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Tanking for a better playoff matchup? (1 Viewer)

jreesman

Footballguy
This scenario popped up in my 14-man league, which has some decent stakes and a pretty nice pot for the winner. I’m also the commissioner and as fate would have it I am currently the #5 seed heading into our 6-man playoffs. By losing in week 13 I could potentially (contingent on the #6 seed winning his game) become the #6 seed and play what I would view as the weaker team in the #3 spot.

I did throw the match by putting in Trubiski (out) and Fournette (suspended) and benching Tyreek Hill for a backup starter who ironically scored about the same amount of points. I ended up losing my game, but the rest of the scenario didn’t play out the way I needed as the #6 seed couldn't win his matchup.

However, because I lost my game the owner I played, let's call him “Mr. C”, actually avoided our toilet bowl losers bracket, which is the bottom 4 teams. I’ve had a couple of owners pipe up about this and are unhappy about the situation, namely the ones impacted in the toilet bowl bracket. The owner playing me, “Mr. C”, is potentially an easier opponent for the other owners not to mention the guy who is now in the toilet bowl instead of Mr. C is rather annoyed.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Clearly it’s a strategic move on my part to try and maneuver seedings for a desired matchup and frankly even if it wasn’t me I could understand any owner managing their team for their own benefit, but I’d like to hear non-biased viewpoints from uninvolved parties. There are no rules against tanking in our league, only the punishment for the toilet bowl "Champion", which is a stiff monetary penalty and a public humiliation to prevent teams from tanking entirely or stop paying attention.

Also, another owner suggested a penalty of say 20 bucks for starting a player who is ruled out prior to game time. I think that’s a good idea to penalize someone who want’s to throw a game or isn’t paying attention throughout the year. For the record I would have ponied up the additional 40 bucks happily to try and improve my situation.

Thanks for the help!

 

Don't Noonan

Footballguy
If tanking affects other owners ability to make the playoffs I am against it.  I would not have done what you did and understand why owners are upset.

I am in a little different scenario right now.  I am locked into making the playoffs whether I win or lose this week and my opponent has no chance at playoffs.  If I win I am 3 seed and if I lose I am 5 seed.  I would much prefer to lose tonight and face the 4 seed as the 6 seed is loaded and would be a much tougher match up.  I am behind slightly going in to tonight with Ertz and I am considering benching him.  I feel like karma will bite me if I do.  Not sure what I will do.

 

fightingillini

Footballguy
I have 20 years of FF experience, and tanking to get a better playoff matchup has bitten that owner in the a$$ a lot more than it has worked.

Also it isn't cool to tank and possibly prevent someone else to make the playoffs because you gave an owner an easy win....which that owner may need to win to get into the playoffs.

 

habsfan

Footballguy
I'm not sure what you're looking for. The "unbiased" response is that you have no rules against this so everything else is kind of extraneous. If you want to get into biased responses, that's a different conversation.

 

wakelawyer

Footballguy
jreesman said:
... I’m also the commissioner ...

I did throw the match by putting in Trubiski (out) and Fournette (suspended) and benching Tyreek Hill for a backup starter who ironically scored about the same amount of points. ...

However, because I lost my game the owner I played, let's call him “Mr. C”, actually avoided our toilet bowl losers bracket, which is the bottom 4 teams. ...

What are your guys thoughts on this? ... 

Thanks for the help!




1
I think that you shouldn't be commishing any leagues.  But you got a set of brass ones.  You're the commish and decide to tank to help your playoff position/seeding even though you know it will impact others.  It blows up in your face.  Owners get mad at you.  And you are here with the apparent hope that people will support you.

I won't be one of them.  

As a commish you need to stand above the fray and avoid looking for loopholes.  I would be looking for another league if you were my commish.  You may be a great person outside of this game but I certainly expect more from those that run my leagues.  And I live up to that expectation in leagues I run.

