Fantasy Football Definition of Fleecing

"Fleecing" is just what it sounds like, when one fantasy football team robs another league rival in a fantasy football trade. Fleecing can be intentional or unintentional, though when charges of "fleecing" are made by one league owner about another league owner are made, there is generally an implication: the owner doing the fleecing is a con man and the owner being fleeced is an idiot.

Fleecing is different from collusion in that the two teams are not conspiring to help one team win. In a fleecing, both teams are trying to improve their team. It's just that one team knows what it's doing, while the other doesn't, so that one team is getting out much better in a one-sided trade.

Fleecing and the League Message Boards

Discussions of fleecing often play a big role on league message boards. When a trade happens, if the more outspoken members of the league believe one team is fleecing another, they will voice their outrage and disbelief on the league site. This generally provokes one or both parties to the trade to go on the message board to defend the trade, trying to suggest this helps the idiot team on a bye week or gives that team "added depth". On the part of the team doing the fleecing, this defense is insincere and self-serving and everyone with a clue in the league knows it.

So Why Does Fleecing Happen?

Trades can look very different from different perspectives in fantasy football. While there are really bad trades that should never be allowed to happen in fantasy football, I've found that trades often look much different a month or two out than they do at the time. Knowing this, owners not involved in a trade often have a knee-jerk reaction of "fleecing" when a trade happens, especially if one of their main rivals adds a stud player who was highly touted coming into the season.

The teams involved in the trade will each look at the trade from a different perspective. For one, a team having a bad season often has nothing to lose by "shaking things up", so they are willing to take risks to turn their season around. They are more likely to trade their one stud player for a package of other players, hoping this new combination will be more successful than the old. ("This lineup isn't working.") Since they are going to trade with a team that has more depth and a better bench, this desperate owner is likely to trade with one of the big contenders. That contender is likely to trade 2-3 or even more starters (perhaps their backups) for one big name fantasy football producer, trading their depth for an upgrade at one position.

All the other contenders are going to look at this from an entirely different perspective. They are going to see this less successful team trading their best player as essentially giving up on the season, when in fact, they might be taking bigger risks to try to "make something happen". More dramatically, they are going to see their rival contender adding a player who might put them "over the top", and they are going to see something sinister in what's going on. If the two teams are good friends or have had iffy trades in the past, that is likely to full charges of fleecing.

Fleecing and League Trade Rules

I've actually found that many trades that appeared one-sided like this in the past turned out to be less one-sided than it appeared at first, but that isn't to say that fleecing doesn't go on in fantasy football or that leagues shouldn't try to keep it from happening - either through rules or ridicule of the teams involved in the league. Whether you want to add rules to your league that keep fleecing from happening is another matter entirely, because you walk a fine line when trying to legislate "fair trades", as you're likely to make trade very rare in your league.

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