Fantasy Football Trading Part 2

By Tod Burros
Tod Burros Know your league’s rules and your fellow league members.
One of the lessons you’ll learn in this series is that to be good at trading, you have to access and put into practice good advice. Even if you’re in a league that doesn’t allow trading, these lessons will help you to be good at fantasy football. Now, rule number one in fantasy football is knowing your league’s rules. This is imperative for everything you do. The other issue we’ll delve into is knowing your league mates. Understand what makes them tick. This’ll help you when trying to access value in trades.

Know your league’s scoring rules.

Since there’s no standard scoring in fantasy football, you have to process and understand every difference between leagues, no matter how minor. The first action I take when joining a league is reviewing the scoring. Then, to make sure I understand the effects of the scoring, I go to the league page to see how players scored in that system the last year or two. Most of my leagues are on If you want to find this info, go to Reports/Player/Top Performer Stats. What I especially look for is how important each position is and how much room there is between players at each position.

The reason knowing your league’s scoring rules is crucial is that it affects what each player’s worth. In episode one of this series, I spoke about value. I also spoke about how my goal is to win, even if by only a small margin, through accumulating more and more value for my team with each trade I make. How can you know if you’re making a good deal if you don’t know the exact worth of each player involved? You can’t, so take the time to really understand each player’s worth and the scoring rules of your league. Taking these action steps is crucial, not only for trading, but for drafting as well. And again since we don’t mind winning a deal by a small margin we have to really understand what makes for value in the first place and that starts with scoring,.

There are some nice trade calculators on the market, but none to my knowledge takes into account your league’s scoring system. If you’re a member of Football Diehards, however, you have access to configurable cheat sheets. Once you’ve logged in, go to Cheat Sheets/Configurable, then punch in your league info and choose how you’d like to get the information. Next, study and understand how the scoring affects other things. A key to making a good trade is to know more than your opponents, and understanding league scoring is the first step on this journey.

Know your fellow league members.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get to know the other members of your league. Back in the day, that meant talking on the phone. Often, I’d talk to someone for fifteen minutes before I even brought up the subject of trading. I like people but a side benefit is that the more you know about a person the more you will understand how to trade with them. Then I’d feel out the owners by talking about football in general to see if I could leverage one of the following to my advantage:

1. Do they have a favorite team? If so, which one and how fanatical do they seem about it? Who’s their favorite player? No one’s easier to leverage than someone who inflates the value of players on their favorite team or who want to own those players so they can all the more root for them by having them on their fantasy team. Look inside yourself as well. Is this a weakness of yours? If so, you need to remove that weakness. When I first started playing fantasy football, everyone knew I was a Giants fan. When I drafted Tiki Barber for $1 at the end of our auction, they laughed at me and called me a homer. They were wrong. I had watched preseason games and saw that, despite drafting Ron Dayne, the Giants were calling plays for Tiki. Did I think I was getting a pro bowl RB? No, I didn’t, but he was no homer pick. Later on, to try to win the championship, I traded Tiki as a keeper in that league. I was willing to trade him despite the fact that he had become my favorite player, and I got full value for him. It’s imperative that we not let our favorite team cloud our value judgments.

2. Do they like any player more than you do? One of the keys to successful trading is to find out which players your opponent likes more than you do. This sounds simple, right? If someone thinks Player A is worth ten bucks while you think he’s only worth seven, then you can get them to pay eleven bucks for him and make a tidy profit on the trade.

3. Make sure you understand your league’s scoring rules and values. Again, back to our first point: if you are in, say a Superflex league, and your opponent doesn’t understand the extra value QBs have, you might be able to get a QB in a trade on the cheap.

Well, how do I do that? I don’t have anyone’s phone number.

Since most leagues are played online, we need to find creative ways to find out our opponents’ likes and dislikes. They include the following:

1. Talk with them on instant message or direct message (DM) on Twitter. While this isn’t as good as talking on the phone, you can still make trades this way. Get to know your fellow players. Make the chat friendly. It doesn’t have to lead to a trade right away. Building relationships is a good thing to do in real life as well as in trading. I like asking league mates which of my players they like. I also ask them questions about their players. For instance, I may say, “Hey, did you hear the news about so and so? The coach said they’re going to monitor his snaps.” Finding out what opponents think about their own players is crucial. If you value one of their players more than they do, then you can begin trade talks and be well on your way to making a good deal.

2. Use their Twitter feed for research. Some owners don’t respond to DM on Twitter but are chatty on their timeline. In my leagues, I play with many other writers. Their job is to tell you whom they like and whom they don’t! The more info you have, the more likely you can gain traction with them in trade talks.

3. Know where they get their information. I play in a league with someone infamous for tracking the tendencies of fellow owners. Leo Paciga (@Ciga_FF on Twitter) has been preaching the advantages of “notebooking” for over a decade. He shared with me that on top of documenting trade negotiations and draft picks, he also likes to narrow down which owners in his leagues favor certain sites, podcasts, and message boards. The constant stream of online fantasy football information can influence trade windows and player values. Knowing where your opposition gets that information can be a tremendous advantage. A great way to gain insight into trading opportunities is to find out whom they have drafted or traded for in other leagues. Now, here’s something I recently discovered to help you with that. If you go to the home page of, you’ll see a “Search for league” function. Pop in a league mate’s email address and Voila! You’ll see all the leagues they’re playing in. Hopefully, you can figure out which team is theirs. Most people tend to use the same name in each league. Take a good look at their drafting and trading history, as well as the players on their team. This can be very helpful in finding trade opportunities!

4. Use the Rotoviz best ball app to track whom they’re drafting in MFL10s. If you know your opponent’s first name and the initial of their last name, that may work. Many people use the same name or a variation of it in all their leagues. If you’re a member of Rotoviz, go to the Best Ball app and click “Exposure.” Once you enter their info, you’ll see who they currently like based on their drafting habits. Then you know who to offer them or not offer them in trades in a way where you might be able to get good value

So, the key is to know your league rules and league mates. Leverage what team they like and what players they like. Find players they own that you value more than they do. This’ll give you a great sense of where you can find an edge. Remember: anyone can make a good trade with a dumb opponent, but to make a good trade with a smart one takes work and effort. To do this, you’ll have to put yourself in the best possible position. Also remember what we learned in lesson one. There is a ton of information on the market on everything but trading and yet trading is the one area of fantasy football where the rules and settings don’t make a level playing field.. So, get to know your rules and league mates as drafting, Start/Sit and waivers do not give us the same opportunity for improvement as trading does.

I hope that this lesson was helpful and that, if you’re not already doing so, you’ll start putting it into practice. But if you don’t and you’re in a league that I’m in, then that’s fine because while I enjoy sharing what I know, I enjoy winning as well. Visit me on Twitter @TodfromPa and let me know what you think of this article. If you follow me, I’ll follow you back. Also, go to or iTunes to check out my Run to Daylight podcasts. And good luck with your trading!