Welcome to our Knowledge Base article on intermediate and Advanced Fantasy Trade Strategies. If you haven’t already, feel free to check out our Beginner Fantasy Trade Strategies before you get started. Below we outline considerations, thought processes, strategies from intermediate to advanced, and tips and tricks for your trades.

Trade Value vs. Production Value

When determining a player’s value, there are two types of value to consider; Trade Value (TV) and Production Value (PV). In short, Trade Value is a realistic expectation of the assets you can get in return. Production Value is the realistic expectation of production you can get from a player over the course of the year.

More often than not these are similar, if not identical. Though not always. When the perception of a player is higher than their actual on-field production; ie. big names, young players, or players expected to breakout, this leads guys to have a strong Trade Value. On the other end – when perception is lower than production – the older names, consistently solid-but-unremarkable, these tend to be your guys with strong Production Value. Like the old “buy low, sell high” – it’s advantageous to “sell TV, buy PV”.

At the time of this writing, there’s a ton of players whose production is worth more than you can get in a trade. Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins, Robert Woods, Tyler Lockett, Cole Beasley, Raheem Mostert, Damien Harris, Jamaal Williams, Gio Bernard, Logan Thomas, and Jared Cook; each are realistically expected and projected to put up decent points, certainly more than others in their ADP range, but for various reasons they’re not considered as valuable in trades.

If you’re looking to win immediately, take advantage of these players. If you can draft them at their ADP, you’re likely to get more from that draft slot immediately than a high Trade Value player. If you can’t get them in the draft, these are the guys you can try to trade for at reasonable prices.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to make big moves after the draft, or in a Dynasty league and looking to get future draft picks, target the high Trade Value players instead. There’s often a window where the Trade Value significantly outpaces the Production Value, and selling at their peak can net you a massive return. There’s more volatility with this option, and it requires work and effort to maximize your return, but the potential returning assets will serve you very well.

Don’t forget the garnish

In food, the garnish are the little additions to a plate, separate from the main dish, which help the main dish to stand out. With the right garnish and service, a dish otherwise worth $15, is suddenly worth $40.

In trades, the garnish are the little additions to a trade, separate from the main pieces, which – like their food counterparts – can add serious and significant value beyond what the Trade Calculator suggests.

Handcuffs. Mid-round rookie draft picks. Talented youth without an immediate path to start. All of these are excellent examples of garnish; typically low “value”, potentially high importance assets.

Leagues which have more assets to trade, like Dynasty, Empire, Keeper, Devy or Contract, typically have more garnish available to get creative with. However, even a Redraft league can be fruitful.

  • Use FAAB to your advantage. FAAB is a severely undervalued tool in trades which may not look like much, but can be a gamebreaker.
    • Imagine, a week before the trade deadline and your high-target Tight End goes down with injury. Your depth can’t replace that production, meanwhile his comfortably competent backup is available as the top target on the waiver-wire. Based on the other owners and their available FAAB, you determine you can effectively secure him with another 50FAAB.
    • Knowing this, initiate a trade with an owner who has it available, preferably one who is lacking at a position which you have depth. Send them a player at that position that you are comfortable parting with, request a lesser player and the FAAB in return. Value Calculators would suggest the trade is a loss for you – getting a bottom-feeder while giving up legit depth. However, after dumping your newly acquired FAAB into the waiver wire, you’re actually getting a starting Tight End.
  • Don’t undervalue mid-and-late round draft picks in Dynasty and Empire leagues! Trade calculators especially undervalue 2nd and 3rd round picks.
YearPlayer NameDraft SlotDraft Slot Value2021 Player ValueNet ChangeNotes
2018Michael Gallup2.01 (#13)FP - 18
101 - 379
FP - 21
101 - 364
FP - (3)
101 - (15)
2018Baker Mayfield2.05 (#17)FP - ~16
101 - 227
FP - 13
101 - 182
FP - (3)
101 - (45)
2018Lamar Jackson2.08 (#20)FP - ~14
101 - 120
FP - 32
101 - 950
FP - 18
101 - 830
Chark went 2.09 (#21):

FP - 34 (+20)
101 - 694 (+574)
2018Tre'Quan Smith2.10 (#22)FP - 12
101 - 66
FP - 3
101 - 20
FP - (9)
101 - (46)
2018Dallas Goedert3.01 (#25)FP - 6
101 - 40
FP - 30
101 - 522
FP - 24
101 - 482
2018Josh Allen3.05 (#29)FP - ~4
101 - 27
FP - 36
101 - 1164
FP - 32
101 - 1137
Mark Andrews went 3.06 (#30):

