Skip to main content

Fantasy Football Cheaters

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit in the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger, and you sure as hell don’t cheat in Fantasy Football.

You can cheat on your taxes and your wife, but cheating in fantasy football is un-American. So if you plan to win some “cash and prizes” in my league, I suggest you not do this Bull S***.

A while back, I talked to one of my loyal customers, John, and he told me how bothered he was that a couple of guys in his league had cheated. The guy in the 1st place had Tom Brady, and with one minute to go before the trade deadline, he ends up getting Jason Witten from the guy in dead last. And all it cost him was a running back on injured reserve. Of course, as the COMMISH, he was able to reverse the transaction but what was bothering him was that he spent a lot of time and money organizing a good league only to have a couple of jerks disrespect him. If John, like most COMMISHES, doesn’t organize the league, then it doesn’t get done.

John asked me for some advice, so I told him to get rid of those guys. They’re as useless as a stripper at a funeral. The COMMISH has to have some balls. He can’t be afraid to upset anybody, especially his friends. A couple of years ago, my girlfriend was on her way to winning her league when, days before the playoffs started, the last place guy decided to drop Edgerrin James, aka The Edge, and everyone on his roster since he was bored and out of contention. Edge gets picked up by a guy who also had Curtis Martin, and he ends up beating my girl in the championship game. She was upset that the COMMISH didn’t do anything about it. He said, “It’s just fantasy football.” She said, “Not when there’s money involved; it’s not A-hole.”

It goes both ways. I was once in a league where the COMMISH was e-mailing a couple of guys saying, let’s make this trade, and we’ll split the cash at the end of the year. That was my only year in that league. So here’s a list of my rules to stop cheating:

Rule #1.) Get good character, guys. Don’t let just anybody in your fantasy football league so that you can have a bigger cash prize. Find out if they only do online drafting or if they get together for a live draft in their other leagues. That’ll tell you a lot.

Rule #2.) COMMISH has to have some balls. Don’t be afraid to kick some guys out of the league, even if they are your friends.

Rule #3.) Have weekly prizes like the highest-scoring team gets X amount of money. The money keeps everyone interested and fielding the best squad they can.

Rule #4.) Have a consolation tournament for the non-playoff teams. The winner of our non-playoff tournament gets a guaranteed top 5 lottery pick.

Rule #5.) Lock all playoff teams’ rosters as soon as the season ends. That prevents the Edge fiasco. Baron Davis can’t join the Lakers for the playoffs when the Warriors‘ season ended just because he’s a free agent.

Rule #6.) Don’t go changing the rules as the season goes along. Whatever rules the commish makes in the rule book and on the draft day should stay in place all season long. So, for example, if only the top four teams are supposed to make the playoff, don’t ask the league to vote and let eight teams in instead. 

Rule #7.) And this is the most important rule. Find another league that runs the same scoring system as yours. None of their players can be in your fantasy football league and vice versa. When a trade happens, give both rosters to another fantasy football league with the trade proposal. The different league has no clue who the owners are. It’s fair and impartial. This way, no one can say the COMMISH is biased. It’s worked out pretty well for us the last seven years.

Rule #8.) Set a deadline for your trades. Ours is on the week of Thanksgiving.

Rule #9.) Use a trade analyzer or hire a fantasy judge. I wrote this article in 2009, and we didn’t have these options back then. Now an app analyzer on your phone will let you know in seconds if a trade is fair or not.

These are just a few rules to help you out. If you have any other ideas, please e-mail us at

By Commish Kit

Here’s a suggestion from one of our customers:

Dear Eddie,

I have been a Fantasy Football commissioner for 12-years, and over that time, I have run into just about every rule violation, dispute, and or gripe that a commissioner could run into. As a result of this, I have continually refined my league, and its rules over the years until I have finally got it running like a well-oiled machine. As a result, all of my owners love my league, and my ownership turnover is very low. I liked all of your suggestions for preventing cheating in your fantasy league, and I have used many of them. I have a few other tips to add to your list that may help other commissioners keep their league under control while also keeping it fun for everybody. Please note that our league is a VERY “High Stakes” League with Entry Fees of $300 per team, transaction fees of $10.00 per player per transaction, and total end-of-year pots well over $3,000. Therefore, the following rules were needed in my fantasy league because a lot of money is at stake.

