Ask The Commish: Is it Too Late to Change Playoff Slots?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

I’ve got a 2-6 team who isn’t managing their roster like they should. The last three weeks they have started players who were out, and I’ve had to tell them to take active players off IR twice. I don’t want to try and replace someone halfway into the season, but I don’t want to have to manage them like I have been. They only do something if I push them to. Any suggestions?



First, I wouldn’t kick them out. I, at least, don’t think there’s any grounds for that. Perhaps I wouldn’t bring them back next year if they didn’t do better, but I wouldn’t kick them out.


I would, however, step up my communication with this person, and explain to them that it would be great if they took care of their IR (injured reserved) situation without me prodding them about it. I addressed the IR issue first because that’s a clear violation of the rules. You can’t have players in an IR slot who don’t have an IR designation. At least that’s the way it should be. I actually heard a caller on a fantasy show talk about an active player that he had on IR. I don’t know why that would be allowed in any fantasy league. Apparently these leagues exist.



Next, if your league mate is starting players who aren’t playing, and they’re losing as result, then that’s on them. Their stinky record may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I personally, would say something to them. I would express my wish for them to at least compete, no matter what their record happens to be. I would urge them to step up and play the role of spoiler. I would promote the idea that it’s fun to make if difficult for the best teams to claim the crown, even though I might not be able to claim it myself. It’s like slapping the “Draw 4” card on someone about to win in Uno. It feels good to say, “Nope! Not yet, baby.” That would be it, other than that. It’s not my job to help manage someone else’s team.


There are some commissioners who would disagree with this position. They will take on the custodial role for other managers. However, some find that it becomes too much after they’ve enabled a slacker manager to remain so because the commissioner has decided to hold their hand. They soon find out that others want the same type of treatment. Do they help them too? Who do they turn away? When do they decline, and which manager gets mad because they’re the one who the commissioner finally decided not to help them in the same way? Next thing you know, running a fantasy league sucks! I get those letters.



There’ s a big difference between sending out a weekly reminder for folks to keep their roster current, and actively engaging in prompting specific roster decisions, or even simply actively seeking out discussing such things. Remember the whole kerfuffle about Alvin Kamara in London about a month ago? There were actually some commissioners who thought it was okay to swap Kamara for another player, unprompted by the Kamara manager, in the name of helping out. I’m totally against that type of action.



You said you don’t want to manage them, so you need to let them be. It stinks, right? But, I believe having to continually counsel someone about their roster management shouldn’t be part of your role as commissioner. Step in if they’re breaking an actual rule, like in the case of having a viable player in the IR slot. You have every right to press them about the IR slot business, even though they should be taking care of that themselves. I think you should step back otherwise.





You think it’s too late in the season to change the number of playoff slots?


Not necessarily. Would I do it? Probably not. First of all, you’d have to whack me upside the head with a shovel, damaging my power of reasoning, in order for me to ever have a playoff in my league. For argument’s sake, if I ever ran some other league that had a playoff, I wouldn’t do what you’re asking. I would not want to open the door for people in the league to believe that I feel I can just change things on a whim simply because I’m the commissioner. Which brings me to …


Why do you want to change the number of teams? Why can’t you expand the number of playoff teams next year? What’s the real reason? Do you want to do it because you’re on the lower end rank-wise, and you foresee yourself not getting in? This happens, so yeah, I have to ask. Or, is it because you’re doing it because you think it would enhance the quality of competition for the league in some way? I think the former reason is shady.


I’m usually allergic to changing rules and such after the season starts, unless one feels they don’t have a choice. However, be honest with why you’re doing it. If you still decide to do it, make sure you announce it to the league first and be transparent with your reasoning.



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