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To be honest, I'm not sure how widely known draft deals are, and if they are commonly used. In case they aren't well known, draft deals (at least that's what I call them) are an agreement between two players in a league who each agree not to take a player of the other's choice.
You: "I won't take Nick Swisher if you won't take Jeff Francouer" Other: "deal"
So when the draft comes around, you know that Francouer won't be taken by the guy you made the deal with.
These deals should be made prior to the draft, and apply more to leagues where you and your close buddies are the managers. That probably makes this article irrelevant to. . . ehmm.. about, I don't know, about 50% of leagues. That's an arbitrary guess, but draft deals are quite underutilized in close-knit or returning leagues, where you know the types of players other managers tend to like (so I think, I've never been in a league with more than 3 of them).
Take advantage of a person's "man crush" player (Nick Swisher in my case). Tell them you won't pick "their guy" if they don't pick a player your targeting.
Time for the part of this article I've been waiting to share. . . this is definitely a strategy you've never heard of, and its something I've never tried, only thought of in theory. Hypothetically, although it would be difficult to pull off, you could make a draft deal with every manager in the league for the same player.
Let's say that player is Nick Markakis. So this means no one in your league except you is able to draft Nick Markakis. What do you do? You draft Nick the Stick in last round of your draft! Talk about getting value.
Of course the down side is that in a 12-team league there are 11 guys, probably of equal value to Markakis, that you won't be able to draft. However let's think about this, without doing this (almost impossible) strategy you'll get Markakis in the 4th round, and then your last round pick, whoever it may be. If you manage to employ the strategy however, you can draft a player equal to 5th round value in the fourth round, considering the 11 players you cannot draft are of 4th round value, and then you get Markakis in the last round.
Since the other rounds of the draft would remain unaffected, this is basically the same as trading your last round pick for a 5th round pick. Sound good to you?
Again I have never tried this, and there's a good chance I never will. But please, if anyone does pull this off successfully, tell me how it went so I know if I'm actually smart or just a moron who thinks he is.