2014 Fantasy Football: Top 10 Trading Commandments

Every fantasy football league is different. In some, team managers can go a whole season barely speaking. Others start Group Me chats to torture each other nonstop. (Hello 2am texting outbreak on how fantasy relevant Denard Robinson is). Some are for money, and some are for pride. Some leagues simply focus on making the playoffs, and others are built around ridiculous side bets. (Like the league waxing your chest, or painting yourself blue on draft day) No matter what category your league falls under, there are still a few unwritten rules to be aware of. With the trade deadline quickly approaching in many leagues, some of those rules will soon be tested. When asked about the most frustrating aspects of fantasy football, almost unanimously, the answers have something to do with the trading process. Whether it’s lack of attention on the part of fellow members, or receiving unbalanced trades. Follow these Trading Commandments, and don’t be guilty of fantasy football trading faux pas’.

 

  1. Thou shall respond: It’s simple. If you receive a trade offer, respond.  This is probably one of the most annoying transgressions, as it is the most simple to remedy. Obviously there are various levels of time commitment among fantasy players, but when you take on a team, you take on a certain level of responsibility. Checking your inbox once a week isn’t too much to ask. Respond to your trade offers people!
  2. Thou shalt take “no” for an answer: If you send a trade offer and it’s rejected, it is perfectly acceptable to send a follow up email or counter offer. However, it isn’t acceptable to spam a team manager continuous trade offers. Some players don’t come with a price tag. In this case, “No means No”.
  3. Pride goes before destruction:The object of fantasy football is to create the strongest team, with the most value. Don’t let pride get in the way of you bettering your team. Many times players will refuse to trade with a player simply because they are dominating their league. This is counter intuitive for two reasons: One, that teams strength will remain high unless the current line up changes. Two, if a team is loaded with strong players with potential talent for you to trade for to better your team. Don’t pass up an opportunity to increase the value of your team because of pride.
  4. Balance is key: An obviously lopsided trade offer is one of the quickest ways to kill trade negotiations. For example, player’s values will change on a weekly basis based on health, matchups, and playing time, among many other factors. However a kicker rarely, if ever, has as much value as any other player. Make sure that you’re sending researched trade offers to get the most out of negotiations.
  5. Thou shalt not kill (a trade): I am not a big fan of the Veto option. It should only be used when there is obviously collusion. In my 5 years of fantasy football participation, I have only seen one example of collusion, and they weren’t exactly being sneaky about it. The trade was vetoed, hands were slapped, and everyone moved on. However, multiple times I have seen trades vetoed just because players didn’t want a team to have an advantage, even if the other person was benefiting as well. This is not what the veto was meant for. Trade approval should be the responsibility of your commissioner. Just make sure you have a good one.
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery: When I am in negotiations for a trade it is very frustrating mid email or text, to see that the player has already been traded. When you offer a trade, you are starting a “partnership” with the person you are trading with. Unless told otherwise, this negotiation should be exclusive. If you are negotiating with multiple parties with the same player, it is common courtesy to let the others know. There is nothing wrong with having multiple partners as long as everyone is on board. Otherwise, you might burn a bridge for trades in the future.
  7. Honor the trade you have made: If you say yes to a trade, and receive a better offer later, it is ABSOLUTELY NOT okay to take the other offer instead. Do the right thing. Period.
  8. Keep calm and approve the trade: This goes for commissioners. As commissioner you have a responsibilities to your fellow members, and one of those is trade approval.* After you have judged a trade as fair, go ahead and push it through. I know as a manager after I make a trade, I like to see that player on my team as soon as possible. It’s like getting a Christmas present and not getting to open it and play with it. With great power comes great responsibility. Just approve the trade, and let us move on.
  9. Respect the Sabbath: Sunday is the greatest day of the week during football season. It’s the day we guzzle beer, power through whole pizzas, and the man in sweatpants is king. I understand last minute trades, but be respectful of the day, and temper expectations.
  10. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you:  This one is tried, true and easy to follow. There are all types of judgment calls you will have to make in the game of fantasy football that we haven’t covered. In those instances, use your best judgement and remember this commandment. Would you be okay with someone canceling a trade after it’s accepted? How would you feel if in a trade ,the player you’re targeting suffers a season ending injury, and before you can rescind the trade someone accepts, capitalizing on this injury? At the end of the day it’s just a game. Be respectful of your fellow managers.


These are basic guidelines that fantasy players should follow. There isn’t a fantasy football rule book, or manifesto because the game is always changing, and every league is different. It’s great that there exists multiple ways to play and appreciate the game. However, trading is one of the best ways to strengthen your team.  Don’t ruin your chances by breaking these commandments.

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