The Art of the Fantasy Football Deal

Learn how to make trades and improve your team with tips from Yahoo Fantasy Football expert Brandon Funston.

The Art of the Fantasy Football Deal

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Executing a successful fantasy football trade can be like attempting to select just one adorable, sad-eyed puppy from your local PetSmart. That is to say, it's difficult. The rosters are small, and more times than not, the person you'd like to trade with can replace his or her floundering receiver with someone sitting on their bench. People are lazy, and they'll let your trade proposal sit for weeks in their inbox before finally responding with something like "Hey, sorry bro, I'm just seeing this. I don't want to trade with you, but do you want to come over for The Bachelor later?"

But if done correctly, a trade can benefit both parties and help them make a serious push for the playoffs. We spoke with Yahoo Fantasy Football expert Brandon Funston on how to make your ideal barter a reality.

Don't Feel Like You Have to "Win" the Trade

In any transaction, both parties want to feel like they bested the other, making it look on paper like they totally, definitely won the trade. But when filling a need on your roster, winning the trade isn't always necessary.

"The only reason you should be trading is because you have a need, and you want to address that need," Funston says. " If you come in with this ridiculous first offer, then you've lost them right away."

Instead, come in with a respectable offer and don't be scared off by a deal that, on paper, looks like it favors your trading partner. If the deal is going to help your team in a big way, that's truly all that matters.

It's on You to Make the Trade Happen

If you're the one looking to initiate the deal, don't count on the other person to do any legwork. Be diligent until you've got the other team intrigued and interested in moving forward.

"You have to be creative and you have to say 'Ok, he didn't like this deal, what about this deal? Is there anyone from this group of players you'd be willing to deal?'" Funston says.

Along those same lines, don't hone in on one player and make him your lone focus. Make it known that you're looking for help, and seek out multiple trade partners to gauge interest. That way, if your initial deal falls through, you aren't caught with your pants down.

"Be relentless, but don't be a pest either," Funston says. "Be as cordial as you can. Generally you can get some kind of action as long as you keep at it."

By the same token, respond promptly to trade offers from other teams. You don't want to develop a reputation as the guy who never checks the league. You could miss out on a great swap opportunity.

Give Your Trade Partner Ample Time to Decide

Sending a trade proposal Saturday night at 8 p.m. with a note attached saying "HEY MAN, I'M IN A BIND PLEASE DECIDE ON THIS IMMEDIATELY" is no way to do business. Guys get attached to the players they draft, and parting with them can require serious reflection time.

"If you have a hole in your lineup coming up for the week, send an offer on Wednesday or Thursday," Funston says. "Don't try to rush them in to something. Give them time to think things over."

Use Your Bench Depth to Your Advantage

If you've got a strong team, you're a lock for the playoffs and you've made it through all your players' bye weeks unscathed, you are in a power position. You no longer need your bench players (barring an unforeseen injury), so seek out teams who need something of which you've got a surplus.

"Package maybe one of your weaker starting guys with a really good bench player and get somebody else in a two-for-one deal, where you can get a better starter by trading one of your bench players and a weaker starter," Funston says. " You want to be as strong in your starting lineup as possible."

Think Beyond Next Week

Don't make trades only for the week ahead. Looking long-term can help you snag a player whose value might be low at the time, but a softer schedule down the road could propel him to Pro Bowl status and help you win a championship. Sure, maybe Julian Edelman will be facing the Seahawks and 49ers defenses back to back. But after that, it's smooth sailing. Keep your eyes peeled. You could snag the sleeper of the year.

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Topics: FOOTBALL | BENCH | FANTASY FOOTBALL