dynasty league, and the Bell owner sent me this offer: His Jamison Crowder and a future 2nd round pick. That’s not enough, but I didn’t reject it. I sent him my thoughts. He sent me a DM on Twitter, where we shared thoughts and potential fits. I finally offered him Connor for Alex Collins and Crowder. He accepted. Maybe it’ll work out for both of us. Maybe Connor is the lead back for the Steelers for the next ten years. Maybe Pete Carroll was right…maybe Collins is a bum, or, maybe he’s as good as he looks. 
2. Loyalty to their roster.

These are my players, I drafted them, and I’m standing by them, no matter what”. Pride. It’s a deadly sin, especially in fantasy football. 

3. Loyalty to players on their favorite NFL team.

We all know this one. “I’m never trading Tom Brady.” At least I’ll know where you stand. With the GOAT. 

4. Fear of public shaming.

I get this one. Really. No one wants to be shamed because they made a bad trade. And no one wants to be known as the league patsy. But, few owners consistently succeed by flatly rejecting every single offer.

5. Fear of change.

Speaks for itself. These nuts are hard to crack. “I’ve got my team, I’m good. I’ll use waivers.” These are typically the same owners who can’t hit the reject button fast enough. They also typically vote NO on every rule change.

6. Lazy. 

Doesn’t put in the work, the research, the homework. Nothing grinds my gears more than submitting a trade offer and having it expire with no response. Or the owner who starts a trade conversation with: “How much is Player A worth?” You want my player? Make me an offer. 

7. Tanking it.

“Hey, I’m 1-5. My team is terrible. I’ll count on next year’s draft.”

Thoughts while shaving:

Every trade DOES NOT have a loser and a winner. Ugh. Those “Who won this trade?” Twitter polls. I’ll admit, some trades are lop-sided. But for the vast majority, no one really knows yet. Ignore trade polls that don’t include a “fair deal” option.

Expect rejection. In my 39 years of FFL experience, at least 90% of offers (either mine or theirs) don’t result in a trade. Perhaps you’ve had more success? My approach: I live for the 10% that hit. It’s so much like fishing, hoping for a bite on the next cast. Try not to lose it while you’re reeling it in. 

Be patient. Never appear desperate; that’s blood in the water for a shark. Don’t cut yourself. Think it though. 

Not always, but almost always, respond with a counter offer.

Know the other owners. Tendencies, fave teams, how much they pay attention, past moves, experts lurking under the surface. Consider keeping a notebook to log it all. 

Panthers Christian McCaffery

Getty Images

Know your league. Especially if you’re a newbie. Know the league settings and the format. In PPR, Christian McCaffrey and Chris Thompson are NOT McCaffrey and Thompson in Standard.

Consider finding a co-owner, or maybe a fantasy veteran who you can count on for good advice.  In my only high-stakes league, I co-own a team with one of my best friends. He’s so damn good at approaching other owners with offers. 

If your league has a trade-bait feature, consider it. At the very least, the other owners will know that you’re open to trading. 

Do your homework. Scan rosters for weaknesses and potential trade fits. You’ve got his RB stud’s handcuff and the stud just showed up as questionable on the injury report.  Her depth at RB and need for a receiver, matched with your depth at receiver and need for an RB.

Know your own team. Powerhouse “win now” mode vs. middle of the road vs. rebuild. Are you going for players, stockpiling pix, or both? Consider a two or three year plan.

Utilize Resources. Twitter is a seriously good place to start. Follow @TraderDynastyFF @DynastyTradesFF @FFTraderJoe. I’m addicted to Sirius Fantasy Sports Radio. Use tools like the Dynasty Trade Calculator. The forum on Dynasty League Football is worth a look.

Reject with respect. Consider providing a reason for the NO. It can even be “No interest in Player A”. Earlier this year, I made an offer for the #1 overall pick that included Julio and some decent pix. It was rejected, but the owner included the comment “Very strong offer”.  That was classy. 

Consider emailing the owner, or offer a direct phone call. Don’t limit yourself to processing a trade offer using the site. Some owners are more comfortable when they have the opportunity to share thoughts and potential fits. At the very least, those back-and-forth email exchanges can build relationships for future moves. 

Loosen up! Enjoy it! As one of my bosses used to say, we’re not saving babies here. But please, don’t trade your spear for a chicken. 

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