Ask The Commish: My Commissioner is a Cheater

By Reginald James
Reginald James



I played my commissioner this past weekend, and I noticed he switched a couple players who hadn’t been doing well during the game. He ended up winning. Even if he hadn’t swapped players he still would’ve won btw. I confronted them, and they denied it, and said if I had proof, to show it. I don’t, but I don’t want to play in a league where the commissioner is cheating like this. I don’t want to leave the other guys in a lurch either. What should I do?



First of all, staying and saying nothing to the other league members is enabling his behavior. We’ll cross that idea off the list right now.


Talk to the other players to see if they’ve noticed the same thing when they’ve played him. Maybe someone does have proof, but hasn’t said anything to the rest of the league yet. If you compare notes and come up with similar observations, then you should call for the commissioner to resign and kick them out the league. If they refuse, actually carry out a mutiny. Have a roster strike where everyone clears their roster in protest. Disrupt the functioning of the league. The downside is that no one is playing fantasy football which is what you all gathered together to do.


If you don’t have proof, you can do one of two things. You can simply leave the league. Your second option would be to stick around, and alert his upcoming opponents. Tell them what happened to you, and make a plan hoping that the shady commissioner does it again, so you can catch him in the act the next time. Be sure to have his future opponents take screen shots of his roster pregame, during the games, and post. Get your proof. Kick him out. Decide ahead of time what you’re willing to do if he refuses to leave, e.g., the roster strike. The downside for this scenario is that while you’re spending time hoping you catch him, you remain in a league you don’t want to be in anymore. Additionally, everyone might not be interested in joining your crusade.


Ultimately, you have to decide if doing all of this is worth it. Your time has value. How long will it take to catch him in the act? Maybe he’ll wait until Week 15 to do something like this again. Maybe you stopped him from a repeat offense because you confronted him. The problem is, you now know he’s untrustworthy. I would want them gone too, or I’d go. Understandably, it would suck for you to leave because you want to play. You’ve already spent time and energy on this league. Perhaps you spent money too. It would feel like a huge waste to walk away with nothing to show for it.


Most importantly, don’t worry about leaving the others in a lurch. Don’t be a martyr for everyone else staying when you don’t want to. You have every right to leave. Cheating is bad in itself, but in fantasy football it’s even more egregious when it’s done by a commissioner who has been entrusted with the tools to manipulate scores, rosters, and rule settings at their whim.


If you choose to leave the league, make sure everyone knows why, and maybe others might leave with you.





I’m thinking about expanding our playoff teams from four to six. We have 12 teams. Making a move like this during the season isn’t something I would normally do because I don’t think you should make changes like this once the season begins, but everyone seems to be in favor of it. It wasn’t my idea, but I think if I do this, it would keep more people active because they have a chance for a playoff spot. Can I expand now or should I wait until next year?



I normally would say once the season starts, leave everything intact. You’re right to question whether or not you should change the playoff structure six weeks into the season. Whoever started this little movement, should’ve lobbied for it before the season started, but if everyone is in favor of it, then maybe you should consider making the change. However, everyone has to be onboard with it. Although you said everyone was in favor of it, don’t automatically make the adjustment to expand the seatings without having the league vote on it. Let’s see how in favor of it “everybody” really is. Make the league vote, logging their position as a matter of record. We’ll see what happens then.


Right now, the folks in first place can see a possible playoff future that doesn’t include the teams, who at the moment, occupy the bottom of your standings. The top teams would be likely to vote against expansion. The worst record a manager could have at this point would be 0-6. In a best case scenario, a six-game run would put them at .500 close to three quarters into the season. In a league with divisions (you didn’t indicate you had them) they may have a chance to get in. So they very well may vote in favor of expansion.


I can argue both sides of why you should keep the playoff cutoff to four, instead of expanding to six. I won’t do that here, but I will say, that you’re on point if you’’re expanding to encourage more league engagement. If you have an 0-6 team, this move would possibly give them hope going forward and keep them interested.


However, there is a big part of me, about 85%, that thinks you should just wait until next season. Reason being, if you make a change like this, you’re shifting the bar of expectations. You may be asked to change or modify a rule mid-season in the future.  You might not be totally in favor of the suggestion, but it may be hard for you to say “no” because you’ve already established that you’re willing to be swayed by popular opinion in the past. Think carefully about doing this. If “everybody” is into the idea now, they should be just as into it next season. I think you should wait and do it then.


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