Dynasty Trade Etiquette

I put up a poll on Twitter yesterday, phrased it carefully so there was no bias, and got some interesting responses out of it so I decided to flesh it out in a full piece here.

“Is purposely letting a dynasty trade expire a strategy?”

It should be pretty much without saying that this obviously shouldn’t be one’s primary strategy. There’s no such thing as playing hard to get in a trade. It’s not even how you should first approach negotiations. But purposely logging into a league and not responding to a trade is a move that can get a few different messages across.

There’s a keeper league I’ve been a part of for what has to be 7 years, give or take. There was an owner (who isn’t a part of the league anymore) who would constantly propose trades to guys in the league that were hilariously lopsided. Beanie Wells and Scott Chandler for Jimmy Graham in his heyday. Cedric Benson and Nate Washington for Demaryius Thomas. You get the idea. An annual, habitual, headache that everyone had to deal with. One year, after a flurry of trades were made he tried to get in on the action…

People refused to respond to his proposals so he benched his entire team and said he’d do so until someone made a trade with him. Rather than boot him the commish leaned on him a bit and I dealt some end of bench guys to smooth everything over. We all used letting the trade expire as a way to let him know we weren’t dealing with lopsided trades anymore. That’s a strong way to get a message across, and it worked. In the following years his offers were much better suited to each team.

In the responses to my tweet people said letting an offer expire was rude, pointless, and gives up leverage. And I understand that way of thinking, but the last part there came with an added bit of strategy.

People were responding saying they would counter a trade offer without rejecting the initial proposal. I’ll admit this is something I’ve never done, simply because I have never thought of it. Some dismissed that as a bad move, but I think it lets the other owner in on your trading process.

If I’m offered 2 RBs and a high pick for a WR and a mid level pick (which is happening in a league now) and I counter for only 1 of those backs and a low level WR (and no picks) without rejecting the first trade, it gives the owner a chance to compare the offers and see what I’m trying to swing for in the deal. I also believe what I offer up in my counter really doesn’t matter as long as it’s not an insult. The counter/reject refusal is to show the other owner I know what I’m doing and what I’m looking for.

The last batch of responses I got was that everything could be considered a strategy, it’s all about how well you do it. This for me is pretty much how I view things: Strategy is strategy. Sometimes it pisses people off, but if you’re looking to get someone frustrated because they propose lopsided trades constantly then your strategy is fine. If I’m in consistently well paced talks with someone and they all of a sudden stop responding, I know I’ve got to up my offer. If they counter and leave another trade open it’s probably so I can compare them. You just have to enter negotiations believing that the player on the other side of the computer is as smart as you are, a move I don’t think is employed enough.

So share this around with your leaguemates and if you have any other tips or tricks you like using in trades and want to discuss, drop a line in the comments below. And you can always get at me on Twitter @The_ATJ. While @FFDynasty101 and I get the next few episodes set up, subscribe to The Fantasy Force Podcast on iTunes and catch our dynasty takes on rookie RBs.

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