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Q&A - Commissioners, Which Web Tool Do You Use Most that Other Commissioners Overlook?
Week 2

The Q&A column at FFToday is a dialogue between readers from very different leagues all over the world. In last week’s column, I asked those readers to let me know about any gaps in this column’s discussion of fantasy football topics.

Ravi’s response served as a reminder that I should have been more specific:

Just a couple ideas that I wish were addressed somewhere in the FFB landscape. This information is the sort of information I infer indirectly based on other types of information, but would love an expert to provide the analysis instead:

1. Ranking of offensive lines from a passing and rushing perspective.
2. Ranking of offensive coordinator success/history with QBs and RBs.
3. Impact of a defense on a that same team’s offense (i.e., Packers weakness defending the pass lends itself to shoot-outs and, thus, increased Packer passing, hence better QB stats for A Rodg)

I bet that I could come up with 20 more if I put my mind to it.

Like Ravi, I wish topics such as these received more attention. Matt Forte reminded a lot of us of Marshall Faulk in Week One, which presumably had more to do with the offensive coordination of Mike Martz than the kind of shoes that Forte wore on Sunday.

O-line stats aren’t sexy or easy to assess. It is helpful to know how much a lineman weighs, how tall he is, how much he is capable of bench pressing, how many starts he has had, and how often he makes it to the Pro Bowl, but imagine attempting to rank receivers based on such indirect measurements of the impact they might make on the field.

Ravi is also right about the effect that defensive units have on their offensive counterparts. He uses Green Bay’s weakness against the pass defensively to explain why the Packers have to pass so much on offense. We could just as easily look at a perennial defensive powerhouse (such as Baltimore) and see that it is no accident that the Ravens usually have a much better running game than passing game.

If readers can think of an easy and useful way in which Q&A can help with categories that tend to fall into the statistical murk (O-lines, coaching changes, and the effect of defenses on their offensive counterparts are just 3 good examples), then I will be happy to consider modifying this column to accommodate whatever specific changes readers can suggest. (Hey Ravi, do you want a paragraph in the column highlighting the most important coaching factoid of each week?)

Unfortunately for readers like Ravi, the focus of the Q&A column has always been on league management and mechanics—not the rankings of players or the organizing of statistics. Q&A is a resource for commissioners and players who want to get as much fun as possible out of their existing rules or to modify their rules without creating inequities for participants.

It is therefore no surprise that we have had extensive discussions about trading, collusion, roster freezes, fee collection, etc. But Aaron is surprised that the column shies away from discussion of some of the tools that can simplify life so drastically for so many commissioners:

The Q&A column does a great job of letting me know what other commissioners are doing, but it is pretty sketchy when it comes to informing me about what tools they are using. Over the summer one of your readers mentioned a web service called that would take care of collecting fees and handling payouts for leagues. I had never heard of such a thing. I wish you would focus more on letting your readers share tips like this one with each other.

I have actually been receiving messages along the lines of this one from Aaron for years. I rarely refuse to mention a web service by name, but I have always been reluctant to focus on any service that I have not used myself. A lot of the emails that I receive read suspiciously like advertisements for services from people with vested interest in those services.

I don’t mind giving free advertising to a website that provides a good service, but I fear that if I just reproduce testimonials from readers about which websites they like best, then I could end up giving free advertising to websites that are good at nothing but mailing me bogus testimonials.

This Week’s Question:

If you find a particular web service invaluable for simplifying the management of your league, please write to me with the following information:

1) The name of the web service;
2) The function it performs for your league;
3) An example of a particular headache that was eliminated by the service; &
4) A brief walkthrough for using the service to perform one useful function.

I have no idea how much feedback I will receive on this question. I would like to focus on services that I can check out firsthand. I understand that many premium services require the payment of a fee and the use of a password before they can be accessed. If owners of any such services want to grant me temporary access to their websites so I can check them out and report on them to the readers of this column, I will be happy to do so—but I cannot promise favorable reviews in advance.

Last Man Standing (Updates on Contributors)

I got a kick out of writing the LMS section of the column last week. I correctly cautioned readers against taking Indy over Houston, and I was pleased that my top two picks both worked out. However, I prefer to leave the LMS picks to cooler heads than my own, which is why that section of the column was handled by Matthew Schiff and then by Marc Mondry for the past few years.

Mondry’s extensive and witty LMS commentary will be missed as he focuses on school and other commitments this season. Thanks Marc for all the great work you did.

The great Schiff has indicated that he may have time to share picks with us occasionally this season. This column will always have room for any contributions that Schiff cares to make.

For now, I want to introduce readers to Mark Den Adel, with whom many readers are already familiar thanks to his contributions to Marc Mondry’s section of this column last season. Take it away Mark.

Week 2 LMS Picks (Courtesy of Mark Den Adel)

Trap game – Miami over Minnesota
Minnesota put all its preparation over the summer into beating New Orleans and Favre isn’t on the same page yet with his receivers (which showed against the Saints). Miami had a close game against Buffalo, but Tony Sparano’s team played well in their last four road games of 2009 (beating Carolina and Jacksonville, losing to Tennessee in OT and losing at Buffalo which they avenged last week).

1) Green Bay over Buffalo
Green Bay played well in the first half and coasted in the second watching Michael Vick run up and down the field. Even though Ryan Grant is out for the year, Brandon Jackson will fill in admirably, and this game should be over by halftime if the line (GB -13.5) is any indication.

2) Dallas over Chicago
Dallas feels like their offense should have been more productive against the Redskins although it's obvious their o-line needs some work. The Bears needed help from the officials to beat Detroit and had trouble hanging onto the ball in Week 1. With the Super Bowl in Jerry's Palace, Dallas can’t afford to start 0-2, and Chicago already has a gift win under its belt. Time for the football gods to render a little justice.

3) Atlanta over Arizona
Arizona had problems moving the chains against St. Louis and will have even more problems against a tough Atlanta defense which only gave up field goals in regulation against Pittsburgh.

For responses to this week's fantasy question please email me.