How to Handle In-Season League Issues

What’s going on fantasy football commissioners?! I hope all your fantasy leagues are running smoothly, but if they aren’t, I’m here to help you handle in-season league issues. The issues we will cover in this article will be some of the straight-forward conflicts/issues that can arise during the season of fantasy leagues such as lineup errors, accidentally dropping players, league dues, etc., but feel free to leave a comment if you have one that I don’t touch on here!

Lineup errors:

Let’s start with the hardest of them all! There are a couple of scenarios within this one that you may need to handle as a commissioner. You know your league better than me, so use your best judgment when making these decisions. In my leagues, I have a lot of people who I trust, and managers that trust each other… so I can get away with some of the suggestions below. Some managers/leagues have strict no-miscue policies where you are 100% responsible for every action you make as a team owner.

The first scenario is when a manager forgets to substitute a player out of his/her lineup… whether that player is hurt, not active, etc. If a manager forgets to make the change before the games start, most people will say “tough luck” and have that manager put up a 0 in that slot for the week. I agree with this for the most part, but also believe that if a manager sends you a note right at kickoff, or close to it, you should be able to make that roster change for them. You need to make sure that player didn’t score on the first play of the game, or that the manager isn’t just wanting a last-minute change here. Use this sparingly for one-off cases that are hard to predict. If a player is questionable all week and is deemed out right before a game, you may consider not allowing that roster change, as it’s the responsibility of the owner to monitor the status of that player.

The second scenario is where the manager has a blank roster spot in the starting lineup. This typically happens during a player’s bye week, or when a manager drops a starter for a waiver/FA pickup but forgets to insert them into the lineup. In this case, similar logic to the above applies. If the owner notifies you immediately after kickoff, it’s acceptable to make the roster move for that manager.

Dropping the wrong player:

This one seems to happen at least once a year in my leagues. A manager has a brain fart and clicks the wrong player to drop when making a free agent acquisition. Typically, a manager will catch this immediately and contact me to reverse the transaction. In this case of immediate response, I almost always reverse the transaction and allow the manager to make the transaction with the proper player. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue – mistakes happen, we’re all human.

This can get dicey if a manager either doesn’t notice right away or waits for news to break, to then ask to reverse the transaction. In this scenario, I see only 2 options you could take:

  • Adhere to a strict “no backsies” policy where time elapses between pickup and notification
  • Perform some CSI investigative work on the player and scenario to determine your best decision

For instance, let’s say a manager in my league picked up someone like Terrelle Pryor and dropped Michael Gallup, but actually wanted to drop Robby Anderson. If they noticed 2 days later and asked me to reverse the transaction, I’d likely do it. I would potentially put it to a league vote, but as long as no one had picked up Gallup, it’d be fine in my book. No one can truly predict breakouts, but it’s fairly safe to say that these 3 players aren’t doing much for your fantasy team.

However, in this same scenario, let’s say breaking news came out that Gallup was going to start seeing 10+ targets a game for the rest of the year (maybe to spite Dez, idk). Now, our manager tells me that they “made a mistake” in dropping him. My investigative work tells me something is fishy here. If Gallup was still on waivers, I’d likely tell that manager that he/she needs to place a bid to get Gallup back. If Gallup clears waivers then no-harm, no-foul… they can pick Gallup right back up.

Managers who haven’t paid their league dues:

The best way to prevent this one is to just require everyone to pay before the draft – plain and simple. Those with leagues full of friends will often not require this though. I have one friend who waits until I ask him 4-5 times throughout the season to pay me each year. I haven’t had to use these tactics, but this is what I would do:

  • Warn to lock the roster of the manager(s) who hasn’t paid until they do pay – no adds, drops, trades, or roster changes until that money is sent
  • Tell them that you will withhold their next year’s entry from their winnings (this assumes they aren’t one of the worst teams… this also works with the people who say “just take it out of my winnings”)

Bottom line is that it’s impossible to interpret intentions of your managers. You need to err on the side of caution in all issues similar to these, to make sure you don’t upset the rest of the league or give someone an unfair advantage. Hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions or have an issue you need some help resolving in your league!


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