 

iamkoza

Footballguy
hopefully your league can grow from this. lineup fines are key, we fine if any inactive player is in a starting lineup. IMO, technically... if there are no rules governing this then it is what it is. I wouldnt have done it, the bad karma is not worth the minuscule paper gains. As the commish you probably should have known this would really piss people off... and instead of trying to take advantage of the situation, remember that it was possible and enact rules next season to prevent it from happening

 
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kutta

Footballguy
It's lame. Intentionally losing a game hurts the integrity of the league. I can sort of understand playing a worse guy - sort of a semi-tanking if you will. But to start a guy on IR or who is out for any reason is just wrong and shouldn't be done or allowed.

 

doeseatplace

Footballguy
VII. STARTING LINEUP SUBMISSION

To ensure the league’s competitive balance during the regular season, prior to the Week 14, if an owner’s starting lineup includes a player or players

a) on NFL bye;

b) on the NFL Injured Reserve list; or

c) designated as “Out” on that week’s final injury report.

a bench player at the same position will be substituted into the starting lineup for that player(s)....Substitutions will be made at the discretion of the Commissioner using intuitive “logical starter” criteria (e.g. Julio Jones is a logical starter; a player who was in the starting lineup for multiple weeks prior to moving to the bench on his bye week is a logical starter; Dante Pettis is NOT a logical starter even though he dropped a 5-129-2 line.)  If there is truly no “logical starter”, the bench player at the same position with the lowest score that week will be substituted.

Prior to Week 14, if an owner’s starting lineup includes a player on NFL bye, on the NFL Injured Reserve list or designated as “Out” on that week’s final injury report, and there is not an available bench player at the same position to be substituted into the starting lineup, a $5 transaction fee will be applied. It’s your choice to give up prior to the end of the regular season, but it’s going to cost you.

 

Hilts

Footballguy
I think that you shouldn't be commishing any leagues.  But you got a set of brass ones.  You're the commish and decide to tank to help your playoff position/seeding even though you know it will impact others.  It blows up in your face.  Owners get mad at you.  And you are here with the apparent hope that people will support you.

I won't be one of them.  

As a commish you need to stand above the fray and avoid looking for loopholes.  I would be looking for another league if you were my commish.  You may be a great person outside of this game but I certainly expect more from those that run my leagues.  And I live up to that expectation in leagues I run.
This goes back to league expectations. A good commish should make sure everyone is on the same page before the season starts. As long as everyone knows this is fair game I have zero issue with the commissioner doing this. In fact I want the commissioner leading the charge on stuff like this. But again, that's assuming everyone knew this was fair play going into the season. I have a fantasy baseball league where it's made clear virtually anything and everything is fair game. It's a friends league we play for fun, but we're all aware of the rules at the start of the season. Tanking is 100% acceptable and a legitimate strategy some weeks. 

The fact other owners are unhappy here means it's unlikely everyone thought this was a legitimate move. Without explicit definition of what's fair, it's perfectly reasonable to think owners would default into thinking traditional rules apply. Which means the blatant tanking isn't ok. You can't suddenly break out a new gimmick to end the year that nobody was aware of being possible. 

 

Slider

Footballguy
Rarely works. I've been in leagues where this always happens and 90% of the time the underdog wins. It's like throwing a game to get a better draft pick. Dumb and rarely pays off.

 

Lionsfan011

Footballguy
I think that you shouldn't be commishing any leagues.  But you got a set of brass ones.  You're the commish and decide to tank to help your playoff position/seeding even though you know it will impact others.  It blows up in your face.  Owners get mad at you.  And you are here with the apparent hope that people will support you.

I won't be one of them.  

As a commish you need to stand above the fray and avoid looking for loopholes.  I would be looking for another league if you were my commish.  You may be a great person outside of this game but I certainly expect more from those that run my leagues.  And I live up to that expectation in leagues I run.


This goes back to league expectations. A good commish should make sure everyone is on the same page before the season starts. As long as everyone knows this is fair game I have zero issue with the commissioner doing this. In fact I want the commissioner leading the charge on stuff like this. But again, that's assuming everyone knew this was fair play going into the season. I have a fantasy baseball league where it's made clear virtually anything and everything is fair game. It's a friends league we play for fun, but we're all aware of the rules at the start of the season. Tanking is 100% acceptable and a legitimate strategy some weeks. 

