Fantasy Football Strategy: How To Eliminate Collusion & Tanking

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Editor’s Note: This is one of our many strategy-related articles from our team of writers to get you prepared for this season.

When it comes to fantasy football, there is nothing more frowned upon than the concept of cheating. Such an act is often accomplished through collusion or tanking, which most commissioners attempt to eliminate at all costs. The problem is, league owners tend to bend the rules or search for loopholes in order to succeed. Therein lies the root of this article, as I provide five tactics below to combat foul practices in fantasy football circles. This ideology primarily concerns dynasty formats due to the annual importance of ethical behavior between a league and its owners, but the same logic can be applied to redraft leagues as well.

1. Set League Fee Due Dates

In order to eliminate the possibility of collusion between various owners, it is recommended to set a specific due date for league fees on an annual basis. In theory, this will promote competitive balance in a league and eliminate the likelihood for cheating since all owners will be active and attentive with monetary gains on the line.

This rule is far from foolproof, but it at least intends to establish credibility. If a league consists of members that all know one another, then perhaps due dates for league fees are less of a concern. Given the rapid growth of the fantasy football industry and its overall community, it’s rather common to participate in a league with at least a few unfamiliar faces. Under these circumstances, it is imperative to collect funds on a set date in order to avoid the chance of teams losing interest and deciding not to fulfill monetary guidelines.

2. Provide Accessible League Bylaws

The role of being a league commissioner is often a thankless task, but it is essential to carry out the responsibility by providing accessible and clearly defined league bylaws to all league members each and every season. In order to cover all bases, it is best to distribute physical copies over email to owners in addition to listing them on a league’s hosted website. In the event that a team attempts to collude or purposely violate the rules, a commissioner can then direct attention to the league bylaws to dismiss any potential misconduct from occurring.

3. Forfeit Future Draft Picks

In the event that a team violates defined rules in a league, a draft pick forfeit policy may need to be enforced. This is especially true if an owner intentionally partakes in tanking by failing to submit a weekly starting lineup against opponents in order to improve the value of their future rookie draft picks.

In competitive leagues, this situation is an uncommon occurrence. It is also human nature to become frustrated with losing during a fantasy season, which could lead to an intentional display of poor sportsmanship. The only way to prevent such actions is in the form of penalizing future draft picks from an owner, as it will likely prohibit them from purposely losing again.

4. Offer Consolation Prizes

Sure, fantasy football is all about winning. This is even more prominent when monetary rewards are at stake, let alone bragging rights. Even so, it is important to retain the interest of all people in a league in order to promote a competitive and active landscape. In order to accomplish this, a toilet bowl can be scheduled for all teams that fail to make the playoffs in a season.

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For those unaware of the concept, a toilet bowl is essentially a championship bracket for teams that are eliminated from playoff contention. In addition to extending the fantasy season for numerous people, the toilet bowl also decreases the likelihood of a team dropping its best players out of frustration for playoff teams to reap the benefits from.

5. Remove Trade Vetoes

Trade vetoes are one of the more sensitive rules to implement in all fantasy football formats. In a sense, it places handcuffs on all owners and restricts their freedom from operating as a GM. Therefore, it makes sense to allow unlimited trading between teams for players and future draft picks. Even though some questionable deals could take place under this structure, it promotes activity and allows league members to build a team with no limitations. The lone exception to this rule is obvious collusion where multiple teams agree on less than admirable intentions in an offer. In this scenario, a commissioner needs to articulate that such behavior will not be tolerated or it could lead to expulsion.

Interested in finding a new competitive league for 2017? Check out to find leagues forming and join in on a community of dedicated fantasy football enthusiasts.

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