The Unwritten Rules

Throughout the season I will answer questions based on fantasy ethics and rules in this reoccurring piece. You may not always like the answers I give, but I hope that it is informative and makes you think about how you construct your leagues and play the games. Typically I do 4-5 questions per piece. You can send me more questions via email,, my twitter account, or by posting in my facebook group.

Question: Fair or foul to post about a player before draft/FAAB bidding? Ex. “Over/under $10 for New Closer X?” Maybe this is too obviously foul. As Commish, how do I handle these trolls?


Answer: Honestly, I hate when people do stuff like this. It is one thing when it is for an obvious player that everyone is aware of, but for the most part this is done to drive up prices artificially. The hard part is enforcement of any sort of rule around it. It becomes really difficult to do. Personally, I wouldn’t do this, but I also would not attempt to prevent others from doing so with a rule. In the past, I have seen leagues that restrict access to league message boards for these abuses, but that can be a slippery slope.

Question: What do you do when an owner accidentally picks a wrong player? We had an owner in our draft who accidentally picked some catcher named “Daniel Torres” in a middle round. This threw off their strategy and set them back on some other picks. I want to help them by sending one of my players to them, but don’t want to feel like I’m colluding. How do you handle this?


Answer: If you catch a mistake like this mid draft, the commissioner should roll back the draft as long as it is discovered somewhat quickly. However, if is not noticed until after the draft or late into the draft and it is too far to roll back, then it is what it is. People should be paying close attention. Obviously, mistakes are going to happen, but they need to be corrected right away, not after the fact. So no, it would not be appropriate for you to send him a player to help him recover.

Question: In my championship matchup last year my opponent and I were tied after the first week – I was winning all 5 hitting categories, but it was close. His pitching was far better than mine and he had a sizable lead in all 5 of those categories. Being an 8 team H2H league, there were still a few (poor) closers available on the FA market. I dropped the players I wasn’t going to use, benched my starting pitchers and picked up all the relievers I could in the hope of stealing saves and maybe ERA or WHIP if I got really lucky. He noticed this and also went heavy on relievers, picking up a couple, moving in a couple from his bench and sitting a couple of his better starters. Then it dawned on me – he would only be getting three starts that week. I texted him saying I noticed he had countered my save strategy. I told him good luck and I hope I can get the saves I need. I searched out all the 2-start pitchers worth putting in my lineup and made a list so I could find them again quickly. Five minutes before the first game of the week – when rosters locked, I picked them up instead. That gave me 16 starts to his 3 and I ended up winning two pitching categories from him, making me the champ and recipient of $80. He’s upset and thinks I played dirty, violating some sort of unwritten rule. Admittedly it looks worse after I texted him, but I think it was a smart play and he pulled essentially the same stunt when he picked up all those relievers. Am I in the wrong here?


Answer: Was the text message unnecessary? Maybe. Did you break any rules, written or otherwise? Absolutely not! This sounds like sour grapes to me. You out played him and won fair and square. He misplayed his hand and paid the price for it. You play to win the game and you did. Bravo!

Question: Should there be an age limit for fantasy leagues? I have a long time keeper league where someone’s 16-year-old kid joined the league. I am worried people will attempt to take advantage of his inexperience.


When playing for large amounts of money, I would say people should be at least 18-years-old, but other than that, I am all for kids in leagues. I started playing at the age of 15 and I took a few lump over the next few years as I learned, but how is that any different than any other new player? Most people learn by playing and struggle in their first year or two. I am all for any activity that helps kids with math, keeps them out of trouble, and teaches them about baseball.I can’t wait for the day my daughter asks to be in a fantasy league with me.

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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, 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.

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Agree on all advice. Since these types of columns usually generate comments when the advice is bad, I thought I’d post my approval.