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Creating a Utopia: Possible?

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Creating a Utopia: Possible?

Postby morahed18 » Thu May 02, 2013 8:02 pm

I have been involved in an extremely intense 10 team keeper league for many years. The basic structure of the league is intuitive enough: you may keep up to 2 players, and must forfeit a pick 2 rounds higher than where the player was drafted or kept the prior season in order to keep them. Over the past several seasons, a problem has emerged in which owners who feel they are likely to miss the playoffs find ways to actively dump players for picks in order to enhance their chances of winning the following season. Each year new rules are added to our pre-existing system in an attempt to deter such team dumping strategies. And every year, owners find new and innovative ways to team dump without breaking any written legislature. In the most recent season, several owners even tried to forfeit their season in a preseason trade (the most extreme example was a trade attempt in which one owner agreed to send all of his 2012 picks to another owner in exchange for all his 2013 picks). Every creative new scheme results in a veto, a huge drawn out argument in which some owners go ballistic about being vetoed, and a few more "patchwork" rules getting slapped on to an increasingly cumbersome rule system.

After years of suffering this cycle, we are left with a highly unsatisfying, complex rule system, 10 very fatigued and pissed off team owners, and a honor-system based "final solution statute" which states that any team transactions must be made in the "spirit of the league", which basically means don't be an a**hole, and do your best to play for the current season. In all honesty, the outcome has been a series of transactions that are "just barely honorable enough" to not evoking a riot, but are still clearly subtle attempts to undermine the system and gain advantage for future seasons.

I have decided the only solution is to create a new, simple rule system that is built from the ground up to avoid such scenarios. I have been working on numerous concepts: auction systems, round based systems, hybrid round based-salary cap systems. With each new hypothetical system, I brainstorm on different ways I might "beat" the system to gain advantage in future seasons. I have yet to conceive a simple, satisfying rule system that adequately deters such team dumping behaviors.

Please, if anyone has any thoughts, I would truly appreciate some ideas.
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Re: Creating a Utopia: Possible?

Postby flotsamnjetsam » Fri May 03, 2013 11:52 pm

morahed18 wrote:I have been involved in an extremely intense 10 team keeper league for many years. The basic structure of the league is intuitive enough: you may keep up to 2 players, and must forfeit a pick 2 rounds higher than where the player was drafted or kept the prior season in order to keep them. Over the past several seasons, a problem has emerged in which owners who feel they are likely to miss the playoffs find ways to actively dump players for picks in order to enhance their chances of winning the following season. Each year new rules are added to our pre-existing system in an attempt to deter such team dumping strategies. And every year, owners find new and innovative ways to team dump without breaking any written legislature. In the most recent season, several owners even tried to forfeit their season in a preseason trade (the most extreme example was a trade attempt in which one owner agreed to send all of his 2012 picks to another owner in exchange for all his 2013 picks). Every creative new scheme results in a veto, a huge drawn out argument in which some owners go ballistic about being vetoed, and a few more "patchwork" rules getting slapped on to an increasingly cumbersome rule system.

After years of suffering this cycle, we are left with a highly unsatisfying, complex rule system, 10 very fatigued and pissed off team owners, and a honor-system based "final solution statute" which states that any team transactions must be made in the "spirit of the league", which basically means don't be an a**hole, and do your best to play for the current season. In all honesty, the outcome has been a series of transactions that are "just barely honorable enough" to not evoking a riot, but are still clearly subtle attempts to undermine the system and gain advantage for future seasons.

I have decided the only solution is to create a new, simple rule system that is built from the ground up to avoid such scenarios. I have been working on numerous concepts: auction systems, round based systems, hybrid round based-salary cap systems. With each new hypothetical system, I brainstorm on different ways I might "beat" the system to gain advantage in future seasons. I have yet to conceive a simple, satisfying rule system that adequately deters such team dumping behaviors.

Please, if anyone has any thoughts, I would truly appreciate some ideas.



