If you’re making the initial leap from Redraft to Dynasty Leagues there are a litany of DOs & Dont’s to naviagate. However, one of the main distinctions between your annual Redraft League and Dyansty League necessitates that you are responsive and relatively active when it comes to making trades. Of course building a quality roster via your Dynasty start-up draft goes a long way; but in order to maintain a competitive roster year-to-year, having success in your subsequent rookie drafts is only half the battle. You have to cultivate your ability to execute a Dynasty Football Trade with a lasting Return on Investment (ROI).
For those of you that are incredibly conservative in terms of making trades in your redraft leagues be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone; if you want to remain competitive. If you opt to churn your roster via the Waiver Wire in lieu of making trades, you’ll quickly learn that your options in Dynasty Leagues are far fewer (larger rosters = smaller talent pool on waivers) and simply not practical. On the other hand, if you have a predisposition for being trade happy, you may need to temper your exuberance and practice more patience.
The aforementioned are fantasy football strategies or rather philosophies that may have served you well in the Redraft arena; and could very well lead to fleeting success in Dynasty Leagues. But they simply aren’t sustainable. The good news is there have been plenty of us who have had to learn the hard way. With the benefit of hindsight here are several “best practices” I recommend when engaging in a Dynasty Football Trade (for newcomers). Please note these are steps I’ve taken that have benefitted me in my Dynasty Football Trade endeavors. This list is in no way the end all be all as it pertains to best practices.
1. Buy Talent, Overstand Opportunity
If you’ve participated in Redraft Leagues for an extended period of time you’ve certainly heard the saying, “Volume is King” or some variation of the idiom. This remains true in Dyansty Leagues’ but should be weighed differently. I believe one should aim to acquire talent with at minimum, a fairly distinct path to opportunity. That doesn’t mean that opportunity or more specifically, volume, is immediately available; but there is a defined path to said volume.
This happens frequently with rookies. Most rookies, even when selected early in the NFL Draft have to “earn” their opportunities, work their way up the respective depth chart. However, seasoned dynasty enthusiasts, will prioritize/bet on the individual’s talent rather than their current circumstances. Take for example, Christian McCaffrey; somewhat of an extreme example, but illustrates this point quite well. You may recall during his rookie season (2017) Christian McCaffrey received fewer carries than Jonathan Stewart (well past his prime) and Cam Newton. McCaffrey’s heavy usage in the passing game may have pacified some of his owners but his meager rushing totals and scoring opportunities disappointed.
During that season was an ideal time to “BUY” McCaffrey’s talent. His opportunity as a ball-carrier had not yet been realized. But if you believed in his ability to do so AND wagered that the battery of Stewart and Newton would eventually give way to McCaffrey’s talent that would have been the ideal time to trade for the All-Pro running back.
Perhaps an even better example would be Derrick Henry. It wasn’t until Year 3 (2018) that Henry led the Tennessee Titans in rushing attempts; and it wasn’t until Year 4 (2019) that he received the vast majority of the carries in Tennessee’s backfield. The writing was on the wall during 2017. DeMarco Murray, Dion Lewis and the Titans’ coaching staff kept Henry on ice for much longer than any of us anticipated but eventually his talent rewarded those who either held onto their initial investment; or were shrewd enough to pull off a Dynasty Football Trade and acquire him around that 2017-18 bend.
2. Familiarize yourself with contract details and depth charts
To “Overstand” opportunity and execute a quality Dynasty Football Trade it behooves you to familiarize yourself with contract details, as well as, each team’s depth chart. Now the advent of the depth chart is probably old news to you. However, it takes on more significance considering dynasty rosters are almost (or more than) double the size of redraft rosters. As for contract details, let’s consider Chase Claypool, rookie wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chase Claypool entered the 2020 NFL Season no better than the fourth option among WRs in Pittsburgh. However, he quickly supplanted teammate James Washington in terms of playing time by Week 3. I was particularly excited about Claypool’s prospects for 2021 and insisted that dynasty owners BUY (trade for) Claypool (Week 2) prior to his 4-TD outburst in Week 5. My convinction was steeped in Claypool’s talent and the belief that Juju Smith-Schuster would be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end (expiring contract).
Pittsburgh typically doesn’t give their wideouts lucrative contract extensions (Plaxico Burress, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders). Convergence, Claypool’s talent + Juju’s expiring contract (fairly distinct opportunity) = Dynasty Trade Target. Not to mention, Claypool had eclipsed James Washington in the targets pecking order and established himself as Pittsburgh’s primary deep threat.
3. Counter trade offers (with dialogue)
Let’s set aside trade theory and an talk practical application for a bit. Not every Dynasty Football Trade you make is initiated by YOU. Not every initial offer will result in an accepted trade. In fact, negotiations can go on for days which likely will include a series of counter offers. However, simply making a counter offer during negotations without providing any context or engaging the other team owner in dialogue is incredibly inefficient and can be counter-productive. Trades aren’t unilateral; establish effective lines of communication (leverage technology) to aid in executing your Dyansty Football Trade. This builds rapport and fosters future trade opportunities, assuming you’re negotiating in good faith.
4. Sell HIGH/Buy low (after/during Prime time games)
The power of (Social) Media! There’s is nothing quite like a particularly impressive performance by a player when the masses are watching. Let’s face it, human beings are impressionable and are apt to become prisoners of the moment. If the sheer amount of money poured into marketing/advertising has taught us anything; the more one is bombarded with a particular message or image, the more likely the target demographic is likely to subscribe to it.
I witnessed this phenomenon on a weekly basis this past season; whether on Twitter, league-wide group chats or in casual conversation at work the following day. Nothing increases or diminshes a player’s dynasty value outside of an injury more than a big (or poor) performance during a nationally televised game in Prime time. I suggest capitalizing and executing a Dynasty Football Trade or two by putting a singular Prime time performance in its proper perspective.
5. Leverage the Trade Calculator (even if you do not subscribe to it)
There are a lot of free and proprietary Dynasty Football Trade tools available. One quick Google search will retrieve plenty of options. However, I recommend utilizing the Dynasty Trade Calculator. This is NOT a sponsored plug by any means. Nor do I personally consult the Dynasty Trade Calculator when deciding to accept an offer. However, many dynasty enthusiasts do (and the MFL Dyansty platform interfaces with the Dynasty Trade Calculator).
You’ll quickly learn who uses the calculator because they will often try to convince you that their trade proposal benefits you more because the calculator reflects as much. This may or may not be true. It ultimately boils down to how you view/value the players and draft picks in question. You may dismiss the offer but do not dismiss the utility of the calculator. If a fellow dynasty owner considers the calculator their “Guiding Light” use the calculator to help craft your Dynasty Football Trade. This will assist in bridging gaps in the negotiation and save time.
6. Exercise Patience
As I mentioned before, Dynasty Football Trade negotiations can take days even weeks. There is validity to “striking while the iron is hot” but do not make knee-jerk or impetuous decisions. In other words, don’t succumb to the “Prime time” spike. Furthermore, give the other owner a reasonable but definitive amount of time to consider your trade offer/counter. Perhaps more importantly, exercise patience with your most talented players. Sometimes the Dynasty Football Trade you DON’T make is the best option.
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