Teams Nominating FA's Without Bids Placed Only Awarded Player (at $1) When No Other Team Bids

Drawing from discussion in the proposed lottery tie-breaker thread from yesterday (and keeping with the spirit of the Ottoneu Community as an open forum working toward a better fantasy baseball platform, albeit at the risk of drawing any more ire), I suggest tweaking the in-season FA process so that teams which nominate a Free Agent but do not enter a bid on the player would only be awarded the player (at $1) if no other team bids in the auction. If at least one other team bids on the player while the nominating team fails to enter a bid, then the nominating team would not factor in any $1 tie-break process.

The purpose of this suggestion would be to tie-up the loose end that allows first place teams to “up-bid” FA auctions without impunity. As any team could start an auction without placing a bid, the risk of being “stuck” with a $1 FA “up-bid” would be present with every auction. However, because the nominating team would still be “awarded” the player if no other team placed a bid, the present rules that keep teams from over-nominating players would remain in place. Presently, teams are able to use a similar strategy to nominate players without intending to place a bid because they know other teams will use up resources on the player/s; this suggestion would allow teams to play off of that strategy on the other end of the cost spectrum, and would keep teams at the top of the standings honest when choosing to place any $1 bid on a player they could end up winning.

This is meant to be a clean “universal” fix to what has been called a “broken” and “controversial” issue in the game design, and is proposed as an alternative to the ‘lottery’ setting introduced in the other thread. The reasons why I believe it would be a more effective fix than a lottery system would be that it A) maintains a level of strategy within FA auctions that would be removed by a lottery system, B) maintains a consistently true method for determining tie-breakers (the current way, daily standings placement) rather than randomizing tie-breakers that could result in competitively unbalanced player claims, and C) keeps the ambiguous and arbitrary process of determining the weighted odds for any lottery system out of the autonomous Ottoneu design. It’s also a way to “fix” the problem for all leagues, rather than introducing a separate setting which could be problematic in its integration into already established leagues (such as the ones I’ve been paying for and wouldn’t wish to see switch to a lottery tie-break process) and confusing for new players and Commissioner’s starting new leagues.

On A Philosophical Note…
…and not at all with the intention of being difficult or disrespectful but to emphasize my point from the other thread- I see the crux of this issue as a fundamental misperception of Ottoneu’s economic setup.

The argument for a lottery system is that it better fits a Vickrey style auction for in-season FA’s; while true, I suggest that Ottoneu’s in-season economic structure is not designed for true market value price discovery. Because all players have a minimum roster cost of one-half their “salary” when released, the in-season economic system is risk-centric where the risk is in using budget and roster space resources with every add/cut of any player over the course of the season. With regards to the in-season economic design of the game, both $1 and $2 Free Agent buys have the same economic impact because both players carry a $1 minimum roster cost for the rest of the year if they are released and remain unclaimed by another team.

If the economic system was designed for the true market value price discovery of in-season FA’s, then players would not carry a cost against the team’s roster/budget resources when released (because any league’s collective resources to make fair value bids on players continually changes in the time between the draft and final day of the season). A $2 FA buy only has a fair market value difference over a $1 buy after the season, when the player’s base cost is used to add the minimum inflation and arbitration cost increases, however this is part of an entirely separate off-season economic design that includes a universal cost inflation process and does not require owners to stay within roster/budget constraints until the Keeper Deadline (and therefore a player’s potential “Keeper cost” next year, even if based on his “FA cost” this year, has an entirely different market valuation than his FA cost this year).

So- as it relates to the game’s in-season economic design- “curve-fitting” the tie-breaker process because of $1/$2 “up-bids” is entirely unnecessary, and characterizing teams that place $1 bids with the intention of bidding a player up to $2 as having a negative impact on the league’s economy is not only dangerous but it’s also entirely false. Relative to the game’s in-season (post-draft) “risk-centric” economic design, $1/$2 FA up-bids have zero budget/roster difference; and relative to the off-season (pre-draft) “fair value” cost inflation economic design, $1/$2 FA up-bids have a largely negligible difference. The market forces that keep the FA process a part of the in-season strategy of the game with $1/$2 up-bids (which work to reward the owners who best manage their roster/budget resources throughout the year, whether or not they even did the “up-bidding”) ought to be embraced as a useful and necessary competitive feature rather than vilified as some ill-intentioned and Vickrey-violating practice.

A strategic in-season FA process is at the heart of any competitively engaged league. The suggestion here both enhances Ottoneu’s present in-season FA strategy plays and also closes the “loophole” that allows first-place teams to “up-bid without impunity” without having to resort to a less-strategic and more problematic lottery system that is (arguably) against the spirit of Ottoneu in nature. And I apologize if this post is not looked upon favorably among those who matter.