The fact other owners are unhappy here means it's unlikely everyone thought this was a legitimate move. Without explicit definition of what's fair, it's perfectly reasonable to think owners would default into thinking traditional rules apply. Which means the blatant tanking isn't ok. You can't suddenly break out a new gimmick to end the year that nobody was aware of being possible. 
Agree 100% with both of these. The OP needs to be the moral highground as the commissioner. FF seasons will come and go and I'm sure the OP will win or be in contention his fair share of the time. Keeping league integrity should be the main priority as a commish. There are 4 upset owners over the OP's because he used a loophole that puts each of the other 4 teams in a worse position. I'd want to remedy that situation quickly to keep league integrity and ensure those teams want to come back next year. It's not too late to correct the situation. Reach out to the league (message board, email, whatever) and explain that after consideration you realize your tanking in Week 13 had side effects that affected the toilet bowl. Offer to pay up the monetary fee for the toilet bowl winner and announce the league will discuss rule changes in the off-season to prevent situations like this from happening again.

 

GregR

Footballguy
Commissioners should hold their own actions to a higher standard.  A commish's duty is to clear up ethical loopholes, not exploit them. He is supposed to be the person that when this kind of issue comes up, the rest of the league can trust to be looking out for the integrity of the league as a whole.  The commish shouldn't be the one engaging in the behavior.

At the very least, a commish in a situation involving ethics like this should bring up the action for the league to clarify BEFORE engaging in it.  A commish should be able to tell owners if they think something they are considering is unclear both in the rules and ethically they should talk to you first before doing it.  A commish who engages in such himself calls into question his ability to make wise decisions for the best of the league.

As far as dealing with it, a commish penalizing himself for a poorly chosen action more than he might have another team who did the same will often be viewed most favorably by the league in restoring confidence in the commish.

And whatever you do, have the league agree to an ironclad rule on what is and isn't allowed in this area going forward.

On this topic, I would add... if you award a wild card spot for something like "best total points scored among remaining teams", then teams can sometimes be put into scenarios where winning their game actually eliminates them from the playoffs while losing gets them in.  In such leagues you should definitely discuss that scenario explicitly with the league.

 

jreesman

Footballguy
Thanks for the replies everyone. Feedback is appreciated and welcomed.

To clarify for some of you that mentioned operating outside of the leagues expectations regarding tanking. This is a keeper league and teams often trade away players for future draft picks in the upcoming draft. They have to manage their tanking with the offsetting penalty of our toilet bowl punishments, so the idea of purposefully making your team worse isn't a new idea or concept for our league. This isn't a gigantic issue for our league and I did mention I had a few owners that were upset. It was one owner in particular who was directly impacted along with his brother and long-time best friend who came to his aid in arguing that this was an unfair tactic. To me it seemed more like frustration with the outcome not in their favor rather than frustration with the strategy itself. Other than those few no one else had a problem with it and a number of owners sided with me on the strategy of managing your team for your benefit, which is the ethos we operate the league under. The guiding principle is to manage your team to the best of your ability to win. That can be to win this year or to tank in order to improve your chances to win in future years. 

Ultimately, we decided as a league that we are going to be voting before the draft next year to institute a monetary penalty for starting inactive players in your roster. Thanks to those of you with constructive feedback.

 

kutta

Footballguy
Thanks for the replies everyone. Feedback is appreciated and welcomed.

To clarify for some of you that mentioned operating outside of the leagues expectations regarding tanking. This is a keeper league and teams often trade away players for future draft picks in the upcoming draft. They have to manage their tanking with the offsetting penalty of our toilet bowl punishments, so the idea of purposefully making your team worse isn't a new idea or concept for our league. This isn't a gigantic issue for our league and I did mention I had a few owners that were upset. It was one owner in particular who was directly impacted along with his brother and long-time best friend who came to his aid in arguing that this was an unfair tactic. To me it seemed more like frustration with the outcome not in their favor rather than frustration with the strategy itself. Other than those few no one else had a problem with it and a number of owners sided with me on the strategy of managing your team for your benefit, which is the ethos we operate the league under. The guiding principle is to manage your team to the best of your ability to win. That can be to win this year or to tank in order to improve your chances to win in future years. 

