Recently in our subscriber chat we helped a client to acquire Alvin Kamara in a dynasty league trade. This article is a look at the process and how you trade for a purpose to acquire a superstar player.
How do you make a trade for a player like Alvin Kamara? I was sitting on the beach scrolling through our subscriber chat channel when one of our clients named “Joe G” asked about selling Corey Davis. He was looking to upgrade at running back and he was hoping to package Davis and his Rookie 2.10 in order to do so. Initially we looked at the running backs on two rosters of owners in his league who were interested in Davis:
- Team A: Alvin Kamara, James Conner, Le’Veon Bell, Derrick Henry, Jaylen Samuels, Jeffrey Wilson
- Team B: Kerryon Johnson, Aaron Jones, Matt Breida, Austin Ekeler, Royce Freeman, Rhaeem Mostert
A few caveats for context here: Joe’s league uses a system where they have money at the end of each season to sign players. The owner of Team A had quite a few contracts coming due at the end of 2019 so he was looking at potentially losing guys like Kamara for nothing. The other caveat is that Joe had a ton of draft capital for 2020: Four 1st Round picks and three 2nd Round pick. I believe in hunting whales which meant I was looking to get Joe the best player even if it meant parting with some of those picks.
The First Offer
Tyler Ghee smartly recommended going after Kerryon Johnson or Aaron Jones from Team B. This conversation was happening about an hour after the Lions cut Theo Riddick so the price on Kerryon had just gone up. Knowing that, Joe settled on offering this:
Davis/2.10 for Aaron Jones
In looking at this from the standpoint of the other owner (a caveat I will get to later), I didn’t think Joe’s offer would be nearly enough. The early reports in camp on Jones have been positive and while Davis cleared 100 targets last year in Tennessee, it’s a low volume passing game with a below average quarterback. While we all hope to run into a deal where we can acquire someone like Jones for such little return, the odds of doing so are low. This offer was turned down, which I understood because I didn’t feel there was much realistic chance of it going through to begin with.
The other variable for me is I felt he would be buying high on Johnson or Jones. At times you engage in trade talks with an owner and what starts out as Corey Davis and 2.10 turns into much more. You research the players you are looking to acquire and sometimes there is so much information out there you start to attach yourself to them. Once emotion rears its ugly head, you’re in trouble. You concede more and more ground and before you know it you have given up Corey Davis, a 2020 1st Round pick, and a 2020 2nd Round pick. While that example might be extreme, this is the chess game we play as dynasty owners.
“Do You Think He’d Move Kamara?”
This was the question I posed Joe and was met with, “No shot.”
Still, undeterred, I laid out my case: You can either take risks or you can be behind in the standings to the guys who do. And really, it never hurts to reach out and ask, right? Be prepared to hear the word “no” and then move to the next target. My advice to Joe was simple: Reach out to the Kamara owner and offer Davis plus two picks. You decide what picks but at least try to engage in negotiation.
Joe explained the Kamara owner wasn’t high on Davis – who besides me is – so it would cost a lot. Still, I felt like Joe had an asset this owner wanted. So my advice was to press on and tell the owner he was interested but he needed adequate value.
At this point we bounced around a lot of potential moves, which to me is a best practice as a fantasy owner. Don’t be too proud to ask a question and Joe asked about the following:
- Davis, Luke Kuechly, and a late 2020 1st Round pick for Antonio Brown
- 2019 2.10, Davis, and Kuechly for Brown
- 2020 1st Round Pick, Davis, Jarrad Davis for AB
Given Joe’s roster construction, I didn’t feel Brown was a smart trade target. He doesn’t look quite ready to compete this year but with his treasure trove of picks, he could expect a quick turnaround. In the meantime, Joe sent a trade offer to the Kamara owner to test the waters.
Sealing The Deal
For dynasty owners who aren’t in a position of power from a roster construction standpoint, trading can be tricky. I am a firm believer that future dynasty draft picks are overvalued in the fantasy community. Owners get so enamored with future draft capital – especially those precious 1st Round picks – that they overrate their worth. Part of this is because youth in general is overvalued in dynasty leagues but the bigger factor is ego. We all want to be “first” on finding a player or to be able to say we drafted Player X. Accumulating high round dynasty picks gives us a chance to do just that.
With that in mind, I had no issue in advising Joe to give up two 1st Round picks plus Davis in order to acquire someone like Kamara. Joe got a counter offer from the Kamara owner that was less than appealing:
Le’Veon Bell and a 2020 1st Round Pick for Corey Davis and three 2020 1st Round Picks
The 1st Round pick Joe would be getting back would likely be on the back end of the round while he would be giving up three high 1s. Also, it was for Bell who has far more volatility than Kamara. Joe rightly told the owner that was a non-starter. We went back and forth in chat and at one point I told him it might be better to sit tight since in my mind he was a year or two away from being a top competitor. To his credit, Joe persisted with the owner and with some help from our guys in Slack he sent this offer:
Corey Davis and two early 2020 1st Round Picks (1.02 and 1.07) for Alvin Kamara
The Kamara owner shot back that he wanted the 1.01 in lieu of the 1.07, which I personally thought was something to consider to get his guy. It was a high price to pay but sometimes that’s how it goes in trade talks. Joe still didn’t love the idea, which I understood. That 1.01 only increases in value over time. The Kamara owner, apparently sensing that he could still accrue some capital for a guy he had zero chance of resigning this offseason sent this back:
Kamara and Michael Bennett for 1.02, 1.08, and Corey Davis
Inexplicably, Joe was now staring at a deal that was better than what he had offered just an hour prior. The response in chat was to smash the accept button, netting him a stud running back while not trading away his best future asset. Joe got his guy but you can see the progression of how this morphed into a mega deal from a smaller one. One we got him locked in on a purpose (getting Kamara) we were able to squeeze maximum value out of his picks without overpaying.
Making trades is as much about being able to hear no as it is so say no. My simple advice for making trades:
- Don’t be afraid to ask about any player. No one is off limits in my opinion.
- Don’t just rearrange deck chairs. Go get someone who will help, not just turn over the roster.
- Sell your draft capital for proven studs. Every time.
- Be courteous. Even if you get an offer/counteroffer that is laughable.
- Respond. To. Trade. Offers.
- Look at trades from the other owner’s perspective. Would YOU accept this offer if you were them?
- Join our Slack channel. Our annual subscriptions works out to just $1/month, we can help you.
That last bullet is a shameless plug. But seriously – come join us, trade for a purpose, and dominate your league.