Week 9: What Do Folks think of The
Last Week’s Question: Can We Schedule
A Season of 16 Side Bets?
Here is a brief recap for any
readers who have not been following the conversation that has
been developing in this column for the past three weeks:
- Apathy is a problem in some FF leagues.
- It tends to become more of a problem as the season progresses—with
the result that some owners who start 1-7 do not even bother
to make lineup changes for players who are on byes in Week 9.
- Many commissioners have reported that having small payouts
for the high score each week keeps owners (particularly owners
who have been statistically eliminated from the playoffs) engaged,
since it is still possible for that 1-7 team to win some cash.
- I have endorsed (some might say “championed”)
this practice in the past, but notes from readers in recent
weeks have compelled me to consider ways of jazzing up the notion
of a weekly payout.
- Last week I invited readers
of this column to suggest 16 side bets that would carry us through
the fantasy season with a different category each week.
As Martha (whose list of categories appears below) put it:
Our league has a $25 weekly prize that keeps things
lively. Long ago and far away, it was for the weekly high score,
but since the goal was to keep everyone engaged for the entire
13 weeks of the regular season, that didn’t do much for
the teams out of contention, as they rarely sniffed the rarified
air of the top score. We do still recognize that one three times,
though, partly because we ran out of other ideas – although
your article has given me a few more!
Since most fantasy leagues avoid Week 17 of the regular season,
I saw no point in asking for 17 side bets. However, numerous respondents
pointed out to me that there is little reason to extend the side
bets beyond the regular season of fantasy football (say Week 13
or so) because as soon as the fantasy playoffs begin, those who
did not make the playoffs can become as apathetic as they like
without adversely affecting the results of the remaining contest.
To paraphrase what several readers said: If I am 1-7 and leave
three inactive players in my lineup in Week 9 and my opponent
beats me by one point and proceeds to the playoffs, then the person
he pulled ahead of in the standings has reason to be incensed
by my apathy. But if I miss the playoffs and don’t even
check the league website after Week 13, then my apathy is simply
my problem—not the league’s.
Commissioners who only want to forestall apathy during the regular
fantasy season might want to draw upon any of the models in Set
Set 1 – Option A – Courtesy
- Week 1- Longest TD Pass
- Week 2- Highest Margin of Victory
- Week 3- Most Combined Yards: Pass, Rush, & Receiving
- Week 4- Most Rushing Yards
- Week 5- Highest Score, with a Loss
- Week 6- Longest Return for a TD (KO, INT, FR, PR)
- Week 7- Lowest Points Allowed by Defense
- Week 8- Most Passing Yards
- Week 9- High Score by an Individual Player
- Week 10- Longest FG
- Week 11- Most Receiving Yards
- Week 12- Longest TD reception
- Week 13- Longest TD Run
Set 1 – Option B – Courtesy
- Week 1: Lowest team score (kind of the consolation prize for
sucking when you’re presumably trying to win)
- Week 2: Highest combined RB score
- Week 3: Highest combined WR score
- Week 4: Highest team score
- Week 5: Prime-time Player of the Week (most points by a starter)
- Week 6: Highest team score
- Week 7: Highest point score by a starter who was acquired through
claims, free agency, or trade that same week
- Week 8: Coach of the Week (coach who starts his or her optimum
lineup and gets the best percentage of actual points versus possible
- Week 9: Longest field goal
- Week 10: Highest team score
- Week 11: Highest score of D/ST, K, TE combined
- Week 12: Highest score of QB and OT player combined
- Week 13: Highest score of RBs and WRs combined
Set 1 – Option C – Courtesy
- Week 1: Diamond in the Rough (Highest scoring player to have
been taken in the last 3 rounds of the draft. Must be active in
lineup for consideration.)
- Week 2: Highest combined Def/ST and Kicker score
- Week 3: Highest QB score
- Week 4: Consolation #1: Highest score with a loss in Weeks 1-4
- Week 5: Longest FG
- Week 6: Longest passing TD
- Week 7: Longest receiving TD
- Week 8: Consolation #2: Highest score with a loss in Weeks 5-8
- Week 9: Longest rushing TD
- Week 10: Run and shoot: Highest scoring #4 WR through Week 10
(Only those that have stayed on a team through the whole season
are eligible for consideration.)
- Week 11: Highest combined RB score
- Week 12: Consolation #3: Highest score with a loss in Weeks 9-12
- Week 13: Highest combined WR & TE score
I made slight modifications as necessary to the schedules above
in order to keep the position-specific contests in Weeks 1-3 or
11-13 (so as to avoid byes). The owner of Adrian Peterson probably
wouldn’t think too highly of a commissioner who scheduled
the RB high score contest for Week 9 (when the Vikings are off).
Although most commissioners do not seem to be concerned about
whether the whole league is engaged once the fantasy playoffs
get under way, those who want to keep the side bet action going
through the entire fantasy season may want to consider the options
in Set 2.
