Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pulling the Plug on Your Season. When?

A month ago I wrote an article about DeAngelo Williams and surmised that I would land him on my fantasy team before the end of the season. My plan was to get him in time for the playoffs and to get him on the cheap – from an expansion team that inevitably would be looking to next season. Since then, my team meltdown has become epic. I first starting thinking about shutting it down when I was 0-4.

It was tough, whenever I was amongst other managers in my pool all I could talk about was how I was hoping to get the first overall pick next year. My record eventually got to 0-10. Every week I talked about quitting, yet, every week I found it so hard to do. Then in week 11, something funny happened. I won a game. Then I won another. My record is 2-10 right now and I still have a chance to make the playoffs (I am blessed to be in an awful division). I need a few things to go my way, but, if I get in, anything can happen. My team is clearly on a roll. Right?

So, I’m no longer gunning for DeAngelo and my mind wonders about other things. Right now, I’m wondering when is too early to bail on a season?

If I had started throwing games six weeks ago, I wouldn't be in the position I am right now with those big two wins. I wouldn't be wondering about what might happen in the playoffs. Not to mention, I wouldn't have had the fun I have over that time either. Being a loveable loser is a lot of fun. Trust me.

However, it still would have been a shrewd move to put myself in a better position for that draft pick that I really want next year. But, right now, none of that matters. It is proper to look ahead, but I don't think it is proper to throw games. Until you are mathematically eliminated, I don't think it makes sense to lose games on purpose.

If you believe in karma, losing games on purpose may be the worst thing you can do in sport/competition. A few years ago, we saw this in the NBA. Teams were sitting players for no apparent reason other than some fake injury they created. A few teams were in bad positions are really wanted that top pick. The media had a field day at the time and many writers surmised new ways to determine the first overall pick in the NBA (some of the ideas were quite good). In that case, losing games on purpose did not work.

In real world sports, fans seemed divided on the issue. Some felt it made sense to look toward the next season while others felt the team had a duty to do the best each game. In fantasy sports, it is a little different. As a fantasy manager, your only duty is to other managers in your league. But that is still important. The karma gods might still take notice if your actions threw off the balance of your league. Maybe you believe this and maybe you do not. That doesn't matter. There is an understanding that managers will try to win every game.

So to answer the question I posed. It is always too early to bail on a season. Extrinsically, to bail throws the rest of the league in an imbalance. Intrinsically, it takes the fun out of it, afterall, managers are in the league for fun. I think. And finally, there's that karma thing.

It is remarkable that I am not out of the playoffs. I'm just stubborn enough to still think I'm going to win the pool. Truth is, I am just lucky enough to be in a terrible division, but if I can get into the playoffs, anything can happen.

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