Razorblades vs. GnP – 6 F.J. 646 (November 18, 2014) – Fantasy Football Trade Review (G.Tate/J.Jones/D.Ware)

SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT

Razorblades vs. GnP

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE COUCH POTATO FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Decided November 18, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 646 (November 2014)

Factual Background

A fantasy football league called the Couch Potato Football League (hereinafter referred to as “CPFL”) is a 16-team standard keeper league created in 1989 and hosted on MyFantasyLeague.com.  Every year, each team may select six (6) players to keep which includes three offensive players and three defensive players.

The CPFL employs the following scoring system: Offense (1 point per 20 yards passing, 1 point per 10 yards rushing and receiving, 3 points per passing touchdown, 4 points per rushing or receiving touchdown, and -1 point per interception thrown); Defense (0.5 points per tackle, assist or batted ball, 1.5 points per ½ sack, 3 points per sack or interception, and 3 points per defensive touchdown); and Kicking (-1 point per missed field goal, 3 points per field goal made under 49 yards, and 4 points per field goal made 50 yards or more).

The CPFL has the following rules regarding trades:

8.     TRADING

         A. If you trade a draft pick, you must receive the same number of draft picks back.

         B. All trades will be sent to Fantasy Judgment for review.

         C. Trades will take place from the start of the season (owners meeting) until after the 8th week of the season.

         D. No trades will be allowed after the keepers are announced until after the draft.

               *          *          *          *          *

         F. Players traded after midnight on Friday during the season will not go through until the following Tuesday.

The CPFL commissioner has submitted a trade to the Court for review.

Procedural History

The Razorblades traded Demarcus Ware (DL-DEN), Karlos Dansby (LB-CLE), Golden Tate (WR-DET) and its 23rd round draft pick in 2015 to GnP in exchange James Jones (WR-OAK), Jeremy Mincey (DL-DAL), Steven Johnson (LB-DEN) and its 6th round draft pick in 2015.

Issue Presented

(1) Should the trade between the Razorblades and GnP be approved?

Decision

It should be noted that this trade was consummated on Saturday, November 15, 2014 which was prior to Karlos Dansby suffering a knee injury which will likely sideline him for up to a month.[1]  As such, we will evaluate the trade based on when it was agreed to and we will not take into consideration the fact that Dansby is now injured.  See PrimeTime vs. The Swani, 4 F.J. 220, 225 (August 2012) (holding that when a case is submitted requesting retroactive adjudication, the Court will only consider the facts, circumstances, and statistics as of the date of the incident.  All subsequent details will not be part of the analysis).

The Court has consistently ruled that people who participate in fantasy leagues should be given the freedom to manage their teams according to their own preferences.  Whether success is bred from that individual’s decision-making is purely left to some skill, luck, dedication, and savviness.  See Gangrene Master Yoda vs. Team Dizzle, 4 F.J. 284, 285 (October 2012); 4 Ponies vs. Carson City Cocks, 3 F.J. 13 (May 2011).

When presented with a dispute over the fairness or equitability of a trade, the Court will evaluate the objective merits of a deal and ensure that the integrity of the league is maintained.   Victoria’s Secret vs. C-Train, 2 F.J. 32, 35 (October 2010).  Typically, the approval or rejection of a trade is based on whether the deal was made without collusion, has equitable consideration, and comports with the best interests of the league.  See 4 Ponies vs. Beaver Hunters, 3 F.J. 26, 27 (June 2011).  The virtue of a trade is measured in both quantifiable criteria and subjective needs of the teams involved.  Carson City Cocks vs. Stud Muffins, 3 F.J. 23, 24 (May 2011).

No evidence has been submitted indicating any alleged collusion or malfeasance.  As such, the Court will operate on the presumption that there is no collusive conduct between the parties.

