Veto Power: A Guide to Evaluating Pending Fantasy Football Trades

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 07:  Thomas Jones #20 of the New York Jets carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL game on December 7, 2008 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

A little word, yet so much power.

Veto, or the act of nullifying a bill or action, is eerily similar to the word "vote."

Fitting, since in many fantasy football leagues, you may be asked to vote to either veto or approve a pending trade at some point this season.

But, as Peter Parker says in the Spiderman movies, "With great power comes great responsibility."

Trade vetoes have led to some serious fantasy league controversies, and even torn some leagues apart.

Therefore, the power of veto should never be taken lightly. However, it also shouldn’t induce an ulcer.

Here are some tips on handling pending trade approvals in your league, while keeping your sanity intact:

1. Before you do anything else this season, take a moment to double-check your league’s pending trade approval process.

This procedure varies from league to league. In some leagues, the commissioner has sole power of veto. He/she will decide whether a trade is kosher, or if it requires some extra research. In other leagues, this process is left up for league review (or voting).

2. When a trade is approved by both teams involved, and is up for approval, don’t panic. Ask yourself a simple question...does the trade seem equal to you for both teams involved? If so, approve the deal and move on. End of story.

3. If you have some concerns about the value of players exchanging teams, than you need to consider if there was any collusion involved (collusion is when a team in your league knowingly trades away more value than it receives as a way to help out another owner).

At this point, the only thing you should worry about is the collusion factor. One red flag of possible collusion includes if both owners involved in the trade are family members or really close friends.

Another involves looking at the one team tanking its season to help another gear up for a playoff or championship run? Is either owner acting weird about the trade (pushing for a quick approval or getting more involved in league discussions than he/she did previously)?

4. If you are concerned about collusion, share those concerns with the commissioner. A fair next step is to request that both owners involved publicly defend why they accepted the deal. If both can convincingly defend their actions, than approve the deal and forget about it.

5. If either owner does not respond in a stated amount of time, or offers a pathetic excuse for the deal, than the commissioner and league needs to discuss the next line of action—In all fairness, the deal is suspended until enough evidence can be collected that the trade was made without collusion concerns.

Notice that throughout all of this, I didn’t recommend approving or vetoing a trade based solely on your opinions of whether or not it was fair. As far as I’m concerned, this is ways too subjective to be a determining factor for trade approvals.

For example, let’s say last season someone in your league attempted to trade Joseph Addai or Larry Johnson straight up for DeAngelo Williams or Thomas Jones right after your draft.

In every draft and every ranking heading into the 2008 season, both Addai and Johnson were ranked well ahead of Williams and Jones. If you were someone who vetoed trades because they seemed one-sided, than the Addai-for-Williams deal would have never went through.

Except, we all know how things wound up last year. Williams and Jones smoked Addai and Johnson in fantasy production.

Killing a pending trade just because you may not see the value of both sides kills any chance for an owner take risks and try to build an empire. It is sort of equivalent to fantasy communism.

So, when push comes to shove, the only true way to evaluate a pending trade is through the litmus test of collusion—nothing else.

Keep it simple, and your fantasy experience will be much more fun.

For more fantasy sports advice, channel your inner ninja and check out