I think my friends have fantasy sports all wrong. They have this idea that all transactions are zero-sum. If we do a one for one trade and one guy does better than the other for the rest of the year, then the owner who got the better guy wins, right? Wrong.

There is so much more to a trade than who does better afterwards. There’s position scarcity and the needs of the owners. And let’s face it, most trades aren’t one for one, each guy at the same point in their career with the same rest of season schedule. Half my fantasy leagues are keeper leagues, so that throws in a whole new dynamic. Let’s look at some examples.

The most surface example is in football. My starting QB just got hurt and my backup is Ryan Fitzpatrick. The good news is that I have four good RBs. So what do I do? Trade for Big Ben who’s sitting on the bench behind Tom Brady or Matt Ryan and give up someone like Jordy Nelson. It doesn’t matter if Jordy Nelson or Big Ben is better the rest of the way. As long as neither is just terrible, we both win.

Did you know that two teams can both get younger in a keeper league in the same trade? It’s true! But who gets older if both teams get younger? The available player pool gets older. For example: Chris Sale for Michael Conforto, Dylan Bundy, and Brian Dozier. You can debate about the equality of the returns, but let’s look at getting younger. The team getting three guys gets younger because they’re getting three keepers, two of which are younger than Sale and one who is the about same age. So how is the other team getting younger? By keeping Sale instead of keeping a guy like Max Scherzer or Robinson Cano. Sure, he doesn’t get to keep Bundy or Conforto, but maybe they wouldn’t be good enough to be keepers on his team anyway. It’s definitely quantity for quality, but it’s also getting both teams younger.

If none of this makes any sense, you’re probably a communist and need to read this book: https://tinyurl.com/n52csj6

When you’re done, come propose a trade to me!

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