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Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: Should You Trade Back?

We examine examples of trading back in the first round of rookie drafts. Should you consider it?

Jerry Jeudy

When I signed up to write this article, I had already hypothesized that there was a right way and a wrong way to trade in all rookie drafts, and the correct methods would be able to be applied to all drafts and all positions. I was not at all prepared to discover a pattern that may suggest we’re all thinking about it incorrectly.

In order to draw a conclusion, I wanted to research draft day trades that involved only draft picks, and each trade must contain at least a first-round pick, and each trade must have a side that moved up to a single first-round pick. I went back three years and spent hours searching for enough trades from 12-team PPR single-quarterback leagues that would satisfy the sample size I was after.

I found 21 trades of all shapes and sizes and sorted them in a plethora of ways. The first thing I did was arrange the trades from the highest pick received to the lowest. Take a quick look below and ask yourself which side you’d prefer to have overall. The left side represents the teams who moved up, while the right side is the team that moved back.

As a group, the left side looks pretty appealing. After all, you’re receiving multiple top-five selections, while the right side has a plethora of middling selections and second-rounders. I then put each trade through our Trade Analyzer and highlighted the side that won each trade.

The darker the green, the bigger the victory in overall value. It turns out that the teams that moved back in the draft won their trades by a large margin. Of the 21 trades reviewed, only four teams who moved up “won” their trade, according to the analyzer.

This was originally surprising to me. I assumed that values would average out. But I suppose it makes sense given that most owners who want to move up are willing to do so in order to secure the player they covet. If it’s going to cost a tad extra to make the move, so be it.

This is interesting because the early data suggests that moving back in the first round at any position is worthwhile overall. Coming away a winner on 70% of the trades is hard to ignore, but how does this translate after the draft?

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Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: Should You Trade Back?
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Thomas Jones
5 months ago

Really interesting read, and cool take on looking at draft positioning. My first draft this season is later today, and I’ve been contemplating moving back from 1.02 for months. There’s a very good chance the team with the 1.01 takes a QB (They only have one in a 2QB league), so I may just stay put and cross my fingers for Hall.

mike fredrickson
5 months ago

I traded #1 in superflex for 2022 #4 and #6

Matt Relf
5 months ago

“I wanted to research draft day trades” to clarify you were specifically looking at trades done OTC, or during the draft rather then future deals (to the owner moving up, was moving up for that specific player?)

Alexander Besemann
4 months ago

A great read and great insight!

Littlewing745
4 months ago

Now THIS is interesting. Thanks!

Andy Cook
4 months ago

Good stuff!

6gummybearsandsomescotch
4 months ago

Another banger, Mike! I have 1.05 and have been toying around a lot with trading back to 1.09 or 1.10 to add a future 1st, especially if Waljer slides to 1.05 in our RB needy league. I LOVE the WR’s up at the top, but ilI feel like I’d rather have a tier 2 guy and a possible elite talent next year than one of the top guys this year. Thanks again. Great article! Very in depth.

Rick Solak
4 months ago

I drafted, begrudgingly, Drake London at 1.06 I was offered 1.08 Jamison Williams and Juju for my pick(london). I feel like value wise I made out trading back from the 1.06, but there is definitely a lot at play here. Kind of wish they hadn’t picked yet, I may have taken Sky Moore.

lspoerl
4 months ago

Superflex 10 team league, I have been offered pick 15, 19, and 20 for pick 8. I have a great starting roster, but limited depth. This article makes me nervous to accept, but it seems like good value. I would end up having 15, 18, 19, and 20 to help my bench. Thoughts?

Julian Kirk
4 months ago

Don’t we really need to perform the same analysis over multiple drafts to be able to draw any conclusions? Justin Jefferson dominates these charts, and they end up just saying that you’d be better off drafting him than not.

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