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Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

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Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby benb18a » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:03 pm

I was just analyzing the playoff races, for the leagues in which I am still in the playoff picture lol. There is a peculiar situation in my nfl.com league, which I don't care too much about. There are still several guys still involved and trying to win, as made obvious by the records and league messages. Here are the current standings, after this week. x is division winner, and y means playoff spot clinched

xMy team 9-2 973
blah blah blah 5-5-1 899
blah blah blah 4-6-1 859
blah blah blah 3-8 840

blah blah blah 5-6 966
blah blah blah 4-6-1 899
blah blah blah 4-7 692
blah blah blah 3-8 663

yMoss juggernaut 10-1 1197
yBrady/NE juggernaut 9-1-1 1238
blah blah blah 6-5 966
blah blah blah 2-9 711

So, basically, I have my division wrapped up, and am guaranteed the second seed atleast. Is it unethical to play worse matchups the next three weeks, to ensure that I play the team that wins the middle division, instead of the monsters in the third division? BTW I just got spanked by the 10-1 team this week :-o
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby SniperShot » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:12 pm

In the world of fantasy sports you should live week to week. Put forth your best starting lineup and attempt to win every game. Because as good ole' Herm likes to put it, "You play to win the game! You don't play to just play it..."

You have no idea what's gonna happen when you get to the playoffs. What if you tank games and end up playing a worse seed who puts up a monster week the first week of the playoffs and some #2 seed team (that you would have played) sucks big time? You have no idea what will happen when you actually get to the playoffs and you'll have to beat the best teams for a championship anyway, wouldn't you rather knock off the higher seeds early and cruise through the super bowl?

Tanking games is for scared people who think too far into it. Play for a win in week 12 and let the dust settle behind you.
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby benb18a » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:25 pm

That's true. I found out anything can happen when my 11-3 team and a buddies 10-4 team lost to two 8-6 teams in the first round, and the #4 seed ended up winning the league title last year. However, this would give me the best chance of winning; if something weird happens and I win out and take the first seed, odds are I will have to face BOTH monsters, since the one has the wild card spot and the other will likely beat the sorry team that wins the second division. Anything CAN happen, however this has the best chance of happening. I guarantee facing only one elite team if I get the #2 seed... if I happen to beat the woeful team that wins the second division. Doesn't that give me a better chance of winning, facing one elite team instead of both, back to back? Since we are now entering the second wave of divisional games, these two have to play eachother week 13.

I'm just using the logic that the Patriots will keep leading these teams to high scores, even into the fantasy playoffs. I can't see Belicheap sitting Brady at any point, just to give the NFL the middle finger.
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby benb18a » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:30 pm

If it is considered unethical by you serious FF guys, I will just play it straight. The way it sits, I will more than likely finish with the #2 seed anyway, even if I don't try to tank.
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Representin' the Cafe in the IBL league: 73-34, 15-8 in Championship Tier playoffs
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Money league: 9-4, #1 seed one and done
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby IrishSox » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:31 pm

I won't talk theory or delve into coach-speak ("on any given week you never know what will happen, try to win every game, yada yada yada"). I will give my first hand experience. Last season, 10 team money league.

Going into week 14 I had a one game lead on the second place team. The third place team had sewn up the third seed, despite the fact his team was 8th in points. Meantime, the 4th/5th teams were playing each other, with the winner getting the 4th seed. Each of those teams was very good, they were 3rd and fourth in points. Each was much better than the third place team.

In week 14, at the last minute I pulled me entire lineup. Had I played my starting lineup I would have won. The second place team played and won, securing a tie in terms of record. He also passed me in points, thus winng the tiebreaker and the first seed.

In the first round of the playoffs, I had an off week, but managed to squeek by aforementioned week third seed. Meantime, the fourth seed blew up and destroyed the top seed.

Finals week, I win by a few points. Cha-ching.

I'll leave the theory/ethics to others. But I analyzed my potential opponents, assigned a probability of beating each to them, and determined I would rather play the third seed than the fourth. It worked out perfectly for me.

Dont' expect to make any friends though. Two teams hated me after that: The top seed (he would have beated the third seed if he had taken the second seed), and the team I beat in the finals. In fact I saw one at the office Christmas part the week after round 1 and I he was very, very angry.

Cue responses about ethics, but my wallet was a whole lot heavier due to this strategy.
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby IrishSox » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:36 pm

Oh ya, the League even added a worthwhile money prize for the winner of the regular season this year as an attempt to prevent such planning. So everyone realized what I did was perfectly legal, they just acted to try to prevent it from happening in the future.

The carrot is working as well, as I am in a battle for first again and would not consider such an action when faced w/ guaranteed $$$.
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby benb18a » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:47 pm

IrishSox wrote:But I analyzed my potential opponents, assigned a probability of beating each to them, and determined I would rather play the third seed than the fourth. It worked out perfectly for me.


This is exactly what I am trying to do, play the obviously weaker team in the first round, than one of the two team that have the first and second most points, and have the Patriots' studs between them.


IrishSox wrote:Dont' expect to make any friends though.


If this was any of the other four leagues I was in(two cafe leagues, one private money league that I happen to commish, and another money league with members from another sports site I moderate) this thought would probably cross my mind, and be ejected immediately since I actually deal with the other league members outside of the league. But this is a public nfl.com league. The only thing I have to worry about is people calling me out on the league message board :-b
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Money league: 9-4, #1 seed one and done
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby u_fig_eater » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:17 pm

I think the ultimate goal is the championship, not winning week to week. So I say go ahead and do what it takes to get a good playoff matchup.
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby LJ's Crush » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:25 am

As long as your 100% gauranted to make the playoff's Id do what you want to do it's not really cheating but if I were a another team I might be a little upset
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Re: Tanking for playoff matchup? Unethical?

Postby DraftDodger » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:35 am

On a "fairness to the league" level I don't see how what you'd be doing is any worse than an NFL team sitting their stars in the final weeks. I have no idea if it's ever had playoff implications, but it wouldn't surprise me. We're more and more a society that puts an emphasis on winning at all costs, and this gets carried to extremes. A friend of mine had to stop inviting his boss over for poker because her cheating became flagrant. And that's someone earning 150k+ a year, cheating fellow workers in a low stakes poker game (refreshments came to more in an evening than what changed hands).

Just play the damned games to win. Fantasy football is more about bragging rights than anything, and who wants to brag they threw a game because they were scared of competition they'd otherwise face down the road?

If there's serious cash involved, nobody is going to blame you if situational ethics kick in, but stay within the rules.
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