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Fantasy Sports Etiquette 101: A Guide

There’s always one. Anyone who plays fantasy sports knows there are two negative aspects of fantasy sports; losing, and managers that don’t know how to conduct themselves appropriately. Just like the friend that stinks, no one wants to say anything until they snap. Share this guide to fantasy sports etiquette and bring them up to speed. If your aim is to be an antagonist league heel, do the opposite of everything in this guide.

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General Fantasy Sports Etiquette

  • Lineups: Do not abandon your team under any circumstances. Would you join a softball league and not show up? Leaving your lineup with holes in it could rob someone of a playoff spot or a lottery pick.  It is extremely disrespectful to abandon your team before the playoffs. Abandoned teams impact the league; it’s as simple as that.
  • Playoff Waivers: Don’t add players unless you’re in the playoffs, making moves for the following season, avoiding a last place punishment or trying to win a consolation prize. Don’t be that guy/girl.
  • Vetos: If your league allows managers to vote on trades, use your vote respectfully. Don’t veto someone’s trade because it may impact your odds of winning or because you dislike one of the managers involved. Pending obvious collusion, a trade should almost never be vetoed.
  • Mid-Season Rule Changes: Don’t request changes mid-season unless it’s absolutely necessary and benefits all teams equally.
  • Availability: If you’re in a dynasty league, you need to be available 12 months a year. The league doesn’t close at the end of December.
  • Trade Block: Use it. Many managers find it helpful, and it may help you as well.
  • Complaints: If your commissioner is treating everyone equally and fairly and hasn’t demonstrated incompetence or negligence, don’t give them a hard time. Remember, they’re doing the job for free. If you dislike how they run the league, find another league.
  • Colluding: Be considerate. Don’t hook your friend up with players for cheap once you’ve been eliminated from the playoffs. There are 8+ managers that paid to play in the league and they all deserve a level playing field.

Draft Etiquette

  • Don’t Delay: If it’s a slow draft and you need time, use it, but otherwise, make your pick. Don’t be the slow walker at an intersection. People are waiting for you.
  • Don’t Rush People: During slower drafts, some people may want to work out deals or wait on offers. If they’re using their time to their benefit, don’t rush them. If they’re waiting until American Idol is over, blast them.
  • Availability: There is nothing worse than being on the clock and trying to contact a fellow manager, but not being able to get in touch with them.
  • Communicate: If you’re on the clock, let the league know you’re aware and you’ll select when you can. Once you’ve made your selection, notify the next man up.
  • Undrafted Players: Don’t talk about undrafted players…EVER! This may set people off like nothing else. We want our guys. Don’t talk about our guys!
  • Criticism/Opinions: It may be best to stay silent when you see selections you disagree with, but if you have something to say, be respectful.

Check out Meng Song’s breakdown of the Eagles Backfield!

League Chat Etiquette

  • Friendliness and Positivity: While some of us occasionally enjoy a good spat between rival managers, most of us don’t enjoy a league chat filled with toxic negativity and hate. Fantasy sports are supposed to be fun. If you want to give someone a piece of your mind or hurl juvenile insults, do it privately.
  • Debates: Be respectful. To many, the debates and differing opinions on players, strategy, ranks, etc., are a part of the fantasy sports experience. Be sure to be respectful when partaking. Avoid outright insults or having a mocking/insulting tone. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
  • Hours of Operation: Nobody needs to hear what you have to say at 4 AM. Save it ’til the sun rises. Don’t wake people up or force them to mute the chat.
  • Keep It Relevant: This may vary from league to league. Some leagues are cool with you talking about family, music, movies, politics or other sports, but some are not, so read the room.
  • Trade Critiquing: This may never be cool for some; there will always be people that can’t handle criticism. However, if you’re going to do it, don’t be insulting. Making statements such as: “I wouldn’t have done that deal”, “I think it’s a bad trade”, “I think you paid too much.” etc. Acceptable criticism. Making statements such as: “You’re a fool for trading him”, “What were you thinking?”, “Wow, you’re a sucker.” etc. Not acceptable criticism. The sentiment may be the same for all of the above, but you can be critical without being rude.
  • Trade Block Channel: If you have one in your league, don’t post anything there that doesn’t belong. There is a general chat for anything other than assets wanted/for sale. Having conversations there might get you shot.
  • Participate: Whether you like it or not, there is a social aspect to fantasy sports. This is one offence you can get away with without drawing the ire of league mates, but make an effort to participate in the league chat on occasion. A league where everyone has a social presence is a good thing.
  • Pay Attention: The league chat is not limited to shooting the breeze with league mates. There may also be polls/votes or discussions regarding ideas/changes that pertain to the league. Pay attention and be involved.

Trade Etiquette

  • Respond: This may be the biggest pet peeve among fantasy sports managers. NEVER ignore anyone’s offers or direct messages. No one is too busy to spend a few minutes every other day checking their teams. If you are, you probably shouldn’t be playing. If you’ve received an offer you dislike or aren’t interested in trading, just say so. At the very least, reject the trade. Even if you dislike the manager, be an adult, and reject the trade or respond to their message/email. Leave the childish games for children.
  • Lowballing: We all know when we’re making an inappropriate offer. Yes, a good manager starts low, but we all know the difference between starting low and lowballing. Make a respectable offer.
  • Trade Selling: Don’t try to tell your trade partner what to think; it’s condescending. They either have an opinion already, or they’ll do some homework and form their own opinion. “Are you interested in Brandon Cooks? He’s the WR1 in Houston and should put up 1000 yards.” “I’ll give you Joshua Kelley. He should beat out Justin Jackson for the #2 job and be the goal-line back as well.” “You’re getting the better end of the deal.” Don’t do it. Similarly, don’t send screenshots of trade calculators. No one wants to see it. Managers will make up their own minds.
  • Complaining: “Nobody wants to trade with me.” “Nobody makes me offers.” “Nobody counters my offers.” “Nobody makes me good offers.”. You aren’t entitled to anything except a timely response when you’ve made an offer. Don’t be a crybaby.
  • Devaluing Trade Targets: Don’t inquire or attempt to acquire a player and then proceed to highlight all the reasons you think they aren’t worth much. Clown move, bro.
  • Make An Offer: If you’re initiating trade talks, don’t tell the other manager to make you an offer. If you’re doing it from a strategic standpoint and hoping they’ll give away their leverage, that’s savvy. Go ahead and ask them what they’re looking for. They might be asking much less than you would have offered and be foolish enough to tell you. However, if they tell you to make an offer, tip your cap to them; that’s what they should do. If you think the onus is on them to put together an offer, you’re mistaken. You want to land the player? Put an offer on the table.
  • Listen: If they say they’re not interested in a player(s) of yours or selling a particular player of theirs, listen to them. Don’t pester them.
  • Honor Verbal Agreements: If you agreed to a deal, make the deal. Not having yet accepted it on the platform doesn’t mean you haven’t already entered into an agreement with someone.
  • Quantity Does Not Equal Quality: No, three scrubs do not equal a stud based on accumulative points. Don’t waste people’s time with that trash move.

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