To screw over or not to screw over…that is the question.

I am the commissioner of my own co-ed fantasy football league this year.  Many of my friends who I have always turned to for fantasy advice (including my f-buddies….fantasy football buddies…get your mind out of the gutter) are in the league this year.  They know a lot about my strategy of play, but I, in turn, know a lot about theirs.  So there is opportunity for working together and there is opportunity for screwing each other over.

I will keep this purely hypothetical, as I will all season long as many of the people in my league are also readers of this blog.  

I know, for sure, that there is someone in the draft order who is going to throw a wrench in everything because that person values a particular player out of rank.  I also know that if I draft before him/her, I can probably grab that player and hold them hostage, taking not only this person’s first rounder, but a second or fourth rounder in a post-draft trade so that person can get the player of his/her dreams.  Is this player worth it?  I guess it depends on who you ask.  To this person, it is.  So, I have a ridiculous amount of power at this point.  But with great power, comes great responsibility.  That probably means doing the right thing.  But isn’t all fair in love and fantasy football?  I guess it is if you don’t plan on keeping friends very long, or earning trust ever again.

But there are exceptions.  Take this for example: many of us stay in touch with or remain friends with our exes.  Maybe these relationships did not end terribly, but they ended, and maybe you thought they acted selfishly or they thought you acted immaturely.  Either way, time heals and they end up staying in our lives in some fashion.  Because in the end, you realize that maybe you weren’t meant to be together, or maybe it was the best thing for the both of you to do, to break up.  Maybe this is how fantasy football should work.  No one expects you to be selfless in fantasy.  But no one expects you to screw over your friends either.  There is some sort of acceptable middle ground, though, I think people call it fair competition.  But what’s fair in fantasy?  Because in those relationships, you may have thought it was really crappy, the way that your ex acted in ending it, but you acknowledge that it was probably the best result.  Ok, if that example doesn’t resonate, because it sort of makes no sense, here’s another angle:

As I have blogged about in the past, I’m an economist at heart.  I love the way that things can dictate behavior in an almost imperfect yet predictable way.  I think that people should be able to get exactly what they want, and pay the price that corresponds to their demand.  I think that if iphones are the most sought after commodity, they should probably cost more than other things.  I also think that if someone wants a player in fantasy football more than anything in the world, they should pay accordingly.  Now, in an auction format, this is easy.  Supply and demand works itself out quite nicely.  But because I was unfamiliar with how to run it online, I stuck with a snake draft format.  Therefore, the pick you have is the pick you have and you better make the most of it.  It’s not so much a pricing strategy of supply and demand, but a risk-based model.  How much is it worth to you to get exactly what you want.  Do you give everything you have to move up to the one pick, take that one player, and risk losing out on an overall better team?  Do you move down and risk that that player might get taken above you.  Do you risk that I, knowing what I know, won’t draft that player, not out of spite, but out of pure strategy?

These are all just questions that come up from time to time and they’re hard to answer and difficult to work through, but in the end, the choice is a personal one.  Because what is it worth to me, to get a better fantasy football team this year?  Do I think that “screwing over my friend” is fair competition?  yes.  Would I do it?  Not in a million years.  

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