You Be the Commish – Is Unintentional Roster Churning Illegal?

Usually, the answer to “is roster churning illegal” is a resounding, “Yes.”

Roster churning is where an owner intentionally picks up, then immediately drops players in order to put them on waivers and make them unavailable to other owners that week. For instance, let’s say the Sunday inactives report comes out, and my opponent’s QB is a surprise late scratch. Looking at their team, I notice they have not picked up a backup. So I go to the waiver wire and immediately pick up and drop every single quarterback, so they go on waivers and cannot be picked up illegally. This behavior is illegal according to the terms of service of most leagues and league providers.

But, sometimes, people pick up and drop a few players in succession not because they want to cheat, but because they have trouble making up their mind. This is the focus of the week’s quandary.

Let’s say it’s week 13, an important week right before your league’s playoffs. An owner sends you an email complaining that another owner picked up Case Keenum (this is a shallow league), but dropped him several minutes later. The owner who contacted you wants to pick up and start Keenum, but this is no longer an option since he is now on waivers. Upon contacting the Keenum bobbler, you determine that they had decided on Keenum, but then changed their mind, which is not in violation of your league rules. Do you take Keenum off of waivers, returning him to his previous status of “immediately available for pickup?”

Share your answer in the comments section.


For more commissioner calls like “Is Unintentional Roster Churning Illegal,” rule on these:

Is This the Worst Fantasy Rule, Ever?

How Do You Deal with Teams that Aren’t Starting a Full Lineup

What Happens When an Owner Quits?

2 Comments on “You Be the Commish – Is Unintentional Roster Churning Illegal?”

  1. This is a tough one. Ultimately, there’s no precedent nor rule about this, so it’s a commissioner judgment call. I don’t see a downside to flipping Keenum back to FA: All owners deserved a fair shot at him, and I think the other owners would generally see things that way: Another owner shouldn’t be deprived of a player due to any churn, accidental or otherwise.

  2. This is honestly something I have not considered. I think, first of all, this is something that needs to be addressed in your league rules. I think establishing a fair cutoff is important. I’d probably implement a rule that if a player is added and cut on the same day, that person will still be a free agent. That would allow for players to be indecisive, without screwing over people looking for last minute adds. It would also prevent people from churning through a single position, trying to put everyone on waivers to screw over their opponents.

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