In a perfect world, I would implore every fantasy owner to let their roster breathe throughout April, making only incidental changes here and there.
But that’s not always the best tack to take, especially in highly competitive leagues. Sometimes, immediate change is good.
To wit, here are four post-draft rules of trade engagement to follow in the coming days and weeks:
Rule #1 — Don’t approve same-position deals, unless it’s a blowout in your favor
Skinny: Of the top 20 first basemen, only Paul Goldschmidt (18 steals last year)and Eric Hosmer (27 thefts for 2011-12) are viable threats for 15-20 steals this season. Everyone else relies on homers, RBI, runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging to promote their legacies as fantasy assets.
As a result, what’s the motivation for executing any 1-for-1 trade involving similarly skilled and speed-free first basemen this early in the year … unless they bring other things to the table — like positional versatility — or Owner B is getting hosed on the deal?
There’s a reason why you created pre-draft rankings a few weeks ago — or at least put your faith in a certain guru’s rankings and tier sheets. There’s a reason why you chose Allen Craig over Anthony Rizzo on draft day … or vice versa.
Early April is all about getting into a rhythm of maximizing your starting slots at least five days a week, and allowing players to sink or swim as fantasy assets.
Rule #2 — When it comes to executing a blockbuster deal, admirable bench depth can always be compromised in April
Skinny: In 12-team leagues, “very good” or “great” players can be had at any point during April (and sometimes May). It’s all about timing on that end.
So, there’s no point in falling in love with a primary bench asset … if he’s the last piece of a major trade (think 3-for-1, 4-for-1 or 4-for-2). Even stashees like Wil Myers, Billy Hamilton or Oscar Taveras make good fodder for stars.
Rule #3 — Don’t sweat trading a top-flight closer or Tier II starting pitcher for a five-category offensive factor
Skinny: Aside from Craig Kimbrel (Braves) and Aroldis Chapman (Reds), easily the best closers in baseball, no reliever should have “untouchable” status during trade talks. The same holds true for less-than-elite starting pitchers.
Build your fantasy happiness around offense.
Rule #4 — During trade negotiations, DO NOT be afraid to cut obnoxious owners out of the loop
Skinny: This one is quite simple.
Upon receiving three lopsided offers from a stranger owner in a relatively short period of time — with none in your favor — secretly bar him/her from all future deals.
Being disrespected by another GM is a big no-no in fantasy … commensurate to a white-collar crime worthy of unspoken banishment.