Trading in fantasy football is a lot like dating. It’s awkward, especially if the league is full of people who don’t really know each other. You’re never sure how well the trade is received, and each team has to be willing to compromise and find ways to be compatible. Trust can be a factor in trading, as well. Your reputation is on the line with everything you say or do when it comes to trading.

Rather than explain who or what you should trade, let me give you a list of things to do or NOT do when you need to make a deal to improve your roster in fantasy football:

  • Look at your roster without bias, and analyze your strengths and weaknesses. To do so without bias is one of the hardest things to do, but, after a draft, you should know what positions you feel best and worst about on your team. Knowing those strengths and weaknesses can help you properly target players that can help your roster, as well as know what you can give up.
  • Don’t lowball an owner for their best player. Think about it…would you pay 89 cents for a bottle of great champagne? No? Then, why would an owner give up Adrian Peterson for Blaine Gabbert? Even desperate owners aren’t stupid.
  • Don’t offer up an injured player. There shouldn’t need to be any explanation for this…if a player can’t play for you due to injury, why would he play for anyone else under the same circumstances?
  • Consider all offers. Yes, there will be some stupid ones, but there may also be some very good ones – where a trade can improve both sides. No one says you have to accept all offers, but if owners know you will accept fair offers, they will make fair ones to you.
  • Listen (or read) closely to what someone likes or dislikes about their team. You might be able to take advantage of that knowledge…
  • In auction leagues, remember who had the second-highest bid on a player you won. When you are ready to sell high on a player, you know who to call.
  • Other owners’ decisions to sit a player when he should be in the starting lineup could be an indication they are ready to deal.
  • Offer up a player who are at least one tier up from the waiver wire. If you don’t, other owners will reject your trade and try and improve their team through free agency.
  • Know that it’s hard to find proper value in a one-to-one swap. Sometimes, you will have to add a player or two to help make a deal possible.
  • Don’t slam a person’s team, then ask that owner to trade with you. Your opinions could shut the door on any deal you might want or actually need. Stay away from opining about anyone’s team. Let them talk about their teams. They could just give you some good information…
  • Don’t take bad trade offers personally.
  • Unless a deal is clearly one-sided, don’t veto trades. Just because you’re not involved in a particular trade doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be able to make them.
  • Know that other owners will make and land lopsided deals. Don’t flip out.
  • Don’t agree to a trade with an owner through e-mail, the phone or in person, then back out at the last second. The Bible says “Do unto others…” It’s not good business.
  • Don’t keep players mired in a slump in your lineup just because you traded for them.
  • Congratulate others on successful trades. It can help other owners want to deal with you in the future.
  • Tell other owners in your league about your trade failures. We’ve all had them. It’s OK to admit you failed once or twice.
  • Dismiss your trade successes as dumb luck. There are plenty of times, trade successes are strokes of pure genius. There are other times where they are truly dumb luck. Tell everyone that all of them are the latter.

Remember when I said trading in fantasy football is like dating? Think of it this way…you got a first date for a reason (or many reasons). Keep doing those things that made you successful enough to warrant that first date/trade, and those future dates and trades will become plentiful, and, hopefully, bountiful.