Ultimately, we decided as a league that we are going to be voting before the draft next year to institute a monetary penalty for starting inactive players in your roster. Thanks to those of you with constructive feedback.
Well, it's actually worse in a keeper/dynasty league because you directly influence other peoples' draft slots for the following year by tanking, so it should be even more prohibited than in a redraft. You guys should really consider just outright outlawing tanking - you may not like the results down the road if you don't.

 
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Anarchy99

Footballguy
I don't have a problem if owners don't necessarily go all out to win, but I do draw the line at intentionally inserting players that are out or suspended. If you don't want to play Todd Gurley and you want to start Theo Riddick instead, fine. But intentionally pulling someone out of the line up that is not playing shows poor sportsmanship IMO. Fining teams for not posting a legal line up would help minimize this phenomenon.

Another potential solution is to let the highest playoff seed pick his playoff opponent. In some leagues I have played in, the three division winners made the playoffs based on record and the wild card team was the remaining highest scoring team. Most years, that team could be the best overall team and most years the real league championship was in the 1 vs. 4 semi final. When we added a pick-the-team-you-want-to-face provision, that made for some interesting playoffs.

 

Gally

Footballguy
Thanks for the replies everyone. Feedback is appreciated and welcomed.

To clarify for some of you that mentioned operating outside of the leagues expectations regarding tanking. This is a keeper league and teams often trade away players for future draft picks in the upcoming draft. They have to manage their tanking with the offsetting penalty of our toilet bowl punishments, so the idea of purposefully making your team worse isn't a new idea or concept for our league. This isn't a gigantic issue for our league and I did mention I had a few owners that were upset. It was one owner in particular who was directly impacted along with his brother and long-time best friend who came to his aid in arguing that this was an unfair tactic. To me it seemed more like frustration with the outcome not in their favor rather than frustration with the strategy itself. Other than those few no one else had a problem with it and a number of owners sided with me on the strategy of managing your team for your benefit, which is the ethos we operate the league under. The guiding principle is to manage your team to the best of your ability to win. That can be to win this year or to tank in order to improve your chances to win in future years. 

Ultimately, we decided as a league that we are going to be voting before the draft next year to institute a monetary penalty for starting inactive players in your roster. Thanks to those of you with constructive feedback.
Trading away players for future assets and purposefully putting inactive players into your lineup to try and lose are vastly different things and are no where near the same thing.  The fact you are trying to compare these two things as proof that what you did is ok is even worse.  I would not want you as a commish for my leagues.  I know that is harsh but as others have said the commish needs to be above reproach and always do what is in the best interest of the league as a whole even if it hurts his own team.   You have proven that you are willing to taint the league by purposefully trying to lose (especially when it has other affects beyond just your game) and then try and make excuses as to why it is ok because others have "tanked" by trading away current assets for future ones.  A commish needs to know and understand that those two things are not the same thing. 

You seem like a decent guy but you don't seem to have the thought process to be a successful commish. 

 
There's a guy in my league thinking about pulling his one defensive players in order to get a better seeding. I think that's his choice and these things seem to work themselves out.

 

Gally

Footballguy
There's a guy in my league thinking about pulling his one defensive players in order to get a better seeding. I think that's his choice and these things seem to work themselves out.
Is he worried about going negative?  How could pulling out a player get you a better seed unless negative points would make him lose?  I guess you could mean a theoretically better matchup instead of better seeding. 

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
There's a guy in my league thinking about pulling his one defensive players in order to get a better seeding. I think that's his choice and these things seem to work themselves out.
Yeah, these moves tend to backfire. We had a guy lose on purpose one year so that he could get the #6 seed (so he would get to play the #3 seed in the first round)....but his point total that week was so low that the guy who was #7 ended up leapfrogging him, and he had to play the #2 team in the first round. Which he lost.

 
Is he worried about going negative?  How could pulling out a player get you a better seed unless negative points would make him lose?  I guess you could mean a theoretically better matchup instead of better seeding. 
He would end up losing this close matchup if he pulls this guy tonight.

 

ShamrockPride

Footballguy
You're commish doing this kinda bush league stuff? Setting a strong precedent for your league there.

