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.

17 thoughts on “Enforcing Nominations”

  1. This rule change was a disaster in our auction. I spent far, far too much time getting people out of nomination jail. Glad it’s optional now, but can’t fathom why it wasn’t to begin with.

  2. I like this change. Fortunately, only one guy in my league kept missing his 30 second spot, and it wasn’t too tough to go to another open tab and re-up him.

  3. I think the new rule change was a step in the right direction. It gave people incentive to stay on top of things and it significantly sped up the auction, but it had its faults as mentioned in the article.

    Rather than giving us the choice to toggle the option on or off, i think it’d be better if you did the following:

    – Increase the player nomination time by 5 seconds
    – Locked out any team that missed two consecutive nominations

    Someone can have a bad connection or be indecisive and miss a nomination here or there and that’s fine. But to miss two nominations in a row (especially with extended time) speaks to intent and the kind of stuff that you’re trying to stamp out of the game.

    Our com missed had to unlock maybe 10 teams within the span of a 2 hour auction under the current rules in a 4th year league. Given the choice between the “one-and-done” lockout or no lockouts at all, I rather see no lockouts at all, but that brings us back to square one and it’s not ideal for our league.

    1. Commissioners can still lock out teams that don’t nominate, and I’ve heard suggestions from 2 misses to 3 to unlimited. Based on the feedback, I think leaving it league to league is a good choice for now.

  4. Unrelated, but I’d like to see leagues have the option to schedule a mid-year auction once all the new draftees are added to the player pool.

  5. The rule is stupid beyond belief. If somebody loses their internet connection, which happens a lot with cell phones and WiFi, you just ended their season, and spoiled it for all the others in that league.

    This is a format designed for intelligent players. We deserve intelligent rules.

    1. I have asked you before to install a one button test of our software and hardware that would tell us whether we can participate in a live Otto auction draft. Did that because I have missed one.

      This is my third year. I still ain’t heard nothin’.

      1. Hi Jack,

        Unlike other draft software, ottoneu’s software just requires a web browser. “Testing hardware” with a web-based button isn’t really practical, but I can look into it. This test would be a significant amount of work for a system that doesn’t have very heavy requirements, which is why it hasn’t been built.

    2. This kind of comment, where you call something stupid, and fail to see any nuance in the matter–if you have shaky wifi or are drafting from your phone you either need to get out of the 20th century or plan better–is the kind of signal-to-noise BS that ultimately made Slack a poor vehicle for discussing this league. For the sake of Niv and those of us who want a productive non-high school environment to discuss Ottoneu, please keep this kind of hyperbolic drivel over on Slack.

  6. NIV,

    While as an owner I appreciate and can understand the intent of the rule, I do not believe it that it should have been “quietly added” to the drafting rules. I rule of this type should have at least been announced to the league commissioners so they in turn could inform the rest of the owners and make a decision (i.e. have a vote) as to whether to abide by the new rule or not.

    The other issue that is quite common in my league are computer issues and accidental log outs during the draft. This in turn causes missed nominations as well as an inability to bid on a currently auctioned player. Our commissioner does his best to pause when needed, but sometimes realizing an owner is no longer logged in is delayed. When the owner does get logged back in or regains functions, the lock out prevents him/her from getting back in immediately further delaying the draft.

    My suggestion as a compromise would be to automatically shut down the draft entirely if 3 consecutive rounds have passed without any owners placing any nominations. This now forces an owner to make nomination or risk having to go through the FA process in order to complete their roster. I for one would rather know how the other owners value a player upfront then risk being out bid in the silent auction by a $1, especially if I would be willing to spend $2 more than I bid if I had to.

    Overall, I love this software. What I would love to see next in its development is notifications to the owner when one of his/her players on their roster or wish list has a new note or update.


    1. Strong agree on ‘quiety’ added’ not being a good approach moving forward. The way this blog post was rolled out (on ottoneu itself, on Twitter, on Facebook) is more indicative of how changes will be announced moving forward.

  7. Just had a draft with the option turned off to start and when everyone was participating fully it worked well (to be expected). Once we got to the later rounds and certain players began to avoid nominating I turned on the “auto-kick” feature. There were a few complaints (one or two accidental lock outs) but it was pretty effective overall. I think group shaming in the chat window did more than the actual rule to get bad eggs to nominate. Still, I like the improvement.

  8. Niv – I think a lot of the issues of guys not getting a nomination performed in time could be fixed with two minor tweaks.

    1) allow owners to have a nomination pre-set before it is there turn; and
    2) auto set the nomination dollar amount to $1.

    The couple of times I missed a nomination was not out of strategy or carelessness, but rather in the fast paced auction it was hard to pick a player, add that player, and enter $1. If I could have set “Player X” a few nominations early, a know he was set to $1, then I could still have time to manage my draft and not miss a nomination.

    Food for thought for future auction improvements. Thanks.

  9. i think its fine as long as the nomination time is configurable. in my opinion, the time is too short and the notification that it is your turn is too minimal. needs to warn you the turn before yours and needs to ding multiple times if it is your turn. thanks

  10. Rule is good in principle, but the ramifications of enforcement are subpar for a litany of reasons, including many mentioned here. Rather than kicking owners out of the draft for a miss, why not when time expires have the software automatically nominate the top player on that owner’s watch list at $1? (Of course, it would be better if the watch list were made a sortable “pref” list.) If there is no one on the pref list, then automatically nominate the top ranked player still available by some default Ottoneu ranking.

    If the owner does not want any more players, the onus is now on him to check out of the draft. Owners must be on their toes to keep up with the action. I also do feel that the time is a little short for nominations, especially later in the draft when pickin’s get more thinner.

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