Thursday - Mar 21, 2019

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The “C” Word

Some
words should never be uttered.

  For
example,

Rumplestiltskin, Voldemort, and
Beetlejuice.

  Others should only be
discussed in the most delicate manner.

  
For the fantasy football enthusiast, that provocative “c” word is, of
course, “collusion.”

  All of
the late George Carlin’s

Seven Dirty Words
pale in comparison to the “c” word, considered by many to be the most offensive
word in the fantasy football lexicon.

 
Just writing about it makes me want to wash my mouth out with a bar of
soap (scrubbing my hands is probably more appropriate, because I’m typing, but
that sounds a lot less extreme).

 
Frequently discussed, yet widely misunderstood and rarely resolved, it’s
a bigger mystery than Sarah Jessica Parker’s sex appeal.

 

 

Fantasy
football fans everywhere would like nothing better than to eradicate collusion
once and for all.

  Before we can wipe it out,
however, we must be able to smoke it out.

 
After all, one man’s collusion looks like another man’s steal
(especially the guy who scored that great deal).

  So, let’s consider a few scenarios:

 

Scenario
#1:

  Dimwit Dave trades Smooth Sammy a
stud running back and a solid wide receiver for an injured washed up
quarterback and starting kicker.

 

Scenario
#2:

  Dimwit Dave, currently in last place
by Week 5, trades Smooth Sammy a stud running back and a solid wide receiver
for an injured washed up quarterback and a kicker.

 

Scenario
#3:

  Best friends Dimwit Dave, currently
in last place by Week 11, trades Smooth Sammy a solid running back and a solid
receiver for an injured washed up quarterback and a kicker.

 

Can
you spot the collusion?

  It’s not as easy
as it seems.

 

Consider
Scenario #1, which probably happens at least once a season in every fantasy
league.

  Especially if you’re a
contender, it is always infuriating to see another owner get hosed in a big
deal that may drastically affect the dynamic of the league.

  Nonetheless, is a lopsided, groan-inducing,
“what the hell were you thinking?!” trade hard evidence of
collusion?

  Probably not.

  After all, that’s how Dimwit Dave got his
name. (You know who he is in your league.

 
If you don’t, find a mirror and wave, “Hello, Dave!”)

 

 

At
first glance, Scenario #2 seems more suspicious.

  Consider the timing, though.

  Is it realistic that an owner would torpedo
his chances five weeks into the season?

  Possible,
but highly unlikely.

  Dimwit Dave (or,
his equally unpopular cousin, Apathetic Al) strikes again.

 

 Unfortunately, the “I had nothing to
lose” theory does little to console the other teams who watched a good
team go “Pro Bowl” overnight while a harmless bad team stayed that way.

 

 

Scenario
#3 should be the most eyebrow-raising of the bunch.

  Just because best friends, lovers, Siamese
twins etc. make a trade doesn’t mean it’s time to sound the alarm.

  That said, any commissioners (and, possibly
other owners) should closely observe the moves of trading partners who are just
a little too close for comfort.

  Combine
that cozy relationship with the big red flag of a trade by the owner of a team
eliminated from any possibility of a playoff berth, and the whole thing starts
to stink worse than my daughter’s diaper pail.

 Do we have collusion?

  Well, it doesn’t get much closer than this.

 

It
sure looks like a case of the “c” word.

  So,
now what?

  Those two owners probably won’t
confess any time soon.

  No sense in
catching a serious case of honesty when you’ve just pulled off the trade of the
century.

 Most of the other owners (and
maybe the commissioner too) may strongly favor torturing the truth out of them,
but that’s probably illegal (unless it’s in the league rules, of course).

  Instead, the league has a messy situation on
its hands.

 

 

 

All
joking aside, most of us are in leagues where most, if not all, of the other
owners are our friends, acquaintances, relatives, co-workers, neighbors,
colleagues, in-laws, etc.

 So, although
burning them at the stake (mmmm . . . steak) may sound good right after the
trade is posted, we’ll have to face these folks again in a less than “fantasy”
setting, so the situation calls for some civility (even towards the
in-laws).

  Civility sounds easy enough,
right?

  We’re all adults here!

  On closer inspection, the approaches are less
than perfect.

  For instance, the league
rules could give the commissioner authority to overturn trades.

  But, what happens when the commissioner is
involved in a questionable trade?

  Even
if the commissioner is not involved in the dopey deal, he usually has a team,
so it’s hard to believe that he can be entirely objective.

  The league rules could also allow some or all
of the owners to vote to overturn trades, but it’s hard to believe that votes
won’t be influenced by the impact that overturning the trade will have on the
trading owners’ playoff chances.

 

Who wants to have to worry about all that?

  We would like to think that our faithful
friends, reliable relatives, candid colleagues (you get the point) would never
be so dastardly as to engage in the “c” word.

 
Truth be told, as long as there’s money (and maybe even just bragging
rights – some people are just shameless) on the line, a world without collusion
is like a week without Britney Spears performing stupid human tricks for the paparazzi
– it’s not going to happen.

  And, because
it seems harder to cure than a case of herpes, your league may want to consider
these few ounces of prevention:

 

1.  Ban idiots from your league.

 
Sure, it seems like inviting the guy who buys his fantasy football
magazine the day of the draft and is drunk by the sixth round only
improves your changes of winning your league, but Dimwit Dave needs to be shown
the door.

 

2.  Make sure your owners all know each other well.

  They will be more likely to shop around if
they are all comfortable talking to each other.

 
Plus, for most people, it takes some serious gall to screw over friends
and family.

 

3.  Draft your league rules to allow ALL trades to go
through.

  Sounds crazy?

  You haven’t seen crazy until the accusations
start flying after a questionable trade.

 
Plus, see above, where even Scenario #3 may not be a slam dunk for
collusion.

  The consequences for posting
a bogus trade?

  If, after the end of the
season (when everyone can be a bit more objective), it’s still highly
suspicious, Dimwit Dave and Smooth Sammy can kiss their invitation to next
season’s draft goodbye.

 

4.  Finally, implement a severe penalty for finishing in last
place.

  The fear of throwing in extra $50
or $100 squashes the “nothing to lose” excuse and makes helping out a buddy,
even when you have no chance of making the playoffs, a lot less attractive.

 

Have you encountered collusion in your league?

  How did your commissioner and the other
owners respond?

  What are your
recommendations for preventing or reducing collusion?

 

  

 

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.