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Customer Problem

Hello.  Thank You so much for your time.  What a great Website!  Here is our situation.  Team A (8-2) went against Team B (6-4) in week 11.  The owners of Team A and team B work together and are very close.  Team A 's roster consists of Qb's K. Warner, B. Favre, and B. Roethlisberger; Rb's M. Barber, C. Portis, DeAngelo Williams, and M. Moore; Wr's L. Evans, DeSean Jackson, H. Ward, T. Holt, and R.E. Williams; TE's T. Gonzalez and L.J. Smith; K's S. Graham and J.Nedney; DST Washington and Jacksonville.  In Week 11 Team A started a lineup consisting of B. Favre, M. Barber, M. Moore, R.E. Williams, T. Holt, T. Gonzalez, S. Graham, Washington Defense.

The Dispute we have is whether or not the lineup submitted by Team A was a competitive lineup and that had any intention to win.  These were Team A's last 3 lineups.  Week 10 - K. Warner, M. Moore, De. Williams, L. Evans, H. Ward, T. Gonzalez, J. Nedney, Jax Defense; Week 9 - K. Warner, M. Barber, C. Portis, L. Evans, De. Jackson, T. Gonzalez, S. Graham, Jax Defense; Week 8 - K. Warner, M. Barber, C.Portis, L. Evans, H. Ward, L.J. Smith, J. Nedney, Redskins Defense.  The Week 11 result with the lineup above had Team B winning 101-90.  A loss for Team A would do nothing for them in the standings. They basically are the number one seed and are guaranteed a playoff berth.  Team B is currently in 2nd place, a victory in Week 11 makes them 7-4 and in second place by themselves (solidifying their playoff hopes), while a loss puts Team B in a three way tie at 6-5 with 2 teams at 5-6 right behind them competing for the 3 remaining playoff spots.

We play a 13 game season; 8 teams; no trades.  The consensus of the league is that Team A should not start a lineup that they do not intend to win with, starting several players that had less than ideal match-ups, and starting a backup (M. Moore) whose status was known all week with W. Parker returning to the Steelers' starting lineup.  Should Team A be given the win so that Team B gets the loss?  Should Team B get the win, in spite of the dispute in Team A's starting lineup?  Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it.

- Kevin

Stegmissioner's Response

Hello, Kevin!

I sense that there are a few things I should address here.  But, first, my response to the "bottom line" question, "Should Team A be given the win so that Team B gets the loss?  Or, should Team B get the win, in spite of the dispute in Team A's starting lineup?"  I think there are two "reasonable" possibilities, but I side ultimately with one of them.  Nevertheless, I will still share them both.

I think one "middle-ground" option is to consider the game a "no-contest".  At 6-4, Team B would still maintain sole possession of second for the time being, but he'd be much more vulnerable moving forward.  Case in point, a loss in his next game would cause him to fall (a half game) behind a 6-5 team getting a win next week instead of being in a tie at 7-5.  This option could be decided unilaterally by the commish or, I suppose, by league vote.

The second option is for you guys to find "a fortiori" solace in comparing the situation to like when a team in the NFL whose clinched position in the playoffs is fixed, irrespective of what they do the last week or two of the season, and they rest their stars, but the games still matter for the team(s) they are playing.  I mean, taking the higher road and setting aside the "quid pro quo" of the specific situation with which you are dealing, if similar happens in the NFL and has to be swallowed, surely it has to be accepted in fantasy.  Almost every season, there are NFL teams frustrated by the aforementioned circumstance, thinking they've got to play a real team while the team they're fight for a playoff spot with gets to play a bunch of backups.  Thing is, that is part of the game, too.  Those teams earned the right to rest their studs for the playoffs, and (even though it is not, of course, for personal reasons like yours here) sometimes they even have a preference for who makes the playoffs, encouraging them to "sort of" tank the game.  It's not always fair... in life, in the NFL, and no less in fantasy football.  In fact, it's just another part of the game.  In a similar way, you guys can take the high road and acknowledge the ultimate reality that "Team A" "earned", maybe not the right, but the liberty to toy around like this.  I mean, if he wasn't 8-2 and was still himself fighting for a playoff position, he couldn't even monkey around like you guys allege.  Furthermore, I'm guessing the schedule, made prior to the start of the season, was not something he and his buddy had any control of.  That was sheer chance... THIS YEAR!  You can't blame them for that, BUT, moving forward, this unfortunate circumstance can be duly noted by the league, and you guys can make sure that these two guys play each other early in the season from here on out.  This is actually an innocuous enough response/punitive measure, that it could even be decided democratically.  Anytime a questionable situation like this arises, you guys can vote on whether the guys involved need to have their games scheduled before, say, Week 5 or something. Of course, this is assuming your league continues from year to year.

So, in conclusion, I think those are both reasonable options, but, because I am NOT one to mess with the "rules" midseason and am always for being the "bigger man" and taking the "higher road", I think the latter option is the way to go.  I would just let "Team B" have his win this time and, as for a sort of punishment/rectification, make sure they play each other early in the season from next season forward (assuming such applies).  I also would not hold back from constantly reminding the owner of Team B how cheesy and childish his victory Week 11 was and, if he makes the playoffs, how lame that is.  I mean, if the guy has any set at all, he shouldn't even want to win like that.  That's not even "winning".

Anyway, to briefly comment on the bigger picture here, it is obviously implicit in my responses above that, yes, I do think that "something was up" between Teams A and B.  The playing of, at least, Mewelde Moore is the dead giveaway.  So, shame on them.  That's totally lame.

Also, one other consideration moving forward, you could consider pursuing the option of "locking" lineups.  That is, a rule can be installed that says that, if a team is found guilty of collusion like this situation here, the lineup of the dude in Team A's position gets "locked" for a week, i.e., the Team A dude would have to use the same lineup the following week.  OUCH!  If you think it through, there are actually various options here.  It could be a whole lineup that is locked or maybe just one player.  But, whatever, this is WAY TOO harsh of a measure to implement on the fly.  This is NOT something that should be considered at this time.  There is A LOT that would need to be hammered out.  For one, how would it be decided?  If you guys were to decide to legislate such a rule democratically, it could be easily abused.  The enforcement of such a rule would probably NOT be best done democratically.  You'd NEED an outside objective judge...  Plug, plug!  But, it's something worth considering, again, moving forward.

Customer Response

Hi Steve.  Thank you very much for your help.  What we did is just let them keep the result.  We know they are cheating, but we really cant do much about it at this point.  Team B is losing so far this week and hopefully that keeps up, but he probably will still make the playoffs.  We are going to let it ride out, hope karma does its job, and have neither one win the trophy.  Your response was extremely helpful, and the suggestions you made for the future will definitely make their way into our league constitution.  Oh yeah, and I'm kicking them both out of my league for next year.  There is no room in our league, or fantasy football in general, for losers, I mean, cheaters like that.  I will remind both of them that they are cheaters/losers from now on, as will everyone in our league and everyone who knows them, so they don't make their way into and pollute another league.  I think we may utilize your service for co-commish next year.


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Revised: 08 Oct 2014 11:56:48 -0700 .