1. Establish a “Toilet Bowl” for teams that do not make the actual playoffs:

My league is a 10-team league where only six teams make the playoffs. In past years, the other 4-teams who did not make the playoffs stopped appearing on the website’s message board and stopped setting weekly lineups near the end of the year when they knew they would not make the playoffs. Some even dropped big players on their roster for others to pick up. To solve this problem, I started a “Toilet Bowl” in which the 4 non-playoff bound teams to compete over a 2 week period which starts at the same time as our regular 3 week playoff season. The prize for winning our Toilet Bowl is the first pick in the next year’s draft. This system prevents cheating, roster dumping, and disappearing owners by giving non-playoff teams something to compete for at the end of the year. Most importantly, it keeps all of the owners on our message board and keeps the trash-talking alive, which we feel is the most fun thing about fantasy football. It also solves the problem of being accused of “rigging” the first pick in the draft for the commissioner.

2. Division of Power/Responsibility

 A. Assign an Assistant Commissioner:

After 12 years, I was starting to get frustrated by all of the work that was needed to run a league. I was also frustrated by owners who would call me 5-minutes before game time or at odd hours of the day and who would then complain that they couldn’t get a hold of me to make roster changes. I was also frustrated at being called to make roster changes while I was out of town on business or vacation. As a result, I came up with the idea of appointing an assistant commissioner who had all of the roster access and power to do transactions and make roster changes while I was out of town or when owners could not get a hold of me. This system worked so well, and my assistant commissioner was so good that we decided to make him the “full-time” transaction person as assistant commissioner and make me the “back up” for transactions. I still hold all of the commissioner’s power, but he does all of the transaction work, making my life easier and making my owners happier because he is more readily available for them. This system’s other unexpected positive bonus was that it provided a “checks and balances” function for our transaction system. The owners stopped complaining about bogus transactions and stopped accusing me of favoring one owner over another. There was now a second person involved in transaction approvals that they felt checked my decisions to ensure they were fair. Our transactions are reviewed much more closely now because the Assistant Commissioner only has one job: transactions. I know many guys don’t like to give up power, but trust me, you should try it. It works great, and everyone is much happier in our league now.

 B. Assign a League Treasurer

The job I hated most as commissioner was that of collecting money. I didn’t have the aggressive personality to bug guys for their money. As a result, I was still trying to collect entry fees and transaction fees for a week after our Super Bowl. The guys were complaining that I didn’t make owners pay upfront. They were griping that I didn’t pay out on time, and they were fighting amongst themselves over who hadn’t paid yet. This also leads them to accuse me of playing favorites and making exceptions for certain owners. Then the solution to my problems hit me like a lightning bolt. I assigned a league treasurer. We have one guy in our league who is not afraid of confrontation and is not afraid to speak his mind. He is also a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to money. He is the kind of guy who says the things that you wish you could say. So I decided to make him the treasurer and put him in charge of all collections and payouts. The collections and payouts are now all on time, and everyone is happy. The unexpected positive benefit of this system is that there is no way that my owners can accuse me of any type of misconduct with the money because there is now a “checks and balances” system in place between myself, my assistant commissioner, and my league treasurer. I never even touch the money anymore because it is all handled by my treasurer.

 C. Establish Checks and Balances

With my new 3 branched system of Fantasy Football government in place, I then put together a system of checks and balances to utilize this system to best prevent cheating and to keep everyone happy and at peace with each other. So now, my league has the following governing rules that use the 3 branches of our league’s government:

  • Any one of the three league officers can “veto” or block a transaction if he does not feel it is fair or proper.
  • Any one of the three league officers can do a transaction vs. league funds reconciliation to ensure that all of the books are balanced and in order.
  • All-League Rule changes and owner disputes are put to a democratic league owner vote. However, if a vote is tied, a 2nd vote is held only by the 3 governing league officers to break the tie. Since there are 3 officers, there is never a tie on this vote.

The system works much like our US government, and everyone is pleased in our league. It is successful, prevents cheating, and keeps everyone happy because no one person has too much power and is constantly being double-checked by another person. I hope it helps other commissioners.

-Jim Dallos

 Wyandotte, MI

Don’t forget to order your Fantasy Football Draft Boards from They are now shipping.

[vc_single_image image=”50438″ img_size=”” onclick=”custom_link” link=””]