Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Would You Rather....

by Todd Zola, on April 30, 2014 @ 11:20:58 PDT


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You know the party game Would You Rather? A question is posed where there is no right or wrong answer, but the choices are for lack of a better word, uncomfortable. For example, would you rather watch a porno movie sitting with your parents or watch one starring your parents?

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Depends on keeper price

Today, we'll play the game with our esteemed Knights, though the questions won't be nearly as provocative.

Would you rather be banned from making trades or from making free-agent pickups?

Brian Walton

I would rather be banned from making trades. It is not even close. As most know, the NFBC follows this format due to the high-stakes nature of the game. It is not ideal, but far better than being forced into trading as the only way to improve one's team. Another negative with no free agency is that the player pool would be frozen all season long, taking away considerable excitement and value derived from new arrivals.

Lawr Michaels

I would rather be banned from trades. Often I go a season without making one anyway. They can be a pain. No external judgments associated with free agents.

Tim Heaney

I've played in both formats, and I wholeheartedly concur with Brian on preferring to be banned from making trades. You can always pick up dropped players. Improving by trade has to happen under perfect circumstances. You'll have to be forward-thinking with your pickups, but that is in big part under your control. And Brian touched on how freezing FA assets throws off competitive balance and limits your options.

Ryan Carey

I would much rather be banned from making trades than making free agents pickups for basically the reasons Brian noted. I agree it is not even close. It helps that choosing the no trades ban also means everyone else in my league would be banned from making trades along with me. I personally have never been a big trader, but I have been in plenty of leagues where lousy trades happen. It is just the nature of trading leagues. Trades invite controversy, so eliminating that aspect is an easy choice.

Zach Steinhorn

I too would rather be banned from making trades. As much as I enjoy the trading element of fantasy baseball, it's not nearly as integral as the waiver wire component. Not being allowed to make pickups to either upgrade your roster or acquire injury replacements results in a league that is too dependent on the draft and it would excessively punish owners who are forced to deal with a multitude of injuries.

Todd Zola

Dang, I wish I posed the question a little differently. In the spirit of the party game, I meant to imply there was a vindictive and unfair league commissioner that offered you and you only a choice: no trading or no free agents.

I agree with my colleagues with respect to general league set-up. Though I wonder if a league where you draft 50 players (like the National Fantasy Baseball Championship's Draft Champions format) with no free agency but where trading is allowed might be a fun format. I'm not suggesting this in a high-stakes arena but a private league. Fantasy baseball is more than knowing baseball. The ability to negotiate and consummate a deal should be rewarded.

Circling back to the intent of the question, if I was the ONLY one in a league subjected to the either/or, I would actually opt for the ability to trade since I'd have more control over the acquisitions. Obviously it's a scenario that would never exist, but that's the point of the part game.

What other 2 questions does Lord Zola ask?

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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