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Mike Davis | Archive | Email  
Staff Writer

Q & A - Week 4: Cumulative Point Totals in Doubleheader Leagues

Last Week's Question: Is there any point in fantasizing about regular officials?

Last week's column featured Chad's question about how fantasy leagues might respond to the statistical disruption that some FFers attribute to the replacement refs. I shared that question long before the touchdown reception credited to Golden Tate at the end of the Monday night contest between the Packers and Seahawks.

Most of the responses I received had nothing to do with Chad's statistical quandary (which concerned adjusting the scoring of receiving yardage in performance leagues). Not surprisingly, even though the Week 3 column has been posted on the FFToday website since Thursday of last week, the majority of the responses started drifting in on Tuesday morning.

Readers who were upset about the Tate call in one way or another were suddenly interested in supporting the idea of allowing fantasy leagues to "adjust" or "overrule" NFL decisions.

As far as this argument goes, I seem to be stuck in the same place I was last week--uncertain how seriously I am supposed to take these messages. According to the webhost of my primary fantasy league, Golden Tate was only started by about 2% of fantasy owners on the entire website, so it is difficult to believe that his controversial TD reception really had that much of an impact on fantasy games.

I would have taken the notes more seriously if people had written that the Packer defense was being cheated out of points from a fantasy perspective. Many performance leagues award defenses a substantially higher bonus for holding an opposing offense to 7 points (which is what the Packers really did) than for yielding 14 (which is what the refs ruled). Additionally, many leagues award some kind of bonus (often two or three points) to defenses for each interception. If the M.D. Jennings interception had been called for what it was, then the Packers would have benefited in two clear ways from a fantasy perspective.

Now I am not saying that every response I received to Chad's question was embellished or unreliable. But it strikes me as odd--suspiciously odd--that none of the stories people sent me about the grave injustice that the replacement refs are doing to the NFL had anything to do with points that should have been awarded to the Packer defense (which was started by 80% of the owners on the website that hosts my primary league). Instead, all of the complaints were about Golden Tate (who was started by less than the 2% of owners on that same website).

To be clear, owners in Week 3 were FORTY TIMES more likely to start the Packer defense than they were to start Golden Tate. Yet somehow all the horror stories I received from readers about how the replacement refs are ruining fantasy football focused on the points that had been awarded to Tate rather than the points that were denied to the Packers.

Sorry, but I find that a little hard to swallow. I'm not saying that everyone who wrote in was distorting or exaggerating the circumstances in their fantasy leagues, but on the whole, I think the responses were more about general frustration with the replacement refs than with actual turmoil in the fantasy community.

I cannot help suspecting that some people are so frustrated with the replacement refs that they wrote to me about what would have happened if their opponents had started Golden Tate instead of whatever actually happened in their leagues. My apologies to anyone who wrote in and thinks I am being unfair, but even if some of the individual stories are believable, I find them not credible in the aggregate.

Maybe there really is an owner out there who forfeited his fantasy game because he knows the NFL got the Tate call wrong, but if the Packers have to accept the blown call in reality, it is difficult for me to understand why fantasy owners should have a difficult time going along with it in their imaginary leagues.

The two best answers I received to Chad's question prior to the Monday night fiasco were both humorous, and I'm happy to share them. According to Tom:

The only changes the replacement refs have made for me is that, given a reasonable option, I will avoid playing Monday Night players, so as to avoid feeling an obligation to have to listen to Gruden WHINE. I mean, he whines about everything anyway, and he's never seen a call that he actually liked. Football would be better off without refs for him. But this last week was the worst, in part because Tirico joined in as well.

So yeah. I have Finley at TE, and I'll watch MNF because I'm a Packer fan. But on other weeks...I look for reasons not to watch MNF. So [I guess Chad could blame that] on the replacement refs.

I got an especially hearty chuckle out of Bernie's answer:

I can’t tell from here whether Chad’s tongue is firmly planted in his cheek, but the tweaks caused by replacement officials are temporary and pale by comparison to the 800-pound gorilla of the gridiron, the problem we rarely discuss and ignore at our peril.

Bad weather is absolutely destroying fantasy football as we know it! A touchdown reception in the rain and wind caught by a guy wearing dishwashing gloves should at least count double. Or, if it’s an 8-yard pass, count it as 80. If a running back slips ‘n slides all over a snowy field in the Northeast or up in Cheese country, don’t count his distance, but the number of steps he takes. These solutions will take much of the guesswork out of drafting and, as they say, will level the playing field!

Once we solve the weather problem, I’d like to take a crack at adjusting the yardage on fields where a rock concert the night before leaves the grass in poor condition.

