This week for the feature Ask Nash question, I thought I would mix it up with a very general type question that we have faced – and will face – at some point in our fantasy careers. League Managers deal with this more than most, as they’re impacted when anyone does it.
What do you do with an owner who is purging talent?
This can look a variety of different ways and I am going to try to touch on as many of them as I can. That means I’m looking at it from a pretty general perspective. But feel free to ask these types of question in a private email, as well as specific player and transaction type questions.
Let’s start with the last place purge:
Often times you can get an owner who finds themselves stuck in dead last and they cannot seem to catch any traction in getting out of the cellar. There are a few options they have at the rest of their season, and 2 of those can be considered talent purges that can throw off the balance of the league.
- The cowardly, “white flag approach”. This owner accepts last place 2-3 months into the season and just drops everyone except the minimum required players. They even drop serious talent in favor of fanboy picks, or even worse. I call this cowardly because the owner is trying to save face by “giving up” instead of trying to play it out and just plain failing to get out of last place. Believe me, you’ll get a lot more respect from your league mates by playing it out honestly and legitimately finishing in last place. Anyway, often times this approach is accompanied by a name change.
- The classic, “hail mary”. The owner thinks to themselves, “I gotta take a huge chance and hope it pays off.” So they go after as many slow starters and struggling players as possible in hopes to catch a whole lot of lightening in a bottle. It can work to get them out of last place and sometimes even gets them back to the middle of the pack or better. However, much like the white flag approach this brings an imbalance to the league by way of their stud players going to teams who are luckily at the top of the waiver order or on the nice end of a crazy trade.
Both of these approaches lack consideration to the rest of the league who are trying to play it out honestly and strategically.
Another form of purging can be through a few or more forms of questionable moves over a period of time. Sometimes this can just be the work of a very irrational owner and some sometimes it can even be a form of collusion. Actually, let’s talk about that for a moment.
I believe that the word collusion can be thrown around a bit liberally in fantasy baseball. There are plenty of leagues where a few members are relatives, or maybe close friends. But generally speaking, everyone in those league knows each other, or there are a few different groups. But way more often than not, it’s hard to call collusion unless a few things are in play.
- The people involved are relatives, or close friends.
- One of them is a contender, the other isn’t. One may also care a lot more than the other, even if both or neither are contenders.
- They make a series of one-sided trades with each other.
- Also, if they’re in a few leagues together (baseball or other sports), the possibility exists that Owner A will help Owner B in this league, while Owner B will help Owner A in another league. If this is a league that carries over from year-to-year, then you may want to think back to previous years. If Owner A is benefiting from a terrible trade from Owner B this year and Owner B benefited from a bad trade from Owner A the year before, this same scenario is possibly in play.
- If the league’s favorite is not well liked by a few guys, or has dominated the league for a while.
Not all of these things have to be in play, but if three or more are, keep your eyes open. Again, be careful in throwing around the word “collusion,” but it does in fact happen and should always be addressed if the evidence is substantial enough.
If you have an owner that has made a few or more questionable moves, a bad trade or some bad add/drops, I see nothing wrong with asking the owner what the deal is. Perhaps they are giving up, hoping for some surprises, or maybe they’re just clueless. Simply asking can help you ascertain that information. The key is to ask in a non-threatening way, of course.
So, for some Do’s and Dont’s:
- Don’t Accuse: If you come out of the gate accusing the owner in question, the owner will most likely get defensive, and it could get ugly. Also, if your accusation is collusion, you might have two or more owners getting defensive.
- Don’t Insult: Like I said, it could be a series of honest moves that just didn’t make as much sense outside of the owner’s own head. If you insult the moves it will only make the poor owner feel even worse.
- Do be Honest: Everyone should be adults about a situation. If you ask about some questionable moves, I would hope the owner would fess up to the reason(s) behind the moves.
Also, if people slam the message boards with questions or angry posts, be open and honest about discussions being had. If people start crying collusion it is best to squelch those thoughts ASAP.
Lastly I want to address something I mentioned earlier and that is the talent balance of the league. Of course no league has perfect talent balance between teams because there is no perfect league wide draft, ever. So I am not saying that our fantasy leagues should be some sort of weird socialistic fantasy league where talent MUST stay evenly distributed the whole season.
Trades happen, add/drops happen, that is the beauty of playing it out. However, when an owner begins to interfere with the organic nature of a fantasy league by blatantly dropping good players with no real rhyme or reason, it should be addressed!