Set 2 – Option A – Courtesy
Set 2 – Option B – Courtesy
- Week 1 – longest TD pass
- Week 2 – longest punt return
- Week 3 – longest interception return
- Week 4 – longest kickoff return
- Week 5 – fewest points allowed by a defense (while on the field)
- Week 6 – longest pass reception
- Week 7 – most sacks by a defense
- Week 8 – longest run
- Week 9 – longest pass completion
- Week 10 – longest fumble return
- Week 11 – high-points for kickers
- Week 12 – high-points for defenses
- Week 13 – high-points for tight ends
- Week 14 – high-points for wide receivers
- Week 15 – high-points for running backs
- Week 16 – high-points for quarterbacks
- Week 1: High score by WR
- Week 2: High score by RB
- Week 3: High score by QB
- Week 4: High score by backup defense (i.e. not the first defense
drafted by an owner; can be active or on the bench)
- Week 5: High score by backup kicker (ditto)
- Week 6: High score by backup TE (ditto)
- Week 7: High score by backup WR (ditto)
- Week 8: High score by backup RB (ditto)
- Week 9: High score by backup QB(ditto)
- Week 10: Consolation for bust of the first round (Prize goes to
the owner of the 1st-round player with the lowest point production
through Week 10; it should go to the owner who drafted the player
even if he has since been cut or traded).
- Week 11: High score by an undrafted Kicker (weeks 1-11 combined)
- Week 12: High score by an undrafted Defense (weeks 1-12 combined)
- Week 13: High score by an undrafted TE (weeks 1-13 combined)
- Week 14: High score by an undrafted WR (weeks 1-14 combined)
- Week 15: High score by an undrafted RB (weeks 1-15 combined)
- Week 16: High score by an undrafted QB (weeks 1-16 combined)*
*These undrafted players/units need to be picked up on waivers
at any point prior to the week of their contest. I have not tried
this system, [but my guess is that everyone in the league] would
start studying player stats and adjusting rosters to make room
for these folks as the season winds down. You would have to make
some interesting choices/predictions in Week 9, just when some
people are starting to lose interest.
It is tempting for me to cut and paste all of the submissions
I received from readers into the body of this column, but there
is already substantial overlap in the 5 I have selected, so I
fear I would be pointlessly consuming cyberspace. My thanks to
everyone who wrote in (whether your “schedule” was
included or not). In any case, I think the options provided here
should be enough to get any commissioner started on a side bet
schedule of her/his own.
This Week’s Question: What do folks think
of The League?
The fantasy football subculture has become significant enough
for there to be a television show dedicated to our little hobby.
League premiered last Thursday at 10:30 on FX. I watched
it with my wife. I won’t say anything here about what we
thought of it, as I don’t want to influence reader responses.
Objectively, I don’t think the show can be considered a
hit. According to TV.com, it ranks 19,537th out of only 18,410
shows on television. I typed those numbers correctly, so there
appear to be roughly 1,100 non-existent shows that are more popular
than The League. Ouch.
The next episode will air on Thursday the 5th at 10:30. If you
have a chance to watch it and formulate a paragraph’s worth
of opinion about it, I
look forward to hearing from you.
Wk 9 - Last Man Standing -
(Courtesy of Marc Mondry)
Busto! Arizona’s loss to Carolina proves to be fatal to over
75% of people that submitted picks last week. Luckily, a couple
of us were able to dance around the land mine.
What happened? A couple of things. First, Arizona’s defense
is not as good as most people think. They have had great numbers,
but they padded the stats against some terrible NFC West competition.
Their defense relies on turnovers, and they just weren’t
able to get the pressure they needed because they were playing
from behind and allowed Carolina to eat the clock with the running
Second, where in the world is Anquan Boldin? I know he has been
a little gimpy recently, but I’m not convinced that’s
the whole story. Something is up with the Arizona passing game
in general. We just haven’t seen the production we’ve
come to expect from Kurt Warner and Co. Perhaps it’s the
lack of a running game.
The explanation may lie in the drastically reduced number of
check downs to Tim Hightower. Early in the season the Cardinals
were doing this at will, which led to Hightower putting up WR-like
numbers and keeping the defenses off balance. Why Arizona gave
up on that strategy is anyone’s guess.
On an unrelated note, this game illustrates a theme across the
NFL this year. People are overrating teams based on records without
looking at their opponents. Look at what happened to the Giants
against New Orleans, Chicago against Cincinnati, and now Arizona
against Carolina. All 3 losers have good records and have beaten
up on some bad teams, but generally lack wins against quality
teams. Watch out for this when picking
Reader’s Week 8 Picks
| Top Prognosticators
- Week 8
||Last Week's Picks
||CHI, SD, IND
|Mark Den Adel
||CHI, SD, ARI
||CHI, SD, DAL
||CHI, SD, DAL
||CHI, DAL, ARI
Remember to email your
picks to me by noon on Sunday! Please make sure you are not
picking teams more than three times!
