Good question, and I've played enough seasons and in enough leagues - many very good and some very bad - to know it when I see it. But can I define it? Not easily. But generally, it's when an owner makes no effort to win to manipulate the ML level team's win percentage DOWN to gain an unfair advantage in the draft. Generally, "tanking" involves more than one season. There are some really awful seasons out there that are exceptions. If you take over a team that the previous owner demolished, and a series of really bad and predatory trades were approved, you get stuck with a mess - bad contracts, no talent, etc. In that circumstance, it's impossible to win the first season. The key is what happens the NEXT season. But I completely agree that the best bet is to find leagues with min. win rules, or other rules to really snuff out that garbage. It's also crucial to find leagues where trades are NOT routinely predatory. I am in 3 leagues now - 2 of which are outstanding, 1 of which is the worst league I've ever seen. I committed to some decent owners in that league to rebuild a team that got unethically wrecked for 5 seasons. In season 4 now. One more to go, and I'm finished. Never again will I join such a league.