Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As a fantasy football enthusiast, I love giving advice and talking strategy whenever a friend or family member asks me a question about their team. Whether your question is "Should I start Reggie Bush or Fred Jackson?" or something as simple as, "Who do you think will get the start at running back this week for the Pittsburgh Steelers?" I'm here to help.
Both of my teams are 7-3 and I hope all of your teams are doing just as well (Unless I'm playing against you this week. Then I want you to lose.). My dad was one of the last ones to the party when it came to new technology but even he joined a fantasy league a year ago and was very successful. He lost in his league's championship game on a late Drew Brees touchdown pass. Soooo close.
This season my brother and his friends from high school started up a league and just like my dad, he's done extremely well. So far, baby bro is 8-2, good for first place in his 10-team league. You can't ask for a whole lot more than that.
This morning, however, my heart dropped when I looked at the trade my brother had just accepted. He had given up Andrew Luck and Larry Fitzgerald for Ben Roethlisberger and Percy Harvin.
I literally felt ill as soon as I saw it. Did everything my brother had worked so hard for in the first 10 weeks go to waste?
On paper it doesn't look terrible. Harvin for Fitz seems like an even swap and Luck has played arguably as well as any quarterback in the league over the past few weeks and is probably on equal footing with Roethlisberger at this point.
The problem here is that Luck and Fitz are both healthy while Roethlisberger and Harvin are not. Harvin missed Week 10 because of a sprained ankle and Big Ben could be out for the rest of the season while he recovers from rib and shoulder injuries.
I've noticed that my brother's league has featured an unusual amount of trades this season but until now, I hadn't really had a problem with any of them.
Sure, my brother is at fault for accepting a trade as uneven as this. But at the same time, I consider a fantasy football league a community. Every owner has veto power and there's no way a deal this lopsided should have ever passed.
Earlier this season in my own league, one of my buddies was set to trade away Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy and New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker for Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson. Megatron might be the most talented receiver in the NFL but there's no way he's as valuable to a fantasy team as both Welker (a Greek god in PPR leagues) and McCoy (a yardage machine with the potential to be the next Barry Sanders).
As a citizen of the league, I just couldn't allow that. This isn't the Miami Marlins. This is fantasy football. The trade was grossly unfair and I shot it down while imploring the rest of my league to do the same. Eventually, we got enough votes to reverse the trade, restoring balance to the league.
That's exactly what should have happened with this trade. Unfortunately, the trade stood and now my brother will have to live with the consequences.
In theory, I liked what my brother was trying to do. He already has Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback so I fully supported the idea of trading Luck for someone my brother could actually use. But Fitzgerald and Luck for Harvin and an unusable Roethlisberger was far too steep a price.
My brother reasoned with me that the trade won't end up hurting him too badly and luckily, I think I agree with him. My brother has a pretty deep team and the hope is that Harvin, a breakout star for the Minnesota Vikings this season, should be ready to return from injury after the team's bye week. Clearly, my brother had become impatient with Fitzgerald, who hasn't produced like he has in the past because of a complicated quarterback situation in Arizona.
But here is the fundamental problem I have with the trade: he didn't need to do it! You're 8-2. There is nothing to fix. Trades exist for one purpose: to make your team better. When you're 8-2, you don't need to get better. You just need to stand pat.
I compare it to the Oklahoma City Thunder trading James Harden to the Houston Rockets a couple of weeks ago (sorry for mixing sports). The Thunder came so close to a championship last season, they could almost smell it. If they had returned their young core as expected, they probably could have cake-walked into the Finals. Instead, they dealt one of their best players and now he's killing it in Houston.
I'm probably overreacting, which isn't a surprise because protective older brothers tend to do that. Hopefully my brother will get the last laugh and finish the season in first place (he did win his fantasy basketball league this past season). But why risk it?
The moral of this story is that whether you're playing fantasy football, basketball, baseball or even fantasy hockey (assuming they end up playing this year) you should always trade with a purpose. If the deal doesn't make your team better, regardless of whether you're in first, last or somewhere in between, just don't do it.
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