The Art of the Trade Starts at Your Fantasy Football Draft (Guest Post)

Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports



(Writer’s Note: This is Part 1 in 7 part series on “The Art of the Trade: 7 Tips from a Fantasy Football Industry Veteran.” The rest of this series will be completed after the 2013 NFL Draft)

by Lenny Pappano
Founder, Draftsharks.com

The Art of the Trade… Starts at Your Fantasy Football Draft

If you wanna pull off that killer trade in October, you gotta lay the groundwork in August – at your fantasy football draft. It starts with a couple very simple “do’s” and “don’ts” for you on draft day.

The first is a basic “don’t.” And it starts with a question. How many times in the course of your draft does someone blurt out when the player they wanted gets drafted by someone else? I’ve never been in any draft (even an online draft) in which a few folks didn’t publicly display some emotion at “their guy” getting picked by an opponent. It’s humorous. It’s funny. And it’s darn near a rite of drafting in most fantasy leagues.

So now I’m telling you straight up – do NOT react if someone drafts a player you (desperately) wanted. Sip your beer. Bite your tongue. Make voodoo dolls of his players. Talk trash about his girlfriend at the end of the draft… but do NOT show any public reaction to the player he picked.

If that player becomes available later in the year, a savvy owner will shop him to you – at a premium price. Yes, there are ruthless fantasy football owners who want to manipulate their fellow league mates. And you should be among the ruthless, not the manipulated!

Yes – I’m suggesting you keep a poker face after someone drafts your sleeper in the eighth round, just three picks before you were up.

Think of it this way: In a game of Hold ‘Em, if you missed making your flush on the river, would you throw up your hands in frustration at the dealer? Probably not. You don’t want to give your opponent any information he can use against you.

In essence, that’s what you’re doing when you verbalize your frustration that someone else picked the player you highlighted on your cheatsheet. The information you get (and the information you don’t give away) is going to help you when trade winds come blowing.
So the first don’t is … “don’t react.”

The “do” is just as simple. DO pay attention to everyone else’s reactions at your draft. Quietly take notes when someone whines that you grabbed a player they wanted. If you ever want to dangle that player as trade bait, you’ll know who to go to first. It’s likely you can leverage his love of your player into a better trade for you.

In fact, if you take notes on everyone who griped about a player they “lost” in the draft, you might be able to use it later on. It might even help you in a three-way trade (more on that later in this series).

Or you might use your intelligence gathering to sway someone into closing a deal. For example, suppose you draft Colts TE Coby Fleener this summer. Now let’s also suppose someone in your draft reacted to another owner drafting QB Andrew Luck.

You might convince the angry “I-didn’t-get-Luck” owner down the road to take Fleener off your hands in a trade offer. In talking up Fleener, you could say, “He’s gonna be awesome – he’s got Andrew Luck throwing to him… I mean Luck’s a stud, right?”  Yeah, the Andrew Luck that the pissed off owner was dying to get – yes, he thinks Luck is a stud. And he let you know exactly how much he values Fleener’s QB at the draft.

You’d be surprised how far a little psychological or emotional nudge can sway a fantasy owner. So sit back, be cool, and take notes at your draft. What you learn might come in handy when you’re negotiating that crucial fantasy football trade weeks after your draft.
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