I’m not convinced this is a pervasive problem simply because starting auctions comes with a very real danger of being forced to add a $1 player or penalty for the rest of the season.

But it does seem that this proposal shifts the risk of picking up the $1 cost onto the “up-bidding” owner, instead of the nominating owner; and I think I’m in support of that. And this is less confusing than the lottery system.

I’m still not really of the opinion that the current system is so very broken. But if price policing by 1st place teams is really against the spirit of Ottoneu, I guess something must be done.

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100% agreed; the system isn’t broken. And that’s a good thing!!!

I see the disconnect in viewing “up-bidding” as “price policing” when it’s really “market enforcement”, because the market for fair value already happened in the off-season. During the season it’s all about managing the resources left after the Keeper/Draft period, because every single player added to a roster after that is going to stay on somebody’s payroll for the rest of the season.

If a team’s in-season budget is truly affected by a $2 “up-bid”, then that has to do with the owner’s budget/roster management skills/performance going back to the Keeper Deadline (or when the game and league market effectively “resets” between seasons). And part of the game is working through that, not insisting on a way to skirt the game’s natural economic limits. The true “price policing” happens at the discretion of all teams collectively during arbitration. The time to build a roster according to value is in the off-season, not when games are being played and teams are jockeying for spots in the standings.

Some owners might decide to use their in-season resources to build for future years, which may be “more” in the spirit of Ottoneu (if it is) but that doesn’t change the nature of the in-season market of the game. The single best time to find $1 value-buys will always be at the end of the Auction Draft; it’ll hardly (if ever) be during the FA Auction process because the market will always work to naturally impose the resource restrictions of the game’s in-season economic design over the course of the season.

So, do you want to see this Wishlist item implemented, or is this topic another thread for you to make clear that you don’t like the proposed Weighted Odds league option? You’ve made your feelings on the latter clear and can continue to do so in the other thread if you must.

A user creating a Wishlist item that they do not actually want implemented is not something I want to see on this forum. It takes up a lot of my time and creates expectations that are unfair for other users and for me. So if you don’t actually want to remove the ability of first-place teams to bid $1 on every in-season auction without any risk of receiving the player, I’d like to lock this topic and point future responses to the original weighted odds league option proposal.


I sincerely liked this wish list item. It also would provide a nice alternative to leagues that may not implement the alternative weighted odds method.


Ok that’s really good feedback, thank you.


I think this will create a new method of “gaming” the system where owners flood waivers with multiple players as subterfuge, while only actually wanting to win one of them.

Will it really benefit a league if some percentage of FA auctions are being started by owners that don’t intend to bid? It feels like you are trying to create a quirk that can be exploited by really active owners?

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I will admit to getting occasionally lost among the many words that have been written recently on this topic, but I don’t think the proposal in this thread increases the risk of this particular type of gamesmanship.

Hypothetical application of @ballnglove82’s proposal: I start auctions for 30 players all at once. All of them have been free agents all this year so far. I don’t enter any bids on any of them. The only bid anyone enters is Team X placing a $1 bid on Player A. Result: Team X wins Player A for $1; I win the other 29 players for $1 each.

Assuming I didn’t actually want 28 of the 29 players I just acquired, I will now cut the 28 decoy players and incur $28 in cap penalties. That seems like a pretty effective deterrent to the specific type of gamesmanship you are concerned about here, right? Admittedly, that deterrent vanishes if I have lots of free cap space to burn, but that’s equally true under the current system.


It can’t be both?

I tried to be clear in the OP: this suggestion is an alternative to the lottery proposal and “universal” fix to the central issue behind the proposal. So of course part of the discussion is the issue at hand. I thought my comments were no longer welcome in the other thread? Last time I carried-on a discussion to make a point (over H2H scoring) you advised me to make a separate Wishlist item, so I thought that’s what was appropriate here. I don’t understand why people don’t think I’m being sincere and truly want what’s best for the game…

No, it was a sincere proposal. I think it closes the loophole that allows first-place teams entering a $1 bid for every auction “without impunity” and (therefore) would not only be an excellent adjustment for the platform but also addresses the primary problem driving the issue. I’m sorry if that point was lost in the discussion.