As commish of my league I tell everyone, if I gotta tell teams not to tank for matchups affecting playoffs, I gotta tell the bad teams likewise not to tank for draft position. Just keep the message consistent.

 

wakelawyer

Footballguy
Thanks for the replies everyone. Feedback is appreciated and welcomed.

To clarify for some of you that mentioned operating outside of the leagues expectations regarding tanking. This is a keeper league and teams often trade away players for future draft picks in the upcoming draft. They have to manage their tanking with the offsetting penalty of our toilet bowl punishments, so the idea of purposefully making your team worse isn't a new idea or concept for our league. This isn't a gigantic issue for our league and I did mention I had a few owners that were upset. It was one owner in particular who was directly impacted along with his brother and long-time best friend who came to his aid in arguing that this was an unfair tactic. To me it seemed more like frustration with the outcome not in their favor rather than frustration with the strategy itself. Other than those few no one else had a problem with it and a number of owners sided with me on the strategy of managing your team for your benefit, which is the ethos we operate the league under. The guiding principle is to manage your team to the best of your ability to win. That can be to win this year or to tank in order to improve your chances to win in future years. 

Ultimately, we decided as a league that we are going to be voting before the draft next year to institute a monetary penalty for starting inactive players in your roster. Thanks to those of you with constructive feedback.
Thanks for the clarification.  I commish one long-standing keeper league (almost 30 years now) and teams start selling off assets fairly early which does impact other teams.  And creates a huge divide in talent by the time you get to the last few games.  But I do see that as being a bit different because we require teams to field an active lineup even if they have sold off all valuable assets.  We don't base draft order off previous year finish and we do waivers based on record (I know, not my favorite but it works there) so many teams that have given up actively mine the waiver wire to get assets they can trade.  But I do see this as being different.

And, to be honest and I realize it may not seem fair, I probably wouldn't have an issue if you weren't the commish.  There does not appear to be an express prohibition but it seems untoward and it appears to have never done before.  But I think that the commish (unfairly for him/her perhaps) should be looking to spot loopholes and close them rather than exploit them.  So I'd rather not do something like this.  And would hope that my commishes in other leagues wouldn't either.

 

Inhiding

Footballguy
Slight shift in topic from the OP, but a guy in our small stakes ($25) Yahoo league.  I qualified for the playoffs in the 3 spot.  The 6th spot Team A, wants to give his spot to Team B, in the 7th spot.  Team A is not fielding a squad this week, ensuring me a path to victory.  Team A & B have the same record, and about 40 points difference.  Team A lost J Conner and E Sanders this week.  I picked up Samuels when Conner exited the game last week, blocking Team A from picking him up and I ended up playing Team A in 1st round of playoffs!!  Makes this even better.  Team A is calling it the spirit of competition and I am an a$$ for not having any of it.  I can't even believe the commish let it get that far into the conversation, but he did.  He claims why should my team get to play against a squad with Conner/Sanders out and not at full strength.  he doens't like the fact that injuries and bye weeks occur. 

Maybe he needs to find a different hobby if injuries and bye weeks affect the games... 

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
Slight shift in topic from the OP, but a guy in our small stakes ($25) Yahoo league.  I qualified for the playoffs in the 3 spot.  The 6th spot Team A, wants to give his spot to Team B, in the 7th spot.  Team A is not fielding a squad this week, ensuring me a path to victory.  Team A & B have the same record, and about 40 points difference.  Team A lost J Conner and E Sanders this week.  I picked up Samuels when Conner exited the game last week, blocking Team A from picking him up and I ended up playing Team A in 1st round of playoffs!!  Makes this even better.  Team A is calling it the spirit of competition and I am an a$$ for not having any of it.  I can't even believe the commish let it get that far into the conversation, but he did.  He claims why should my team get to play against a squad with Conner/Sanders out and not at full strength.  he doens't like the fact that injuries and bye weeks occur. 

Maybe he needs to find a different hobby if injuries and bye weeks affect the games... 
WTF?

So the commissioner is going to replace a team in the playoffs with a non-playoff team because Team A isn't at full strength? This is all text book collusion type shenanigans - don't be surprised if Team B is going to split any winnings with Team A.

