The trade deadline is always a fun time in fantasy leagues. Even if nothing gets done (and that's often the case), there are a few back-and-forth emails and the suggestion that teams might actually come to an agreement. And when they occasionally do, both sides participated in one of the rare mechanics of the game, and emerged feeling better about the future.
But this year, I think the best way to feel good about your team is to leave it alone.
To be fair, I normally take the opposite position. I'm always looking to improve my team, and the waiver wire can only do so much. Why not pick up some late-season potential from someone else's roster? I'll scout the competition, see which players are sitting on their bench and target guys who will help me now and (hopefully) in the playoffs. If I can identify a handful of difference-makers, I have a shot at getting at least one.
But this year, as you well know, is very different. I don't see as many guys who look ready to break out after a long slump. Sure, there have been a few gems on the waiver wire, and a number of late-round picks that are really paying off. But guys who have disappointed but look ready to kick it up a notch or two? The ones who can be had at a bargain and deliver big results? Not many of those in 2020.
Maybe it's the added uncertainty every week, with facilities closing and games being moved and bye weeks being switched around. Even if nothing ends up changing, it's only after several days of negative tests that the players can actually play their game as scheduled. The new three-week IR has been used frequently, and injuries seem to be lingering. Players are hurt with what's supposed to be a short-term injury, have a bye week, and still can't practice. Is it a general malaise across the league? Are we in a bizarro season where the Browns and Patriots have switched records? I have no idea. I just know that I'm not as confident in disappointing players getting their mojo back. It feels like you're probably just trading your headache for someone else's. And unless I feel really good about a trade, I don't do it. That's where I'm at this season.
This is the part of the column where I put in the caveat that if a great deal comes along, you jump on it. But really, what's a great deal these days? What would you give up for Christian McCaffrey right now? The consensus #1 player is hurt again, and if the team is out of contention in a couple weeks, what's the benefit to putting him out there? The same goes for a few others who would normally pique my interest. If you can identify a star who looks poised for a late-season run, and they're on a desperate fantasy team, go for it. I'm just not seeing many of those situations this year.
Some people like to trade just to trade. They enjoy the negotiations and getting someone new on the roster. While that can be fun, its not a strategy in and of itself. You have to see your team as better than the week before. Otherwise, you don't improve your fortunes.
And yes, you could even hurt your playoff hopes. You'll have to give something up, and that something could be the key to your success. If you're getting production out of a player, maybe keeping them is the best course of action.
I try to be an optimist about things. I wanted to write a column about pushing for some trades, re-stocking your shelves and snagging a playoff spot. Your best player in week 16 might be someone else's backup in week 11! It sounds great, right?
It usually does. And most years that's exactly how I'd feel. But this year is different, and I have to be honest about it. Trading is difficult enough in most leagues, and I'm just not sure it's worth the effort this time around. I hope you make the moves you want, but I'll probably rise or fall with my current roster, plus whatever I can pick up on the waiver wire. Whatever you choose, I hope it gets you into week 15 and beyond. Good luck this week.
Are you proposing any trades this year? Do you feel differently about trading in 2020? Who are you targeting? Share your thoughts below.