Ask Nash: Combating Deadbeat Owners

Crackerjack Note: Since the All Star Game is next week, we’ve decided to give everyone a second Ask Nash this Friday. This is certainly an issue that persists over multiple seasons, so it’s worth an extra read.



I am the LM or 2 leagues, a roto league and a head to head money league.  Inevitably each year in both leagues I end up with a couple deadbeat owners and really this makes the integrity of fair play a little unbalanced.  Have you ever come across deadbeat owners as an LM what have you done or might you suggest doing?



First and foremost, congrats to the Lakers for landing Steve Nash. I am SOOO happy he didn’t go to Miami, as I would have had to disown that nickname!

Now down to business.

Gosh, it’s like you readers are in my head lately. Of course I have dealt with and am dealing with deadbeat owners, even guys who outright quit mid season. These are quite frustrating in money leagues, ESPECIALLY if guys have not paid up.

I have actually been thinking about deadbeat owners a lot lately. For me, a guy that can turn out upwards of 300 transactions in a season, I think almost everyone is a borderline deadbeat. So this season I have had to try to view things from other strategical (is that a word?) perspectives, some guys just like to let it ride. This isn’t a great strategy in fantasy baseball because the season is so long, BUT if you have the horses, your patience can pay off.

Now, getting to the real deadbeats.  We recently tossed around an idea of giving extra auction dollars to the worst teams in our roto league. The thought is to help them out for the next year, much like snake drafts and drafting in reverse order in real sports. You need to help those teams feel like they aren’t just going to be left out to dry every year. Now this idea was met with the idea that we will be rewarding deadbeat owners for their futility.

Of course we would never want to do that, and really how are we to know that guys are being deadbeats, or even tanking?  It’s not right to judge others intentions by their actions especially when we justify our own actions by our intentions.

Now, there are ways to have checks and balances. We have talked a lot recently of how to combat streaming with your league setting and you can do some of the same against potential deadbeatness (yes I am on fire making up words today).

Most sites have an innings minimum setting. Say you have a 1,000 innings minimum, if a manager or managers do not make that minimum then they are automatically dropped out of competition in pitching categories.

Now, there are no such minimum setting for hitters, so you may have to get creative.

One strong sign that you have a deadbeat owner is if they have a DL eligible guy in an active spot for longer than a few days. So I have thought recently, what if you just dropped the DL player from their team? It’s a bit extreme and only really hurts if the player is a quality guy, BUT it may be enough to get guys to pay closer attention.

I have also had a pretty extreme thought as to what to do with money leagues recently. Say you have a $25 league entry fee, well maybe you increase to $30 but keep the overall payouts the same, using the extra $5 as a “deposit”. For example, in a 12-team league, the bottom three don’t get that money back, and you can use the extra cash for incentives, like $5 for over home run leader, steals leader etc.

Like I said, some of these are extreme BUT may be worth considering, at least.

Hope this helps, Landon


  • Dixon

    If we’re being really honest, I don’t even like the worst real teams being rewarded with the highest picks. But that’s an old idea that isn’t going to change.

    In fantasy, teams are usually bad because their owners either check out, or miss the draft without setting a preset. There are exceptions, but not many. I don’t like the idea of giving the worst teams an extra handout, because it does nothing to encourage people that won’t win it all to stick it out through the season. If anything, I would do something like this. Give the second place person the most bonus dollars, with the last place person the least.

    In a snake league, I am not as sure, at least in roto. In head to head snakes, I would do a modified inversion. Playoff teams draft in normal order, with the champion drafting last, runner up second to last etc. But I would reward the best non playoff team the first pick, second best non playoff team the second pick, and the worst team the worst pick that non playoff teams get. So, in a 12-team league, the worst team gets the seventh pick.

    PS, I actually like your idea on the deposit in cash leagues.

    • Nash

      Maybe we can implement it next year?

      • Dixon

        I think it needs some fine tuning and obviously the people of the league would need to overwhelmingly agree (or say they don’t care). Like under your idea, we’re only talking about $15 worth of total bonus money. So would people be willing to chip in more for such a small payout. What if we made it anyone who doesn’t make the playoffs loses the $5 deposit, making it a $30 extra pot.

        Just a few thoughts to mull over. But ya, I am for anything that makes the league more active all year long. I mean, I get teams totally out of contention sort of checking out when fantasy football season begins, but that’s still 2 months away.