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Simple Trade Analyzer Strategy

Synopsis: Mix and rank all the players involved.  Maintain that ranking and put the players back in the group they are being traded with.   Add up the ranking numbers in each group, and divide that by the number of players in the group.  The result: an average ranking for the entire group of players, which can be used to compare the two groups of players being traded.  We call it the Personal Ranking Average, and it's explained in greater detail below.

 

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At the mid season mark, many hockey poolies may be looking to make a move.  The league lead may be within grasp, or it may be nearly out of reach, and fantasy hockey GMs may sense the need to do something to close the gap.  At this stage in the season, most of the surprise free agents have made themselves well known and have probably been snapped up.  Injuries have started to take their toll.  The fantasy hockey pool picture is beginning to solidify.  Yet, many poolies need to make a change for the better, otherwise their chances for a championship may slowly die through January and February.

 

One of the best and remaining options for fantasy hockey GMs is a roster shake-up via trade.  We have written a lot on our main page, and in various articles, about "buy low" and "sell high" opportunities.  These are situations where a player is seemingly dragging his heels, or over-performing.  There is no crystal ball that reveals the future, but we have past history in comparison to current performances on which to base predictions.  

 

"Buy Low" opportunities are for poolies looking to roll the dice.  Often it takes a big move to take a stab at the lead at this stage in the season and rolling the dice via a big risk trade is one of the only ways to do it.  "Selling high" is usually the safer of the two options, as the poolie with overachievers on his/her roster has an opportunity to bring in a solid player who will at least likely produce at the same level as the current overachiever - the latter of whom is more likely to fall back to a more average scoring pace over the remainder of the season.  The high seller also has an opportunity to get a great deal - perhaps grabbing a (current) bust and a solid second tier player.

 

So why buy low?  Why sell high?  Well, by season's end a bust at the midseason mark may finish below career averages, but there is a likelihood that the second half will be much better than the first 40 games of the season as that player gets his act together.  Likewise, the overachiver will likely end the year with greater than average totals, but the second half is more likely to be a disappointment in comparison to the fast start that the player began the season with.  It's like flipping a pancake that under- or overcooks on one particular side.  In the end the pancake (the player) is going to be cooked, but if it's overdone before flipping (like an overachieving player) it doesn't need much to finish it off on the second side.  Whereas a pancake that is flipped early takes longer to cook (will produce more) after being flipped.  It is extremely difficult to get an upper hand, but generally speaking our advice is that year end stats have a tendency to return to historical averages. Don't be afraid to sell high and buy low.

 

Making these sorts of trades takes negotiation, which is a process that is as varied as the number of poolies in your league.  There is a fine line between generating trade discussions and offending another poolie.  Everyone entering into trade discussions is looking for the better deal.  However, poolies have a tough time trusting each other when they know that real opinions are being held back.  So, it is advisable that when entering into trade discussions, GMs take a big picture approach.  Be ready to discuss the pros and cons of each player on the trading block.  And, discuss the concepts of risk and security.  If you are trying to sell high and buy low, don't advertise what you truly think the underachiever is likely to do, instead discuss the potential in terms of the risk that you will be taking on.  Or, if you are trying to lock down a solid player who has been producing all year, discuss that player in terms of flat-line production - "there isn't much upside here."  But, when discussing the players you are trading away, go right ahead and discuss their specific advantages to your fellow poolie.  "So-and-so is a lock for 30 goals" or "this guy is good for 200 PIMs."  Cater to the other poolie's specific needs and attempt to show him/her how the players you are offering will specifically fill the voilds on his/her roster.  Needless to say, trade negotiations are an art. 

