What is Trade Bait in Fantasy Football?
The term "trade bait" in fantasy football is used to refer to players that other managers want to acquire in a trade. The players being used as trade bait are not necessarily superstars or stud performers, however, they carry potential that other managers covet.
Identifying Players to Trade
The best trade bait players are those that are overachieving at any point during the regular season. Experienced fantasy football managers can usually tell when a player is performing better than his expected output, primarily by referencing the statistics posted by that player over the course of his entire career. For example, if a quarterback has thrown 4,000 yards later in the season but possesses a career average of 2,500 passing yards per season, it is clear that regression is coming.
The best fantasy owners know this and take advantage of other managers' recency bias (assigning an inflated sense of value to a player based on recent success) to "sell high," trading the player just before the regression hits and receiving a few solid players in return.
Making Tempting Offers
Aside from tempting other managers with trade offers that include players exceeding their normal level of performance, trade bait can be used to take advantage of another manager's loyalty to a team. If, for instance, there is a veteran running back for the Detroit Lions that is not performing particularly well, a manager that avidly roots for the Lions may desire the player nonetheless based on their allegiance to the team.
Positional needs are also a factor to consider, as managers that lack depth at a certain position are more inclined to accept a trade that includes positions of need (i.e. a manager that lacks wide receivers will likely be desperate to acquire one from another team).
Using Trade Bait to Improve Your Team
Trade bait can be a great way to improve your fantasy team. By offering other league members players that they covet, you can almost guarantee yourself a solid return in the form of players that can consistently contribute points.