Anyone who’s had a modicum of success in draft leagues will tell you that trades and transfers are crucially important. One of the wonderful things about draft is the ability to buy or sell based on future performance. In standard fantasy (e.g. FPL) you buy a player because he’s hot, keep him along with everyone else whilst he’s hot, and then sell him along with everyone else because he’s cooled. There’s no great value to be gained from getting ahead of the crowd. Draft is different.

There are two key tactics in draft when it comes to trades and transfers:

Buying low – let’s take Andy Robertson for example. One of your league mates will own Robertson, he’s too good to have not been drafted, and will be frustrated with his lack of clean sheets and attacking returns thus far this season. We know this pattern will change, Liverpool will get 15+ clean sheets and Robertson’s crosses will start to find their mark going forward. Your league mate probably knows this deep down too, but recency bias is big in the football world. He may have started to believe the media hype that clean sheets are a thing of the past, Liverpool can’t defend without Alisson, they’re playing more expansively leading to goals conceded etc etc. He may have 2 or more Liverpool defenders, and have lost matches as a result of their poor returns. This makes him ripe for targeting with a trade.

"recency bias is big in the football world"

Selling high – meanwhile say you own Ashley Barnes. The evergreen Claret anger-merchant has scored in every game so far this season. Is Ashley Barnes a 30+ goal a season striker? No. Is he going to keep up this form in a stolid, defence minded Burnley team? No. Does Chris Wood continue to stand aside as Barnes gets every Burnley goal? No. But remember recency bias, your league mate who owns Robertson may covet Ashley Barnes as the hot striker to turn his early season around. He believes clean sheets are a thing of the past, Burnley play ‘leaky Liverpool’ next etc.

This is the time for a trade, incorporating both buy low and sell high tactics. Say you offer something like this:

Your team offers Barnes and Danny Rose


His team’s Ings and Robertson

Would this trade have worked three weeks ago? No, you’d have been laughed out the room and swiftly rejected. Could it work now whilst Barnes wears his superhero cape and Robertson keeps losing clean sheet points? Maybe so. On current form your league mate would be getting a good deal. But over the season who’d have the better of it? I’d rather bank on Robertson doubling Rose’s points tally, whilst Ings and Barnes both finish in the 8-12 goal range they’re usually found in.

Here’s a few options to consider based on the first three gameweeks of the season:

Buy low

  • Lloris and Kepa – with 5 and 3 points respectively that mid-round sheen they had in drafts is starting to wear off. Whatever you think of Lampard and a Vertonghen-less Spurs these are top 6 sides with a good defensive history. Prime targets to pick up for cheap right now.
  • Liverpool defenders – they’re elite defenders who’ve lost every clean sheet by a solitary goal. They all have potential attacking returns. The clean sheets will return.
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson – elite level midfielder with a long track record of proven returns, plus the bonus of penalties. Once the team structure settles Everton’s attack is too good to not start producing goals. Who feeds those goals with his set pieces and creative magic? Good old Gylfi. He was probably a second round pick in your draft, his stock has fallen and you may well be able to trade cheaply for him right now.
  • Non-scoring strikers – of which there are currently a few yet to get off the mark this season. Deulofeu, Ayoze Perez, Richarlison, Callum Wilson, Wilf Zaha. These are proven premier league goalscorers with certainty of a starting berth. Fantasy managers like to see their strikers scoring, take advantage of their barren runs and get trading.

Sell high

  • Teemu Pukki – I do believe the Flying Finn can score 15+ goals, but he certainly won’t be winning the golden boot or scoring the 63 he’s currently on track for! If anyone in your league has drunk the Pukki Kool-Aid and is offering you proven, elite talent for him – take it.
  • Cantwell – another Norwich newbie who’s on fire with both goals and assists thus far. The FPL crowd are fully in love with this ‘cheap enabler’. No such thing in draft. Watch a Norwich game, is he their chief creator? I say no, and he can’t keep it up. If you have him take the value from others who believe a little too much in the hype.
  • Tammy Abraham – did he looks good this week and score two very good goals? Yes. Has he already been dropped once this season, and looked poor at all other times? Yes. With steady Giroud and high potential Batshuayi waiting in the wings I’d happily hand Tammy off to anyone who thinks he’s suddenly an elite level forward.

"If anyone in your league has drunk the Pukki Kool-Aid and is offering you proven, elite talent for him – take it"

The examples above may not fit perfectly into your league, but hopefully the concept can lead you to making some great trades as we enter gameweek 4 and then the (sigh) international break.


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