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There is a feature in NFL.com’s Fantasy Football “Roster Options” that Deadspin has recently brought to light and the Fantasy world is up in arms. You have the option in custom leagues to pay real money to swap players on your bench with players in your starting lineup after the games are over if your bench players outscored your starters.
It’s not overly complicated. Each player switch costs 99 cents, or you have the option of unlimited switches for $3.99. There is one stipulation, though. You must pay for the opportunity to switch these players before the games being played. Say you bench Philip Rivers this week for Derek Carr and Rivers goes nuts. You will have to pay the 99 cents for the option to switch in Rivers before the games on Sunday. Otherwise, you’re beat.
Here is how you set this process up:
HOW DO ROSTER OPTIONS WORK?
Best of all, roster options are simple. It can’t be easier to get started today.
1. Custom league manager turns the Roster Options setting on during the “Create League” process or via the “Edit Roster Options” manage tool.
2. Team Owners click “Buy” button available on My Team page for all benched players.
3. Complete the purchase process.
4. If a player you purchased an option for outscores a player in your starting lineup (at an eligible position), NFL.com automatically makes the post-game substitution and your total score is updated.
Fantasy Football traditionalists will hate this. It takes a major part of the skill out of the game and replaces it with people spending money to win. Championships should be won, not bought. This is like a Best Ball league on steroids.
Having to set your lineup, make tough decisions and play matchups is what separates Fantasy winners and losers. How can you take this out of the game? That’s a disaster! This seems amateur and lazy, plus most people already pay enough for their league fees and don’t want to continue to pay all season, which is exactly what you’ll have to do to be competitive. How do you beat someone paying the $3.99 every week if you don’t want to do so? Many Fantasy owners are ultra-competitive and will be forced to give in and pay up.
There are always two sides of each argument. Others will look at this and say, “Why not give this option?” The more options, the better, it’s not like anyone is forced to play in these leagues or by these rules. If some people like the idea, leave them alone. As long as the league rules are clear before the draft, then it’s fair game. To each their own.
Also, I had a thought which would make this way more appealing. If all the funds go into the prize money for champion, it would give a lot of incentive, and it would probably add up quick. If the money just goes to the site, it feels like you’re being scammed out of your money. I’m sure this option will evolve into this at some point in some leagues.
Whether you like this option or not, odds are it’s not going away. Even if it is a fundamentally terrible idea that undermines the fun of the game.
But, bottom line is that if people are utilizing this and the sites are profiting, look for expansion, not a detraction. The good news is you can simply ignore this option altogether if you’d like. Otherwise give it a try and see if you like it. I fully expect to see this option on other sites as early as next season.