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Fantasy Sports Ethics – How to Quit a Fantasy Sports League Gracefully
One of the best things about fantasy sports is the competition. Each league is made up of a group of people who each aim to build the best team possible. The owners may not have anything specific to prove, but almost all of them want to win. The fun of competition can be ruined by other teams giving up early. This is especially true if the resigning manager does not resign “ethically”.
There are many reasons that can keep a team from winning. Injuries can wreak havoc on a team, players may not go to plan and the manager may sometimes forget to define their line-up. Even great teams can lose if the fantasy gods disapprove of them. I was once in a league where the team with the second highest scoring average in the league didn’t even make the playoffs. Somehow, every other team scored a ton more when playing against this team, but then went back to being terrible when playing against everyone else.
So what’s the right thing to do when you lose (terribly) in a fantasy season? Ideally, one should just keep playing and try to improve. But, no doubt, that can be a problem, especially when they’ve been mathematically knocked out of the playoffs. Maybe they are in other leagues where their team is competitive and they need to focus on winning those other leagues. If so, it might make sense for them to drop their king and move on to the other challenges presented by their other leagues, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to quit a fantasy league.
If you’re going to quit, the best thing you can do for the fantasy sports community is to do it with grace. If you’re going to play every other team in the league exactly the same number of times, you might consider benching your entire team and being an away team. You’re much more likely to play them more than others. In that case, finish setting your roster for the year and “lock in your team.” By “locking down your team” I mean committing to the concept of more drops, more adds, more lineup adjustments, and most notably more trades. The following paragraphs explain why each of these commitments is important.
- More drops – if you drop players (especially good ones), all of a sudden the balance of the whole league is changed. A manager with a good waiver position improves without any effort on his part. Whether that manager is manager #1 or manager #9, it’s unfair to everyone else that they get something for nothing from a team that has no vested interest in the outcome.
More additions – the same principle as with the “more drops” rule applies here. Don’t “steal” players when you don’t care about being in the league anymore. A guy you pick at random may be someone else’s sleeper.
More composition adjustments – adjusting your composition is playing the game. If you only do it occasionally, it’s actually worse than quitting smoking. If you’re not playing against one team, you shouldn’t be playing against other teams. A team will have the advantage of playing a mediocre version of your team. Another will face the best version of your team. It’s not fair to both teams. It’s not even fair to the other teams. These wins/losses will also affect their position in the leaderboard.
No exchanges – this one is a big one. There’s always often someone (I’ll call them “the seagull”) just waiting for someone to appear to drown. When a team is eliminated and seems to give up, the seagull rushes in and tries to catch as many as it can for itself. The seagull will offer a ridiculous exchange to the best players of the team that was eliminated. In return, they offer their worst players. The hope is that the losing team will be so discouraged (or indifferent) that they will simply accept the trade. If your team is drowning, you can think of participating in a trade like this as a final strike against the league that dashed your hopes or as “giving hope” to the seagull. In reality, it ruins the league for half of the other managers (those still playing competitively). Resist the temptation to get involved once you’ve made the decision to quit.
Leaving a fantasy sports league isn’t something anyone really wants to do. But sometimes, in all circumstances, that’s what makes the most sense. If so, it is always important to do so with grace. Follow the advice presented in this article if you have to quit, and the other managers involved will appreciate that you handled it in the best way possible for everyone.
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