|The Anatomy of Fantasy Trading and Identifying Strategies to Help You Win||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Thursday, 28 February 2013 14:45|
Ryan Ma shares his thoughts on how to be a successful fantasy hockey GM through trading and negotiating.
Last year I wrote a similar column regarding trading strategies, this year I’ve updated it and hopefully will also catch a few of the new Dobberities who missed it the first time around. A couple of years ago I read a life-changing book penned by Steven R. Covey titled “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” One habit that he focuses on is to always think win-win.
With this being a shortened 48-game season, and nearing the half way mark, I thought it would be a great idea to see if I can apply some of his thoughts into the realm of fantasy hockey trading to improve your fantasy squad and ultimately help you win your league. Most of the strategies will be centered around rotisserie leagues, but many of these concepts can be easily transferrable to head-to-head leagues.
Covey believes that there are six paradigms of interaction.
- No Deal
According to Covey, Win/Lose is a paradigm which takes a strict, authoritarian approach. “My way or the highway”, the hard line “take it or leave it approach”, or the “in order for me to win, everyone needs to lose approach” which is probably what 90 percent of the trade propositions you receive ultimately are.
They are the clear-cut “low ball” offers where one party is clearly trying to better themselves, while pawning their crap onto to you. Now, there are two implications of this for fantasy hockey: First a Win/Lose deal could be accepted (highly unlikely), where you might come out on top in the short run, but in the long run you lost the war, because you’ve p---ed off all your league mates by robbing the guy which results in no one respecting you anymore. Or second, you send out so many ridiculous offers, that once again no one respects you or takes you seriously. You get blackballed and are never included in trade discussions ever. So in the end, you might have made out on top of one deal, but if that’s the only deal that you complete during the season, you still end up finishing a loser.
The second paradigm that Covey brings up is Lose/Win. The biggest problem with this paradigm is that probably 90 percent of us poolies belong to this grouping, even though we may not know it. At the end of the day, there is only ONE winner, which means there are at least seven or more losers in every pool.
Obviously it’s different if you’re playing in a money league with multiple money places, but realistically who settles to play to get their original entry fee back rather than trying to win it all? One thing that you need to keep in mind is that any moves that you don’t make will result in a favourable outcome of the leading team. If things remain status quo, they win, so it’s your job to knock them off their pedestal and take some of that power out of their hands.
Covey mentions a third paradigm which is Lose/Lose. Now, there are very few situations where this occurs in fantasy hockey, which makes this scenario a rare occurrence. This situation may occur when a fed up manager, annoyed by losing all year long, drops all of his players onto the ww and disrupts the competitiveness of the entire league: everyone loses. A second one might be the “collusive” trades that so many Dobberites protest against on the forums where a “bottom feeding” team moves their best assets to a contending team once again disrupting the competitiveness of the league.
Everyone’s p***ed and no one is happy at the end of the day. The positive is that most leagues have a backup plan to resolve this scenario, but one thing that you do need to keep in mind is that not all “bad” trades are always collusion. First, you need to seek to understand, and then judge.
Fourth we have Win, it’s pretty similar to Win/Lose, but at the end of the day all you care about is winning and not so much about the others around you. The perfect example of this, from a fantasy hockey perspective, is where a person only cares about winning the “trade” but not necessarily improving their overall team. I’ve read plenty of “did I win this trade?” threads on the forums and I’m thinking in my head, sure you might have won the trade, but how does this really improved your team?
Another paradigm is of course when we negotiate back and forth, day after day but can’t come up with a trade proposal that pleases both parties. It results in No Deal. Obviously a deal just can’t be reached and both parties leave happily. The positive is that no hard feelings were created and both parties are generally happy about the outcome. The downside, unfortunately, is that the edge still remains to the team leading since it creates a status quo situation where they still maintain the upper hand.
The final and probably most effective paradigm is of course Win/Win, where an arrangement is made where both parties are completely happy and benefit from the outcome. One of the key factors Covey discusses, in order to build a win/win situation for both parties, is a need to lose the “scarcity mentality”, where we naturally believe that there’s only so much of the pie out there, and in order for me to win, I need to own the biggest chunk of it. Covey then coins a new contrasting term the “abundance mentality”.
