Posted Dec. 01 at 05:23 AM
It's easy to be an active owner when you're winning and looking forward to a playoff run. But do you do the same things when you're playing spoiler?
When your record looks nice you follow the games, check the waiver wire and do everything a good owner does. While part of that stems from wanting to be a strong league member, some of it is selfishness as well. You want to keep winning. But would you really pay that much attention if you weren't in the hunt for a championship? Would you still scout your opponent and do everything you can to earn another win if it didn't help your wallet and it all ended in week 14 anyway?
Well, maybe you would -- and this might be your chance to prove it. If you're not in the playoff hunt, you might be able to play spoiler at the end of the season. And while winning a title is the best outcome for a fantasy season, keeping a buddy out of the playoffs is a pretty close second and satisfying in its own right. If there's a league where your team underperformed, I encourage you to finish strong and keep someone out of the playoffs.
Being a spoiler is actually pretty fun -- much more fun that ignoring the team completely. You get to be someone's personal nightmare, the team on their schedule that has nothing to play for...yet still upsets them and ruins their season. By all accounts you're supposed to roll over and let them step over you on their way to the playoffs. You're a gimme, an automatic "w" and a bottom-feeder. You shouldn't even be changing your lineup. They want you to just start injured players, focus on your other teams in other leagues and hand them an easy victory. Is that why you joined the league? Is that the kind of owner you are?
If you don't want to be a speed bump in a friend's march to glory, it's time to work the waiver wire, put in your best lineup and do some trash-talking. Yes, a team with no playoff aspirations can talk trash. You have nothing to lose and no pressure. Your buddy, however, is agonizing over every lineup decision. He's hoping some table scraps come his way on the waiver wire and he's hoping you won't bother to start your best players.
It's almost unfair, really. One guy can have fun, tease the other owner and enjoy the games while the other one keeps debating lineups in his head and doesn't want to boast for fear of looking silly if he loses. How can you turn that down? The worst thing that happens is you lose -- and you weren't going to the playoffs anyway. But if you win? Now, that would be something. You even earn a title yourself: Overlord of your friend's team all off-season. You get to mock them until next September. How's that for motivation?
Even if you're not facing each other, you can still hurt them. There could be a few gems on the waiver wire this week. Why not use your position and take as many as you can? You might end up with a couple of players other teams need. Who cares if they sit on your bench? Let the other owners sweat it out and be disappointed that they won't have better talent for a stretch run. You have priority, so use it.
You didn't go into this season planning to be a spoiler, but you might find yourself there in one or more leagues. If that's the case, do your job as an owner -- and have some unique fun at your friends' expense -- and do your best to keep them out of the playoffs. Good luck this week.
You can reach Michael Murillo at email@example.com.
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