Trap Game: Detroit over Seattle
I can’t say I love this trap game pick. What it comes down
to is that there are no really attractive picks in my eyes, and
I think this is a game that people will be tempted to pick but
should stay away from.
Yes, Seattle is at home and Detroit does have to travel quite
a ways to play on Sunday. However, what has Seattle done this
season to give you any faith in their ability to crush a team?
Their offensive numbers are terrible, and their defensive statistics
are midding—even with shutouts of STL and JAX. The Seahawks
don’t even have the mirage of a running game; they just
keep relying on Matt Hasselbeck’s arm to get things done.
Is that what you want to pin your LMS hopes on? I hope not…
Detroit should get Calvin Johnson back this week. This will be
the first game in several weeks with both Stafford and Johnson
on the field together. Does anyone else think the two of them
have something to prove? Detroit finally tasted victory just a
couple weeks ago, and I do not think a repeat performance is unlikely.
That’s enough for me to include it as a trap game to caution
you guys and gals.
Think of this pick just like my SF upset pick two weeks ago –
it’s a coin toss, and you don’t want your season resting
on heads or tails.
3. New Orleans over Carolina
New Orleans is dominant right now. A couple of weeks ago, when
they played the Giants, I thought it would be a toss up. For those
of you that watched the game, you know it was anything but. We
have known all season that the Saints play well from ahead, but
in the past couple of weeks New Orleasn has shown the ability
to come from behind. The Saints even find a way to win when they
don’t have their A game.
Carolina did come through with a win two weeks ago over Buffalo,
and the Panthers took it to Arizona last week. Last week also
saw a return to the power running game that was so successful
for the Panthers last year, as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan
Stewart combined for over 40 carries.
This week is going to be a different story. Carolina’s
running game won’t have near the same success—for
at least two reasons. First, the New Orleans rush defense is stingy.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, Carolina is likely to be
behind by multiple touchdowns for the last three quarters of the
game. There is no way that the Panther defense will succeed in
containing Drew Brees and Co. where so many other, significantly
better defenses (NYG, NYJ, MIA) have failed so miserably.
That means that Jake Delhomme is going to have to beat New Orleans
through the air. Uh oh for Panthers fans. Sounds more like a recipe
for an interception returned for a touchdown than it does a day
Jake Delhomme will want to remember.
2. Green Bay over Tampa Bay
The battle of the ‘bays’ presents an intriguing LMS
pick this week. I am somewhat wary of taking the Packers, if only
because they were one of two teams to burn me so far this season
(damn Donovan McNabb and his loss to the Raiders). The Packers
defense hasn’t fully adjusted to the new 3-4 scheme and
still gives up way too many easy first downs and big plays. Perhaps
they just need a year to learn the system. Injuries certainly
This week, however, it’s not about the defense; it is about
Aaron Rodgers and the explosive Packers offense. In an upset loss
to Minnesota last week (ahem, correctly predicted here), the Packer
offense made a strong late-game comeback behind Rodgers’
strong arm (and fast legs). That Viking defense is electric and
gives hell to opposing quarterbacks. If Rodgers can perform against
them, he should have his way with the porous Bucs secondary.
More than likely, though, Rodgers won’t throw the ball
much at all. I expect the Packers to be ahead from the get-go,
leading to 30+ carries from Ryan Grant. He should have one of
his standard games – 4ypc, 1TD/20 carries. Let’s say
31 for 114 yards and a TD, just for fun.
Tampa Bay’s woes have been well chronicled by myself and
many others. I do not feel the need to hate on them too much right
now, especially in light of how many Bucs fans read this column
(which I found out when I called Sammie Stroughter a no-name).
1. Atlanta over Washington
The Redskins, on the other hand, get none of my sympathy. Funnyman
Chris Cooley is out for the season, which just adds to the Skins’
woes. They are down to one credible threat in the passing game
(Santana Moss), and he tends to disappear for about 8-10 games
a season. Clinton Portis is still serviceable but old, and the
defense that was supposedly much improved with the addition of
Big Ol’ Al hasn’t stepped up and shut down anyone,
including the pitiful offense in Tampa Bay (oops, couldn’t
Atlanta, by contrast, has continued right where it left off last
year, winning behind a strong running game and a very mature,
young quarterback. Roddy White and Michael Turner are not putting
up the numbers they did last year, but that’s not a problem:
Turner was a product of a very easy 2008 schedule, and White has
become the #2 option in the passing game behind Tony Gonzalez.
Still, the team is better than last year, and that’s all
There are some questions on the defensive side of the ball for
the Falcons, but any weaknesses are unlikely to be tested by Jason
Campbell and the Washington offense, though I won’t be surprised
if Campbell hooks up with Moss for a 35+ yard score. Other than
that, the Falcons shouldn’t have too much trouble shutting
down the Skins. I can’t say the same for the Washington
defense trying to contain Turner, White, and Gonzalez.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question please email me
no later than 10 a.m. EST on Wednesdays during the football season.