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Mike Davis | Archive | Email  
Staff Writer

Q & A - Week 7: Playing the Entire Roster

Last Week's Question: Dr. Frankenbode's Super Happy Funtime League

In my column for Week 6, I shared a series of questions from a frequent contributor to this column named Michael, who is trying to set up a fairly complicated league for next year. Readers who want to review a full description of Michael's proposed league should look at last week's column, but the most relevant details are 1) a week-to-week rotisserie scoring format; 2) lineups subject to constant changes; and 3) an auction-limit model of player acquisitions (with incentives for owners to spot hot players before they break out).

I am grateful to Andy not simply for responding with a thoughtful answer, but for providing us all with a hyperlink to a league that shares some key similarities with Bode's brainchild:

I can't help with everything, but I can give you help on some portions. I started a league this year called the AFFL (because teams must name themselves after Arena League Teams). If you're so inclined, you can find it here.

As for Part 1 of Mike's Question:

As you can see, we use MFL for this league. MFL has a function where you can set it up that every team plays every other team each week. We have a 14-team league, so you play 13 games per week. The top scoring team goes 13-0, the next highest goes 12-1, etc. The great part of this is that no matter how you're doing on the season, you start each week with the chance/hope of going 13-0 for that week.

(As a side note, I 'invented' this system a few years ago for my baseball league, where instead of cummulative roto stats for the year, we take them just for one week and assign wins and losses, and then start over the next week.)

As for Part 2, I have something similar that he could use:

The AFFL is a dynasty league, where every player drafted is a keeper forever. BUT, pickups during the season are NOT keepers, with one exception:

We allow teams once, and ONLY once, to make just ONE of their pickups a keeper. They must decide as soon as they pick them up what they want to do, thus increasing the toughness. Here's how this practice might apply to Michael's league:

To make it more interesting for him, I'd have different levels of 'Lock' for his players. Allow teams to ONLY ONCE lock a player's salary for the entire season. Then, I'd add several different levels for other players. For instance, maybe allow one 5 week lock and one 4 week lock. Then, allow two 3 week locks and maybe four two week locks. The rest would be just one week.

The beauty of this is that owners would be forced to allocate their 'locks' over the entire season, and that would be part of the strategy. Imagine if the owner who picked up Kevin Ogletree after week 1 used up his season-long lock on him. Or the guy who got Alfred Morris really cheap who then doesn't really believe in him so he just gives him a one-week lock. The whole thing would be very interesting.

Anyway, these are just some random ideas about that, but I would definitely encourage Michael to use MFL's 'Play-All' function where everyone plays every other team each week. The effect is that the best teams scoring-wise will certainly rise to the top, and it eliminates those times (we've all had them), where you are 2nd in the league in scoring and find yourself 2-4 because of bad beats.

I really like Andy's idea of staggered locks being applied at will by owners who are making their own best (but hurried) guesses about the future performances of players.

Perhaps the best thing about Andy's response is that it suggests so many possibilities for Bode's hypothetical league to handle locks for players who are injured or on a bye. Perhaps the Bode league could automatically grant a one-week extension to all players whose prices have been locked in for four or more weeks, but they have only a limited number of bye week extensions (say two or three for the entire season) to use on players on lockdown for three weeks or less.

As for injury, one idea that Bode's league might toy with could involve converting the one-week lockdowns to injury insurance policies. I am just tinkering playfully with Bode's question and Andy's answer, but since the Bode league is already shaping up to be highly complex, I can imagine the following scenario:

An owner picks up Brian Hartline in Week 3 for $1 and then tags him with a 4-week price lock immediately following his explosion in Week 4, which ensures that he will be able to get Hartline for $1 in weeks 5, 6, 7, and 8. Furthermore, this owner gives up one of his one-week price locks as an injury insurance policy on Hartline. In the Week 7 game, Hartline pulls a hamstring that forces him to sit out for Weeks 8 and 9. The injury insurance policy kicks in, automatically extending the 4-week lock into Week 10.

I hope the ideas behind my hypothetical scenario can get through despite the obvious logical problems (not the least of which is that in reality, Hartline has a bye in Week 7 and is therefore very unlikely to pull his hamstring). As Andy says, owners who use locks on players acquired midseason in his league must do so at the time the player is acquired, so if Bode implemented a similar rule, then the owner who picked up Hartline in Week 3 would have had to opt for a price lock before Hartline's Week 4 explosion against Arizona. I see oodles of intriguing possibilities here.

As for the question about bye weeks, I agree that it seems unfair for owners to lose a week of locked in production to a bye. Perhaps the Bode league could institute a "bye reserve" category for players (analogous to the "injured reserve" category in many fantasy leagues).

If Jerry Jones is correct and DeMarco Murray will be out with a sprained foot for Dallas' Week 7 matchup against the Panthers, then we should expect to see lots of owners placing Murray on IR, which will allow them to pick up an extra player in Murray's roster spot without throwing Murray back onto the waiver wire. The Bode league could easily arrange for something similar to happen with all bye weeks . . . or most bye weeks . . . or only some bye weeks.

I hope to hear more about Dr. Frankenbode's Super Happy Funtime League after it actually gets off the ground. In the meantime, perhaps this week's question will help to get Bode's brain juices flowing.

This Week's Question: What are the pros and cons of switching to a scoring system that treats all players on a roster as active?

