Outlaws vs. Marauders – 6 F.J. 546 (September 19, 2014) – Fantasy Football Trade Review (L.Fitzgerald/S.Smith/A.Blue)


Outlaws vs. Marauders


Decided September 19, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 546 (September 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:


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.

*      *      *      *      *

G. 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 Outlaws traded Steve Smith (WR-BAL) and Richard Rodgers (TE-GB) to the Marauders in exchange for Larry Fitzgerald (WR-ARZ) and Alfred Blue (RB-HOU).

Issue Presented

(1)  Should the trade between the Outlaws and the Marauders?


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 Steve Smith and Richard Rodgers in exchange for Larry Fitzgerald and Alfred Blue looks fair and equitable in terms of present day value.  None of the players in this deal are considered elite for purposes of requiring additional scrutiny merely because of how valuable they are.  See Steelers vs. Patriots, 3 F.J. 216, 220 (November 2011).

This trade includes a swap of wide receivers, but it also includes an exchange of a running back for a tight end.  When a trade such as this is consummated involving the exchange of players at all different positions, it can reasonably be concluded that both GM’s have different interests and priorities with respect to the composition of their rosters.  See In Pursuit of the Grail vs. Reloading Again, 6 F.J. 12, 13 (March 2014).

It makes perfect sense why the Outlaws wanted to acquire Alfred Blue.   They already have both Arian Foster and Jonathan Grimes on their roster, so this acquisition assures them of having all potential handcuffs in the event any of Houston’s running backs get injured.  Blue has carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards through the Texans’ first two games.  Most of that came during the Texans’ Week 2 victory over Oakland which is notable because he appears to have moved ahead of Jonathan Grimes on the depth chart.

On the other hand, the Marauders’ acquisition of Richard Rodgers has no fantasy impact whatsoever.  Rodgers does not have any catches yet this season and was only targeted once during Green Bay’s Week 2 victory over the Jets.  The Packers do not appear to be using the tight end much in their offense which does not bode well for Rodgers’ fantasy value.

These two teams also swapped veteran wide receivers Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald for one another.  Neither have the same value they did five years ago, but they are both still productive fantasy players deeper on the roster.  Fitzgerald has seven receptions for 73 yards without a touchdown through two games.  He has clearly lost a step, but more importantly his production could be limited due to the fact that Carson Palmer is injured and the Cardinals are relying on Drew Stanton who hadn’t started a game in four years before last week.

In comparison, Steve Smith has 13 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown through two games.  He has an astounding 25 targets already and is playing as though he found the fountain of youth in his debut season in Baltimore.  While we cannot expect him to continue at this pace, it is clear that Smith has more fantasy value than Fitzgerald as of the present date.

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, the trade makes sense from both teams’ perspectives and serves their respective needs.  The Outlaws obtain an advantage acquiring Blue in exchange for Rodgers while the Marauders obtain an advantage acquiring Smith for Fitzgerald.  The compensation being exchanged is fair and equitable, and we see no reason why this trade should not go through.  Based on the foregoing, the Court approves the subject trade between the Outlaws and the Marauders.


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