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Network Exchange Theory in Fantasy Football

During our class discussion regarding Network Exchange Theory, I could not help thinking about fantasy football that I play on yahoo. Ironically, while this Network Exchange Theory was being discussed in class, I had been knee deep in trade discussions in my league. I had the misfortune of drafting both Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice in this fantasy league, and, due to their off field issues, both players would be of no service to me during that season.

Fantasy Football really is a network of individuals with different amounts of power. This power is directly proportional to the perceived value of each team’s players. As a result, a team with more valuable assets has more power in the network. This power is attributed to the fact that more individuals and their teams in the network will look to trade with you if you have more assets to offer in trade. More importantly, more teams inquiring about trade means more outside options in a bargaining scenario, and, thus, better negotiating positions. I found myself in a position of very little power in the network, as two of my most valuable assets were eliminated from the table. As a result, I had to try to figure out a way to acquire assets and increase my power in the network. I still had two very valuable assets (players named Brandon Marshall and Michael Crabtree) who I knew I could use to make a deal happen, and hope to sell high on these players and buy low on others to improve my power.

In this scenario, I tried bargaining with a team that had arguably the most power in the network, as it had many assets and had the luxury of many possible trade partners (outside options). In fact, he had deals on the table with three other teams when we were in trade discussions. As a result, I had to make my trade proposal better in order to make one happen. Fortunately for myself, he perceived the surplus to be greater trading with me than the other outside options and we were able to make a deal happen.

In class, we discussed the notion that in negotiations, people’s payoffs are a combination of money and some notion of being treated fairly. Interestingly, this is what occurred in my trade. I had extremely little power, because I had no other outside options and I really needed to make a trade. My trade partner had a tremendous amount of power, with many outside options, and many assets at his disposal. Based purely on value, the trade should have been much more lopsided in his favor because he possessed a lot of the power in the negotiation. Due to my desire to get a “fair” trade however, I pressed him for a little more value in the trade. Luckily, he complied because he felt a sense of duty to make a “fair” trade happen, and I got the better end of the deal. Both of the players I received in the deal (Matt Forte and Kelvin Benjamin) have turned into extremely valuable assets and both of the players I traded to him have flopped. Due to my acquiring of extremely valuable assets and his loss of assets, our positions of power in the league have swapped, as I am now in first place and he is in last place.


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October 2014