Tanking (when it's strategically good for a team)

My 12 team league has a punishment for the bottom 2 teams. One team currently in bottom 4 wants to tank the rest of the season because he thinks he has a better chance to win in the first week of the consolation bracket (wk 14) against the team who will probably be in the 9th seed and avoid the punishment. He is also playing 2 teams in contention for playoffs over the next 3 weeks and tanking will give them a huge advantage. How should this be handled as the commish?

If your league has rules against tanking, then you need to enforce those rules. If there are none other than the last place punishment, then there is no further action to be taken.

Out of curiosity what is the punishment for the bottom 2 teams?

Yeah, we just decided as a league you have to roster a full team, but it can be with bad players as long as they’re active.

And the bottom 2 teams need to run a 5k in NYC and whoever loses that race has to do standup comedy at an open mic night


This similar 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 and by losing in week 13 I could potentially (contingent on other games) 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 will ended up losing my game barring a 20 point performance from Jordan Reed (haaaaaaaaa!!), but the rest of the scenario didn’t play out the way I needed as I needed the #6 seed to win and he suuuuuuuuucks at roster management. Anyways…

However, because I lost my game the owner I played (call him “Mr. C”) actually avoided our toilet bowl loser’s 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 possibly an easier opponent for the other owners not to mention the guy who is now in the toilet bowl instead of Mr. C is annoyed.

What are your guys thoughts on this? Clearly it’s a strategic move on my part and frankly even if it wasn’t my team involved I could understand any owner managing their team for their own benefit. I do see why teams negatively impacted are upset, but I’d like to hear non-biased viewpoints. We do not have any rules specifically against tanking other than the league punishment, which is rather brutal with a monetary punishment and a public humiliation there to help prevent it.

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.

Thanks for the help!

It’s a great discussion. For me, it all falls back to the rules or by-laws set out in your specific league. If there are no rules against it than despite it’s ambiguous nature,there is no recourse.

From a perspective where a league is crafting the bylaws to prevent or allow this scenario, I have specific opinions.

I would always prevent a team from starting players who are out or suspended. At it’s core this is contrary to the objective to the game. That being to score more points that one’s opponent.

Obviously there has to be a little leeway. For example a team starts a player who is expected to play and then is ruled out 90 minutes before the game. There is no expectation that the franchise owner is available at 11:30am ET on Sunday when they’ve had all week to set a lineup.

In general, the only way to appropriately tank is to roster a bad team. Trade away starters for prospects and picks. You are still starting your best lineup. It’s just not objectively as good as others.

The other reason I would take issue with this type of strategy is it requires that you have the ‘ability’ to predict the outcome. In my opinion this is not a reliable probability from which to generate a strategy.

Finally, let’s say it did work out and you play the #3 seed. You then lose that match up but would have won against both your week 13 opponent and the alternative playoff seed. Can you live with that decision? I would prefer to play to by best possible outcome and let variance and the football gods figure out the rest.

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So i had a league that had some serious issues of tanking a couple years ago. What was decided was that we will no longer use season record to determine draft order.

We use Potential Points. So if you bench a stud for a dude so you can lose, it doesnt effect your draft position as Potential Points takes your best lineup each week into consideration. This isnt a perfect system, but it gives the worst teams the better picks and means that owners cant tank on purpose to help themselves.

Tanking issues have become nearly non-existant now.

This rule does not take into account a good team having bad luck and missing the playoffs because of bad matchups or poor lineup decisions by the manager.