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?