Eleventh, and Most Important, Rule for Successful Fantasy Football Trading

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

DETROIT , MI - OCTOBER 11:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs for a first quarter touchdown while playing the Detroit Lions on October 11, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Pittsburgh won the game 28-20. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In mid-September, I wrote my Trade Tutorial , which outlined ten key rules to successful fantasy trading.

And I continue to stand by those 10 guidelines (in-depth discussion on each in my original Trade Tutorial story):

1. Always look to improve your team.

2. Know the other league owners.

3. Studs typically produce.

4. Other owner is looking to improve his team, too.

5. Time is on your side.

6. No player is untradeable.

7. It is OK to counter an offer.

8. Watch the injury reports and transaction lists.

9. Evaluate other trades.

10. Get trusted feedback before pulling the trigger.

However, the list isn’t complete if I don’t introduce the 11th, and possibly most important rule. ...

Between weeks three and four, I was in hot and heavy trade negotiations in my competitive dynasty money league. It is a PPR league, and I was gaining more of an appreciation for Detroit running back Kevin Smith.

After some discussions with his owner in the league, we hammered out the details on a potential trade. I was going to deal my Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Beanie Wells for his Kevin Smith, Rashard Mendenhall and Jermichael Finley. In fact, the other owner offered me the deal. All I needed to do was to hit the accept button.

It was a slam-dunk trade from my standpoint. Sure losing Beanie Wells in a dynasty league could have hurt in a couple years. But Rashard Mendenhall and Kevin Smith are both young.

At that point, Mendenhall was still Willie Parker’s backup. Everything in my gut was telling me to hit the accept button and do a couple fist pumps in celebration.

But I ignored that feeling. I decided to think about it a while. To get feedback from others. I talked to more than 20 people with varying levels of fantasy experience. Many were really leery of me dealing Beanie. In fact, the advice I got was really split.

I finally decided the next day to accept the deal.

It was too late. The owner got cold feet, pulled the offer and wouldn’t revisit the deal.

One day later, Rashard Mendenhall went off for 32 fantasy points (including receptions) against San Diego.

Kevin Smith, who went into the game with Chicago injured, still rattled off two rushing TDs. Jermichael Finley broke out with a six-catch, 128-yard and one-TD performance against the Vikings.

Meanwhile, Beanie Wells was on a bye week and Clinton Portis rushed for 98 yards and a respective nine fantasy points.

The point in all this?

When considering trades, never discount your gut reaction. Don’t feel you need to second-guess yourself if you feel in your heart (even if others aren’t as optimistic in their feedback).

Sure, using such philosophy will blow up in your face from time to time. For example, I fully expected Bernard Scott to be the starting tailback in Cincinnati by this point in the season.

However, you’ll find that over the course of a season, gut reactions to trades and even regular roster moves will work in your favor more often than not.

Last Saturday evening as I was finalizing my fantasy rosters, I noticed that I had Kris Brown (Houston kicker) starting in my dynasty league. Yet, the Texans were playing Arizona, and I’ve always avoided kickers in games where TDs would be emphasized over field goals.

My immediate gut reaction was to replace Brown, and was eyeing either Dan Carpenter or Jay Feely, who I knew would both play in a much closer game conducive to field goals.

However, instead of listening to my gut reaction, I was lazy and left Brown in. He finished with three total fantasy points and my team tied in a heartbreaker. Either Carpenter or Feely would have won me the game.

So...when push comes to shove and you aren’t sure what to do with a fantasy football situation, do a gut check and don’t look back.