Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Admit it. Somewhere in your home, there is an entire shelf full of "For Dummies" books.
Don't worry. I'm not here to judge. A little intellectual curiosity never hurt anyone. I know I own a few of the over 1,600 "For Dummies" titles myself.
I think the next book they should make is "Fantasy Football Trading for Dummies."
Last week, I pulled off my first trade of the season, swapping Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
This week, Flacco threw for a season-high 382 yards and three touchdown passes. So far, so good I guess.
Making the trade that's best for your team can be a meticulous process. It requires careful planning, a willing trade partner and usually a bit of courage.
Here are a few easy steps you can use to initiate a successful trade as the fantasy season moves forward:
1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it: Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. If your team is 3-0 and you like what you have, why tinker with it? If your team doesn't have any glaring holes, it's better to just stick with the guys you have.
2. Use the waiver wire: Why make a trade if you can find a better alternative without giving up anyone? The fantasy landscape is constantly evolving. Two weeks ago, most casual football fans had no clue who Andre Brown was. This week, he was the sixth-highest scorer in fantasy. And all I had to do to get him was drop Randy Moss. I'm telling you guys, use the waiver wire.
3. Don't be a knee-jerk guy: Fantasy owners were groaning all week after Jamaal Charles ran for just three yards on six carries in a Week 2 loss to Buffalo. I'm sure a few particularly perturbed owners sent Charles packing after the dismal performance. All Charles did in Week 3 was rush for 233 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries. Patience is a must in fantasy. You can't give up on a player after one bad game.
4. Quantity does not equal quality: Last week, one of my friends was offered Ben Tate, Willis McGahee and Daniel Thomas for Ray Rice ... and he was actually considering it. Never in a million years would I have accepted this deal. Most weeks, Rice will put up more points than those three players combined.
You drafted Rice No. 1 or 2 overall for a reason: because he's one of the very best in the game. You could offer me five running backs for Rice and I still wouldn't give him up. Same goes for a player like Aaron Rodgers at quarterback or Calvin Johnson at wide receiver.
5. Get a dialogue going: Receiving a trade request while you're sitting at your computer is a lot different than talking about it in person. It's harder to turn someone down when they're five feet from you. Plus, when you talk to someone about it, you can get a better feel for whether the trade is a real possibility or not.
I brought up the Green-Ellis/Flacco trade to a friend a couple weeks ago. He didn't seem that interested at the time, but two weeks later, he had thought about it and he was willing to make the swap. Pretty soon it was a done deal. A little human interaction can go a long way.
6. Send a realistic trade proposal: A few weeks ago someone offered me Mark Sanchez for Victor Cruz. I've never clicked the reject button so fast in my life.
Does he think I don't follow football or something? That trade request was just an insult to my intelligence. Even if he sends me a more reasonable offer in the future, I'll probably ignore it because he low-balled me. Clearly he put no thought into his offer and now, he's lost a trade partner because of it.
7. Trade for what you need: The trades that get done are usually the ones that benefit both sides. I needed a quarterback and my buddy needed a running back, so Flacco for Green-Ellis seemed like a fair trade that would help both parties. Trading a quarterback for a quarterback or a running back for a running back wouldn't have helped either of us.
8. Benches are gold mines: I play in a two quarterback league and my two quarterbacks to start the season were Tom Brady and Josh Freeman. Of course I loved Brady, but I couldn't wait to find someone to replace Freeman. I looked at the other rosters in my league and I finally came across the jackpot.
My friend was already starting Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers while Flacco was being wasted on his bench. I've noticed owners are always more willing to trade bench players, because, hey, they aren't playing anyway, right? One man's trash really is another man's treasure.
This works both ways, too. Say I have three great receivers but I can only start two of them. Meanwhile I have a gaping hole at running back. Why not trade one of the receivers to an owner who has a surplus of running backs? This is what trading for dummies is all about.
9. Have a replacement ready: Upgrading one position by getting weaker at another isn't a good strategy. I wouldn't have traded Green-Ellis if I didn't have a capable backup who I could use in his place. Luckily I had Alfred Morris stashed on my bench. Now Morris is one of my starters and in Week 3, he actually tallied more points than Green-Ellis did.
10. Do not be afraid: Trading away one of your better players can be a terrifying ordeal. I remember thinking to myself for a few seconds, "If I click this now, I'll never see BenJarvus Green-Ellis again."
The permanence of a trade can be quite jarring. But remember, you knew what you were getting into when you signed up for fantasy football. You knew there would be tough decisions to make. Playing scared is no way to play. As the great Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." Take some risks, live a little. It's a lot more fun that way.
And if you're not interested in "Fantasy Football Trading for Dummies," well you can always read "Building Beehives for Dummies," right?
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