Look, there are times where I’m paranoid AF that the leagues I’m in have one owner with multiple teams or a few who’re collectively conspiring with each other to ACTUALLY game the system- I mean I’m in one league where a guy is in (no joke) 40 leagues in his third year of play and many of those leagues share some of the same people in that league and others I’m in who I’ve come to understand are long-time Ottoneu players. I can’t prove anything and I know it’s good for business to have one guy paying for 40 teams, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sit here and wonder if I’m not throwing away my money on a rigged league (and how many leagues there might be on this platform where well-hidden collusion is present).

So ANY suggestion that could tilt a league to a competitively disadvantageous result (like randomized tie-breakers) is one I’m going to want to find an alternative for, regardless of if I believe the issue at hand is really a problem.

I’m not trying to “create” a quirk; I’m trying to close a loophole in the design.

This is already a strategy that is employed by owners (at least in the leagues I’m in), and I don’t see a problem with it or think it’s “gaming the system”.

The only reason to employ this strategy currently is with players that someone thinks is actually going to get action in the bidding process, and therefore shrink the available resources for other teams in the league as well as the available player pool (so the owner could better acquire his targets later). So it’s a strategy that is presently played using higher-demand FA’s, but it cannot be played with low-cost players even if only in an effort to “stick” a team with a $1 player they didn’t want.

I don’t see anything wrong with that; it’s part of the market forces at work. It would benefit every league because top-standing teams would have reason not to bid $1 on every FA auction.

100% absolutely, and THANK YOU!

And if a team has all that cap space to burn on this strategy, then that’s simply the perk to having more cap space available for strategic purposes than the next team.

I’m sorry for the many words and my difficulty over the issue. I realize the meat on this topic has been chewed over plenty over the years and I’m sorry I wasn’t part of the meal, but if this forum is where the bone is then that’s why I’ve been passionate about it.

Wait, I’m sorry can we go back? What’s the big deal if the first place team bids $1 on a player that they’re never going to win? I feel like we’re making a really big deal out of something that’s not a really big deal.

People think top-standing teams are “gaming the system” with $1 up-bids, and similarly those teams at the top of the standings are “forced” to pay more than $1 if they want a player.

I don’t know why but I actually thought the change I proposed in this thread was already made last year. In my initial response in Niv’s thread regarding a lottery fix I asked for clarification on this topic and then in every response (but my last) I made this suggestion which seemed to get lost in the overall (seemingly charged?) discussion.

To emphasize two points again:

  • Even if a lottery system is optional, a league I’ve been paying to be in for years could still vote to implement it despite how it changes the competitive balance of tie-break bids with (weighted) randomized results; and
  • I have no way of knowing whether there might be a few bad apples in my or other leagues who are actually ‘gaming the system’ with multiple user ID’s or small-group collusive activities that would actually benefit more from a lottery tie-break system and come at the expense of lesser-competitive teams (and to a greater degree than any low-cost “up-bid”).

The proposal here would be more effective at accomplishing what seems to be the biggest underlying issue of $1 up-bids by avoiding those two major issues- and (I argue) more in the spirit of competitive fairness that is at the heart of the Ottoneu experience. It fits the game’s design, it enhances an already present strategy, and it would seem to be a logical tweak that solves the underlying problem.

I don’t see how this is even tangentially relevant to this discussion. First-place $1 up bids aren’t gaming the system and collusion has nothing to do with it. We are talking about (legal) bad-faith bids that have zero chance of winning an auction and are only done to impair league economics and have consequences for league health as well.

The tie-breaker system as implemented now is adequate but not perfect. I don’t see why you are so against having an OPTIONAL secondary system that each league can decide whether to use. You can vociferously debate your current league on whether to use it once it’s implemented, but some of us in highly competitive leagues would like a different, and in our opinion, better tie-breaker system starting in 2020.

I think you’re a little off base here. He isn’t saying dollar bids are gaming the system or collusion, he’s just pondering the possible existence of it in leagues as a tangent. This seems like an odd point to attack.

Regardless, this specific proposal, would have nothing to do with the optional proposed weighted system, both could easily exist. Perhaps you meant to post in that thread? Or thought that this post was in that thread?

It’s the same discussion in two threads. They should be merged in my opinion.

Two posts above asked what was the point of this discussion - the post I replied to was the follow-up to that question, and so it appeared to me that the conversation is dangerously moving towards emphasizing two points that I feel detract from the discussion at hand. Collusion is collusion - that’s a separate issue. League-specific choices are also a separate issue; for example, choosing arbitration as a method is a choice for each league to make. As mentioned in that post specifically, this is not the first time those points were made.

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I think the conversation about the two alternatives to the current auction tiebreaker system has run its course. These are both good options with their own merits, as is the existing tiebreaker method. I’ll take all this input into consideration when I roll out options for 2020.

I’m going to lock this and the other thread.

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