July 27, 2017
Getting Ready for the Trade Deadline
In one of the first fantasy leagues I ever joined, for years the trade deadline was Aug. 1. This is an AL-only league, so the Aug. 1 date gave fantasy managers 24 hours to try and fill any holes created by trades to the National League. This gives away how old the league is. -Only leagues are becoming a thing of the past, and the ones that do exist have mostly switched to permitting players traded to the “other” league to remain on a team’s roster until the end of the regular season.
Most of the leagues I play in now have a trade deadline in late August or early September. In a typical keeper league, nearly everyone already has decided if they are in or out for 2017. But unless your season is going perfectly, you probably are going to need to make some free-agent pickups or trades down the stretch in order to win. This advice is not limited to teams in contention. If you have already given up on your season the last thing you want to do is let your team lie fallow and miss potential keepers for 2018 and beyond.
Below is a brief list of what I try to do in leagues in both situations. While there are occasional gray areas, this article is not intended to address whether you should try to win this year or not (this decision should have been made at least a month ago) but rather tactics for the last two months of the regular season. This is not intended as a comprehensive strategy document but rather a rudimentary outline and perhaps the beginning of a conversation.
IF YOU’RE PLAYING FOR THIS YEAR
My rule-of-thumb when trading with a non-contender is that I refuse to lose out in any category. For example, if I have a cheap Aaron Judge, in addition to the gains I want to make in steals and/or pitching, at a minimum I must replace the power I am giving up. In redraft leagues, nearly every trade you make requires you to give up something in a category to gain somewhere else. In keeper leagues, this does not apply. You must be as certain as possible you are getting more present value back than your opponents are. In keeper formats, this is the ballgame.