DraftHelp.com HOW TO Series

The following articles are meant to aid you in starting and running a fun and fair Fantasy Sports League.

HowTo Start a League

HowTo Create a Constitution

HowTo Build a Scoring System

HowTo Judge a Fair Trade

HowTo Run an On-Line Draft

HowTo Add Value to Your Draft


HOW TO: Judge a Fair Trade
by Nathan Noy

What is a “fair” trade?

How does my league assure that all trades are fair?

These are common questions that we have been receiving recently at Drafthelp.com.

First, let me say this:  make sure you have a league constitution in place with rules to cover trading.   If you are unsure about how to do either check out our articles on the site: HOW TO: Create a Constitution and HOW TO: Start a Fantasy League.  Both are a great starting point.

I would urge that a minimum your league has a power of trade veto rule that will assure teams do not collude and stack their rosters.  Let’s assume that there is no collusion present, the question remains when is a trade “fair”?  And what can we do about an unfair trade.

I would suggest your league have a commissioner to make such decisions, and perhaps a 3–person committee to handle disputes or make decisions on trades where the commissioner is involved.  Unfortunately in a lot of leagues the commissioner is not only generally the most knowledgeable owner, but also often the main offender of what many would consider “unfair” trades.  I have been in leagues like that, my advice is that if the commissioner is even a boarder line cheat to quit the league and find a more honest person to run things.

Ok, lets assume that your league has a fair commissioner and rules that preclude trades that are deemed “unfair” or not in the best interests of the league.  What criteria should be used to pass judgment?  My general rule of thumb is this “Can this trade possibly help both teams in some way?”  If the answer is NO then the trade gets the old VETO.  If it’s a questionable trade then the owner that is getting the better end of the deal may have a real hard time convincing anyone that he is in some way helping the other team.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a number of trades that may look pretty lopsided on their face but are actually beneficial to everyone.  Maybe a team is building for next year; in keeper leagues with returning owners I fell this should be allowed.  Or maybe a team is 6 SB’s back of 5 ROTO points and 50 HR’s ahead, so they trade Bagwell and Helton for Eric Young.  Hey if both teams can make a case how this helps them then it should be allowed.

The real problems start when someone tries to trade Pedro for Steve Parris and James Baldwin and says “I’m getting 2 starters for one and I have an injury.”  That crap simply does not fly.  I would say SHOW ME the statistics; show me under what scenario this could possibly help your team.  If they come back with, “well I project Parris to go 18-8 with a 3.00 era and Baldwin to go 19-7 with a 2.70 era and Pedro will be 6-15 with a 6.00 era.”  Tell them to pass the crack pipe.  I want to see PROOF that this type of obviously lopsided trade can actually help both teams involved.   I have found that this method generally works.

If you read this article and you still can’t decide if the trade is fair, send an e-mail to Drafthelp.com with all of the facts.  I will personally volunteer to give you my completely unbiased opinion.  Good luck and happy trading.