Q: When is it proper for me to veto a trade in my fantasy league?
A: I’m glad you asked! There are two circumstances in which it is proper to vote to veto a trade.
- collusion. Let’s say Owner A and Owner B get together for lunch one day, and Owner A says to Owner B “how about I trade you two of my best players for two of your worst players if you pick up the check?” That sucks for everyone when that happens and it is totally reasonable to veto a trade that is made under these parameters.
In this case, your veto is also a vote of no-confidence on the personal integrity of both owners.
- imbalance. Really, the only difference between this and collusion is intent. Maybe Owner A is much smarter or paying more attention than Owner B and browbeats or cajoles Owner B into trading some talented under-the-radar players for formerly productive big names. That might well damage the rationality of the league’s talent distribution, and as a fellow owner you have the right to vote against this if it’s going to impact your enjoyment of the game.
Be sure Owner B doesn’t have an angle before you do this, though! It’s possible to trade from strength to address weakness and come out ahead even if you give up more talent in the abstract. If you can come up with a reason for Owner B to be doing what they’re doing in the trade as it is reported to the league, even if you don’t agree with the reasoning, you shouldn’t veto.
In this case, your veto is also a declaration that Owner B is being a moron. If someone cites an imbalanced trade in your trading partner’s favour as a reason to veto a trade you are involved in, they are insulting your judgment.
There is a lot of confusion about this in the fantasy gaming world because people like to make things more complicated than they need to be, but there are no other circumstances in which it is proper to veto a trade in your league. In addition to this being the only policy that makes any sense, it’s also very easy to apply.
Q: what if, after the trade was agreed to but during the period of league review of the trade, something causes value on either side of the trade to change? For example, the best player in a trade is discovered to have a sports hernia after terms are agreed to.
A: you should consider all players to have changed hands as soon as the terms were agreed to. The only reason Owner A’s players are still on Owner A’s roster is because there’s a league review period to evaluate the trade for unfairness–otherwise, they’d be transferred immediately. Owner A’s players should be considered Owner B’s property the instant the trade is reported to the league and vice versa. Nothing that happens after the terms of the deal are agreed to has anything to do with the fairness of the trade as it was conceived, hence you have no cause to veto.
Q: but why is there an open period of n days when other owners can veto?
A: because not all owners log on every day. That’s a simple, reasonable answer. Here’s a more complicated answer: other veto-enabled owners are supposed to be shields of justice and lemon law administrators, watching for changes of status in the players that are slated to change hands and acting accordingly if the value proposition of the trade is skewed by an injury, trade, or demotion.
Do you really believe that?
In fantasy leagues, trading is creating. It is engaging. It is proper to encourage this behavior, and improper to believe you know better than the people actively managing their own individual teams without extraordinary evidence to the contrary. When you veto outside of this ruleset you are meddling. This is the same kind of behavior that made the founding fathers distrustful of strong centralized government. This is the same thing the feds are doing with the mortgage bailouts. This is really bad policy.
If you disagree I’m going to do my best to never play fantasy baseball with you.