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High Staked: No-Trade Clauses

Veteran high stakes fantasy football player Monty Phan chronicles his season.

As my son started really getting into NFL football over the past year, it confused him whenever he’d see a player had switched teams. “Dad, Dion Lewis is on the Titans? Why would the Patriots trade him? He’s good!” I’d explain that Lewis was a free agent. Then I’d explain what free agency was. Really, most of my parenting duties involve explaining all sorts of complicated things to my kids despite knowing they’ll just forget everything five minutes later.

Anyway, this happened with a ton of players. “Dad, Jimmy Graham is on the Packers?” “Dad, Michael Crabtree is on the Ravens?” I finally had to sit him down and break it to him that, as much as trades are fun, they just don’t happen that often in the NFL.

So then, of course, last week half the guys in the league got traded. Thanks for making me a liar, NFL!1

I love trading in fantasy. I agonize over deals. I solicit opinions from friends. I look at rankings. I put together an offer, hover over the “submit” button, then research some more, tweaking the offer, pausing to submit, then, when I finally send it, I act like I just put in a full day’s work. With every email alert thereafter, I get excited that maybe it means my offer was accepted.

In the FFPC’s Main Event, though, trades are prohibited, and rightfully so, because if you’re going to pay all that money to enter a high-stakes league, the last thing you want is two teams using trades to collude in an effort to split the pot. But having that method unavailable as a means of improving a team does make things somewhat difficult at this time of year.

Seeing the same guys on the waiver wire week after week is lulling. Moreover, free agent budgets are dwindling. So after nine weeks, with only two more regular-season games left in the Main Event season, someone like Dez Bryant, who signed with the Saints yesterday, is like chum for sharks. In one of our Main Event leagues, Bryant went for $562.2 with the next-highest bid at $71. In our other Main Event league, he went for $307. In our Super Bracket league, he went for a whopping $618, which was $614 more than the next-highest bid. The bids on Bryant suggest people think he’ll be a late-season savior, but he’s joining a new team mid-week after not having played half the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Maurice Harris, another popular addition this week (who went for a lot less) ends up being more valuable.

At least, however, when I informed my son that Bryant was on the Saints, he didn’t even ask whether he was traded. Progress!


Something new popped up in some of my FFPC leagues this week: On the league home page, next to each team in the standings, there’s now a button that says “Side Action,” allowing owners to place bets with leaguemates on whose team will score the most that week. It doesn’t seem that there’s been an official announcement from the FFPC yet, but the feature is live, and if you click on the “Side Action” button, there’s a link to the official rules.

Similar to the DFS head-to-head contests, the FFPC takes 10 percent of each bet (so putting up $10 pays you $18 if you win). Of the leagues I’m in, I see the feature available in my dynasty league and the $35 entry leagues (both classic and best-ball), but not in Main Event, Super Bracket, Terminator or Bare Knuckle leagues.

I don’t see myself using the feature, because I’m superstitious and believe there’s no surer way to jinx my team than by betting that it will do well that week, but I can see people doing it as an extra weekly thrill. My kid likes to use my laptop to look at our league standings, though, so that’s one more thing to teach him: Don’t accidentally bet Dad’s money.

  1. Also, while we’re on the subject of questions my kid asks me, a request: enough with the erectile dysfunction ads during games. “Dad, what’s ED?” is not something I want to explain to a 9-year-old just yet, because, with my luck, he’ll actually remember what I tell him and then the whole fourth grade will know.  (back)
  2. out of an original $1000 budget  (back)
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