5 fantasy football trade tips to know before you send your first offer of 2023

Sal Vetri is a new Yahoo Fantasy contributor this season. He'll write a weekly football trade story focusing on players to deal. This week, he offers some tips on how to get trades done.

The Trade Secret

Let me tell you a secret about fantasy trades: it’s all about catering to your league-mates' needs and not YOUR wants. You need to approach your league-mates with a giving mentality. Research their team and identify which positions they need to improve most.

First, start your trade talks by acknowledging their strong abilities as a fantasy player. For example:

“Hey, I noticed you have some great WRs, nice work in the draft! When checking out your WRs, I couldn’t help but notice your RBs are off to a slow start. Looks like it’s just bad luck, I would’ve drafted them too before that injury setback! I actually have some solid RB depth that I’m not using. I’d be willing to trade them to you for some WRs. This way we both benefit from trading our bench depth. Are you against this idea?”

Trading in fantasy football is just sales. Get your league-mates feeling good about your interaction and it takes down any walls they may have about your trade offer. The last sentence in the example above is key; people have a hard time saying yes, so by asking, "Are you against this idea?" you are getting them to say yes by saying no.

Identify the key trade stats

When looking for players to target in a trade you want to focus on guys who are currently underperforming in the fantasy points department but are still seeing strong usage.

These metrics vary depending on position. For wide receivers, you want to look at catchable targets, air yards (downfield targets), performance vs. man coverage, routes run and red-zone usage.

For example, if Courtland Sutton has scored less than 10 points per game in the first four weeks of the season, his fantasy manager will start to become frustrated. However, you’ve identified that Sutton is seeing quality catchable targets, downfield usage, running his normal routes and even earning red-zone targets.

The takeaway here is Sutton has been unlucky over a small four-week sample and he’s due for positive production soon. This would make him the perfect buy-low target.

The metrics to track for running back trade targets include routes run, target share, red-zone snaps, yards per touch and broken tackle rate.

Put emotions to the side

This one is difficult but important. You need to avoid letting your emotions sway your trade talks. You’ll see emotions pop up most in the form of anchoring bias. Anchoring bias is people’s tendency to overweight the first piece of information they receive. Here’s an example for fantasy football:

If DK Metcalf has 150 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 for your team it’s going to be nearly impossible for you to forget the joy and satisfaction this brought you. You will overweight that performance even if Metcalf struggles the next six-eight weeks, harming your team in the process.

You can overcome anchoring bias simply by identifying it. Once you do this, you’ll be able to look at the players on your team with less emotion, ultimately leading to a fairer negotiation with your trading partner.

Be serious

Your reputation matters when it comes to trading in fantasy football. You want to be seen as a player who is serious about trades and always negotiates fairly. But the truth is, most people have a poor trade reputation.

I bet most of the people in your league are sending multiple trades a week. Odds are these trades are heavily skewed in favor of the member sending them. This leads to a bad reputation. Remember the boy who cried wolf? When you send bad trades too often your leaguemates will be conditioned to not take them seriously. Then, when you actually send a serious trade offer it will be hard for them to trust you.

Yahoo Fantasy's trade market page allows you to view deals that have been completed involving specific players. That can help give you a baseline for the workings of a potential, realistic trade.

Always get the best player

Always aim to acquire the best player in the trade. This seems obvious but even if it’s a package deal you always want to come out with the best player. This doesn’t mean it’s an unfair trade, it simply means you walked away with the most talented player in the deal.