The Art Of Trading: Dynasty Edition
The Art Of Trading Dynasty Edition
Let's dive into “Trade Methodology”
EPHHP. The most important principle to consider when trading in dynasty is that EVERY PLAYER HAS HIS PRICE. While it may be difficult to let go of stud players or high future draft picks, trades can be won in a multitude of ways. Sometimes it takes making tough decisions when your team is doing well to better position yourself for the future. It’s often said that you don’t win a league with the roster that you start the season with. If you want to win, you can’t be afraid to mix things up and get into some trading.
Similar to last week’s discussion around overall dynasty strategy building, trading in particular begins with the concept of whether you’re competing or rebuilding. While we’ll dive further into the nuances between compete and rebuild in a future article, let’s say for argument’s sake that you’re competing as long as you’re within 2-3 games of the last playoff spot by mid-season.
When approaching any trade, you need to improve AT LEAST one of the following traits for your fantasy team:
- Ceiling - Acquiring the best player(s) in the deal
- Upside - Acquiring a player(s) expected to improve and/or break out
- Depth - Acquiring extra players at positions of strength to create a competitive advantage
- Avg. Age - Acquiring extra youth or experience to balance your team to be both immediately competitive and have assets for the future
- Rookie Draft Capital - Acquiring future rookie draft picks
The importance of each of the 5 team traits varies based on what side of the competitive spectrum you find your team on. If you’re on the outside looking in on the playoffs and want to make a late season push, you’re going to look to potentially sacrifice draft capital and depth for ceiling and upside. For instance, you may pair a younger unproven player with a future pick to acquire an immediate contributing player from a team that may be rebuilding and want those future assets. If you’re clearly out of the hunt, you’ll want to look to potentially move on from an older star player to acquire extra picks and/or de-leverage that star into multiple younger players with expected future upside. As the weeks go by in a dynasty league you start to see a clear and definitive divide between those teams pushing for playoffs and those teams ready to think about next season. You can often target different league mates during the season based on what the future direction of their team looks like. It’s important to continue to reach out to league mates throughout the season to get a gauge on how they’re feeling about their chance so you can better position future offers instead of taking shots in the dark.
Once you’ve decided which team traits you’re aiming to improve, you’ll need to think about a group of secondary factors including but not limited to the following:
- Expected draft pick positioning
- Contract timing / Free Agency
- Expected team offense ranking
- Team run / pass splits
Rookie draft picks aren't all created equal. A 2nd round pick from a championship favorite is closer to a 3rd while a 2nd from a team in the bottom third of the league could end up being closer to the value of a late 1st. With that being the case, rookie pick values fluctuate throughout the season and this concept of dynamic value can be the difference between winning and losing a deal. In my humble opinion, league mates typically attribute too much value to future 1sts. While rookies can certainly be immediate contributors, I think we’ve all grown accustomed to the Chases and Jeffersons and Herberts of the world. I personally would much rather have a vet that maybe has had a down year or weeks given the fact that a rookie pick is surrounded by so many unknowns. You don’t know where the 1st will end up. You don’t know what offense that player might end up on. You don’t know what positional competition that player will face? If you can eliminate unknowns and get solid return now, you may just win out in the end.
Remembering to be mindful of expiring contracts is essential when negotiating a trade. Trading away someone that is on the last year of their deal for someone of a similar tier that just got resigned is a huge win. Sometimes you’ll want to take a chance on a player in a prove-it year of their contract. But with all things equal, you want to continue to minimize the unknowns.
Similar to my previous thoughts on rookie draft picks, NFL offenses aren’t created equal. When targeting players to acquire you want to make sure those players will either receive a higher volume or better quality of weekly touches. The WR1 for a run-first team like The Browns is clearly not as valuable as the WR1 on a pass-happy team like the Bills. The RB1 for a team that can’t score touchdowns may be less valuable than a back in a committee that leans run-heavy. While you may want to target a high flying offense like the Chiefs, you also need to remember that with so many new faces, it’s been nearly impossible to project target distribution outside of Kelce. It’s important to think through each and every level of the trade.
At the end of the day, trading is about anticipating value changes and assembling a group that can give you a shot to win now while also having future assets to sustain competition through the next few seasons. All you can do is take the available information and attempt to make sense of it in such a way where you assemble a team that is balanced in all facets.
I’ve listed my thought process on a handful of trades I’d completed in the offseason for one of my dynasty leagues below.
Thanks for reading and I hope this article on trade methodology helped, as always, stay true!
Dynasty / 14-team / S-Flex / PPR / 4 pt passing TD / 1 PPR Premium for TE
2022 Offseason Trades:
1st for Darren Waller
-Ceiling → In this scoring system, a top 5 TE is a rough equivalent to a mid to high end QB2 with weekly upside that matches that of a QB1.
Jacoby Brisset / Kenneth Gainwell / Garret Wilson for Amon Ra St. Brown / Tony Pollard
-Ceiling/Upside → Brisset, even after starting 11 weeks, is an expiring asset. Gainwell is a committee that also includes his QB. Wilson will be a stud but with the emergence of Hall and the unknown quality at the QB position, I doubt the Jets will be able to support multiple WRs in fantasy. St. Brown provides major upside while Pollard provided needed depth at the time.
Amari Cooper / Curtis Samuel / Michael Carter / 2023 2nd and 3rd for Dameon Pierce / Rachaad White / Irv Smith / 2023 1st
-Upside / Avg. Age / Draft Capital → While Cooper and Samuel have had some stellar weeks, neither are in high flying passing attacks. The addition of the 2 rookie backs and the 1st give major draft capital in addition to youth and depth. Irv Smith as my TE3 in this format was just icing on the cake.
2023 1st / 2024 1st and 2nd for Tee Higgins / AJ Dillon
-Ceiling / Upside → This was a pure win now move. Higgins and Dillon are immediate contributors and if these moves work to push me into the top 3rd of the league over the next couple seasons, those picks would be low anyways.
Amon Ra St. Brown / Rachaad White for CeeDee Lamb / 2024 2nd
-Ceiling → With the pending return of Jamison Williams, I’m lower on the ceiling of St. Brown. White will eventually take over as RB1 for a team with an uncertain future QB situation and after Fournette is gone. Give me the best player in this deal and the future pick.
QB: Trevor Lawrence / Jameis Winston / Andy Dalton / Tyler Huntley
RB: Najee Harris / Dameon Pierce / Tony Pollard / Clyde Edwards-Helaire / AJ Dillon
WR: CeeDee Lamb / Tee Higgins / Devonta Smith / Michael Gallup / Darnell Mooney / Nico Collins / Jauan Jennings
TE: Mark Andrews / Darren Waller / Irv Smith / Will Dissly / Donald Parham / Juwan Johnson
Picks: 2024 2nd and 3rd / 2025 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Taxi: Zamir White / Malik Willis / Chigoziem Okonkwo