On Wednesday, Todd Zola of Mastersball posted a long back-and-forth between several of my fantasy industry brethren that was initiated by the following question:
If you are obviously not going to win a league such as Tout Wars or LABR, will you make trades with those competing in an effort to move up in the standings, even if it is not a "money" finish?
Surprisingly (to me at least), there seemed to be a difference of opinion on the subject. While a solid majority of experts are of the mindset that you should keep on fighting until the final day of the season, a small handful of experts are of the belief that making a trade that might push you from 12th to 10th place but could win the league for your opponent is the wrong thing to do.
I'm with the majority on this one. While I'd rather be playing for 1st place than for 10th place, I'm going to keep on keeping on until the final week of the season. Why?
I'm a competitive person by nature
I hate losing, but what I hate even more than losing is getting embarrassed when I lose. Finishing dead last in a keeper league - where you're sacrificing talent in an effort to focus on next year - is different than finishing last in a non-keeper league, where the only goal is succeeding this year.
The rules in Tout Wars encourage it
In Tout Wars, I'm of the opinion that the idea is to try and do your best all season long. The trade deadline is very late, there is no contiguous trading deadline (a rule that permits trading only with teams above or below you in the standings past a certain point in the year), and there is a FAAB penalty for the next season if you don't get to a certain amount of points. I don't think you're supposed to simply stop trying.
You're doing a disservice to all of the competitors by not trying to improve your team
Unless you have a horrible squad, chances are good that even your second division team is stealing a few points here and there from the teams at the top of the heap. In my mind, it is more of a disservice to the league to simply raise the white flag and "give" those points away to the teams gunning for the win out of some odd sense of honor.
I've made some pretty big comebacks in my day
In one of my home leagues, I was down by a whopping margin in mid-June when I made a big dump deal and wound up winning the league in the final week. But I've even done well in non-keeper by keeping my eyes and ears open and refusing to just give up. In 2010, I was 28.5 points down in the CBS Analyst league in mid-July when I made a trade that helped me win it all. Is this common? Of course not. But if you never try the odds go from miniscule to non-existent.