Although it doesn’t happen often, collusion in fantasy football leagues is known to take place, and when it does, it often causes a lot of problems. Collusion is when it appears that a couple teams are working together to give one of their teams the best chance to win the fantasy playoffs. Typically this takes place between a team that is having no luck winning and a team that is doing very well (for example, a 2-6 team helping a 7-1 team after Week 8). The 2-6 team might trade away one of their better players to the 7-1 team for one of their lower ranked players. Whether this is due to personal friendships or some sort of under-the-table offer, it can be unfair to the other teams in the league who see the trade as unequal. In most leagues, the commissioner has the power to veto trades to avoid collusion such as this, but in doing so can create dislike between some of the teams in the league towards the commissioner and make for an unhappy rest of the season.
Although there is no way to completely rid leagues of the possibility of collusion, there are some ways to help lessen the chances. Here are a few of them:
1. Create a weekly prize for high points
Some leagues will take some of the entry fee from each team and divide it into end of the year prizes and weekly prizes. Then for the team that has the highest points every week, they receive a monetary prize. Some leagues will even award prizes to the 2nd and 3rd places each week. By doing this, every team has a chance of making money each week and those who aren’t consistently winning may want to hold onto their better players in hopes of winning.
2. Make your league a keeper league
A keeper league means that the following year, teams have the option of keeping a few of their players if they follow a set of guidelines. For example, in the league I’m in, I can keep a player who was drafting in rounds 4-18 as long as a use a draft pick 2 slots up from where I drafted him this year in next years draft. Say you drafted Aaron Rodgers (GB) in the 7th round. You could keep him in next year’s draft for a 5th round selection. Players who found a good player with a late round pick are more likely to hold onto them for next years draft rather than trade them away.
3. Charge a fee to make a trade
This doesn’t have to be anything substantial, and may not defer a whole lot, but can keep players to picking their trades wisely. For example, in our league, it costs $1 to make a trade, no matter how many players are involved. That dollar goes towards our end of the year party. Sure, that dollar isn’t much, but for someone on the “giving away” end of the trade, why should they pay to help out their buddy when they’ll receive little in return.
4. Set up a committee to deal with collusion
Pick a couple players before the season starts and if any collusive trades arise, they decide as a group if there is a problem with the trade. This way, it’s not one person making the final veto decision, and you can avoid unhappiness towards one specific player in the league.
5. Create a early trade deadline
Make your league’s trade deadline somewhere between Weeks 7 and 9. This way, players who may still have a chance to make the playoffs if things go right (even though they are 2-5 or 3-4 at the time) are less likely to trade away better players. Also, players who are playing well in Week 7 or 8 may not be playing the same in Week 13 or 14 when playoffs start, so the definition of “good player” at that point is less conclusive. A trade that may seem collusive in Week 8 may turn out to be the opposite in Week 12 due to injuries or the team’s matchups.
I will say it again, collusion doesn’t happen often, and I’m not trying to make it sound like it’s something you should constantly be looking out for in your leagues. I am merely saying that the possibility exists, but there are ways to lessen the chances and allow for your league to have a more positive experience without having to be concerned about these possibilities.