In some leagues, trades happen all the time. But I think those are the exceptions. Usually, they happen very rarely, if at all. The deadline comes and goes, and in many years no trades happen at all. You have the guys you drafted, and you have the waiver wire. That's it.
But just because they don't happen doesn't mean they can't happen. Getting a deal done could mean the difference between making the playoffs and an offseason of mockery and shame. Here are a few tips to put the odds a little more in your favor, because longshots actually come in sometimes.
Be unconventional. You know the "trade block" feature on your league's website? Nobody uses that. And the one where you can send random trade offers is just as bad. Nobody takes them seriously, or they talk themselves out of taking it seriously pretty quickly. Those features are convenient, impersonal wastes of time.
If you want to get a deal done, you have to speak to the person. You know, like face to face or on the phone. Yes, the internet and texting device in your hand also makes telephone calls, like in the olden days. When you actually talk to someone, it's harder for them to ignore or dismiss you before they've even considered the offer. But a generic trade offer from a website can be left hanging for weeks. So reach out to a potential trade partner and see if they'd consider trading a player, and get some idea of what they'd want in return. All negotiations should be done the same way, with only final acceptance going through the league website to make it official. Make it personal, and personable.
Don't sell a used car. Don't talk up your guy and talk down theirs, or harp on what a great deal they're getting or mention how stupid they'd be to turn it down. You're not doing anybody any favors, and they know it. If you come off that way, neither you nor your trade offer will be taken seriously.
Give yourself time. You know why I'm writing this now instead of a month from now, closer to your trade deadline? Because you'll probably need all this time to actually get something done. The few trades that could happen often get derailed because the parties run out of negotiating time. You might also find out that the original talks go nowhere and you'll have to pivot to a different trading partner. That also takes time. Start now, and you just might have the breathing room to get the player you want.
Be fair from the beginning. I know that people don't offer up their best deal right off the bat. You both start asking for more, and meet in the middle at a place that everyone considers fair. But don't be ridiculous with your first offers. You look silly, it shows disrespect to your trading partner, and it gives them an easy excuse to back out of any negotiations. Offer something fair and realistic, and you'll be seen as someone who is serious about finding common ground.
Likewise, if the other manager only offers crazy deals that are too lopsided to consider, look for other trading partners. They either don't really want to trade, or they're so scared of getting ripped off that it needs to be clearly in their favor to even consider it. Save your time and trouble and move on.
Understand that things change. A “good deal” before week 6 could look absurd in week 8. Every time a game is played, the deal is in jeopardy. The longer a trade takes, expect extra adjustments and negotiations based on what happens each weekend.
Accept that it still might not happen, and don’t get frustrated. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. All you can do is help the odds of getting something done. In the end, you still need a trading partner and a deal you can accept. And if you don’t get them in time, it will be another year without a trade.
Still, you’ll communicate with other league members and maybe engage in some productive discussions. And those meager seeds you’re planting this year might blossom in a future year when a deal actually gets done. Most leagues aren’t dynasty leagues, but you can still use long-term planning to help yourself down the road. Good relationships with league members are how trades get made, even if they aren’t completed in the year you start them. I suggest you start right now to give yourself the best chance of success. Good luck this week.
Do trades occur in your league? What methods do you use to get deals done? Is it so difficult in some leagues that you’ve given up trying? Share your thoughts below.