There is a buzz around the fantasy football community as owners
are now taking the safeties off their fantasy football trade rifles
and heading out to do some good old-fashioned fantasy player hunting.
Are you equipped to handle the hunt?
As a fantasy football owner you are five weeks in, staring at
your week 6 match up and one thing is clear: you are either feeling
pretty good or you know you need to make a move. I don’t
care what “type” of fantasy football manager you are
or what “strategy” you took to your draft. If you
are not 5-0 going into week 6 you are looking to tweak your roster.
Bye weeks just don’t seem to be an issue when you put your
team together but when you combine them with an injury or two
and a less than stellar record they become HUGE.
Its hunting season and you don’t need a permit folks! Winless
and 1-4 teams can’t afford to be patient and are heading
out there with little to no ammo and a target on their back. The
5-0 teams are sitting back, benches stockpiled with fantasy talent,
hoping to pick off a few teams’ best players. Then there
is everyone else. So what do you need? Where to go? We are still
talking fantasy football right?
A good hunter is prepared for the situation. Some people have
the means to go out and buy fancy gear, while others have to forge
ahead with the bare essentials. It doesn’t matter which
case you are in, everyone should be prepared. A good hunter knows
when the season begins and ends.
This time of year, you should expect to be receiving trade-offers.
You might not get any, but you should be looking at your team
more frequently these days just in case. Not every deal is worth
pursuing but it is better to be able to reject a trade than to
see a trade cancelled after the owner found another trading partner.
Even worse, if other owners in your league find out you are slow
to respond to trades you are less likely to be approached. First
place or last place, people are offering trades so try to be more
available this time of year.
Whether you have been offered a deal or want to go out hunting
for that player to put you into the playoffs, you are going to
need to keep some things in mind.
It doesn’t matter where you drafted a guy or how much money
you bid to get his name tattooed to your fantasy roster prior
to the season! Along those same lines, whatever that player has
or has not done over the previous five weeks is not a true indicator
of what that player will do through the rest of the NFL season.
The past is the past; you need to place more focus on the present
and future when making fantasy football trades.
Much like real life hunting, fantasy owners need to lure their
prey into a position where they can take a shot. And like most
wild animals, fantasy football owners are wary of any little sound
or scent. Act more like a hunter and less like a used car salesman
and you will increase the chances of landing your guy. The difference
being, a used car salesman will offer a very low amount in his
or her initial offer with the intentions of bartering to a middle
point. A hunter creates a scenario that is perceived to be beneficial
A hunter knows his prey. Reminding an owner he is 1-4 and needs
to make a deal is not “knowing your prey.” This is a time to get
them comfortable and thinking about winning, not a lousy start
to the 2009 fantasy football season. Show them how to win, not
why they will continue to lose. You can look at their roster and
see when a particular player has a string of poor matchups. Typically
there is one team in every league that has an elite type of player
but didn’t do well rounding out their roster or made some poor
choices in their starting lineup who now finds themselves at 1-4.
Bye weeks and tough matchups are exposing their bench to the point
considering trading Adrian
Peterson becomes a consideration.
“Peterson is a beast but he has Baltimore and Pittsburgh
coming up,” you say.
“I can give you Ryan
Grant and Steve
Smith. Grant’s next two are against Detroit and Cleveland.
Smith is getting a ton of balls throw to him let me know if you
want to hammer something out.”
The goal is to get them thinking about the near future (because
as we already know they are 1-4 and need to win now). The value
of Adrian Peterson over the next two weeks is not the same as
Adrian Peterson for the rest of the season. In taking this approach
you have given the Peterson owner enough reason to consider taking
a few more steps closer to you. That owner will either explore
their curiosity with a response or get spooked and run off. This
tactic isn’t about setting a trap and baiting (ie. used
car salesperson). It’s about creating the perception that
you are throwing him a rope needed to climb out of a 1-4 hole.
You can also look at upcoming bye weeks to locate your fantasy
prey. If you think Brent Celek is a flash in the pan and really
wish you had Dallas Clark, tell a potential trade partner “Celek
has already had his bye week and he’s better than your backup
TE.” Remind the other owner that Anthony Gonzalez will be
back and that the other young receivers are going to continue
to steal catches and touchdowns away from Clark. Once an owner
is willing to consider Celek coming back to him, you can add in
more players to make the deal work for each side. Perhaps you
can offer him a wideout to fill in for his week 7 bye as well.
Bye weeks are great motivation for an owner to consider a deal
and should always be a factor when considering a trade offer.
To be a hunter you have to burn a few hours over the course of
several days stalking your prey. Some deals happen quickly and
some take a bit of time. Dialogue is oftentimes more effective
than actual trade offers. Official offers tend to force people
into choosing whether something is fair. Too often people are
offended because they simply have differing perceptions on what
a player is worth. My advice is to discuss the particulars through
emails or conversations to break the ice and then make an offer
if there is interest. Your initial offer will be taken more seriously,
increasing the chances of an accepted deal or counter-offer in
a timely manner.
As I alluded to earlier, offering trades to teams that check
their email and fantasy clubs more often may lead to a quicker
deal. Most popular fantasy football sites also have a “trading
block” feature. Updating it will let people in your league
know you are looking to deal. Message board posts are great in
leagues that actively use them as well.
Hunting Season Ends
The trade market dries up pretty quickly. As the weeks progress,
less and less teams are looking to trade and that means there
are less players available. Teams that are 1-3 are more willing
to trade than teams with a 1-7 record. The players that are still
available in week 8 have more fantasy owners hunting them-including
your potential opponent in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
Not everyone enjoys the “thrill of the chase” during
the trading season. The waiver wire does offer the fantasy mountain
man some road-kill opportunities. Even so, unless you are happy
with your roster or don’t mind scouring the depths of your
league’s free agent pool to patch up your roster every week,
plan on taking a trip into the fantasy wilderness soon.
Thinking About Mounting Your Kill?
If you are fortunate enough to complete a trade that works out
well for you or take advantage of another owner’s downturn,
don’t flaunt about it to the rest of your league. Nobody
wants to hear about how you ripped off a guy in a trade. Go gloat
on message boards if you have to tell someone about your “infinite
football wisdom” during the season. It saves you from potential
embarrassment of exiting the playoffs with your tail between your
legs and it doesn’t create animosity amongst your league
– especially when the 2010 fantasy football hunting season
Making a savvy trade mid-season will certainly help your chances
of winning a fantasy football title and earns you some respect
amongst the other owners in the league. The names I used are indifferent.
Improving your hunting skills and approach will make you a better
hunter and help land you that coveted player this year as well
as in future trading seasons.
For more fantasy football musings, check out Jakes blog at