My second to last rookie draft started this weekend and leading up to it I was working whatever deals I could. To provide some context it is a 16 team IDP league with start 1QB 1RB 3WR 1TE but two regular flex spots. Given the 3WR and 16 teams, one flex is basically a second RB. Also, this league generally does not value rookie picks highly. I wanted to talk about an approach used on me and how recognizing it helped me get the deal I wanted, offered to me.
Some owners like to make huge deals. Throwing in players and picks on both sides with sometimes up to 16 total pieces in the trade. I’m not one of those people. I like to make trades with maybe eight total pieces and capitalize on those who build differently than I do. When it comes to the massive trades it can be a lot to break down and I see it as a tactic leading to minor improvement or for confusing an opponent into giving up more than they realize. It is also possible I am too dumb to deal with it, but I like to think I am at least average.
I offered an owner a trade where the main piece I wanted was 1.03. It started as:
Lamar Miller Abdullah
3.09 For 1.03
You are thinking, dude just said he likes smaller deals then he sends this? I had received other offers before from this owner and noticed he liked bigger deals so I started with one. A massive deal was offered back to me which totalled 14 pieces between the two teams instead of my 10.
The key pieces were me giving up Lamar Miller and 1.09 for Abdullah and Yeldon. They left out the 1.03 but included a plethora of thirds, fourths and future late picks. After offering a slightly smaller trade and adding the 1.03 followed by another large counter without it, I specifically asked the owner for a smaller deal. I do like Yeldon and Abdullah a lot, so I was interested in them but it kept feeling like I was giving up too much when Lamar Miller is likely a top five running back. I also did not like trying to work out the larger deal and needed him to get on my level instead me trying to be on his.
Bare with me while I digress for a second. The owner told me a little about them through the process and we built a bit of a report. This is a key thing. It is much easier to come to an agreement with someone you like and feel comfortable going back and forth with. I don’t know if he feels this way, but it helped me.
This is true in real life interaction too. We are more prone to work with and associate with people we have some level of trust or respect for. It is a basic animal instinct. Think of a dog you see on the side of the road. If you are like me, you stop and check the collar or to see if the owner is close. The dog doesn’t immediately come over though because at first it is scared or at least guarded against strangers. It knows it doesn’t know what our true intention is. So we get on their level and speak in a calm voice. We try to look friendly and helpful. This basic animal tactic can be applied to meeting new people, potential clients, co-workers, anyone we come in contact with. Until we arrive on the same level, they have no reason to deal with us.
Back to the trading… so he works it into a smaller deal and gives me what I wanted in the first place. Where I gave:
1.12 For 2.09
This smaller trade was much easier to swallow as a trade up from my later picks to the 1.03 where I could get either Coleman or Doctson.
Here is where recognition of the type of owners you are dealing with comes into play again. I told him I wanted a smaller deal and the 1.03. My trade partner recognized how I make trades on a smaller scale than what he would like. He sent the offer with just picks and I almost auto accepted it. Then he immediately sent a second offer where he dealt me Abdullah and Yeldon still. The second trade was me giving:
3.09 For Abdullah
3.13. ’17 3rd
Notice he took the 2.09 back? I know he did, but wondering if he thinks I did. Also notice I can now get two running backs I really like without giving up Miller? Since the rest of the league does not value rookie picks much I have more Capitol in “proven” players as well. My draft picks will be minimal which is a bummer in IDP leagues but I am getting what I wanted and giving up less value but more pieces than the initial trade offer.
By building a report we could go back and forth several times without getting heated. We kept the chatter short and to the point but still let each other learn about the other. I had to force him to get down on my level instead of playing up to his. You need them to feel safe out of their comfort zone.