I can remember as a child when my father would go looking for a new vehicle. He liked to trade his vehicles in every three years to get a newer model or even something completely different. He would drag me along from showroom to showroom looking for that deal that was just right. Much to the salesman’s dismay, I would climb around in the vehicles, pushing every button and imagining that day when I would be purchasing my own car. Once I had all the blinkers on and tested every horn, I would wander outside to the used car lot. My father never bought used cars. I don’t want to imagine the amount of money he could have saved. He would look at them and scoff, “I’m not dealing with a used car salesman.”
At the time, I didn’t understand what he meant until I got older and had some horrible experiences first-hand. I have tried to pass these experiences on to young soldiers whom I see taken advantage of endlessly by these slick talking salesmen and the too good to be true deals.
When trading a player, fantasy football is no different from purchasing a car – every owner needs to be wary of the used car salesman my father so desperately avoided. They are everywhere, and they are always looking to make a deal, whether you’re looking or not. They send repeated trade offers for players you have no intention of trading, and your receiving package includes players they’re desperately trying to unload. Often times, they send these deals to every owner in the league in the hopes that someone will not do the due diligence and accept their offer.
What type of offers am I talking about?
The Two for One and Three for One Deals
These are very common and they will involve 2-3 mid-level players for a weekly producer. The hope is that you will value depth and be willing to give up those 18 ppg for multiple players who will score 10 ppg each. That’s 30 points versus 18 points and you just gained 12 points every week, right? Wrong. You probably already have players on your bench who will score 10-12 points per week and now you just have more of them. In actuality, you just lost 6 points per week and now have to decide which of the 10-12 point guys you are going to plug into your lineup. Here’s an example:
Team A Trades: Matt Forte (19ppg)
Team B Trades: Shonn Greene (12ppg), Santonio Holmes (11 ppg) and Johnny Knox (10 ppg)
Wow, that’s 43 ppg versus 19 ppg and big win for you! Not so fast.
Now, not all “two for one” or “three for one” player deals are like the ones above. There are some offers that involve multi-player deals that benefit both sides. However, the used car salesman will target your one player in exchange for his bench players.
The Future Draft Pick
This was already touched on in Tim Stafford’s article Start Up 101. After your initial draft, these types of offers will continue to be sent by the used car salesman. Instead, it will be reversed. They will monitor during the season the teams they project as likely to finish near the bottom. If they have a borderline player who blows up one week, immediately the offers will fill your inbox with them peddling this player for your first round pick in the following year’s rookie draft. Why? Because they know that it was an anomaly and the likelihood of continued performance at that level is minimal.
Need an example?
After week three of the 2011 season, the used car salesman sends the following offer to what he feels is the bottom three teams:
Team A Trades: Tim Hightower
Team B Trades: 2012 First Round Rookie Pick
If you don’t value draft picks highly and still feel you have a chance to turn your season around, you see through week three of the 2011 season that Hightower was averaging almost 18 ppg and being fed the ball in a system that has made household names out of obscure running backs in the past. What happens? Hightower is hurt again, and your team finishes a dismal 4-9 “earning” the third pick in the following year rookie draft you traded away.
It’s always best to wait until later in the season before you consider trading a future year’s draft pick away. Many things can happen during a season and numerous teams have started out poorly only to win championships. Don’t think you need to make a sudden move because you started 1-2 or 0-3.
Maybe You Just Don’t Get It Offer
If you ever open your email and see a two paragraph diatribe of why a trade makes sense for yourself and the owner proposing the deal, be afraid, be very afraid. If you have to be shown the door to this fantastic deal, odds are the lights were turned off by the owner proposing it.
What you do in response to offers like these is entirely up to you. Some people like to send equally outrageous offers back. Some return volley in the hopes that the used car salesman will possibly “see the error of his ways” and quit sending them. Unfortunately, once a horrible offer is accepted, it is just too tempting of a quick payoff for the professional used car salesman not to continue sending these types of offers. It is always best to review potential trades and even to discuss potential offers received and those that you intend to propose with other owners in alternate leagues whom opinions you trust.
As a Commissioner in two leagues, I challenge each of the owners to be creative and only propose offers they themselves would accept. That is the litmus test – if you would not accept the trade offer, why do you think the other owner would? In each of the leagues, there is likely a thread for owners to post “Horrible Trade Offers” received in other leagues. It is extremely amusing and actually draws people to the site during the off season to get a good laugh.
Not all offers of the caliber above are sent from the used car salesman. I’m sure I have sent some in the past due to basic ignorance at the time. As we grow, so should our abilities to formulate quality trade offers that make this wonderful hobby that much more enjoyable.