How to Identify and Handle Collusion Within Your League

What’s shakin’ presidents of fantasy football?! The season is flying by and we’re approaching the time you need to be able to identify and handle collusion within your fantasy football league. Trade season is here as teams are starting to overreact to their records and/or their players’ performance year to date. This is a friendly reminder to take a step back and analyze your players before selling them low!

Like last week’s article, How to Handle Manager Conflicts, this is a post I hope you never need to use.

If you’re not familiar with the term, collusion within fantasy football is when managers conspire to pull off a trade that is inherently not fair for one of the managers and/or has some shady stuff behind the scenes. That’s not the Webster’s definition, but you get the point. I’m a big proponent of letting my leagues do what they want, and I push through almost every trade immediately. I also have people in my leagues that I can trust, so I don’t need to worry about this. However, many commishs out there will run leagues full of people they don’t know and may never know.

I believe that every league should have the setting of “Commissioner Approval” for trades. The “League Vote” option takes too long, and it is inherently unfair. If a manager isn’t involved in a trade, or their competition is involved in the trade, they have motives to veto that trade. This shouldn’t be the case. If a trade is wanted from both teams, it should be approved immediately. Unless collusion exists. This is where, as the commissioner, you need to take a step back and evaluate the trade. Is one team getting significantly more than the other in this trade? If so, take a look at each team and figure out if there is a possible reason for it. A manager trading LeVeon Bell for Crowell, Powell, Breida, etc. may seem unfair but if they are desperate for RB’s, I can see how both sides would want to get the deal done.

If you cannot figure out how in the world one manager would make this trade, then collusion is suspected. But, managers are innocent until proven guilty. Similar to the last article, I suggest emailing the manager who is getting the short end of the stick. Ask him/her why they are taking the deal. You can then listen to their response and see if it makes sense based on their team and needs. Anytime collusion is suspected, you should also put the trade to a league vote (unless the reasoning appears 100% valid). Nowadays,

Sarcastic, yet accurate, depiction of the US justice system

most people play fantasy football for money, so this cannot be taken lightly. You have a responsibility to the entire league to make sure what is happening within your league is fair and just. You also don’t have our amazing justice system to help you determine if a manager is guilty or innocent. As much as it goes against my belief of letting all trades go through, I suggest you side with the league majority in a case of suspected collusion. It’s better to piss off two managers than it is 8-12 others. That is, of course, if the league votes against the trade.

The previous example is the difficult scenario with identifying collusion. A tamer example, but still fishy, is when a trade pops up involving an injured player in a re-draft league. If someone traded Brady for Garappolo right now, you know something is up. This may not fit the exact definition of “collusion” but at least one manager is acting out of line. This typically happens when a manager accepts a proposed trade after the injury occurs. You cannot do this in my league, and if anyone ever does I let them know with a strong message to the league. You need to set a precedent with this type of behavior. Reject the trade, send a note to the league, and don’t be afraid to offer up a threat/warning for anyone who tries something like this in the future. It shows the league that you are in control and will not tolerate behavior like this.

Collusion is a tricky topic to handle but it’s extremely important in maintaining integrity in your league. Hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions or suspect there is some colluding going on in your league.



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