Typically the only circumstances where we will reject a trade are: 1) if the deal is made in violation of league rules; 2) if the deal is made through collusion; 3) the deal is so grossly lopsided that is has a detrimental effect on the whole league; and 4) if the deal makes absolutely no sense and/or fails to improve at least one of the team’s rosters in any capacity.  Grand Theft Votto vs. That Wimpy Deer, 6 F.J. 39, 42 (April 2014).  Given the concerns over this trade, we will only look at scenarios 3 and 4.

In a vacuum, the trade of James Jones, Jeremy Mincey, Steven Johnson and a 6th round draft pick in exchange for Golden Tate, Demarcus Ware, Karlos Dansby and a 23rd round draft pick looks slightly inequitable in terms of both present day and future value.  Tate is not quite considered elite for purposes of requiring additional scrutiny because of how inherently valuable he is, but he is by far the best player in this trade and has seen his value skyrocket this season.  See Steelers vs. Patriots, 3 F.J. 216, 220 (November 2011).

This trade includes the even exchange of wide receivers, defensive lineman, linebackers and draft picks along with a running back.  Draft picks in subsequent seasons are assets commonly bartered in keeper leagues.  See Bald Eagles vs. Weasel D, 3 F.J. 205, 208 (November 2011).  When a trade such as this is consummated involving the exchange of players at the same positions, it can reasonably be concluded that both GM’s do not have any specific positional needs to address.  Rather, they are seeking specific improvement in a particular category or have other keeper league strategies in mind.  See Mudhen Wannabe’s vs. Screaming Psychopaths, 6 F.J. 399 (July 2014).

Tate has established himself as one of the better receivers in the league as he has already set career highs in receptions (68) and yards (950) through only 10 games thus far.  He has fit right in as the Lions’ number two receiver and even stepped up during the weeks that Calvin Johnson was out with an injury.  In exchange for Tate, the Razorblades are acquiring James Jones which marks a significant drop-off.  Jones has caught 49 passes for 498 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Raiders.  Besides both players having three touchdowns, Tate has essentially been twice as good as Jones which is also reflected in their CPFL point totals (103.00 to 58.00).  This is a significant difference.

The rest of the trade is heavily in favor of GnP as Demarcus Ware (41.50) and Karlos Dansby (49.50) greatly outscore Jeremy Mincey (15.00) and Steven Johnson (8.00).  Plus, Ware is one of the premier pass rushers in the league and Dansby has been one of the most prolific tacklers in the league having recorded over 100 tackles five times since 2008.  When you add up the combined point values of both packages, there is a total difference of 113 points in favor of GnP.  With such a disparate amount of points being exchanged, we must look at whether the swap of draft picks will help offset the imbalance.  The Razorblades have acquired a 6th round pick as compensation and gave away a 23rd round pick in the deal.  While we recognize that is an improvement and will help bolster his draft for next year, we don’t think it accurately reflects the value being given away.

A trade will be rejected when the Court cannot objectively ascertain any benefit to one of the teams and the net result in no way makes a team better now or in the future.  See Los Pollos Hermanos vs. Little Stumps, 3 F.J. 192, 195 (October 2011); see also Speedboys vs. Kramerdogs, 5 F.J. 109 (July 2013) (rejecting a trade of Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Wainwright and Rafael Soriano in exchange for Bryce Harper, A.J. Burnett Trevor Rosenthal, and Archie Bradley).  Here, we understand the motivations of both teams in making this trade.  GnP is clearly seeking to pursue a playoff berth this year while the Razorblades are focusing more stockpiling draft picks to build their team in 2015.  However, the present-day value of what is being traded to GnP far outweighs the value being given back.  The future value of only a 6th round draft pick is not significant enough to offset that difference.  Based on the foregoing, the Court approves the subject trade between the Razorblades and GnP on the premise that the trade will be amended to include at least a 3rd round draft pick as compensation being provided to the Razorblades in the deal.  If GnP is not amenable to including his 3rd round draft pick in 2015 instead of his 6th round pick, then we must reject the trade as it is currently composed.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

[1] See http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2014/11/karlos_dansby_could_miss_upwar.html

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