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Should owners be required to field a full lineup?

Hey Footclan! Commissioner of a 10-team league of close buddies of mine. I have an interesting dilemma that occurred this past season and would like some opinions.

Towards the end of the season, perhaps week 13 or 14, Team A (already eliminated from playoff contention) was playing Team B (fighting for one of the last playoff spots). Team A’s TE and K were on bye. Instead of picking up another TE and K, he made the decision to keep 2 backup QB’s and 2 backup DEF’s on his bench, claiming that they were “too good” to drop and he didn’t want other teams to have them.

Of course, Team B ended up winning by 3 points, so literally almost any combination of TE and K would’ve won Team A the week. This infuriated a couple of other teams that were also fighting for playoff spots. I even had one owner threaten to quit the league if he didn’t make the playoffs. Luckily, catastrophe was eventually averted since Team B did not make the playoffs.

My question: Is there anything that can be done about this? Is there a rule that can be done to prevent this? SHOULD there be a rule to prevent this?

It sounds like there was no rule against this last year so it played out as it should. You can’t enforce a rule you don’t have. I would also suggest that even if Team A did submit a full lineup with a TE and K there is no guarantee they would have one. There are no guarantees in fantasy football.

Is this a redraft or dynasty league?

In terms of whether this type of activity should be restricted (through the implementation of a new rule) I would suggest, yes. However that is purely an opinion. I would institute rule that states a full lineup be submitted each and every week.

Does your league allow for tanking? This question is outside of simply not submitting a full lineup. In your league, what occurs If Team A start sDex Bryant in week 14 over Davante Adams?

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Redraft. Last place punishment and there’s no incentive if you come in last (like first choice of pick next season), so no real point in tanking, but we don’t have any specific rules to enforce it.

I realize we don’t have any rules for this situation currently, but I’m just wondering if it is “ethical.” Maybe I could say “You have to field a full lineup” then increase the bench size by a couple of spots as a compromise.

Is there money on the line in this league? I would suggest a weekly prize to help support the idea of always starting a full lineup. You could be out of playoffs but still win the weekly prize.

I’m also concerned about that owner (i understand that it’s a friends league so not likely kicking them out). What’s the point in holding a backup QB or DEF in week 13/14 if you’re already out and there is no advantage to tanking?

For me ethics doesn’t come into play in this situation. Is it ethical to give up? That’s what it sounds like.

Yes all teams should have to set a lineup with all active players. Having teams with incomplete lineups hurts the integrity and competitiveness of the league overall. No one should be receiving free wins due to other owners giving up. If it is a money league I would try alternate payouts such as weekly high scorer, highest scoring player for the week, consolation winner etc.

You should put a rule in place to prevent this from happening in future seasons. If there wasn’t a rule in place you can’t really do anything about the past, but it’s a fundamental part of playing fantasy that everyone at least plays a full lineup. I make it clear in the league I run at the beginning of the year that there are only two rules: don’t collude and always set your lineup.

In the leagues I commission, I force people to field full lineups every week. Anyone who doesn’t has some form of penalty applied specifically for that reason. Teams eliminatd from playoffs should still compete to win every week.

I’m an old timer and Commish of a 20+ yr old, 14 team keeper league. We use a format we call, Top Half Cut Line. Simply put, top half of weekly scores Win, bottom half of weekly scores Lose. It eliminates bad beats, and would also be helpful in this situation, where one team has a walk over victory with playoff implications. You can find out more about how it works in my forum post under General Fantasy Football Talk.