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The Art of the Trade…

© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Following on from last week’s article about buying low and selling high, I thought I would delve a bit deeper into some of the finer points of executing a good trade. I’ll run through some tips and strategies you should employ before hitting that button. I’m going to aim this article at those of you in head-to-head leagues, rather than roto or points leagues.

A trade is a move that can potentially have a huge impact on your fantasy season. As in reality, a trade has to be seen to be beneficial to both sides. However, there are ways you can make a trade appear two-sided, but in fact, benefit you more than your opponent.

The first thing to consider when thinking about making a trade, is ‘do you really need to make a trade’? Have a look at the standings, and where you are sitting at the moment. If you are near the top of the table, then maybe you are fine with the team you have. Sure, there is always the possibility of improving your team’s overall production, but that can sometimes backfire. By adding a new element into your team build, it can affect a number of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Throw in an injury to one of your top three guys, and those stronger categories will be even more affected, given you might have just traded away a player who was also strong in that area.

If you are sitting in the middle, or even close to the bottom, then a trade might be a good idea. But just have a closer look at your current squad and evaluate some of the reasons you might be struggling. It could be because of an injury or player absence from the team. The first thing that is going to be very clear, is if you have a top 30 or 40 guy who has missed a big chunk of the first month of action. This is clearly going bring your production down, and you might be better off waiting until you have your full team in action for a couple of weeks before looking elsewhere for help. You would have drafted your team with a plan in mind, and as of this point, you have not seen whether that plan is going to work. What could be less obvious, is if you have had a number of smaller injuries or games missed, rather than one big injury. These smaller incidences can sneak up on you, and cause your team to appear close to full strength when in fact, you have never actually had all your guys healthy at the same time. This is not going to happen as much with injuries as it might with players being rested. The chances of a player getting multiple injuries are pretty low, but rest does happen. Joel Embiid is a prime example of this. He has missed two games so far this season, and it appears likely that he will miss more. While these are only one game absences, they do add up and cause your team to be understrength from time to time. So just be sure to analyze your team and the associated games missed.

Finally, before deciding on whether to trade or not, have a look at the playoff schedule. While this won’t make a huge difference to your decision, it is worth noting. For instance, you might look to trade one of your top guys for an equivalent player who has a nicer playoff run. On the flip-side, you might want to keep your top players if they have a lot of playoff action coming their way.

Once you have had a good look at these things and if you decide to go through with a trade offer, there are a couple of different ways to approach it. This is where the buy low and sell high theories come in handy. If you decide to try and sell high, have a look at your players and how they have been performing over the first month of action. You might feel that one of your guys has been outperforming where you expect him to finish, and he might be someone you try to move. There could be a number of reasons he has been playing so well, with one of the most common, being an injury to another player. A good example of this case might be Domantas Sobonis, who was amazing to begin the season. However, his production was clearly due to the fact that Myles Turner missed so many games with a concussion. Once Turner returned, Sabonis still saw plenty of action, as Turner got his legs back under him. This is a perfect time to try and sell high on him, as it is likely he will see some of his numbers fall back over the next couple of weeks. If you can find someone who is in need of a big man, throw a player like this at them.

The sell low option basically works in reverse. If you can see a player on another team that is playing well below their projections, then the owner might be susceptible to a normally unreasonable offer. A good example here might have been Kyle Lowry. He started the season poorly, frustrating many owners, myself included, into considering a trade. If you think this is the case with any other owners in your league, throw someone who is on a hot streak, at them. Lowry’s window has now firmly slammed shut, but other cases like this will appear all season long.

If you are simply looking for a trade to improve a certain area of your team, and you know that the other owners are quite savvy, then a fair trade offer is going to be the only option. This is where you can take advantage of Basketball Monster and both the season rankings as well as the trade analyzer. Decide what categories you need to improve and then transfer this to the BBM rankings. If you are punting one or two categories, then put these filters into your rankings, and have a look at a player who might better suit your build. If you can find a player whose adjusted ranking is higher than their standard ranking, it is going to be easier to try and trade for them. You can offer someone from your team who has a comparable standard ranking, but a lower adjusted ranking.

You also need to be aware of the other teams in your league, and what their owners might be looking for. This could either be based on a statistic they are looking for, or a position they are low on. For instance, they might be looking for rebounds and blocks, while you are looking for three-pointers and steals. Alternatively, you might need a center and they might need a point-guard. These are all going to play a role in the decision, from both sides of the trade.

If you are offered a trade, you need to also take all these factors into account before deciding whether to accept or decline. At first look, it might appear that someone is trying to send you a low offer, and this might, in fact, be the case. But have a look at your team and the player that is being offered. Put them into the BBM rankings, both standard and adjusted to your punt, and see how they fit into your build. While their standard rank might be lower than who you are giving up, their adjusted rank might mean an improvement to your overall look. You might also be in need of a specific position, and although there might not be a noticeable benefit for you, it might mean that you are able to put more players in your active line up, as you have more options.

Finally, you might just be someone who loves to make trades. If this is you, then forget everything I’ve said, and just have a quick look at the offer and if you like the player that is being offered, accept, and move on. When making a trade, throw anything out there and hope that the other owner is just like you, and they love changing things up for no reason other than the fun of it.


Adam is a remote fantasy writer for Rotowire and has been playing Fantasy Basketball since 2013. He lives in Bungendore, Australia.

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