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There have been many articles written and podcast discussions on why dynasty fantasy football leagues shouldn’t allow vetoes: it can be political, each individual owner should decide their own fate, stupid gullible owners are a part of everyforte league, etc.  Their rationale is that the NFL allows every trade and fantasy football is based on what a professional team would do. Remember this isn’t the NFL where every team is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. A dynasty league usually only requires a yearly fee (if that) or perhaps a two-year investment. I will use a 2013 vetoed trade in one of the leagues that I was in to show why vetoes should be allowed.

The trade of RB Matt Forte for RB Daryl Richardson, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, WR Jarius Wright, and 2013 rookie draft pick 4.23 got challenged. In this league, the protocol is to have both owners explain why they made the trade as it should give insight into their decision process before people decide to veto a trade. One of the owners, I will call him “Mike” to protect the innocent, he received Forte and simply linked to an anti-veto article. He didn’t offer any other rationale.  The other owner, I will call him “John” to protect him as well, responded on the message board with I talked and traded offers with a number of teams and felt this was the best offer. Others seem to disagree and have the right to. The league reversed the trade by a 23-8 vote.

There are great some points brought up by the opposing fantasy community view. No owner knows any other owners long-term plans. Yes, this is true, but as with anything you need to look at the trade from both sides of the aisle. Forte is a top ten dynasty running back according to most sites (is now getting drafted top five in many start-up and re-draft leagues). Richardson was one of three running backs who might have started for the Rams this past year (the rookie Zac Stacy ended up taking the job week five). Rogers had a little under 700 combined rushing/receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2013.  Wright, who only got to play after Percy Harvin was injured two seasons ago, finished with 24 receptions, 400 yards receiving and three touchdowns. The receiver is the now Vikings fourth wide out at best. The rookie 4.23 picked the 72nd best rookie player in this league.

John blew up his roster without soliciting offers from multiple teams. If he wanted to get younger and didn’t like Forte anymore, which is his judgment call to make, but let all your league mates know that you are looking to move Forte. Because I was the other Forte owner in that league (32 teamer with doubles of every player), there was zero chance that I would have considered this offer or proposed it. Multiple teams became outraged not only about the unfairness of the trade, but also that they did not even know Forte was available. The better course of action was to post on the message board that Forte was available and give it some time to see what offers came in.

Every owner should be empowered to run their team as they like when it does not impact the competitive balance of the league. Mike’s team got stronger without paying much of anything and John’s team got much weaker. This trade put the league in jeopardy in another way if John leaves, it will be hard to find another owner willing to take over the team with limited dynasty assets.

I understand that people value players differently and they should. Dynasty fantasy sports are more subjective and difficult because of the time and analysis needed to come up with a working game plan. Unlike most trades, there was a clear winner and a clear loser from the start. In this instance, the league strongly believed that one owner gave up too much. It is important to protect leagues from super-teams that destroy morale. While it might be fun to be a “super-team”, it will not be fun playing them especially in a cash league. This will force commissioners to spend much of their time recruiting new owners on almost a yearly basis and I will tell you there is no fun in that. No one wants to play in a league they can never win!

Vetoes can also be used as weapons. This is why you limit an owner’s ability to call for a veto once a year and/or second a veto. If the league does this, each team will have to consider the ramifications of their actions. One of the teams that was up in arms about the Forte trade, then made an offer to John when the trade was reversed. Needless to say John was not going to deal with someone who questioned his judgment.  Unfortunately politics comes into play in many dynasty leagues. If someone is using the veto as a filibuster, then alter your rules around the use, but don’t stop it. Strong commissioners can curtail its use by having real conversations with owners as most times an email is not enough.

The threat of collusion is alive and well despite most well-intentioned fantasy players. I would like to believe that most people are smart enough not to make it obvious, but it still happens or even worse, can be accused with ease. In leagues that I had family members or close friends and was the commissioner, I created a steering committee that would decide if a trade of mine was fair or not. No commissioner wants to be in the middle of a controversy that could destroy their league. Unless someone is silly enough to put their thoughts in an email, collusion remains too tough to prove. I’d rather go above and beyond preparing for the worst thing to happen vs. ignoring the possibility.

The internet has great people and it has less honorable people, so don’t expect that everyone will trade fair. I have seen a few owners browbeat owners into trades that don’t help their team at all, leaving their team without meaningful assets, but make the stronger owner’s team almost unbeatable. Yes leagues can try to get experienced owners who know what they are doing in dynasty, but lets face it, we were all new to dynasty once.

I believe in the veto as a way to protect the entire league, not what a certain trade will do to my team’s chances. If you find a commish that just worries about their own team, you are in the wrong league. Good luck.

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