If every poolie looked at their “abundance” of stats and was willing to part with a small chunk of that in order to improve in another area, wouldn’t trades between two fantasy teams be much easier to create and mutually beneficial? Both teams end up happy and both teams possess a better chance of attacking the top of the table than a Win/Lose or Lose/Win situation, doesn’t it?
Step-by-Step guidelines to helping you win your league.
The first, and most important step, in helping you dramatically improve your team is to look at where your strengths and weaknesses lie. On Yahoo! based leagues it’s a very simple system where you just need to log onto your league and it should bring you to your front page where your standings load up. If you click on the top right corner (full standings), it’ll bring you to a complete break down of your team stats produced so far this campaign.
Take a look at your team (1 in picture above) and identify the weaknesses of your team. In mine (Maaaasquito Bites), the G, SOG, HIT and SV are the areas that I really need to improve in order for me the climb the standings. The next step is to identify the strengths (2 in the picture above). This helps you identify who your best trading partners are. My strengths are A, +/- and PPP. +/- and PPP are a bit fickle stats and pretty hard to control, so my best bargaining chip are my assists.
One area I’ve identified where I can make a significant boost in is SOG. I’ve got a whopping two at the moment, so realistically speaking there’s a lot of room for me to catch up as long as I do it asap and not sit there wasting my time and falling further behind. So you look at the standings to see who would be your best potential trading partners are.
The next step is a simple just looking down his roster to see who generates the most SOG and who would make the most impact for my team. I look at an equivalent player who would make the same impact for him and boom you have a deal that’s win-win and both teams should theoretically move up in the standings.
Sent to Angus with a note, “You need help in A, I need help in SOG.” Bang, a day later it’s a done deal.
Follow the above steps and boom, hit another perfect trading partner. Got the big man himself in Dobber.
He’s got a ton of hits to spare, but is getting crushed with a 1 in PPP.
Look down his roster to look for players that fit the bill, and boom send an offer.
He was a bit more work than Angus, as he took a bit more convincing. He countered with:
Here’s what went on behind the scenes.
I lost Okposo, but he was sitting on my bench anyway so he was pretty useless in a weekly league. Benoit is my ww fodder, I’ll toss him for a ww pickup next week. Once again another win-win, he gets his PPP in Tanguay and Pitkanen, I get my hits with Ott and Coburn.
Now these are just two subtle changes to my line up. If I gain 10 points due to these two trades, I’m right back in the thick of things and sitting around third or fourth, where at least I’m in an attack position to the leader.
Here’s the key to winning your league, sometimes you have to “bite the bullet” in order to get to where you want to go. Dobber or Angus could very easily have stood status quo, and sat on their team.
The problem with that is the result of your team is directly related to the production of your players.
If you don’t change any aspect of your team, why would you expect a different result? Do you realistically think that if you’re currently at the bottom of the standings that your team will all of a sudden wake up and shoot up the standings by remaining status quo? Trust me it won’t happen, and if it does, you’re one of the very lucky few who happen to “luck out”.
If you want to win your league, spend the time to analyse your team and work on the weaknesses, that’s what’s going to move you up the standings quickly. In roto-leagues, there’s no sense in dominating a category and winning it by doubling the next closest competitor, you get the same amount of points as you would if you win it by just 1 over your competitors. Use your strengths to minimize your weaknesses.
Going back to Covey’s wise words, the most effective paradigm to utilize during interactions is the Win/Win paradigm. Not only do you get something done in the here-and-now, but you can also pave a few roads for the future as well. If you’re consistently searching for the “big fish” you might just be left empty handed and continually trying to search for a league win. I’ll leave you with a famous quote by Albert Schweitzer, “In the hopes of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”
Now go grab your flower basket and go trade hunting!
Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below.
Fantasy Hockey Power Play is now available in both Android and the Apple App Store (listed under Fantasy Hockey Power Player for now over there... will be fixed shortly).
Jeff Angus, Russ Miller, Steve Laidlaw, Mac Vincent and I have all joined forces in getting this project off the ground.
Angus and I are planning on launching a “mid-season guide” as an in-app purchase in the next two weeks, so if you’re looking for “sleepers” or second half climbers/decliners, download the app so you can make the in-app purchase when it’s released. Lots more additional features coming in the summer as we get our feet wet to get this project started.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 21:38|