The person who sent in this question signed off as "Commish Mike," but I prefer the name in the email address: Lilprincesskoopie. I get plenty of questions and answers from people named Mike or Michael, but I can't resist the urge to share a question posed by Lilprincesskoopie:

Our league is toying with something I have seen on a rare basis, but the guys in our 4 F Club see the following as a great way to play FF.

We have 19-man rosters and start a roster as follows (and have done this for years): 1QB, 1RB, 2WR, 2 FLEX, 1 TE, 1K & 1 DEF. This is a 12-man league, and the 2 flex positions help greatly if you get short at RB. But the point of my writing is we have seen a few leagues that score your ENTIRE roster - then sort it out to give you the best QB score, best 2 RB's score, best 2 WR's score, best FLEX, best TE, best K and best DEF.

No calling in a lineup or worrying about if a player who is hurt will or won't play. Our league is in its 16th season and we all think the proposal I just mentioned could catch on big time. We are not using it yet, but I am in a new league that does use it. There is an incentive to carry 3 starting QB's as well as 2 TEs, 2K, 2DEF as you will automatically get the best point total at each position.

I do not think that leagues such as the one described by Lilprincesskoopie are as uncommon as her majesty thinks. I routinely encounter leagues that allow owners to start multiple quarterbacks and then take the score from whoever has the best day. Such leagues have been discussed in this column in the past primarily because, as the writer points out, they eliminate "worrying about if a player who is hurt will or won't play."

I guess what strikes me most forcefully about this question is that it is coming from someone who has been in the same league for sixteen years. I tend to think of older leagues as trying to shake things up by requiring owners to pay more attention to NFL news, whereas the model proposed by Lilprincesskoopie seems like more of a "draft 'em and forget about 'em and find out in Week 16 if they got you to the Super Bowl" approach.

Although I gravitate towards leagues in which I have to set my own lineup every week, I will admit that there are some weeks when I have so much going on that it is more of a chore than a joy for me to have to decide between Receiver C who is questionable with a favorable matchup and Receiver D who is probable with an unfavorable matchup.

I look forward to hearing about the pros and cons of leagues like the one described by Lilprincesskoopie from anyone who has ever participated in such a league. I suspect that the most helpful responses will come from commissioners of leagues that started out by having owners set their starting lineups and switched to a format that treats all players as active.

Last Man Standing - Week 7 (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)

Trap Game: San Francisco over Seattle (4-2, Was, CLE, TB, Den, ATL, NYG):
San Francisco came out flat against a beatable NY Giants football team with a suspect defense. This week, the Niners face the second best rushing defense in the NFL in the Seattle Seahawks, a team that squeaked past the New England Patriots on the strength of Russell Wilson's throwing arm (who knew?). The bookies have this game leaning way in the favor of the Niners, but in a close divisional game, anything goes. This is a game that has AVOID written all over it. You don’t want to be knocked out of a Survival Pool because of a “trick” play between division rivals that are tied for first place and would do anything to win, but if you twisted my arm, I would lean towards the home team.

#3: Green Bay at St. Louis (5-1: PHI, TB, CHI, ARI, HOU, BAL):
Welcome back Mr. Rodgers! The Packer offense did not simply look great in Week 6; Rodgers and company looked great against a VERY good Houston defense that still has not allowed a rushing touchdown. This week, however, Green Bay must head indoors to match up against the Rams (and an impressive passing defense that currently ranks fifth in the NFL). The Packers will need to show off some of that precise passing from last week’s six-touchdown game to get past a scrappy 3-3 Rams team that has found a balanced rushing attack between Stephen Jackson and Daryl Richardson. Jackson is only getting on the field for 15 to 20 plays a game, so he remains fresh and is a threat to strike at any time, unlike years past. That said, look for the Packers to pull this one out (barely).

#2: Minnesota over Arizona (3-3: CHI, Was, NO, HOU, SF, PIT):
The Vikings are coming off a road loss to Washington, a team that is surprisingly ranked 5th overall in total offense. This week, however, Minnesota should have an easier go of it when the Cardinals and their 31st ranked offense visit the MetroDome. The Cardinals have announced that Kevin Kolb, the NFL’s most sacked QB over the last month, will be sidelined with a rib injury indefinitely. The best thing Cardinals fans can say about this is that John Skelton is healthy, and might be able to avoid a hit or two. If you’re worried about relying on the divisional contest between New England and the New York Jets, than this is the next best bet.

#1: New England over N.Y. Jets (5-1: HOU, SF, IND, BAL, NYG, ATL):
Spygate. Need I say more? Okay, I have a few more sentence fragments up my sleeve. Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick. Tom Brady and Tim Tebow. Good Jets or bad Jets? The team that beat up on Buffalo and Indianapolis, or the one that was destroyed by San Francisco and Pittsburgh? Will Ryan's team use trick plays in punting formations, run the ball efficiently, and create turnovers, or will they be inept on offense as their passing and overall offense ranking suggest? It will be interesting to find out. But unfortunately for the Jets faithful, Brady and company should have no problem no matter which Jets team shows up. When New England's top-ranked offense takes the field after a long road trip, look for BOTH Hernandez and Gronkowski on the field at the same time as they create matchup problems for the Jets, who will struggle to fill the gaps created by Belichick’s pawns. Take the Patriots in this game, but know that it will be a fight to the end. Nothing this season has been easy for the once reigning champions, and this one won’t be any exception.

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