Last Week’s Question: Should kicker
penalties be reduced in response to the new PAT rule?
In last week’s column,
I shared Jason’s question about deductions for missed PATs.
With kickers suddenly missing extra points at an unprecedented rate
(thanks to a new NFL rule), some of the owners in Jason’s
league think a 2-point deduction for missed PATs is too steep a
price to pay.
If nothing else, the response to Jason’s question demonstrated
the one unchanging principle of fantasy football: Nobody cares about
You have my apologies, Jason, but the silence in response to your
question was nothing short of deafening. Consequently, all I can
offer is my own opinion, which is worth exactly what you pay to
read this column.
PATs were so automatic in years past that I can understand why the
penalty for missed extra points (-2) was justifiable relative to
the reward for successful conversions (+1). With the new rule change,
however, I agree that the penalty is too steep in 2015.
Of course, the time to change the rule in your own league was before
the season began. However, I can understand why the importance of
responding to this NFL rule change slipped past you—since,
as I indicated above, nobody cares about kickers.
You get to run your league according to your rules—whatever
they may be. But midseason rule changes are almost always a bad
idea. Even if a majority of owners agree that reducing the penalty
for a miss to -1 is desirable, my own impulse would be to live with
the rule as it stands through 2015 and implement a change for 2016.
As I’ve written before, even bad rules can be fair rules as
long as they apply equally to everyone.
The only time I would consider changing a rule midseason would be
with unanimous owner approval. If everybody in the league agrees
that the penalty should be reduced to -1, that works. But if only
11 out of 12 owners agree to changing the rule two weeks into the
season, I think it has to stand for the year. I hope that helps.
This Week’s Question: Did the
“Zero-RB” strategy generally work out for people in
If youíre familiar with backhanded compliments, you may recognize
this question as backhanded gloating.
My primary motive for asking about the success of the zero-rb approach
is that I adopted it in my primary leagueóand so far my team
is on fire. My secondary motive for asking is that a number of FFers
expected the zero-rb approach to become ineffective through overutilization
in 2015. After all, if everybody is focusing on WRs in the early
rounds, then the primary incentive for using the zero-rb approach
(finding great value at the WR position) is compromised.
At other positions, I expected Carson
Palmer (13th round) to be my backup QB, but he has pulled ahead
of my supposed starter (Eli
Manningó8th), and I lucked into grabbing the Denver defense
only because the defenses I was targeting (Buffalo and Miami) were
taken before I snagged either one.
Right now Iím not just undefeated; Iím practically untouchable.
The team with Gronk is the only one close to me. The scores of the
other ten teams are so much lower that they make my totals look
Obviously, a two-week sample isnít anything to base an argument
on. I expect to come crashing back to earth as soon as a defense
figures out how to stop Julio
Jones. Perhaps more importantly, thereís no reason to ascribe
the success of my team to a draft strategy as opposed to the performance
of the particular players involved. For example, if my zero-rb strategy
had resulted in a crop of receivers such as those I have in the
FFToday Staff league (Alshon
Jeffery & T.Y.
Hiltonóboth of whom I rated quite high in the preseason), then
I would be singing a different tune.
So what was your experience with the “zero-rb” approach
in 2015? Did you decide not to try it at all because it was too
trendy? If you did try it, how did you do? If
I get enough feedback on this subject early in the season, then
we might need to revisit it at the end to see if any perceived trends
really held up.
Before I can even address a single game this week, I have to apologize
to my readers. In more than ten years of writing this column, I
have never gone 0-3 in any week, let alone Week 2. Last week wrecked
most Survival Pools, with my own being no exception. In fact, in
our 12 team league, the remaining 10 teams from week one all lost
using FIVE different games. My column should have been billed as
“Trap Games” and not “Survivor Picks.” The
only saving grace was that if you paid attention to my trap game
last week, you avoided Indy on Monday night.
This week Houston is almost a touchdown favorite against a Bucs
team that went into the bayou and surprised Sean Payton’s
Saints. The Texans seem to be in disarray with Arian Foster out
again this week and neither Ryan Mallett nor Brian Hoyer really
taking charge of the offense (despite a combined 100+ pass attempts
in the first two weeks). Unfortunately the three-headed rushing
attack that Houston has used in Foster’s absence has the Texans
in the bottom quarter of the league in total rushing yards. To top
it off, Houston’s defense, thought to be a strength of this
team, has given up 51 points in their first two games—so the
Buccaneer offense should be able to pick up right where they left
off in Week 2. What are the oddsmakers thinking? Avoid this game
and remain in your pool—at least for another week.
Arizona over San Francisco (1-1, Cin, Phi)
If you have ever read this column before, you know that I don’t
like to pick a survival pool game between opponents in the same
division. Why? Because these teams know each other so well that
the coaches have a tendency to throw the whole playbook at their
opponent. This makes you, the betting fan, subject to trick plays
and fluke bounces. These pools are won and lost on betting on
a sure thing, and when two teams that play each other twice a
year get together, the game is far from a sure thing.
This week though, the Cardinals return home after destroying a
Bears team on the road. Carson Palmer has led his team to two
victories, albeit against weak opponents, and has his offense
averaging almost 40 points per game. Colin Kaepernick will have
a hard time trying to keep up with this offensive production on
the road—especially in light of the fact that Carlos Hyde
was banged up in Week 2 and Reggie Bush may not be back to help
change the pace. The receiving corps of the 49ers hardly scares
most defenses, and while Anquan Boldin is still putting up respectable
numbers, it won’t be enough for the Niners to keep pace
with their division rivals. So, barring some trick plays by the
49ers, take the home team in the desert.
#2: New England over Jacksonville (1-1
Jacksonville surprised a number of people last week with their
win at home against a very strong Miami Dolphins team. This week,
they travel to New England and face Tom Brady and company. Brady
is in elite company this season, scoring seven passing touchdowns
and passing for over 750 yards in just two games. While Blake
Bortles and Allen Robinson may score one or two touchdowns this
week, they should hardly be a match for Brady as he is 9-0 lifetime
at home against the Jags and 7-1 against teams that had four wins
or less in the prior season. Take the Patriots and avoid the upset.
Image by Tilt Creative (Ty Schiff)
#1: Seattle over Chicago (1-1 NE, Mia)
Last Year’s NFC Champs are on the ropes with a 0-2 record
and need to get back to their winning ways to have any chance
of making the post season. Only 12% of teams that start out 0-2
have made the playoffs, but Seattle should get healthy with the
lowly Bears coming to town. Kam Chancellor, the starting safety
who has been holding out for a new contract, says that he will
return no matter what this week to help them get back on track
and should add the much needed “pop” to a traditionally
strong Seahawks defense that has yielded 61 points and is ranked
21st overall after two weeks. Look for the Chicago D to continue
their generosity this week as they add to a league worst 79 points
allowed so far. No need for the twelfth man here, so take the
Hawks and rest easy this week.
Mike Davis has been writing about fantasy football since 1999--and
playing video games even longer than that. His latest novel (concerning
a gamer who gets trapped inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms)
can be found here.