Fantasy Football: How to Leverage a Bleak Owner into a Win-Win Trade Bonanza

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterSeptember 28, 2012

With games against the Titans (two), Colts (two), Jets, Lions, Packers and Vikings still on the docket, it makes sense to immediately trade for Texans tailback Arian Foster.
With games against the Titans (two), Colts (two), Jets, Lions, Packers and Vikings still on the docket, it makes sense to immediately trade for Texans tailback Arian Foster.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The majority of "advice" pieces on The Fantasy Blog are earmarked for short-sighted owners and/or struggling teams...since they're the ones who seek the most immediate assistance.

But we'll change things up today, by helping those with perfect records—or completely stacked rosters—leverage the bottom-feeder clubs at 1-2 or 0-3 before the 1 p.m. slate of Sunday games.

Courtesy of the 3-for-1 or 4-for-2 blockbuster.

But first, here are a few prerequisites, or conditions, for being ready to execute a roster-altering swap, since not all title contenders are created equal:

1. You're playing in a 10-, 12- or 14-team league.

2. Your team has a record of 3-0 or 2-1.

3. You're stacked with four highly productive running backs or five top-50 receivers.

4. Your club has a top-12 quarterback from the preseason...or Robert Griffin III.

5. You're not afraid to take a sizable leap of faith in September.

Since no elite quarterback or wide receiver has incurred a serious injury to date (knock on wood for that trend continuing), the target partners should be teams with tailback issues, or those with 1-2 or 0-3 records.


The Cordial 3-For-1 Shakedown

For this segment, let's pretend Owner B has Arian Foster at tailback and Tony Romo/Philip Rivers at quarterback, but he/she hasn't made a dent in the standings because of lackluster draft picks at receiver and tight end.

For Owner A, this is your respective cue to swoop in with a respectful but purposeful offer to acquire Foster.

Now, you could start out with a semi-reasonable 2-for-1 offer, essentially lowballing Owner B. But you'd also run the risk of alienating them or insulting their intelligence, prompting him/her to drop you from any future Foster consideration (regardless of new terms).

Personally, I'd rather float an enticing 3-for-1 proposal that accomplishes the following:

a. It serves as a friendly lifeline for Owner B, a plausible do-over for the rest of the year.

b. It allows Owner B to immediately become competitive again, without having to further gut their roster.

c. It establishes a level of respect and trust between owners, especially those negotiating for the first time.

d. It separates you from Owners C, D and E, who will undoubtedly initiate Foster talks with marginal offers (thinking they have all the power).

Bottom line: If you have the means to grab Arian Foster (330 total yards, four TD) before Week 4, I highly recommend it. Don't wait until November to reap the rewards of corralling the best pound-for-pound rusher in fantasy (apologies to LeSean McCoy/Ray Rice).

By submitting an offer of Frank Gore/Steven Jackson/Joe Flacco, you're parting with a pair of preseason top-20 rushers and one backup quarterback (Flacco) who's currently exceeding August expectations—without dramatically altering the state of your starting lineup.

Owner B would obviously lose a major piece in Foster. But he/she would instantly have more depth at running back. And thanks to Flacco's hot start (1,269 yards passing, seven TD), they'd have the flexibility of subsequently trading either Romo or Rivers (B-plus market value).


The 4-for-2 Superstar Swap

For this segment, it's most ideal to have a high-end quarterback/receiver handcuff, like Eli Manning/Victor Cruz (or Hakeem Nicks), Matt Schaub/Andre Johnson, Michael Vick/Jeremy Maclin, Ben Roethlisberger/Mike Wallace or Peyton Manning/Demaryius Thomas.

(For a handcuff like Matt Ryan/Roddy White or Ryan/Julio Jones, I'd be reluctant to unload this Falcons duo for the time being.)

And for Owner B, he/she would have invested Round 1 and 2 picks on the combination of Aaron Rodgers/Larry Fitzgerald or Tom Brady/Calvin Johnson.

Now, given Arizona's woes at quarterback (Kevin Kolb/John Skelton), there's a substantial amount of risk in chasing a mega-talent like Larry Fitzgerald so early in the season. But last weekend's nine-catch, 114-yard, one-TD outing was another gentle reminder of Fitz's fantasy greatness on 95 percent of NFL Sundays.

The goal here: To supply Owner B with a QB/WR tandem that's slightly below his/her elite pairing of Rodgers/Fitzgerald or Brady/Johnson...and then two more formidable assets at either running back, receiver or tight end.

Even with decent drafting, it's entirely plausible that a large handful of Rodgers/Fitzgerald owners are still winless at this point. The same holds true for Brady/Calvin owners, since those anchors have yet to string together dominant fantasy games in successive weeks.

As a result, if you were a winless (or floundering) Owner B and staring at the prospect of landing Eli Manning, Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks, DeMarco Murray and Reggie Wayne (or Percy Harvin)'d undoubtedly give that offer a long look, while simultaneously wondering if Rodgers/Fitzgerald could single-handedly save your club from the icy depths of mediocrity.

And for good measure, Owner A, feel free to add a top-flight but eminently replaceable kicker to the blockbuster mix, making it a 5-for-2.

In fantasy history, no kicker has ever been a deal-breaker for the ultimate win-win blockbuster.

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.