FP - 40 (+36)
101 - 832 (+805)
2018Mark Walton3.08 (#32)FP - ~3
101 - 20
FP - 0
101 - 0
FP - (3)
101 - (20)
2018Chase Edmonds3.10 (#34)FP - 2
101 - 17
FP - 22
101 - 517
FP - 20
101 - 500
2019Mecole Hardman2.01 (#13)FP - 18
101 - 379
FP - 16
101 - 110
FP - (2)
101 - (269)
2019Kyler Murray2.05 (#17)FP - ~16
101 - 227
FP - 32
101 - 1137
FP - 16
101 - 910
2019Damien Harris2.08 (#20)FP - ~14
101 - 120
FP - 19
101 - 455
FP - 5
101 - 335
2019Diontae Johnson2.10 (#22)FP - 12
101 - 66
FP - 44
101 - 1290
FP - 32
101 - 1224
2019Dwayne Haskins3.01 (#25)FP - 6
101 - 40
FP - 1
101 - 1
FP - (5)
101 - (39)
2019Jace Sternberger3.05 (#29)FP - ~4
101 - 27
FP - 1
101 - 2
FP - (3)
101 - (25)
McLaurin went 3.04 (#28):

FP - 58 (+54)
101 - 1908 (+1881)
2019Benny Snell3.08 (#32)FP - ~3
101 - 20
FP - 2
101 - 17
FP - (1)
101 - (3)
2019KeeSean Johnson3.10 (#34)FP - 2
101 - 17
FP - 1
101 - 1
FP - (1)
101 - (16)
Mattison went 3.12 (#36):

FP - 12 (+10)
101 - 142 (+125)
2020Tua Tagovailoa2.01 (#13)FP - 18
101 - 379
FP - 10
101 - 209
FP - (8)
101 - (170)
Higgins went 2.02 (#14):

FP - 52 (+34)
101 - 1411 (+1032)
2020Zack Moss2.05 (#17)FP - ~16
101 - 227
FP - 15
101 - 400
FP - (1)
101 - 173
Aiyuk went 2.04 (#18):

FP - 38 (+22)
101 - 1367 (+940)
2020Van Jefferson2.08 (#20)FP - ~14
101 - 120
FP - 6
101 - 22
FP - (8)
101 - (98)
Shenault went 2.07 (#19):

FP - 23 (+9)
101 - 496 (+376)
2020Bryan Edwards2.10 (#22)FP - 12
101 - 66
FP - 10
101 - 43
FP - (2)
101 - (23)
Herbert went 2.09 (#21):

FP - 27 (+25)
101 - 778 (+712)
2020Devin Duvernay3.01 (#25)FP - 6
101 - 40
FP - 2
101 - 7
FP - (4)
101 - (33)
Dillon went 2.12 (#24):

FP - 20 (+14)
101 - 427 (+387)
2020KJ Hamler3.05 (#29)FP - ~4
101 - 27
FP - 5
101 - 29
FP - 1
101 - 2
Claypool went 3.04 (#28):

FP - 29 (+25)
101 - 1035 (+1008)
2020Lynn Bowden Jr3.08 (#32)FP - ~3
101 - 20
FP - 1
101 - 10
FP - (2)
101 - (10)
2020Tyler Johnson3.10 (#34)FP - 2
101 - 17
FP - 6
101 - 11
FP - 4
101 - (6)
  • Notes:
    • As you can see in the draft results shown in the table above, many of these picks never get above their draft-pick value. Certainly, some even lose a little of the value they are drafted with.
    • The importance of these picks is that a good number, however, were a hit.
    • Those hits turn into players valued significantly higher than their draft-pick value. Which generally signifies that their production exceeds their projected, and drafted, values.
    • This shows why 2nd and 3rd round draft picks make excellent throw-ins to trades where you may be near-even, but you need to receive a bit extra to feel comfortable.

Your primary target doesn’t have to be the most valuable piece

When going into a trade, you might have your sights set on one player, mid-to-low value, who you really like. Maybe you think they stand a chance to breakout. Maybe you’re eyeing a handcuff. Maybe you want to flip them to a homer for a hometown price. Maybe you want one of the high Production Value value guys listed above.

These guys may not seem like much on the surface, so take advantage of that. It doesn’t require a degree in psychology to know who the target player is in a 1-for-1 trade. The owner who submits that is putting all their cards on the table.