Always love to read your stuff, Mike, but some of your readers should just relax and enjoy the game.

There's something to be said for Bernie's position.

I think we would all like to see the regular refs back in action as soon as possible, but FFers are in the exact same position as the players on the field. We have to accept that the refs are making bad calls on both sides of the line of scrimmage. There are going to be lots of bad calls, but they are just as likely to go against your opponents as they are to go against you. Unless someone has an earth-shatteringly new perspective on officiating in the NFL, it seems like the logical response for FFers is to take their lumps along with Aaron Rodgers. Complain about the bad calls all you like, but in the end you have to accept the loss and move on.

This Week's Question: How should cumulative points be handled in leagues with sporadic doubleheaders?

It never fails.

The week after I closed the discussion in this column on sporadic doubleheaders in fantasy leagues, I received this question from Tim:

We just implemented [doubleheaders] this year for weeks 2-4. Our playoffs spots are determined by record and then a couple of spots by points. What we didn't realize was that the point tally is doubled for the double header weeks. I had assumed your points for the week of the doubleheaders would only count once.

Now we're debating which is right. Count them twice or once? Do you know what is normally done in leagues?

I wrote Tim back with my own answer about what I have seen commissioners do, but I welcome additional feedback on the question. If your team scores 100 points against a single opponent in Week 1 and then 100 points against two different opponents in Week 2, how many cumulative points on the season have you earned? 200? Or is it 300?

Last Man Standing - Week 4 (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)

Hopefully you are still alive in your pool. Unfortunately, if you took anything but my #3 pick last week, you aren’t. That said, they still ask me to write my column as there still seems to be some people who have survived these past few weeks of wild games decided by the replacement refs (oops, am I not supposed to comment about that?). Well, on with the column.

Trap Game: Oakland at Denver (1-2, Wash, CLE, TB):
I’m taking Denver in this game (unlike my prior trap games – with upset picks) because I think the Manning factor will be the difference in this game, unless a ref tells one of the wide receivers that he needs another point to win this week’s fantasy game and spots the ball ten years downfield from the spot of the tackle. These teams are statistically even in almost every category (18th or 19th), and the home field should be enough to give the Broncos the victory. But since this is a heated divisional rivalry, avoid, avoid, avoid.

#3: Arizona over Miami: (2-1, PHI, TB, CHI)
Are the Cardinals for real? Very possibly. San Francisco better watch out. The Cardinals have been impressive on the defensive side of the ball, allowing the second least amount of points this year – 40 in all. And while the Dolphins have moved the ball between the twenties this season, they are only 20th in the league in points per game. With Reggie Bush not expected to play, the Cardinals will be able to pin their ears back and attack Tannehill all day long. This won’t be a “Can’t miss every play” type game on the Redzone channel, but the workmanlike effort may soon have everyone wondering, “Are they good enough?” about the Cardinals. For this week, they should be. The Cards are not going to be exciting, but they will be efficient.

#2: Houston over Tennessee: (1-2, CHI, Wash, NO)
Last week this was the Saints pick. Maybe I should have been wearing a bag over my head as New Orleans fans did decades ago, when they referred to their own team as the Aints. That said, we slide down I-10 to Houston where the Texans seem to have this season on autopilot with the 2nd best overall defense in the league and an offense that is 5th overall in points and 7th in yards gained. This team is solid and barring major injury (shhhhhh!) should lock their playoff ticket by mid November. Don’t expect a surprise win from Andrew Luck and company when he brings the “old Oilers” (Titans) into town to visit the “new Oilers” (err Texans) with Chris Johnson, who seems to be doing his own rendition of Steve Miller’s song “Take the Money and Run” with a paltry 1.5 yards per carry. Look for the Texans to bag CJ2K and win another one at home.

#1: Baltimore over Cleveland (2-1, HOU, SF, IND)
If you’ve gotten this far, good for you. This week the Ravens host division rival Cleveland on Thursday night. So if you’re going to use your survivor pick on this game, make sure that you aren’t reading this on Friday (as I will already have been proven right or wrong and you will have no option to use this game). This Ravens team has flipped the tables on their winning formula from years past. Instead of a stellar defense and an offense that barely put enough points on the board to win, Joe Flacco and company are lighting up the scoreboard with the second most points scored in the league (98) while the defense is giving up a whopping 400+ yards per game (good enough for 27th in yards per game). But this aging Ravens defense has more than enough to beat a Browns team that is ranked in the lower quartile in passing, running and points scored by fellow rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson. Look for some gimmick plays, but even if the gimmicks work, they won’t be enough on Thursday night as the Ravens remain unbeaten this season.

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