Last Week’s Question: Do Any Commissioners
Want to Get on a Soapbox?
week’s column, I invited experienced commissioners from
the FF universe to climb up on their soapboxes and preach about
whatever was on their minds. Since it is the end of the season,
I should not be surprised that the main thing on people’s
minds is the collection and distribution of funds, but I will
postpone addressing those concerns for the moment. I want to let
readers hear from Michael first because he speaks for a number
of the commissioners that I hear from regularly:
The only repeated issue we have in our league
is the one or two owners who do not read the rules (or even the
email reminders I send out) concerning trade deadlines, waiver
deadline changes due to Thursday games, listing their subs in
order for playoff game tiebreakers, etc.
They then act incredulous when they missed waivers or trade deadlines,
as if it is my fault, putting pressure on me to allow exceptions
They are then very put out when I say “no can do.”
(I do have support of the veteran owners in the league as this
problem seems limited to the newer owners.)
I always refer back to what happened to me as owner and commissioner
when Hurricane Katrina forced the postponement of the early Sunday
game at the Superdome. I had only one TE on my roster that happened
to be playing that day. Waiver period for our league had ended
the previous Thursday.
I had to play with only six players that day. I also ended up
losing that week by one point, but me not having two TE’s
on my roster was a risk on my part—not the league’s,
not the commissioner’s, not even God’s fault.
The bottom line is the whiners and complainers are everywhere,
so you just need to be firm as commissioner and tell them to read
As Lloyd Carr (the former Michigan coach) once said about the
critics, “The dogs bark and the caravan rolls on.”
I certainly understand Michael’s frustration with whiners
and complainers in fantasy leagues. My hat goes off to all the
commissioners in all the leagues around the world who take time
away from their families and job responsibilities to listen to
the complaints of adult human beings as they become emotionally
involved (and sometimes overwrought) concerning the outcome of
imaginary contests between fabricated teams!
Although I do not have statistics to support my opinion, I believe
that the commissioners who started in leagues before the automated
league-hosting websites came along have an easier time imposing
order on their leagues than the newer commissioners. Anyone who
used to do the tedious work that went into serving as commissioner
is likely to have a special kind of credibility with her/his league.
As it becomes easier and easier for leagues to function with less
and less input from a commissioner, owners who dislike any teeny
tiny thing about a league seem to be quick to conclude that the
grass will be greener elsewhere.
The attitude that I think most commissioners need to adopt in
this climate is consistent with Michael’s recommendation
that commissioners should “be firm . . . and tell [owners]
to read the rules.” Some people will tell you that the squeaky
wheel gets the grease. Others will tell you that it gets replaced
by a wheel that doesn’t squeak. I prefer commissioners who
subscribe to the latter formulation. Almost invariably, the owners
who expect exceptions to be made for them are squeaky wheels that
will only stop squeaking when they win a championship and collect
a purse. No commissioner can make such owners happy without being
unfair to the other owners in the league.
Michael says that some of his owners act “put out”
when he says, “No can do,” so I want to remind him
and other commissioners that many fantasy owners try to make a
game out of manipulating their commissioners. They may not be
nearly as “put out” as you think they are. I have
been out drinking with fellow owners who bragged about how they
boo-hooed a commissioner into taking a ridiculously minor complaint
seriously. This seems to be particularly common among owners who
are eliminated from contention fairly early in the season. Once
they can no longer “play” their teams with any hope
of success, they apparently conclude that the only way to get
their money’s worth is to try to “play” the
commissioner. A great deal of what seems to commissioners like
frustration on the part of owners is a silly mix of bluster and
As I indicated earlier, the main thing that people wanted to
talk about this week is the collection and distribution of funds.
I heard from a handful of commissioners who are dissatisfied with
their owners’ refusal to pay fees in advance or to pay a
lump sum at the beginning of the season to cover costs that might
or might not be incurred during the season. I also heard from
an owner named Levi who asks, “How is it that I know in
December how much money I won, but I never get a check until April?”
I suspect that this column could do a little bit of good for
the fantasy community by focusing on fee collection and purse
distribution at the end of the season, but something tells me
that the discussion will do everyone a great deal more good before
the fantasy season gets underway, so I will try to focus on this
topic during the summer of 2010.
Until you hear from me again in June, I want to thank everyone
who takes the time to respond to the questions I pose in this
column (whether I have the space to include those thoughts each
week or not). I also want to thank Marc Mondry for bringing his
prognosticatory savvy and sense of humor to the LMS picks each
week. And of course I want to thank Mike Krueger for providing
a space in which the members of the FF community can talk things
over. Happy New Year all. 2010 will get off to a fantastic start
for me, as I am heading to Dallas to see the Cowboys play the
Eagles on Sunday!
Wk 15 - Last Man Standing
- (Courtesy of Marc Mondry)
Well, we’ve come to the end of the season, and I must admit
I’m somewhat glad it’s over. The Giants were particularly
pitiful last week, compared to their somewhat pitiful performance
for the second half of the season, and I’m ready to be put
out of my misery.
