Enforcing Nominations

This offseason brought some significant performance improvements to the ottoneu Fantasy Baseball auction draft. I’ve been tracking performance pretty closely and I’ve been thrilled with how much better the site has performed this year over last year. However, a small but significant rule change has caused issues for about half the drafts that have occurred so far, especially in leagues with a number of first-time owners.

The rule change was as follows:

II. f. Each owner must nominate a player in turn. If a team does not nominate a player, they will be considered done with the draft.

There is an important reason this rule was quietly added to football in 2015 and baseball this season. Last season, owners would purposefully not nominate players towards the end of auctions. By waiting until other teams were out of money or roster spots, a certain subset of owners attempted to lower prices on their sleeper picks. While the overall advantage gained is minimal, if you ended up in a draft with two like-minded owners, the standoff could last for hours or even days! This was not ideal, so a rule was implemented in the platform to lock teams out of the auction draft if they missed a nomination.

In my league, this was not a problem – we loudly shamed owners who missed their nomination turn, and paused often to prevent anyone from fully missing their turn. However, it became clear based on your feedback that my league was the exception – we were comfortable with the draft software, we knew each other well, and so we have a unique league dynamic that minimized the practical impact of this rule.

Some leagues embraced this rule, as they ran into owners using this strategy in past drafts. However, many leagues ran into logistical nightmares between keeping track of the fast-paced draft action and pausing every few turns to unlock a team that accidentally missed their nomination. There are few things more fun than an ottoneu Fantasy Sports draft firing on all cylinders, and few things more frustrating than having to stop that draft every few minutes to sort out what seemed like an overly harsh penalty for an honest mistake.

As a result, nomination enforcement is now optional and can be set in Commissioner Tools -> League Settings. It is off by default, so missing a nomination will not lock a team’s owner out of bidding or future nominations. In highly-competitive leagues, we recommend turning this setting on, but it is up to each league to handle this how they would like.

Rule II. f. now states:

f. If enabled in the league settings, each owner will be expected to nominate a player in turn. If a league chooses to require nominations and a team does not nominate a player, they will be considered done with the draft.

This change is live now and will affect any auction drafts in the future, as well as those currently in-progress.