I consider my league mates friends and try to keep conversations honest and open. This game requires a little tact though and a poker face is needed from time to time. Even when I am looking for fair trades I know if I tip my hand the other owner might try to take advantage. I know I will try and get a little extra value if the opportunity presents itself and I expect others to do the same as part of the game. This being said, the key to keeping good relationships through this dance is always trying to keep transactions mostly fair and even. Just because you can take full advantage of something does not mean you should, skimming a little extra value is fine. Also, nobody wants to deal with commissioners or owners crying collusion.
Now, on with the story.
This last week I made a trade in a 2QB league. This league also gives 0.2 ppc and 1.25 ppr to runningbacks and he his main guys were Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon and Derrick Henry. The running backs are who I really wanted but I didn’t want to tip my hand.
I was eyeing Devante Adams and started by offering Odell Beckham Jr. for Adams and a runningback of his choice. My hope was to get Freeman but after some thought he let me know he was more interest in my quarterbacks. This made total sense because I had Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston and Alex Smith with Patrick Mahomes. He had Ben Roethlisberger with Landry Jones and Carson Palmer. Losing Colin Kaepernick in this league hurt him, those rushes are huge. For me, I think Winston is a first or second round start up value, so without getting another stud player I would take in that range I couldn’t do it. Potentially I could have done Winston for Freeman or Gordon but I didn’t want to trade Winston in the first place and did not put it on the table. So I started the offers with Cousins as my main piece. I offered Cousins for Adams and Freeman. Then before he could respond I was feeling like I needed to add a reciever to the group to make it fair so I let him know I could throw in a wide reciever three type guy.
At this point in talks I still didn’t want to seem too anxious about getting Freeman or Gordon because I was totally fine with “settling” for Derrick Henry. Henry may still have another year as the number two guy but I think he has great potential and I am willing to wait. Since I was not giving up OBJ I didn’t need to get Adams and could shift talks toward the running back as the main asset on his side. I offered Cousins for one of his top backs plus something little. Leaving which back and the little piece up to him. This league might have ppc but in a twelve team 2qb league, quartback is still king to me. His reply was honest and valuable, here is where I had to look in the mirror.
Sometimes we need to recognize our own bias towards players on our teams. I could see my bias towards Cousins. He let me know he’d rather give me back one of his older quartbacks and a guy like Doug Baldwin because he felt his runningbacks deserve a premium. He wasn’t wrong, I just knew we were gonna be a little bit further apart than I liked to be in a trade. So I offered to “step down” to Henry and he let me know it would be easier to get a deal done this way.
He let me know he was uneasy about Cousins potential to leave Washington and the uncertainty which would follow. His initial thought was Winston for Devante Adams and Derrick Henry but he didn’t think it would be enough on his side. The open dialogue we were able to have with each other was very helpful for both of us. Sharing an honest thought process, if kept short, can be useful and is still polite conversation. This is not the same as when someone sends paragraphs about why they are sending an offer and why it should be accepted. Those kinds of things are rarely accepted with anything more than a laugh and decline. Keep it simple.
I countered with Cousins for those two players, Adams and Henry. I also put in a note saying I could add Golden Tate or Jordan Matthews if it would help soften the blow of losing Adams. He added Matthews to the deal and it was done.
I went through all this and you may be sitting there wondering why I didn’t just send Winston for Gordon. This is a fair question. My answer is I do not like to buy players at their ceilings. I believe Henry will gain value over the next 12 months and his production will go up substantially from here on out. Did I buy Adams at his ceiling though? I do not think so. He is still a third round pick in normal start ups who could easily jump to the start of the second when he has another great season.