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Fantasy Sports Etiquette 101

When it comes to fantasy sports, etiquette in your league is of utmost importance. Using bad etiquette can have consequences, but for the most part those consequences are social. For example: You may be ignored when a manager is shopping a player as a result of poor rapport with the trading manager. With trading being such a huge part of fantasy sports, you want to make sure that you adhere to the rules of etiquette, in order to build and preserve trade relationships and to help maintain the integrity of your league.


Most leagues include a group of friends, or friends of friends. When communicating in league forums, unless you know everyone in the league personally, it is recommended to keep all political and religious views to yourself. This is a sports league, not a political forum. You want to keep the league fun, and whenever politics and religion are brought up, this can lead to some fairly heated discussions.

Other issues may arise as well. In many fantasy leagues, owners will get upset with one another, or the commissioner, and it is important to keep these issues private. Simply put, no one needs to know why you and Sally don’t get along. It doesn’t benefit anyone to get drawn into an argument or dispute between two managers. If you have a gripe with a decision another manager or the Commissioner has made, address it with him/her privately, and attempt to resolve it between the two of you.


I once heard of a full redraft league that had no trade veto process, so every trade was automatically put through. They ran into some trouble when a non-playoff team traded away all their top talent to a playoff team. Since they didn’t have protection against it, the trade went through and the obvious winner of the trade won the league. Otherwise, most leagues have some sort of trade veto process. Whether it is league majority, or commissioner decision, ultimately every trade is reviewed in some capacity. When is comes to deciding on whether or not to veto a trade, every manager has their own views on the values of players involved. I have the belief that every manager paid to play, and it’s their players to trade for whatever they want. However, I will veto a trade for two reasons. The first is if I believe that collusion is involved, such as in my example above, or if the trade is so bad that it damages the integrity of the league. When deciding on whether or not to veto a trade, make sure you do it for the right reasons. Don’t veto a trade because you didn’t land that player, or one manager wins the trade, or because you don’t like the other managers. We are all here to compete, and no one wants to play in a league where every trade is vetoed.


Definition: secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.

If you are in a fantasy league, it is very important to keep things honest. I get that there has to be a healthy amount of gamesmanship, but don’t cross the line into dishonest territory. Collusion occurs when you and another manager discuss working together to help one manager gain an advantage for other considerations. Considerations could be monetary, future deals, or just helping a friend out. In fantasy sports, it is every person for themselves. This is more than etiquette, it is a requirement, but never put yourself in a position to partake in collusion. If you are approached by another manager, let your commissioner know, so they can take appropriate action.


[the_ad id=”384″]If you are making an offer for a player on another manager’s team, don’t start by offering them a low-ball offer. An example would be offering a fourth-round draft pick for the best player in the league. I get that no one want’s to start off a trade negotiation by offering the world, that would be bad business, but don’t try to get something for nothing, either. Other managers might get offended that you think they would even consider taking that terrible trade offer, and this could damage any possibilities of future trading. Try to find a fair deal that works for both of you, and build a good trading relationship. Ask yourself if you would accept that offer if the roles were reversed.


In most fantasy leagues, there is a group chat or forum. This is generally where owners trash talk, post a player’s availability, or just talk sport. I have seen other managers use this forum to publicly post what has been offered to them. In general, it is assumed that all negotiations are private, and should be kept that way. When a manager is known to publicly share trade offers with the intention of driving up the price, managers generally do not want to get involved. As an alternative, you can privately discuss with another manager that you have received an offer, but be vague. For example, I have been offered a top-tier player at position A, and a second-tier player at position B. What can you offer?


Before you send a trade offer to an opposing manager, analyze their team carefully. Some managers may get frustrated if you assume they are sellers prematurely. If you start offering another manager, who is currently sitting in a playoff spot, draft picks for his top players, they may get offended. Conversely, if a player is sitting out of a playoff spot, they likely don’t want to give you a draft pick for your aging superstar. Make smart trade offers to the right managers.


It is bad etiquette to not respond to trade offers promptly. If you want to think on it for a day or two, just communicate that with the other manager. Don’t be that manager that lets a trade sit in the queue for weeks without responding.

On a related note, a huge faux-pas to accept a pending trade after a significant change to their value has occurred. For example, you have a trade pending for a week when suddenly an injury occurs to the starter, catapulting the value of the player you have been offered, and you can now get him for next to nothing. The pending offer is incredible, especially based on the new information. However, it is extremely poor etiquette to accept the offer at that point. Cancel the offer and open up communication with the other manager if you want the player.


The worst part of a fantasy league is when a manager abandons his/her team and leaves it to run itself. Set your lineup every week and ensure that you don’t play a guy on a bye, even if that means you have to make some hard decisions. I have had to drop some key pieces in the past in order to field a full lineup, and it has always been a thorn in my side when other managers don’t. You should compete until the end, even if your team has been eliminated from contention.


[the_ad id=”3150″]The hardest part of running a league is collecting the league fees from all of the managers. Help your Commissioner out and pay your league fees on time, or prior to your draft. They may not tell you this, but they greatly appreciate it. Don’t put them in a position where they have to chase you for your league fees.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out The Monday Morning Sleeper every Monday for my advice on who has the potential to play beyond their rankings.

Follow me on Twitter, too: @HaehnelJames

If you have your own tips or pet peeves, let me know in the comments below.

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