How does your league handle gaffes?
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Eighteen years ago as a young reporter in Sterling, Ill., I wrote a three-piece story about basketball officials and headlined it: The Thankless Job.
The abuse and torment some officials in the area were taking that season was beyond belief and led to some great stories.
I was reminded of that project when I put a commissioner in one of my leagues in a tight spot by making a massive starting lineup mistake last week that cost me a victory, and very likely a playoff spot.
Here's what happened:
First of all, it's important to understand that this is a very different type of league — one in which teams have no rostered players.
Starting in Week 1, an owner picks a starting lineup of one QB, two RBs, three WRs, one TE, one kicker and one defense. In Week 2, you repeat the process, but you can only use a player once all season.
So once you pick a player, he's used up and can't be used again until the playoffs.
OK, so what happened last week was that I decided to use the Bears' Josh McCown against the Vikings. I submitted my lineup and was set to go.
But upon arriving at home after church Sunday, I went to the Starting Lineups page and realized that — gasp! — I had accidentally clicked on Saints QB LUKE McCown!
Firing off a quick email to the commissioner at 12:15, I explained my gaffe and hoped for the best.
So before going any further, what would you do? Should the switch allowed to be made, knowing full well what the intentions were? Or do you penalize the owner for clicking on the wrong McCown?
In some ways, it's certainly a tough one and the reason being commissioner can be such a pain.
Here's my take: Err on the side of the player in a case like this and allow the switch to be made, especially with the error being caught so close to kickoff. If any other team had this happen to them, I wouldn't think twice about the commish making the change.
In the end, I was not allowed to play Josh McCown (who scored 25 points) and lost by 11. This league's rules do dictate that there are NO EXCEPTIONS to changing a lineup after noon kickoffs Sunday, so the commish really didn't have a choice with such a hard-and-fast rule.
I'm curious to see what the readers think about this scenario, and also welcome other stories of controversy that have come up over the years in your leagues.
In the end, this is just a game and it's important to remember that we shouldn't allow these situations to end friendships or ruin a work environment. Your commissioners are doing one of the most thankless jobs in sports, so remember to let them know how much you appreciate their time and effort for everything they do to make a league work.
My teams: So, it wasn't all bad news last week as my regular team exploded for a league-high 164 points behind Eric Decker (47) and Cam Newton (31). Despite a 5-8 record, I sneaked in as the sixth seed thanks to the final two teams earning berths based on total points. … Lost in my auction league 71-62 and now must protect a 31-point edge over my closest pursuer to qualify as the No. 4 seed.
•Eagles QB Nick Foles vs. Detroit. This game figures to be a 38-35 shootout, making Foles one of the top plays this week.
•Cardinals QB Carson Palmer and WR Michael Floyd vs. St. Louis. True, the Rams' defense has been playing very well of late, but so have Palmer (14 TDs last seven) and Floyd (4 TDs since Week 6; 396 yards last three).
•Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell vs. Miami. Bell (concussion) should play Sunday, and he's coming off a week in which he rolled up 136 yards from scrimmage against a solid Ravens defense. Facing a Dolphins team that no QB has thrown on since Week 4, Bell will be asked to carry a heavy load.
•Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray at Bears. You have been watching the Bears' sad excuse for a defense, right? Murray should be a top-3 option.
•Falcons RB Steven Jackson at Green Bay. Many a fantasy owner's season has been torpedoed by the underachieving Jackson. If you somehow survived the carnage, Jackson (39-147-3) is worth a look in the cold at Lambeau Field.
•Patriots defense and WR Julian Edelman vs. Cleveland. It's difficult to trust any Pats wideout, but Edelman (back-to-back 9-catch, 100-yard days) is a solid WR3 at this point. As for the D, it's possible that Caleb Hanie will be the Browns' starting quarterback. Yahtzee!
•Seahawks QB Russel Wilson at San Francisco. Crazy call here, right? After all, Wilson has been nearly unstoppable over Seattle's last six games, compiling a whopping 15 TDs and ranking fifth in fantasy points for quarterbacks over that time. But in two of his three games against the Niners, Wilson has put up absolute stinkers, so proceed with caution.
•Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Emmanuel Sanders vs. Miami. No team has been tougher to score on through the air since Week 5 than the Dolphins, who have allowed just 4 passing TDs since then. And by the way, that includes games against Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Philip Rivers.
•Chargers QB Philip Rivers vs. New York Giants. The sleeping Giants have awaked and Rivers will feel their wrath.
•Colts RB Donald Brown at Cincinnati. It's been a nice run for Brown the last four weeks, but the Bengals (4 rush TDs allowed all season) present a stiff challenge for the offensively-challenged Colts.
•Rams RB Zac Stacy at Arizona. Against the fourth-best run defense in the league, watch for a 7-9 point game out of Stacy.
•Niners RB Frank Gore and WR Anquan Boldin vs. Seattle. Finally, Boldin (20-248-3 last three) emerges. Of course, now he faces a team that held him to 1 catch for 7 yards in Week 2. It won't be that bad because Michael Crabtree's has returned. Still, don't expect more than 50-60 yards Sunday.
•Dolphins WR Michael Wallace at Pittsburgh. Only five teams have allowed fewer passing scores than the Steelers, making it tough to trust a reborn Wallace (even against his former team) in this spot with your season on the line.
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