Ask The Commish: Should I Extend My Trading Deadline Too?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

How far into the season should a league have trades before you have a deadline? This is year one for me, my very first league, and I didn’t think about it to be honest. Our deadline was the default November 19th. I keep seeing on Twitter, and hearing people on fantasy shows still asking what people think about trades they are making. Would this be something I should be considering next year? We’re a redraft. I’m not sure why the default wouldn’t be fine. What would be the difference?



For the most part, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this one. The only caveat I’d apply to trade deadlines, is that there needs to be one. There needs to be a cutoff at some point. I also think whether or not you tinker with the trade deadline in your own league depends on what type of league you have i.e., a league with a playoff, or whether it’s a keeper or dynasty league. That would be the difference you’re asking about.



For your redraft league, your default trade deadline is probably just fine, unless you can come up with a good reason to change it. Since this is your first year, I would suggest you just let it be. You have to see how active your league members are. If your league shows itself to be one with active traders, then the default deadline will probably suffice. Some leagues have people who act as if it’s required by law to make trades. Meanwhile, in other leagues like my own, people don’t trade much. We average one trade per year. The most trades we’ve had in any one year, was a whopping two!  This year, there were no trades at all. There’s a lot of middle ground between these two examples. You’ll find where your league lies.



Each year, I match ours with the NFL trade deadline. This year, for example, the NFL trade deadline was November 1st, the Tuesday following Week 8. We play on the Yahoo! platform which offers Friday deadline options, so I chose November 5th. Our deadline was earlier than the default. I think having such a deadline a bit earlier helps promote roster movement and competition. I think the NFL does this for the same reason. Teams have to make a decision, which can have an immediate impact still early in the season.


Similarly, if you feel you want to nudge people into action, then maybe reduce the time they have to procrastinate by making the deadline earlier. Then again, if you have league members like mine, this may not necessarily make much of a difference anyway if they’re not inclined to trade a lot in the first place.


Another reason I don’t drag the trade deadline out too far into the season is that by the time we get to Week 8, the fortunes of win-loss records really haven’t locked in yet. They tend to still be in flux. Most league managers still maintain some kind of hope that they can win it all, or at least place, so they still might be interested in trading. If you get too far into the season, say Week 12 or later, the number of potential teams who are looking to trade will start to drop off precipitously, especially if you’re only a couple of weeks from the start of the playoff. That’s where a number of those complaints about teams with losing records come from. They might be trading with a playoff-bound team in Week 13.



Every year, I hear about league members complaining how teams with losing records are still trading. Commissioners and league members shouldn’t have a problem with people wanting to compete, regardless of what their record is. I personally don’t have a problem with that - unless trading is still going once the playoff starts. This would be an issue for me, even if the league was a keeper or dynasty league. Yes, some leagues allow trading during the playoff. I’m in the camp that’s against that.



Every league is different. The best part about yours, is that it’s brand new. Keep asking questions, but at the same time, give your league time to develop. Frankly, as a brand new commissioner, this advice applies to what you should do regarding your league overall. I’m not going to get all deep and say something stupid like, “your league lives.” The truth of the matter however, is it is going to evolve, and you don’t truly know your league yet. For instance, I would imagine some of the people in your league right now, may not be in it three or five years down the road. So give yourself some time to see what you have, and change (or don’t change) the deadline accordingly.



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