 

Deamon

Footballguy
Slight shift in topic from the OP, but a guy in our small stakes ($25) Yahoo league.  I qualified for the playoffs in the 3 spot.  The 6th spot Team A, wants to give his spot to Team B, in the 7th spot.  Team A is not fielding a squad this week, ensuring me a path to victory.  Team A & B have the same record, and about 40 points difference.  Team A lost J Conner and E Sanders this week.  I picked up Samuels when Conner exited the game last week, blocking Team A from picking him up and I ended up playing Team A in 1st round of playoffs!!  Makes this even better.  Team A is calling it the spirit of competition and I am an a$$ for not having any of it.  I can't even believe the commish let it get that far into the conversation, but he did.  He claims why should my team get to play against a squad with Conner/Sanders out and not at full strength.  he doens't like the fact that injuries and bye weeks occur. 

Maybe he needs to find a different hobby if injuries and bye weeks affect the games... 
Ya this is actually hilarious.  Not sure how it's blocking him, you probably will start Samuels in your TE spot anyways this week, won't you?  Or at least a flex spot?

Obviously your commish isn't considering putting the 7th place team in that spot is he?  If he wants to field no team in the playoffs then let him.

 

Inhiding

Footballguy
WTF?

So the commissioner is going to replace a team in the playoffs with a non-playoff team because Team A isn't at full strength? This is all text book collusion type shenanigans - don't be surprised if Team B is going to split any winnings with Team A.
The commish isn't letting this fly as I posted it to our message board and people are speaking out against it.  The commish is like whatever.. but the Team A owner is pitching a fit. 

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
The commish isn't letting this fly as I posted it to our message board and people are speaking out against it.  The commish is like whatever.. but the Team A owner is pitching a fit. 
So Team A is pitching a fit because he made the playoffs but lost Conner and Sanders to injury? Is this his first year playing fantasy football? If so, maybe its not for him.

 

cockroach

Footballguy
Ultimately, we decided as a league that we are going to be voting before the draft next year to institute a monetary penalty for starting inactive players in your roster. Thanks to those of you with constructive feedback.
Which really solves nothing as you've already stated that you'd still tank and just pay the fine.  

I would not play in a league (especially for significant dough) with a commish that thought and acted like you. 

 

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
As long as you are not starting players who are ruled out put whatever lineup you want in.  Just think if Henry was on your bench and you started him to tank expecting 30-40 total yards...can`t predict what will happen in any given game.

 

Don't Noonan

Footballguy
If tanking affects other owners ability to make the playoffs I am against it.  I would not have done what you did and understand why owners are upset.

I am in a little different scenario right now.  I am locked into making the playoffs whether I win or lose this week and my opponent has no chance at playoffs.  If I win I am 3 seed and if I lose I am 5 seed.  I would much prefer to lose tonight and face the 4 seed as the 6 seed is loaded and would be a much tougher match up.  I am behind slightly going in to tonight with Ertz and I am considering benching him.  I feel like karma will bite me if I do.  Not sure what I will do.
I guess I should have tanked and sat Ertz.  Would have won if I did but intead I ran into Julio Jones, Barkley, Kittle combo.

 

Don't Noonan

Footballguy
If tanking affects other owners ability to make the playoffs I am against it.  I would not have done what you did and understand why owners are upset.

I am in a little different scenario right now.  I am locked into making the playoffs whether I win or lose this week and my opponent has no chance at playoffs.  If I win I am 3 seed and if I lose I am 5 seed.  I would much prefer to lose tonight and face the 4 seed as the 6 seed is loaded and would be a much tougher match up.  I am behind slightly going in to tonight with Ertz and I am considering benching him.  I feel like karma will bite me if I do.  Not sure what I will do.
Never again.  I should have went with my gut.  I didn't pull Ertz and won by 2 in week 13 which put me as 3 seed and faced the 6 seed who I did not want to face.  I lost week 14.  Had I tanked and lost week 13 I would have been 5 seed and coasted to a championship today behind Rodgers/McCaffrey/Ertz.

 

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