Over this last week I’ve had many discussions about fantasy football and how it should be played. What’s considered cheating? What’s considered collusion? What rights do you have a fantasy owner? In one of my leagues, there are 16 teams with intent of it just being a fun league. Before the season began there was a trade that has had a huge impact on how the season went. A trade went down with one team trading Rob Gronkowski for Alex Smith and Andrew Quarless. Gronkowski has 87 fantasy points while Quarless and Smith had 105 points combined. The problem with this is the team who traded Gronkowski did not have another quality Tight End. The same team who traded Gronkowski also traded LeGarrette Blount for Zach Ertz and Colts D/ST. Blount has 55 points while Ertz and Colts D/ST has a combined 47 points. The team that traded away Gronkowski is 0-7 while the team who received them is 7-0 as of this writing. Should these trades have been allowed to go through? Absolutely not. However you cannot blame the team who took advantage of someones carelessness. At the end of the day the commissioner of the league should have vetoed trade and voting shouldn’t have been a factor. I believe both teams would have be having much different seasons if those trades wouldn’t have been allowed.
The other issue is how should you handle your team if you know you are out of the running. In this same 16 team league where there are only four playoff spots I tried playing fair the first half of the year and no longer have a chance to even make the playoffs. I had decided to help the teams out who are the running to still make the playoffs. My first trade was trading Emmanuel Sanders and Chris Ivory for Malcolm Floyd and Nelson Agholor. The other trade was trading Cam Newton and Ryan Matthews for Matthew Stafford and Kamar Aiken. A lot of people have taken issue with this and I have caught a lot of backlash for it. I believe if you are out of the playoffs and you’re not getting any incentives then you should be allowed to do whatever you want with your team. This is no different then Major League Baseball. Every year during the trade deadline if team know they don’t have a chance at the playoffs they will trade good players to teams that have a shot at the playoffs. Sometimes the teams don’t get much in return but that’s their decision not to go for more. If every trade was voted on by all the MLB teams then there would never be any trades going through. Some will claim that what I did is no different then what the teams did before the season began. Well I hate to give this view, but the best way to fight collusion is by colluding with others to make sure one or two people don’t run away from the rest of the league. The more ethical approach is to have a league commission who has experience or has no invested interest in the league and have them decide what is a fair trade and what isn’t.
Speaking of fantasy football and ethics I can’t help but think about Fanduel and Draft Kings. These are two of the more popular online fantasy sports betting sites. There has been major issues with employees playing in the opposing companies leagues and winning a good amount of money because of their knowledge. I believe that if you work for a sports betting, online gaming, or fantasy football site you should not be allowed to participate in those activities due to the advantages of having stats and info that the average user doesn’t. It’s like the most casinos. There a lot of casinos who do not allow their employees to gamble at the casino they work at. This especially true for slot attendants who know how to access the slot machines and it is true for card dealers who know how the card games are handled. I don’t see much difference in either situation.
I believe I am not the only one who has seen collusion, cheating and taking advantage in order to win money or win a fantasy sports league. I am sure situations like this take place all over the world. The best advice I can give those in a fantasy sports league is find a league with an experienced commissioner. Sign free agents who think will help you and make fair trades to keep the peace within your league. Cheating and colluding takes the fun out of the whole experience. However if you feel you’re losing to others being unfair then fight back and try to catch up with them. How will you decide to play the game?