Judge Ed, Fantasy Football Ethicist: Manic Drafting and Mitt-Inspired Cocktails

My question concerns FFL etiquette involved when live drafting online. While most people who draft live are likely in tune with whom it is they covet and why, sometimes you run into the occasional Team Owner that is not as diligent/experienced.  What would be the guidance given for a scenario where live drafters watch another Team Owner draft a player on IR/PUP for the season (NOT auto-drafting)?  Do I sit back silently and hope I’m fortunate enough to play this Clown in week one or am I obligated, under a “FFL code”, to pipe up and tell the Owner they just made a HUGE error…with a 2nd round pick…so maybe they can make up for it before waiver wire time comes? Bryce#34, Nats Park

You can keep the conveniences and accessibility of online drafting. For my money nothing beats the awkward pleasures of live drafting. The time clock heckling, public accolades and open looks of heartache and disappointment as the hopeful fantasy owner hears their sleeper’s name called moments before reaching him, alone make the live draft worth the scheduling inconvenience. Yet my favorite moment is the awkward silence that follows the inevitable drafting on an injured player. It’s the deafening quiet following the pick in which the other league members debate with themselves whether or not to speak up to let the owner reconsider. It varies in length depending on fantasy round and the severity of the injury, but almost always ends with the quizzical “You know he’s injured, right?”

My judgment: People need to be accountable for their actions. Do your homework before going into a live draft. We live in an era of smart phones where the latest information is always at your fingertips. There’s no excuse for a lack of knowledge. So if someone in your league drafts “Jerome Harrison” this year, snicker to yourself, scan their roster, mock them and then draft who they should have and take advantage of the chump in a one-sided trade. Don’t feel guilty about it either. If they didn’t even take the time to check in with their favorite fantasy site on draft day I can guarantee they weren’t winning the league anyway. Go Nats!

Judge Ed, I am a serial overplanner and now I’ve applied it to fantasy by agreeing to NINE leagues. I’ve already had five drafts and I really don’t think I can take four more. Would it be ok to back out of at least one of them if I found a replacement? Caroline, Cedar Rapids

I hate to break it to you Caroline, but if you were a serial “overplanner” you’d figure a way to fit nine fantasy leagues into your schedule. Sounds to me like you suffer more from a serious inability to say “no.” At least to fantasy drafts.

My judgment: It’s fine to back out if you’re able to find a suitable replacement.  You can start with the 80+ owners from your other leagues. Maybe one of them is interested in taking on a second or third team and can claim your spot. Even if you’re unable to find a replacement on your own, you should still avoid fantasy burnout. Fantasy works best when all owners are active participants in their league. Explain the situation to your league commissioner and give them enough time to find a suitable replacement. If nothing else the odds are one of you will be able to find someone else who just can’t say “no.” 


I don’t want to get too political here but my draft is scheduled for this Thursday night. When I agreed to join the league I didn’t realize the draft would be the same night as Mitt Romney’s speech. I’m a huge Romney supporter ( \how awesome is Paul Ryan, by the way?) but I really want to win my league this year. However my GOP buddies from Colby want to get together that night for all kinds of revelry…even Mitt-inspired cocktails!  I’m leaning toward autodraft but am wondering if you would try and talk me out of it. Thanks much, Michelle, Baton Rouge.

Politics aside, there are many ways to look at this Michelle. I can analyze the ethics of using autodraft and point out how as a Romney supporter you should be appalled by its very existence. I can dissect the facts and weigh the merits of your choices. Discuss how I’d imagine a Mitt-inspired cocktail is way overpriced and involves a lot of milk. How you have an obligation to your fellow owners to participate in the draft. But I won’t do that.

My judgment: You need to ask yourself “what would Mitt do?” We know he’s a man who foregoes alcohol but is eager to place a large bet. Think on it, but if you decide on revelry, be safe and make sure you ride home on the inside of the car.