 

Once a trade offer is on the table, the next step is to determine if it is truly worthwhile.  Who is actually getting the advantage?  Often trade offers are so close, that it beneficial to take a moment and analyze its actual worth.  Now, predicting the outcome of a trade is very difficult.  The entire thing is a gamble.  One player could go down with a season ending injury and throw the entire exchange off-kilter, and that is the underlying risk that comes with a trade of any kind.  Regardless of that inherent risk, it is very important to have a way to judge the contents of a trade because in the end every poolie is making the exchange with the hope of bettering his/her roster.  Whether you are filling under-producing roster spots - like a rookie or enforcer position - or simply trying to load up on underachieving talent, you need to walk away from a deal feeling like you have received an advantage.  Here is very simple way to do that:

 

Let's use the following example from the 2011-12 season

 

Team 1 is trading the following players:

Martin St. Lous

Loui Eriksson

Ryan Getzlaf

David Perron

Adam Henrique (RK)

 

Team 2 is trading the following players:

Patrick Kane

Dany Heatley

Daniel Briere

Alexandre Burrows

Ryan Johansen (RK)

 

This is a blockbuster deal and it is challenging to determine who is getting the better end of this one, but here is a way to do it.  First, rank all ten of these players.  Here is the Fantasy Hockey Standard ranking, as of Dec.29, 2011.

 

1. Patrick Kane (Team 2)

2. Martin St. Louis (Team 1)

3. Loui Eriksson (Team 1)

4. Alexandre Burrows (Team 2)

5. Ryan Getzlaf (Team 1)

6. Dany Heatley (Team 2)

7. Daniel Briere (Team 2)

8. Adam Henrique (RK)

9. David Perron (Team 1)

10. Ryan Johansen (RK) (Team 2)

 

For argument's sake it does not matter if you agree with this ranking.  For example, you may put Getzlaf above Burrows, or Perron above Henrique (or Henrique above Briere for that matter), or if you don't have any rookies in your pool then Johansen wouldn't even be a part of this trade discussion.  Heck, you might have it completely different!  But, what matters here is the way we determine wether Team 1 or 2 is getting the better side of this deal.

 

The key is to add up your Personal Ranking Numbers for the players, separating them by team, and then simply divide by the total number of players in the trade.  This will produce an average ranking (out of the number of players in the trade) and clearly show which team is getting the advantage (if anyone actually is), according to your personal rankings.

 

Returning to our example:

Team 1's offer:

2. Martin St. Louis (Team 1)

3. Loui Eriksson (Team 1)

5. Ryan Getzlaf (Team 1)

8. Adam Henrique (RK) (Team 1)

9. David Perron (Team 1)

= (2+3+5+8+9) = 27 / 5 = 5.4 Personal Ranking Average

 

vs.

 

Team 2's offer

1. Patrick Kane (Team 2)

4. Alexandre Burrows (Team 2)

6. Dany Heatley (Team 2)

7. Daniel Briere (Team 2)

10. Ryan Johansen (RK) (Team 2)

= (1+4+6+7+10) = 28 / 5 = 5.6 Personal Ranking Average

 

The average personal ranking position is 5.4 vs. 5.6, which gives the advantage to the package of players being traded away by Team 1 to Team 2.  Team 2 is the winner of this trade.

 

Yes, this is completely subjective.  As soon as another poolie comes in and ranks these players differently, there will be a different Personal Ranking Average, but that is not the point here.  The point is that finding your Personal Ranking Average gives poolies a simple mathematical way to determine whether or not the trade is right in their own minds, which is the most important part of any trade: peace of mind.

 

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There you have a very simple strategy for personally determining the worthiness of a trade.  By ranking all of the players involved according to your personal expertise, and finding the Personal Ranking Average, a concise number is produced with which to compare the lots of players being exchanged.  The number is intrinsically accurate because your personal consideration regarding the worthiness of each player to your personal roster is included.  For example, if you need a rookie for your roster you have the ability to assign that player with a higher ranking, correspondent to the value in your own mind and to your overall roster.  Although this process is the equivalent of elementary or middle school Math, it is extremely powerful.  Sometimes the best tools are some of the simplest.  Finding the Personal Ranking Average™ may be all you need to pull the trigger on a deal that otherwise may be too close to call.

 

Good luck with your mid-season trades and Happy New Year from Fantasy Hockey Standard.

 

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(The ideas published here are copyright Fantasy Hockey Standard Inc. 2011.  Reproduction of these ideas, in whole or in part, without appropriate citation and/or the written consent of Fantasy Hockey Standard Inc., is prohibited.)