Judge Ed, Fantasy Football Ethicist: The Debut

Ed. Note: Welcome to the debut of Judge Ed, Fantasy Ethicist.  Throughout the season Judge Ed will be fielding your fantasy dilemmas, from life changing ones to the small and petty and everything in between. His goal is to be your voice of reason and through his judgments, make your fantasy experiences that much better. Judge Ed’s column will appear weekly on Wednesdays beginning August 22nd.

Let the judging begin…

Am I ready to take my relationship to the next level…with my mother-law, that is?

I have a pretty good relationship with my mother-in-law.  Not great, but better than most.  She always complains that our house is too messy and enjoys bad romantic comedies like “Valentine’s Day,” but she really is harmless and a lovely lady.  In a move that completely took me by surprise, she asked if she could play fantasy football with me this season, as in be my partner. Up until that point she never expressed any interest in football. Do you think she really wants to learn the game, or is this some sneaky ploy to start acting like a real mother-in-law and butt into my life too much. – Denise, Clovis, California

Mother-in-law aside, the first question you need to ask any prospective fantasy partner is “What’s your favorite movie?” This answer will tell you all you need to know about the individual’s fantasy personality. Your mother-in-law’s love of “Valentine’s Day” means she will be an all glitz, no substance type of owner.  She’ll go after the star power with little regard for actual talent, let alone overall fantasy fit, value or continuity. Chad Johnson, Tim Tebow, Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens. There may be some good names there but the big picture, it stinks.

So ask yourself this, what happens when she convinces you to draft Peyton Manning with a first-round pick? Are you prepared to despise your team and know your mother-in-law deserves credit for its success? Even worse, what if you convince her otherwise and Peyton ends up MVP worthy. A mother-in-law with fantasy hand may even take the fun out of a championship run.

My judgment: Tell your mother-in-law you don’t mix fantasy with family. Certainly not with ones who enjoy “Valentine’s Day.” 

Saying goobye after a loss

In an online league open to all, is there anything a commish can do to assure year long active participation? – J.B., Pennsylvania

You get what you pay for and open online leagues tend to attract the lazy and selfish fantasy football fan. In a just world all fantasy owners would compete to the end and consider each individual week a battle for pride. But we live in a world where everyone wants a trophy. So people join multiple online leagues and stop participating in the ones they’re uncompetitive in. Their egos are too delicate to stand being second best at something. So, in order to look in the mirror each morning without feeling like a loser, they quit. They ignore their lineups, stop making roster moves and suck the fun out of it for everyone else.

My judgment: Shame and humiliation is really the only approach to such unsportsmanship. Take to the message boards and give your best trash talking to these fantasy parasites.  Be relentless and remind them they’re second best. When that doesn’t work, you should form a private league and instill some penalties for non-participation. Set lineup defaults so teams must start active players over those on a bye or ruled out. Fantasy football is supposed to be fun, don’t waste your time surrounded by losers.

Who knew fantasy football had rules!

Some rookie owner in our PPR league got so fixated with depth that he forgot to draft a kicker. Our commissioner thinks he should be able to pick one up as long as drops the player he selected in the 15th (last) round. Even though our waivers and free agency doesn’t start until after Week 1, I don’t think this is fair. Shouldn’t he have to learn from his error? – Hayley, Galveston, Texas

You can’t allow somebody to just retroactively draft a kicker any more than you can retroactively turn that drunken hook up into Jon Hamm. As a fantasy participant you have an obligation to review your league’s rules prior to the draft. If the league clearly requires you draft a kicker, draft a kicker. If it’s clearly communicated that all draft day rosters are final until after Week 1, you best draft a complete roster.

My judgment: Hold the rookie owner accountable for his actions. Ignorance is no defense of the law.