It's generally a waste of time to attempt fantasy football trades in September. Everyone is in love with their own team. The injuries haven't piled up yet. We're not infested with bye weeks. Sending out a host of trade offers in the early going is usually an exercise in frustration.
Thankfully, that all changes in mid-to-late October; we're smack dab in the middle of trading season. Now's the time to get creative and aggressive with your offers, because the person on the other end of things wants to trade, for a variety of reasons:
• The fantasy playoffs aren't that far away. We're entering Game 7 in a dance that's only 13 or 14 weeks long before the postseason begins; any team at 3-3 right now can't feel that good about a playoff spot, a 2-4 team is almost in must-win territory, and a 1-5 club has to start thinking about running the table. No one's desperate in the early weeks, but there's a lot of panic in the pumpkin patch.
• The bye weeks hit hard for the next three weeks. Six teams are off for Weeks 7, 8 and 9, and that means harder roster choices, more waiver-wire speculation, and more incentive for your rival to make a swap.
One of my favorite plays is to locate a struggling fantasy owner who has some stars on bye; perhaps he'll be willing to mortgage future weeks (and a major player or two) for a better chance at winning now. On the flip side, if I've got the struggling team, I realize I have to consider liquidating any bye-week asset if I'm facing what I consider a must-win game. It works both ways.
• The emotional side can overrule the rational side of your opponent this deep into the season. No one makes "screw it, why not?" trades before the season, but you'll see some of them now. Maybe an opponent will swap Carolina's Steve Smith to you for a pittance merely out of frustration; "get that clown off my team." Perhaps a rival will overpay for Drew Brees(notes) "just to get a share of the Saints." Everyone dreams of a juggernaut back in August and early September, but at this juncture of the season the goals might be different.
Let's talk trading, peeps. Do you find it easier to get deals done in the middle of the year? Are the heavy-duty bye weeks stimulating the trading economy in your group? Are the teams with losing records panicking in your league? The floor is yours.
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