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Fantasy Trade Etiquette – The 5 Rules of Trading


Allow me to reintroduce myself: My name is Matt Vieira and I am in my 8th year as commissioner of a 10-team standard scoring fantasy football league. Since beginning my fantasy football commitment (because it is that, isn’t it?) I have realized that it is much more than just a game of numbers, it becomes a well thought out chess match that is as much about what happens off the field as it does on it. That’s where this post is heading. A trade, by definition, is a transaction, where, in this case, one or more players are traded for one or more players. And while that seems like a simple concept there is far more to consider when offering or accepting a trade in your fantasy league.

When involving yourself in such dealings you must adhere to a certain code. This code is something that will help you and your fantasy league to become stronger and more competitive. Without further adieu, here are my 5 rules to help you follow proper trading  etiquette.

Rule 1: The 3 Responses to a Trade

You’re sitting at home the morning after a miserable fantasy loss and what comes across your desk? A fantasy trade! Your  lucky day! So what do you do with said trade? Here are the 3 possible responses to a fantasy trade. 1. Accept the trade: Go ahead, you deserve it. 2. Respectfully decline: Maybe the trade isn’t for you, don’t worry there are plenty of trades in the sea. And 3. Decline and counter: Maybe you don’t want to give up Alshon Jeffery for Donnie Avery, but you will part ways Darren McFadden.

These should be your only responses to a trade offer. Not responding or dragging someone along for a ride is highly frowned upon. Timely responses are key in building trade rapport in your league. Nobody wants to trade with “that guy”.

Rule 2: Have Faith in Your Fantasy League

This is directed at the commissioner, but should also be taken into account by the rest of the league. Always have faith in your league when it comes to trades. I come from a league that has a very tight knit group of guys. We do a cash prize, but that usually isn’t what is top priority . Usually what fuels our fierce battles on the fantasy gridiron is bragging rights. We always want to be better than the next guy. I know this trait isn’t that uncommon, but it should be taken into account when reviewing trades. Nobody in your league wants to do a bad trade (I will talk about collusion instances later). In the traders eyes the transaction they are participating in is making both of their teams better. Far too often do I find leagues that come unraveled because of trades, don’t let that be your league.

Rule 3: The Formula to a Fair Trade

Trading can have a few functions including: making another position on your team better, preparing for a bye week, or getting a guy you personally like. When doing trades you want to make sure you implore a simple formula to get the best bang for your buck. That formula is to sell high and buy low. Just like in stock trading you want to sell players at the top of their game and bring in players as cheap as you can get. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but taking a guy that just had a great couple games, especially early in the season, and selling (trading) him, is a perfect way to to beef up some other positions at a discount.

Extra tip – Remember, when buying (trading for) “low” players, do your research. Check their upcoming schedule and bye weeks for reasons to believe in a bounce back.

Rule 4: Limit Vetos

This rule goes hand-in-hand with rule 2. Veto power is something everyone has in fantasy football, unless you belong to a dictatorship league in which case I suggest you join another league. Nobody is larger than the league and the veto button should show that. Veto power should not, I repeat, SHOULD NOT be used by the commissioner to regulate trades. The only way a trade should be vetoed is if the majority, or in my league 7 out of 10, decides it is collusion. You heard me right, collusion, AKA stacking someones team. Regular trades must almost always be sent through because of Rule 2 (trust in your league). Everyone wants to win, and everyone wants to make their teams better. Feel like you have people in your league that would participate in collusion? Either they go or you do, don’t settle for a shady ass league. You deserve a fair fantasy experience.

Rule 5: Have Some Dignity

The simplest rule of all. Send trades that makes sense. Nobody likes the guy that offers you Drew Stanton for Marshawn Lynch. Nobody is buying into your bull shit. I don’t care how much “upside” a guy may or may not have, because in the end points do the talking. Make trades based on needs and wants, and realize nobody is going to buy into your players if you send outrageous offers. Again, don’t be that guy.


That’s all I have for this topic. If you have any questions about the 5 rules listed above feel free to hit me up on my twitter (@MattfromRI) or my website’s twitter (@AverageNobodies). Feel free to tell me I’m  an idiot who doesn’t know what I’m  talking about or to let me know you are implementing my trade rules into your league. I am constantly on twitter so you will get a response almost immediately.

May your players stay healthy and let the waiver wire be good to you.

Until next time,



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