Tips of the Trade: Ten Tips to Become a Better Fantasy Basketball Trade Maker

by Will Overton

One of the best parts of fantasy sports is trading. There is just something so satisfying about working out a deal that is both exciting and sometimes nerve wrecking. But don’t be fooled, trading in fantasy basketball, or any other sport is not a crap shoot, it’s an art and if you can become a good trader your going to stand a lot better chance of finding your name at the top of the standings. Here are ten tips to become a better fantasy basketball trader. 

1.      Patience Pays Off

Don’t get frustrated when the first deal you offer someone doesn’t go through, and don’t always assume you have to accept the first deal you’re offered just because your team needs help. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to make a deal happen and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve spent a week or two going back and forth with people trying to work out just the right deal, your goal is to not settle and get the most out of a deal as possible.

If you are working with someone who is cooperative than feel free to take your time. When you get offered a deal let the other person know why you’re not accepting and who you like and don’t like in the deal and than counter. Chances are if they don’t like your counter they’ll at least have the courtesy to do the same as you and the more information on the table the easier it’ll be to work something out. But just like in the big leagues, it doesn’t always happen right away, in fact in my experience I rarely have my first offer accepted or accept someone else’s.  

2.      Shop Around

If you’re going to trade a big name player, don’t make it exclusive to one team. Even if someone approaches you and make a tempting offer for your stud, we’ll say Kevin Love, don’t just accept it. Tell the guy you need to think about it and shop him around. Never trade a stud without sending out an e-mail to your league letting them know that you are thinking of moving Kevin Love and are taking offers. And if you get a couple of good ones, let both guys know and see if they’ll step it up.

3.      It’s not about how you value someone but how the guy who has him does

Just because you think Roy Hibbert is an elite Center, doesn’t mean the guy who has him thinks that. We often pay what we think a guy is worth when the other guy may think he’s worth far less. This goes with a tip that’ll come later, but feel the owner out on a guy and figure out what he thinks of the player you want and then offer the trade. You never, ever want to give up more than what you have to.

4.      Start Low

Don’t start negotiations with your best offer. Start low and let the other guy counter to something more realistic, cause every once in a while your low ball offer gets accepted. And everyone assumes that the first offer isn’t the best offer so chances are they’re going to decline and counter for something better. Start low and then when you get to what you’re actually willing to give, the other guy thinks he’s getting a good deal. Just don’t go so low with your offers that no one wants to deal with you, real fantasy basketball players don’t like to have their intelligence insulted.

5.      Choose Your Trading Partner Wisely

One of the keys to trading is finding just the right partner. There are two things you want to look for when choosing someone to trade with. The first of them is their position in the standings. You’re going to have a lot more luck trading with someone who is struggling than the guy at the top of the league who is terrified of tweaking a team that is excelling. Take advantage of the guy who can’t get out of last place, he is much more likely to do something drastic to shake things up.

Second thing to do is find a team who needs what you have. If you are trying to trade Paul Millsap for a point guard, you’re probably not going to have much luck trading him to a team with Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge. Find the guy running Glen Davis and Josh McRoberts out there.

6.      Sell It

Make your trade sound as appealing as possible. Find a way to rationalize the deal and give the other team a reason to accept. It’s up to you to convince them that what you’re giving them will help them get better, even if you don’t believe it. Convince your trade partner that Kendall Marshall is a top 10 point guard because of the way he’s playing the last couple of weeks. You are the salesman, and again, it’s not what you think, but what they think, your job is to influence their thinking.

7.      Know Your Team

While you have to consider a player’s value to another team, you also have to be aware of their value to your team. Sometimes it is hard to trade a guy like Greg Monroe, but if you need something else more you have to part with him, sometimes even at the risk of not getting full value. Don’t give a guy away, but if you have someone just sitting on your bench stockpiling categories you have excess in, than you have to move him.

8.      Know Your Standings

This is staying with the theme of know your team, you have to know your standings. You should be checking the standings on a regular basis and staying aware of what exactly your team needs in way of stat categories and what you can afford to lose. One of the best fantasy sports roto tips I have ever gotten was that it doesn’t matter if you win a category by one or 100. You don’t get bonus points for having 100 more assists than anyone else does.

Right around now you can start to get a feel for where you are in your standings and which categories you are running away with. If you are dominating points than trade a guy like Nick Young to get what you really need. And if at some point you realize you are so far out of contention for a category that you can’t catch up, bail on the category and add to something you can make ground in.

9.      Keep your poker face on

The team your trading with doesn’t need to know how much you like the guy you’re getting or how much you dislike the guy your trading away. This is part of selling a trade, convincing the other guy you either do or don’t value a particular player in a way that you don’t. If a guy sends me an offer and says I absolutely love Wilson Chandler, what do you want for him, I have a big smile on my face because I instantly know I can take advantage of this guy. Don’t tell the guy who has the player you want that you love him, always undersell and even when you get an offer you like, try and get more.

10.  Trade With a Purpose

I love making trades just as much as the next guy. I can literally spend hours out of my night trying to formulate the perfect trade scenarios in my leagues if I let myself. But the point of trading is not because you’re bored with your team, or because you just need to do something, the point is to make your team better. You’re not going to win every single trade you make, but don’t be the guy in the league who will make a trade just for the sake of making a trade, instead figure out who that guy is take advantage.

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