Fantasy Football Ethics: Extremes Owners Will Take to Get an Edge
Sometimes we fantasy football players do some pretty strange things to try and get the win. We look for any edge or way to bend the rules to come away with that one extra player, that one extra win that is sure to make our season. Over the years of playing fantasy football, I have seen some creative ways to try to get an edge. Some were creative, some were just plain stupid, but they were all entertaining. Here is a list of some of the things we do. The best underhanded, but sometimes inspired ways I have seen to try to get that edge.
Gaming the playoff system
I was in a league of ten where only the top four teams make the playoffs. Going into Week 14 – the last week of the regular season – the guy in first had his spot locked up. The team with the most stocked line up and overall point leader was in fourth and needed a win to get into the playoffs. The first place team was facing the only team that could knock out the fourth place team. The number one seed promptly benched his entire starting lineup, put in his back ups in an attempt to throw the game. The fourth place guy freaked out, but nothing could be done. The strategy didn’t work. The stacked team won his game and the league championship a couple weeks later making the fixed game irrelevant.
Back when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a truly dominate defense, we had a challenge to the rules and forced a clarification to the rulebook the next year. Once in a while the Bucs would line up Warren Sapp in the backfield in short yardage or goal line situations, mainly as a blocking back, but he might have been given some William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry chances down inside the five. Hard up for points and a few wins to get into the playoff, we had a team try to claim anything Sapp scored on offense should count because the owner had the Bucs’ defense. Needing a ruling quick, luckily the league came to its senses and told the owner he was nuts. Next year we had to institute the ‘Warren Sapp Rule’. If a defensive player scores on an offensive play – Sapp, Mike Vrabel, and the like – the defense doesn’t get points, but if you want to draft Sapp as a running back go for it. Surprisingly, Sapp went undrafted.
The Husband and Wife ‘Team’
In one of my long standing leagues we have a number of husband and wives in the league, but they each have their own individual team. One couple decided to use their relationship to their own advantage. We didn’t notice it at first and they got away with it for about a season and a half. The league was a tight end mandatory league. What the husband and wife would do is make low level trades for kickers and/or tight ends. Then a week or less later they would mysteriously trade the exact same players back. It seemed strange until we realized they were using the ‘trades’ as a way to cover themselves for bye weeks without risking losing a good kicker or tight end to free agency. After a while the league got wise to it and had to institute a freeze on traded players. The rule stated no player can be traded back to the same team for at least two weeks. The husband and wife knew EXACTLY who the rule was aimed at. From then on they had to drop players to cover their bye weeks and risk losing them like everyone else.
All Quarterbacks Baby
Like the fantasy football commercial featuring Adam Vinatieri where he started all kickers, calling it the ultimate fantasy football team and accentuated it by saying ‘all kickers baby’, a few years ago a team in one of my leagues tried to pull off a first round playoff upset by having a team of basically all quarterbacks. Like every league I have ever heard of he could only start one quarterback, but his strategy – at the time – seemed like the move of an evil genius. A little background: his first round opponent only had one quarterback on his roster, a move that worked well for him until that quarterback got hurt the week before our league’s playoff began. Knowing his opponent needed a quarterback, the evil genius dropped his ENTIRE bench and picked up seven quarterbacks. This left his opponent only the very bottom of the barrel starting quarterbacks.
It was possibly the greatest and most underhanded move I had ever seen in all my years playing fantasy football. The problem was, like most of the moves in this story, it didn’t work. I don’t remember who the no-name quarterback was that started for the quarterbackless team, but he went off for something like three touchdowns and 250 yards to lead the defeat of the evil genius.