That said, it was another exciting LMS season. I had a great
time writing for all of you and an especially enjoyable time reading
each of your picks this season. Unfortunately, as people messed
up picks, they stopped submitting, and there was only one reader
to submit picks every single week this season: Mark Den Adel.
Mark did a spectacular job this season picking winners and still
has a shot at the title if all goes well this week. The current
standings are as follows:
- Mark Den Adel: 41/48, 85.4%, 688 point differential, average
game spread: 14.3 points
- Marc Mondry: 42/48, 87.5%, 650 point differential, average game
spread: 13.5 points
I’ve got a one-game lead going into Week 17, although Mark’s
point differential and game spread were slightly better. Mark
actually sent his picks in to me yesterday, so I could safely
pick the same three teams and ensure a victory this season, but
if you’ve read this column regularly, you know I’m
not that kind of guy.
In fact, I went about thinking of ways to make this week interesting,
like picking all of Mark’s opponents this week, picking
none of the same teams, etc., but all of those options looked
a lot like LMS suicide.
What I ended up with was picking at least one team that was an
underdog as one of my picks this week, just to make it interesting.
I also chose not to select Denver as an option this week, even
though they look like a great LMS pick and would likely have been
my #1 option.
No reservations though: if Mark wins, he wins it straight up.
For those of you still following this challenge, Mark has selected
the following three games:
- Denver over Kansas City
- San Diego over Washington
- New York Jets over Cincinnati
Before we get to the picks, I’d like to quickly thank all
of the readers for their feedback, support, and loyalty over this
second season of my writing. You guys are what make this column
fun. I’d also like to publicly thank Mike Davis for including
these picks each week and allowing me to usurp part of his column.
His support, editing, advice, and friendship truly made this column
worth slaving over each and every week. Thanks for everything,
Trap Game / Pick 3: Jacksonville over Cleveland
When you get to this point in the season, it’s tough to
pick winners because you never know what the top teams are going
to do with their best players. That issue was exemplified last
week by the Saints’ loss to the Bucs: New Orleans took a
17-0 lead into halftime, sat the starters the second half, and
went on to lose 17-20.
One of the ways to avoid this issue is to pick contests featuring
two teams that are out of contention and hope that pride matters
enough to both teams to be competitive for 60 minutes. Usually,
That’s where we are at with Jacksonville and Cleveland,
two teams with no shot at post-season play. If both teams bring
their A game (do the Browns have an A game?), Jacksonville should
walk away with this one easily, despite being a 1.5 point underdog
at the time of writing.
Oh, you actually want some analysis? Two words: Maurice Jones-Drew.
2. New York Jets over Cincinnati
I was on the Jets’ bandwagon from the very beginning of
the season, recognizing what Rex Ryan could do with the defensive
personnel in place there, as well as singing the praises of wunderkind
Darelle Revis. It turns out the Jets struggled so much offensively
that the defense was kept on the field far too long, and the team
has dropped to a mediocre 8-7.
That said, by virtue of some bad losses around the league, they
find themselves needing only to win to secure a wild-card spot
in the playoffs.
Interestingly enough, they play Cincinnati this week, a club
that has very little incentive to play starters to try to win
this game. However (and it’s a big however), if the Jets
do make the playoffs, they could very well play the Bengals in
the wild-card round, so it’s not like the game truly means
nothing to Cincinnati. A loss to a team that you might have to
play next week is never good for morale. On the other hand, there
is something to be said for seeing everything the Jets will have
to throw at the Bengals this week, whereas Cincinnati could hold
back, as it won’t be forced to play its entire hand this
week if it chooses not to.
Certainly, there are some interesting dynamics at play this week,
and what my pick comes down to is Rex Ryan’s ability to
motivate his team to win in what looks to be a win-or-go-home
1. Houston over New England
Somewhat odd for a #1 selection, no? I never thought I’d
see the day that I would pick the Texans as my #1 option, nor
did I think I’d ever pick a team playing against Bill Belichick’s
It all comes down to incentives. Houston is at home and can taste
its franchise first playoff appearance, after years of
struggling in the competitive AFC South (they were 1-5 in the
division this season). You have to think that Houston crowd is
going to be maniacal and that the Texans are going to leave everything
out on the field on Sunday.
The Patriots, on the other hand, locked up the AFC East and have
essentially no incentive to win whatsoever. There are no records
to pursue, no egos to stroke, and no reasons to play the starters
for more than a quarter or two. In fact, some people have suggested
that the Patriots will roll over this game just to spite the Steelers,
whose playoff hopes would improve with a Houston loss.
Put it this way: if you were Bill Belichick, would you want an
inspired Mario Williams barreling down on your franchise player
for more than a couple of minutes? If I were calling the shots
for the Pats, Brady, Moss, and Welker would get one series to
stay fresh and then park themselves on the bench for 50 minutes.
Houston should win this game, but unfortunately for Texans fans,
a playoff berth looks like too much to ask for this season. Be
proud of the first 9-win season and in imitation of Giants fans
(including yours truly) look forward to 2010.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question please email me
no later than 10 a.m. EST on Wednesdays during the football season.