Ask The Commish: Trade Analyzers and Delinquent Dues

By Reginald James
Reginald James

This is my first year of a league I started. I read your story last week about  having a deadline for getting dues. I felt pretty good because that’s exactly what I had for my league. I had actually thought about that. Problem is, I didn’t really say what I would do if I didn’t get the money. Guess I was guilty of being an optimist? So what do I do now because I do have someone who still owes money? I never thought to make a list of replacements like you suggested, but I do have someone I can replace them with. But I didn’t say that I would replace someone if they didn’t pay. I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to do what you suggested if I wasn’t clear about it from the start. Can you suggest other options? I have asked once after the deadline, and again this week.


First, good job new commissioner, for at least setting the bar at the very start when it comes to expecting your league members to pay the pool money by a certain date. You are totally correct with your reasoning about whether or not you should outright replace the person at this very moment. The best part of all of this: you’re acknowledging your error of not definitively spelling out the consequence of not meeting the deadline. You’re owning it. Cool.


No, you shouldn’t blindside them with an ejection when that wasn’t originally pointed out as a possibility. However, you totally have the right to reach out again (for the third time, right?) and tell them you need the money by an upcoming date, and if they’re not going to pay by then, they’ll be replaced. You can certainly give them that condition now with your next request - which you shouldn’t have to be doing anyway.


You didn’t say what their response was, or whether they responded to you at all when you asked the last couple of times. I’m going to assume they weren’t communicative. If for some reason, it makes you feel better by knowing why they’re not paying, then try to have an actual conversation with them first before you take the next step  Maybe they can’t pay because of financial hardship. Whatever the reason, they’ve created an unnecessary issue for you because they haven’t done what they’re obligated to do. It’s in your (and the league’s) best interest to settle this as soon as possible. If you feel it would be better if you settled this without kicking them out, then work towards that. The fact that you have a replacement ready, works in your favor if your fantasy transgressor decides to negatively act out.

Suffice to say, I know you’ll take care of your “loophole” by the time next season rolls around, eh? Let me know how it works out.


I have waivers set so that the last place team gets the top choice each week. I want to change it to FAAB. Unfortunately, I co-commish the league, and they are against it. They don’t have a problem with FAAB, but they say it’s too late to change it now. I say the season just started so it’s not going to make a big difference. What’s your opinion on this?

I agree with … both of you. I lock arms with both of you regarding FAAB (Free Agency Acquisition Budget). I believe that FAAB is the way to go when it comes to waivers, and your league should adopt that type of waiver process. I’m not a fan of the notion that the last place team should get rewarded (for not doing well), by getting the first pick each week. I then cross the aisle to your co-commissioner’s side, because I agree with them that it is too late to change it now.


You’ve run waivers at least once already, right? That means your league has already set sail with teams lowest in the standings likely getting first dibs at the players that were perceived to be the most coveted, thereby negating the chance for everyone else getting an equal shot. I’d also like to point out that the members of your league certainly drafted a specific way with your current waiver process in mind. For example, some may have purposefully drafted the viable backup to their RB1. On the other hand, if you were rolling with FAAB, maybe some of those same managers would’ve decided to forego choosing the backup to their starter, and drafted another player instead. They may have felt fine gambling that they’d be able to outbid others for their backup later in the season if necessary. I fully agree you should convert to using FAAB for your league, but It’s too late for you two to alter course now. Flipping the script now wouldn’t be fair. Modify your waiver process next year.


I finally decided to start my own league. I’ve been in leagues in the past where managers got to vote on trades. I hated that whole thing, and I’m no longer in any leagues that does that. I knew I didn’t want that in my own and I knew I would be the only one to decide if a trade was fair or not. No one has traded in our league yet, but I want to be prepared because I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later. I’ve been looking at different trade analyzers. Is there one that you have used or recommend?


I don’t think commissioners should use a trade analyzer of any kind. When a trade pops up on your radar, you’re looking to see if two members are dumb enough to try to carryout some form of collusive behavior. For example, are two people trying to create a super team? Some players will also try to get away with borrowing players during a Bye Week for instance, then swapping them back later. If you can’t prove that the dealmakers are colluding in any way, then the trade goes through. That’s it. Both parties involved in a trade know exactly why they are asking for someone else’s players and trading their own. Neither you, nor a trade analyzer, can make that claim. I could end it here, but since this your first time running a league, I’m going to expand on this a bit.


I know others will disagree with me on this (maybe you will as well), but it’s not a commissioner’s job:

• to decide if a trade is fair based on whether or not they would do the trade themselves, or

• to determine whether or not someone is getting the better end of the deal, and then deny or reverse a trade, if they feel that one party has taken advantage of the other.


Yes, some trades will appear “lopsided” sometimes. It happens. Yet no commissioner should be swooping in, nullifying a trade in an effort to “save” someone.


What I want you to do, my fellow commissioner, is something I would say most others fail at, which is: take a moment and consider that maybe the person who later comes to the conclusion that they made a mistake, that they could’ve done a better job trading, may actually learn from their mistake. They may actually become a better trader the next time around. They might be more methodical in their approach. They may do more research, ask better questions, or visualize the endgame in their heads better, before they make a final decision. As a result, they may become a better overall player in your league based on their acquired experience. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Isn’t that what we all want? Good, and experienced players in our leagues?


How many of us have had a relationship that ended badly? How many of us, maybe a couple of weeks or months later thought, “Why did I do that/put up with that nonsense in the first place? I’ll never do that again!” Exactly. Lesson learned (hopefully). By the way, maybe the other league members will adapt and evolve, and come up with their own (and perhaps better) strategies on how to compete against a suddenly stronger opponent. Imagine that.


Consider letting all of these dynamics play out in your league, commissioner. If you have a sincere, vested interest in the longevity of your league, you may have to hold your nose and let some trades go through that you absolutely, positively don't agree with in principle. That comes with the territory sometimes. A trade analyzer has no part in any of this. It all comes down to you and what kind of bar you’re willing to set.



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