Instead, submit a 3-for-2. Send a high trade-value player you’re looking to offload, along with a future mid-round pick. Receive an equally high-value guy who serves your team better, along with a handcuff and late-round pick. This is going to be pretty close in trade value, and the other owner doesn’t have to know that your real target was the handcuff, who you essentially got for moving back to a later rookie-draft pick.

Use this to get handcuffs, flip candidates, low-valued sleepers or pre-breakout studs, and pretty soon your team will look exactly how you want without breaking the bank.

Creativity counts

Hometown pricepoint: Do you know any extreme homers in your league? Keep an eye on their team’s bloggers for players who they’re talking up. If they’re a big enough homer, they are definitely keeping an eye on those bloggers. Doing this can allow you to send a player they may value highly, in order to get a better return.

Look beyond your trade partner’s team: Ever had a three-way?…trade I mean. If you don’t have the assets your desired trade partner is looking for, but you can fill the needs of another team, try to work out a three team trade. All the same rules apply, but it goes double because you have twice as many trade partners. Be on your best behavior!

Always do your due diligence: Be sure to check the waivers at minimum at the start and end of each week. Though daily is better.

While you’re in there, look at every team’s Taxi Squad for potential poach targets (if applicable).

Don’t forget Devy Players from trades! These players can be harder to track and manage if your platform doesn’t have them explicitly listed, so it’s on you to keep on top of them.

Draft with Trading in mind

There are a couple strategies which involve trading as part of a start-up draft. We’ve written about one method, the Productive Struggle Strategy. Anecdotally, a few of us at Extra Point have used this strategy with long-term success.

A major component of this strategy involves trading back, or trading out of your early draft picks for young talented players and future draft picks. That said, there are multiple ways you can head into your draft looking to benefit from trades.

  • Draft with the intention of trading: Nearly everyone knows to draft the most valuable player available in the first couple rounds. It’s typically once you get into the middle rounds, often starting as early as the 5th round, when some owners deviate from value and focus on specific positions, or getting players they “like”. If you go into a draft with the understanding that you will be trading after, the plan is simple. Draft the player with the highest trade value in every single round, regardless of position.

    In Superflex, that might mean drafting four starting QBs in your first four rounds. You certainly don’t need to keep all four. Consider the positional flexibility of SF and the higher average point production of even mediocre QBs, and take account of the relative scarcity at the position, you’ll find the trade value of QBs rises higher as you draft them. Trade whichever ones you can get the most relative value for, you may find yourself backfilling your skill positions with players drafted before that QB. Also, don’t forget the garnish.

    Similarly, in a TE Premium league – or even more-so in a 2TE league – don’t be shy about hoarding the position if the board allows. If you’re drafting near the turn at the end of the 1st round, and you have an opportunity to get two of the “big three” TEs, snatch them both up and don’t think twice. If you can get two 2nd tier TEs in the 3rd and 4th rounds too, the more the merrier. Similar to QBs in SF, your hoarding creates an artificially amplified scarcity of TEs, which raises their trade value. Determine which of them provides the most trade value, and which have the most production value, and offload those with the highest relative trade value.

    If your start-up draft rules allow for trading draft-picks, you may have even more opportunities.
  • Trade up during the draft: There are few things worse than having four guys in your top-tier of players and drawing the 6th pick. To solve for this, see if the 4th pick – or earlier – is willing to move back to your pick. Given the significance of early round players, it may cost you a future rookie/devy draft pick. However, if you project a significant drop from tier 1 to tier 2, this is almost certainly worth it as your stronger team will likely have a later pick anyway.

    This continues to apply after the first round. Watch for opportunities when a player falls. Offer your next pick along with a couple pick-swaps in later rounds. The pick-swaps in later rounds is not giving up much, drafts tend to be more volatile the deeper you go. Meanwhile, you landed your guy where you otherwise may have missed out.
  • Trade back during the draft: A key component of the Productive Struggle Strategy mentioned earlier. Keying in on opportunities to trade back can provide you with a surprising surplus of assets. In the above point, the example was having 4 top-tier players while drawing the 6th pick. You may find the opposite opportunity available too.

    When you’re on-the-clock, if you have three or four players ranked nearly the same, start reaching out to owners who pick two, three or – if you’re feeling frisky – four picks after you. See what they would offer to move up. Try to get a future rookie/devy draft pick out of the deal, in earlier rounds this should be at minimum a future 1st round draft pick along with the pick swap, and there’s absolutely potential for more. Also, get that garnish.

    Even as you get into later rounds, if you can’t get a future 1st, don’t be shy to ask for a couple pick-swaps and a future 2nd. As noted above, those can turn your team from meh-to-monster in just a few short years.

Additional Information

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