Over the course of the last few weeks of the regular season last year, I had explored different ethical and strategic questions posed to me via email and social media. It was a fun series to write and while some definitely did not like me or my advice, others loved it. So, I am hoping to make this a reoccurring series that will pop up periodically throughout 2017. Feel free to send me more questions at JustinMasonFantasy@gmail.com or on twitter @JustinMasonFWFB and when I have enough, I will do another installment. Thanks for playing along!
My league has a scoring system that devalues stolen bases compared to standard leagues. We also keep track of historical records in categories. My teams (in various years) have made it such that at some point various teams of mine have been the all-time leader in every category except SBs. I could theoretically fix that, but seeing as that is the lowest priority category for a competitive team, is it unethical to build a team to make a run at history–“All-time leader in everything”(… in different years, but still)– instead of building the team I think has the best shot at winning the league next year?
Is it unethical? No, but it isn’t smart either. We play fantasy baseball for a multitude of reasons, but ultimately like Herm Edwards once said, “you play to win the game!” Now, if in the course of this, you set some records along the way, then more power to you. You obviously have different motivation than me. I would never do this, but there is nothing unethical about it as far as I can see.
I’m in a league has a compensation rule (from his money leagues) for the sudden and irreversible loss of a player due to injury or death (but it was never codified), so far the compensation has been rejected in the case of Taveras and Fielder, but he has imposed it on a manager that didn’t ask for it that is lavish to say the least. The league is a very deep keeper and we do a blind draft based on waivers every year to fill out our roster spots from 22-26. He wanted to give the team losing Jose Fernandez a free pick after keepers are set but before claims are sent in. This would give the manager the pick of the litter which is usually saved for the last place team. He insists that this is even light, while I’ve been saying that it’s stealing from the neediest teams to give a team that is competitive without Fernandez an unfair advantage. He insists on ‘fair value’ for the player, I insist on fair value for the team to remain competitive. I pleaded for some sort of methodology using numbers to evaluate the players in each instance, but he flatly rejected the idea. Am I wrong to believe that this opens up him and the league to questions of bias and using an uneven hand?
First and foremost, I really like this rule. It protects the owners in case of unfortunate events like the loss of a player. However, as much as I like the rule itself, it is not being properly employed. A rule like this should have strict guidelines to follow when such occurrences do happen. I don’t understand how the Prince Fielder owner doesn’t get compensated, but the Jose Fernandez owner does. Shouldn’t both owners get compensation? Fielder was going around pick 90 in NFBC leagues last season while Jose Fernandez was going around pick 34. Do I think the compensation is too much? No, I think it is fair, but it shouldn’t be levied unless every owner understands and/or agrees that this is the standard protocol. In my opinion, the league should come up with and vote for a future protocol for the death or career ending injury of a player and specify the compensation given to each team when this happens. This should not be an arbitrary process that is left up to the commissioner. So, I don’t think the compensation is unfair, but I do think you have a gripe about the process not being equitable or consistent.
Earlier this season, another owner and I got into an argument about the use of SP eligible relievers (specifically closers). I noticed that pitchers like Alex Colome could be premium closers because of their SP eligibility and started grabbing them off waivers to use in my SP slots. The other owner argued this was an unfair way to score extra points, while I thought it was simply a creative use of a roster spot. What’s the verdict? I’m playing in a daily lineup set, points league with limited starts per week.
Personally, I am not a big fan of leagues like this that have designations for pitcher slots. I feel like they attempt to limit the flexibility of a pitching staff and force owners into certain strategies. That being said, when I have played in these formats, I have done exactly what you have done. The idea that using positional eligibility to your advantage is somehow cheating is preposterous. Was it unfair if owners used Ian Desmond or Hanley Ramirez at shortstop because they still had the eligibility there even though they had stopped playing there? Of course not! If a player has eligibility at a certain position, then not only are you well within your right to use them to your advantage, but you would be foolish not to! Unless there is some rule within the league’s constitution or bylaws, you have done nothing wrong. If other owners want to play by some misguided notion of how the game “should” be played, then that is good for them. I am going to play by the rules that are written, not the ones that aren’t.
Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as random topics that float into his juvenile brain. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and a fantasy football and baseball writer for Fantasy Alarm. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.