Welcome to the Cafe! This place has a lot of great info, so hopefully you'll stick around. ;-D

I think this is a tough one because as you'll see all over different threads on the Cafe, most people believe that all trades should be allowed unless collusion is suspected. And when the league is a keeper or dynasty league, some owners that are out of the playoffs (or even some owners that are in the playoffs) start looking towards next year...which is fine as long as they're not colluding with other owners. Honestly, as long as collusion between owners isn't suspected, I think the best thing to do is to just allow all trades to go through (except trades like you mentioned where the guy tried to trade all his picks...that's just dumb/tanking). Almost all my leagues can be described as a "Utopia", but almost all my leagues are filled with owners that have integrity. They'd never collude with others owners, so we've NEVER had to veto any trade in any of my leagues. I've seen owners in dynasty leagues end up with a ton of future rookie draft picks through various trades, and again, as long as they're not colluding with other owners...the trades should be allowed. If owners are suspected of collusion, veto the trade. If the same owners keep doing it, kick them out of the league. This might not be the answer that you're looking for, but it's a lot easier than having complex rules/systems that your owners are ignoring anyway. Just let the owners run their teams the way they want. Your job will be easier, and the owners should be happier. Good luck! ;-D
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Re: Creating a Utopia: Possible?

Postby morahed18 » Sat May 04, 2013 6:57 am

Thanks so much, flotsam. I appreciate both the warm welcome and the sound advice.

Perhaps I'll follow up by being a bit more forthcoming with just how tortured a fantasy soul I am. I admit that I, myself, am one of the "guilty" that chooses to use the rules to their fullest, to gain every possible advantage, always making sure to steer clear of collusion. In my mind I remain heavily conflicted on this point. On the one hand, I see nothing wrong with playing a game within the limits of the defined rules, to seek victory in any way deemed legal. In fact, to take it a step further, I feel OBLIGATED to do so, as to do anything less would somehow feel false, as if I was not trying my hardest. As an extremely passionate fantasy owner, with a huge amount of emotional investment in my team's success, I'm not sure if I could tolerate anything less than maximum effort. That said, I see very clearly that my behavior, as well as the similar behavior of others, is killing this league, which I admit I've grown to intensely love and hate at the same time. The point of this game, after all, is to have fun, and to engage in behaviors which diminish the fun of the experience, both for myself and others, is of course counterproductive.

So for me, unfortunately, it would seem that this problem is doomed to follow me wherever I go, as it is to a large extent self-created. For this reason, I desperately seek to develop a viscerally pleasing, intuitive, relatively simple rule structure to which there is very little strategic benefit to team dumping. This is a potential solution I've come up with. I would appreciate any thoughts people might have on aspects of the system that might be vulnerable to exploitation. I also see upfront that the main weakness of this system is that I have no idea how to automate it. If anyone has any insight into a website where such a rule structure can be installed, I would love a referral.

BASIC RULE STRUCTURE:
1. snaking, round based draft
2. each round designates a standard salary, with earlier drafted rounds earning higher salaries
3. salary weights are NOT linear, but are instead parabolic, with very early rounds receiving extremely high salaries
4. a certain percentage of all salaries are guaranteed, such that if you choose to drop a player, a sizable percentage of their contract continues to count against your cap number
5. free agents are acquired by auction, in which owners bid to sign a player to a particular round-value (i.e. bids increase incrementally according to designated round-based salaries)
6. players can be kept the following season by sacrificing a draft pick that is higher than their current salary-based round worth by some, to be determined, increment. The kept player's salary also increases accordingly.
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Re: Creating a Utopia: Possible?

Postby LSUby50 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:10 pm

This sounds like a group of close friends ? Because I have a similar group and everyone tries to push the envelope knowing each other as well as we do :-)
In a different league I commish with casual acquaintances we never have the same problems.

A couple things that I have instituted:
First of all, like the other poster said, all trades are legal except collusion. This means you have to be ready to allow some lopsided trades that you hate.

Commissioner has final say on trade vetoes. Because some guys never understand the previous and try to veto any trade that they don't deem equal. Which is every trade.

To discourage late season tanking for next year, you can allow more teams into the playoffs. We used to let 8/10 in but have reduced that to 6/10 and I think that's good with byes for the top 2.

Penalize non- playoff teams. We make them buy the food for the following years draft. Those teams are treated with the utmost scorn by the rest of the league.

Have payouts for other things besides Super Bowl. We have a $10 weekly high score , season point lead, regular season point lead, highest weekly score of the year payouts.

I keep a running total of each teams career record-wins/ losses/ average finish/ winning percentage/ winning or losing streaks/ best and worst season ever ( over about 12 years of the same league) I try to post them at the beginning of each year. The rivalries get so intense that nobody would even consider trying to help out another team, especially a team with more career success. It does create animosity towards the teams that routinely finish on top but I think thats a good thing.

I like your "spirit of the league " clause.
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