Draft day has now come and gone for many fantasy football leagues. You may think that now you just sit back and wait for the season to start, but trades can be a key component to forming your team prior to the start of the season. Trades for the sake of activity are obviously never recommended, but there are several scenarios in which a properly executed pre-season trade can turn a good draft into a dominant season.
Balanced vs. Top-Heavy - One way to evaluate your team after draft day is to determine if your team is balanced or top-heavy. A balanced team has solid, but maybe not great, fantasy players to fill in all starting positions. Teams with the best balance tend to be those with mid-round picks as they have the same amount of wait-time between every selection. Consistency will be the trademark of any well-balanced team, but without that big-time performance every now and then even the most balanced teams could find themselves in trouble. This is when team "Balanced" needs to identify team "Top-Heavy". A top-heavy team will most likely be either an early or late round pick, getting two good players in a row in the early rounds, than waiting for everyone else to snatch up all the rest. As a result team "Top-Heavy" often ends up with 2-3 great starters to go with a bunch of backups and time-sharers. So the marriage between teams "Balanced" and "Top-Heavy" begins. Clearly the object of this trade will be for team "Top-Heavy" to give up the best player in the deal and maybe another lesser player in exchange for 2 or 3 solid players from team "Balanced". Be honest with yourself after the draft and if your team leans too close to either extreme a trade may be beneficial.
The Sleeper That Didn't Sleep - Have you ever waited just one round too long to grab that super-sleeper and the guy 3 picks ahead of you takes him, not even understanding just how much you wanted him? If you still want him your first step is to find a player on your roster that you believe to be over-valued. Be careful about offering a 1-for-1 trade as the other owner may realize how valuable your target is to you. This is when you have to be just a little more sly in your maneuvering and try to hide your true intentions as much as possible by using the player you believe to be over-valued. Make your true target look like a throw-in player and your trade partner will never know how much you wanted him. When push comes to shove, however, you may have to let your intentions be known, just be sure you don't get roped into giving up a sure-fire player for a guy you think will be great.
Drafter's Remorse - We've all been here; months of preparation, dozens of hours watching preseason games and countless mock drafts all culminate into one night of drafting - and you blew it. You drafted a player you knew you did not want but his ADP, your home-team bias, or that idiot sitting next to you convinced you to take him. Who do you trust more, the intelligent, studious version of yourself that decided the guy was not worth drafting or the impulsive, fickle version that showed up on draft day? Listen to your smarter half and get what you can for him before the season starts and everyone sees why you do not want him.
Another strain of Drafter's Remorse is caused by draft day coming too early. Many starting positions are not determined until the third or fourth preseason games, and even more often key injuries occur in the second half of preseason. If your league drafts before the third week of preseason you need to keep a keen eye on all NFL news. For example, if you drafted Zach Miller of the Raiders because you thought Jeff Garcia would be Oakland's starting QB but you are not so sure of him with the announcement that JaMarcus Russell will be starting you will want to trade him to someone with more confidence in Russell.
A Final Note - The best piece of advice when it comes to all fantasy football trades is patience. Don't be too hasty in accepting any trade. Always take time to weigh the pros and cons with all players involved and above all, make informed decisions.