Trading Draft Picks

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Ben’s guide to trading draft picks:

I have now received enough votes in favour of enabling draft pick trading that I am turning it on.

There are three types of trade available to be made:

1) Trading a pick for a player
2) Trading picks to move up or down the draft
3) A combo trade (mixing the above two options)

I shall explain the league rulings on how each of these shall work, but first a brief word on the draft.

Come draft day, teams who have players on their roster can elect to keep 1 player or throw all of their players back into the pool. Round One of the main draft is the Keeper Draft.

In Round One, all keepers will be locked in place and every other player will be available. The draft will go in the designated order. If a team has elected to keep a player, that player will be their Round One pick. If they do not have a keeper, they will get to make a pick from the pool of available talent.

After Round One, Round Two will begin when all players may make choices on picking players. While this is a snake draft (ie in round 2 picks go Team A, Team B, Team C… then in round 3 they reverse, ending Team C, Team B, Team A), the draft does not snake between Round One and Round Two, these rounds will follow the same order.

Each roster is made up of 9 starters and 5 bench players, meaning there will be 14 rounds in total (including the Keeper Round), drafting 224 players (including keepers).

Note – because Round One is the keeper round, teams will not be permitted to trade picks in the first round.

1) Trading picks for a player

If you are an expansion team and so do not have any players on your roster, or if you consider your roster weak and do not have a player you wish to keep, you may trade a pick (or picks) to another team to take one of their players to become your keeper.

Obviously, as all other players go back in the draft pool, there is no point in trading for more than one player, or a player you don’t wish to keep.

Equally, because these players will be going back into the draft pool anyway, their value is limited – their current team won’t be able to keep them regardless, therefore they are not worth trading a high pick for, despite their undoubted quality.

With all of this in mind, the league will only approve trades for a draft pick in the 10th round or later. Rounds 10-14 will effectively be for bench players (rounds 1-9 will, in theory, be covering starters).

Because a team can only have as many picks as they have roster spots, trades need to be evenly balanced in terms of number of picks going each way.

Example Trade:

West Cumbria Banana Slugs offer a 11th round pick to Newport Beach Chicken Dancers for Calvin Johnson
This would leave NBCD with an extra pick they couldn’t use in the draft while WCBS would have one pick too few. Therefore the trade is balanced as follows:

WCBS >> Round 11 Pick 8 >> NBCD
NBCD >> Calvin Johnson + Round 14 Pick 15 >> WCBS

The 14th round pick would have been forfeited anyway and so should be sent the other way.

A ‘selling’ coach may play two or more coaches off each other to extract maximum value.

2) Trading picks to move up or down the draft

If there’s a player high in the draft that you want to be able to get but you think will be gone by the time your pick comes around, you can negotiate a trade with someone to move up and take their spot.

Equally, if you think that by the time draft reaches you there will be a lot of players of similar value and dropping down won’t be a penalty, you can offer your pick and try to accumulate strength lower down the order.

Example A:

Team A has 12th pick in round 2 (R2P12) but wants to move up to grab Jamaal Charles, who he anticipates will still be available come the 3rd pick.

Team B owns the 3rd pick of round 2.

Team A >> R2P12 + R5P5 >> Team B
Team B >> R2P3 + R12P3 >>Team A

Because of the high value in moving up to R2P3, Team A has had to give up his 5th rounder to Team B. Meanwhile, to balance the trade in terms of number of picks and value, Team B hands over his 12th rounder.

Example B:

Team C is confident in getting good strength out of the first few rounds but then thinks the talent pool will level out. He is happy to drop down a little bit from R4 in order to gain some more middle order picks.

Team D is keen to gain depth by moving up.

Team C >> R5P7 + R9P7 >> Team D
Team D >> R6P8 + R7P9 >> Team C

If teams want to make unbalanced trades (ie they trade different amount of picks to each other) in order to a trade with three or more teams, that is fine. The league manager should be approached with the full details of the swap before it is put into action.

3) Combo trade

Team E wants a player from Team F to be a keeper. Team F wants to move up a few spots in round 1 rather than gain a lower pick.

Team E >> R2P2 + R13P15 >> Team F
Team F>> Player + R2P7 + R11P10 >> Team E

Team E gets the player they were after and moves up from R13 to R11, while Team F moves up in R2


All trades will need league approval. The examples given here are not based on a formula which must be adhered to (moving up 9 spots in the second round doesn’t necessarily equal a 5th round pick, it was just an example).

Coaches are instructed to try to find an appropriate value themselves and may be requested to justify the balance of a trade.

This is because many players are either new or inexperienced and is to ensure they are not taken advantage of.

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