The Unwritten Rules

Throughout the season I have been and will to continue answer questions based on fantasy ethics and rules in this recurring 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: I’m running a 20 team deep keeper league that has a 35 IP minimum and a 60 IP maximum. When checking for the maximum IP, the site will check daily, meaning that you could be sitting at 59.2 IP with four starters going that day and get an additional 20-30 IP for the week over the maximum. The idea was to limit streaming without straight up eliminating it and to keep the league more or less equitable by not having teams lose W, QS, and K’s because the other team had an additional five starters on them. So far this has been going well, with teams generally averaging around 60 IP per week, however, one team has managed to manipulate his pitchers playing time excessively. The second through fourth highest IP totals vary from 222.2 – 199.1 (I’m currently writing this in the middle of week 4), while the leader in IP has somehow managed 282.1 IP. Not surprisingly, this team also has the lead in W’s, QS, and K’s. The league rules do not specifically state that this is illegal, but I have mentioned that I wouldn’t be happy if people abuse this loophole. What, if anything, should I do about this? Should I just sit back and applaud his gamesmanship? Or should I warn him to start averaging closer to 60 IP per week? The league is new, and I’m a new commissioner, so I don’t want to rock the boat too hard, but I also don’t want to wind up letting this become more of an issue.

-Chris W.

Answer: I don’t think you need to sit back and applaud his gamesmanship, but there is not much you can or should do right now. If this isn’t how you anticipated the format working out, then change it for next season. You can’t change rules like this midseason, it is not fair to owners that may have strategized around it. Call for a vote for a rule change for 2018.


Question: I own Price in a league. Guy who wants to trade for him wants insurance. (i.e if he gets reinjured he wants me to send him something.) Is this ethical? Personally, I don’t like it and I feel icky about it. But, I’ve never come across this.


-Simon M

Answer: I appreciate the ingenuity of this owner, but I would not do this kind of deal. Ultimately, we all accept there is risk attached to trading for any player, much less one that is already injured. Not to mention, I am assuming he’s not going to be paying the price for a Cy Young caliber pitcher which David Price has been in the past, so he is already getting an injury discount. May be in a keeper format or one that allows draft pick trading you could offer a draft pick compensation that escalates or decreases based on how many innings he throws, but honestly I wouldn’t even do that. I don’t see anything necessarily unethical about it, but it’s like someone going to purchase a corvette at a junkyard and asking that they cover the cost of any repairs.


Question: I’m in a 15-team dynasty league and a number of us are getting hammered by injuries this year. We have only 2 DL spots and the commissioner has proposed that we increase them because so many people are having to drop players we wouldn’t normally want to. Everyone in the league wants to make this change now except one guy who hasn’t been affected by any real injuries. Is it really unfair to him that we make this change now as opposed to next season?

-Mike B.

Answer: No rule changes should occur in season unless it is a unanimous decision. Is it an unfortunate situation for many of us that have been killed by injuries? Sure, but making rule changes in season sets a dangerous precedent. You can try talking to the lone holdout and explaining why you feel this change would benefit the league as a whole, but ultimately he is correct.


Question: Is it ethical to leverage dump trades against another team. Example. “If we can’t get a deal done, I’ll have to go to feed your competition.”


Answer: I don’t think it is unethical, but I think it is poor strategy especially in a keeper or dynasty format where you are going to be playing with this person in future seasons. Trading is a relationship and if you attempt to strongarm a competitor it won’t be forgotten. There are better ways of getting the point along, but ultimately I think most people realize that if you don’t trade with them, you will with someone else.


Question: An owner is on his app trying to move Bradley Zimmer from NA to his active lineup and somehow accidentally drops him. He immediately posts a message explaining it was a mistake and asks for the move to be undone. Here’s the twist: a couple months before, during this past football season (same parties involved), we did a live draft where people enter their picks on a Google Doc. During the draft, one owner accidentally typed in C West instead of S Ware. The owner had been drinking and mixed up these Chiefs RBs. After entering the pick, he immediately realized he took the wrong player and asked to reserve it. The owner in the first example with Zimmer became belligerent and threatened to quit the league if this owner was allowed to reverse the pick. Is this owner a hypocrite? Just a ? Or are these instances different enough where they can’t be compared? Is it ok to reverse a mistake during the season but not during a draft? Or should neither be reversible – once it’s done it’s done? Need your help here with The Unwritten Rules! Thanks man.


Answer: Honestly, I think there is a huge difference between the two. Accidently dropping a guy should be reversed as long as it noticed within a reasonable amount of time. Typing in the wrong players name while drunk isn’t the same. First of all, don’t drink and draft. It is a bad example for the kids. However, in a home league, you shouldn’t rake your buddy over the coals over it, but in the end he has a valid point even if he is being a by threatening to quit.

We hoped you liked reading The Unwritten Rules by Justin Mason!

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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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Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe

Looks like a word got censored out of the post in the last question (and your response). I don’t know why I am so curious about what said insult might be.


Something tells me the author called the guy a Richard.


That Richard should be expelled from both leagues. But the commish of the league should make the same decision for all owners in the league. The decision should be independent of the person making the request. Zimmer should go back to the Richard.