Last Week's Question: Do some leagues
have multi-year pots?
In last week's
column, I reviewed the rollover pot structure of the Empire
League—a fantasy format that pays only half of each
year's pot to the champion and allows the balance of the purse
to continue accumulating until someone wins two years in a row,
at which point that owner claims a large prize and the league
disbands (perhaps to start over).
Since I have never participated in a league with a progressive/rollover
pot, I wanted to hear from any readers who have done so.
The first email I received came from Todd, a commissioner who
may resort to a rollover pot this year because of circumstances
beyond his control:
I am commissioner of a re-draft league. We pay out every year.
However, despite multiple attempts, I have been unable to pay
out the winner from last year as his contact info has changed
and he lives out of state. With $160 just sitting there and the
new champion for this year about to be crowned in a few weeks,
I have contemplated rolling over last years’ winnings and
giving it to the winner this year. I don’t know if that’s
fair or not, but it might be the way to go. I know this doesn’t
necessarily fully answer your question, but I’d appreciate
some objective feedback about my predicament.
Although this isn't the sort of progressive pot situation I had
in mind, I can see why Todd may feel that rolling over last year's
winnings into this year's pot is the only justifiable course of
action. But if any readers of this column happen to know a fantasy
player who now lives in Denver and used to manage a team called
"The Tolbert Report" on the ESPN website, please put
him in touch with me . . . so that I can put him in touch with
Todd . . . so that he can collect his $160.
Although I received some other messages from readers with friends
who have played for progressive fantasy pots, I already told my
own second-hand story about such a pot in last week's column.
Hearsay only gets us so far—and usually results in more
questions than answers. For instance, multiple readers wanted
to know what would motivate owners in a 10-year league with a
$1000/year entry fee to keep paying the fee after year 7 or so
if they had no real chance of winning.
That's a good question, but I wasn't interested in hearing answers
from guys who know guys who are in such leagues. I was interested
in hearing from someone who was in such a league.
Fortunately, I did hear from one FFToday reader (Dan) who has
added a progressive component to his league:
After being inspired by FFToday to spice up my league, I decided
to create a hybrid keeper/dynasty league with a 3-year pot.
The league had 3 separate prize pools, $300 per team. Weekly
$5/Team, top scorer wins $50. Kept eliminated teams more incentivized
to remain active. The remaining ~$230 was split up among a yearly
pot and "dynasty" pot.
Future draft pick trading (MFL) was a huge strategy as eliminated
teams made hard sells to load up for the following year but tanking
too badly was punished in the end due to the point system. 3rd
year ended up being a really juicy pot with the yearly pot being
mixed with the 3 year pot.
The key component was a fair and balanced point system which
rewarded regular season success/consistency with a bonus for playoff
appearances/championship (and committed owners)
A "perfect" season was 100 points. So a "perfect"
dynasty was 300 points.
14-0 w/ 14 Top 2 Scores + Championship was 100 points.
I want to offer a hearty note of thanks to Dan for a better answer
than I hoped to receive. This seems like a model that might have
broad appeal for implementation in all sorts of leagues. I hope
to hear from readers with suggestions for variations on Dan's
model in the future. But I suspect readers may have questions
as well. The one that I can't help asking is: "So what was
the winning owner's score?" If readers have other questions
for Dan, please send them to me and I'll try to get answers from
him for a future column.
My thanks to everyone who wrote in. It's interesting to know that
there really are leagues with progressive/rollover pots out there
(however rare they may be).
This Week's Question: Should playoff
ties be settled with a push?
On Tuesday, I heard from a commissioner named Chris who had to
figure out how to handle a tie between two playoff teams. His
league is like most in that it allows ties during the regular
season but uses a single elimination tournament to crown a champion
at the end.
Chris didn't need me to tell him that his league should use decimal
scoring to keep ties to a minimum. It's too late for that now.
He didn't need me to tell him that he should have had a tiebreaking
system in place before the playoffs started. It's too late for
that as well.
He needed a solution, and he had one in mind. He proposed a push.
He wanted the two teams that tied in Week 14 (let's call them
the Cravats and the Windsors) to play a rematch in Week 15 to
see which one of them should have won in Week 14. The owner of
the team that was supposed to play the winner between the Cravats
and the Windsors (let's call it the Bolos) simply wouldn't know
which team he was playing against in Week 15 until after the games
were over, at which point whoever won between the Cravats and
the Windsors would have his score compared to the score of the
Bolos to see who would advance to the championship in Week 16.
I already told Chris what I thought of his plan.
I look forward to revealing what I said in next week's column—unless
a reader says it better than I did (or makes a case to persuade
me that I was wrong—which will be difficult to do, as I
felt quite strongly about my position).
What would you have told Chris?
Please post comments below or email
me with your responses.
Although Matthew Schiff was unable to submit his picks to me this
week, I had a chance to chat with him about the better-than-expected
teams he still has available in his top slot for the remainder
of the season, so I'll tackle this part of the column on his behalf
with some knowledge of what he would be most likely to recommend.
#3: Bills over Browns
The Bills are a ten-point favorite against the winless Browns
in Week 15. This game has almost everything Matthew looks for
in a survivor pool pick because it features a favorite playing
at home in an inter-divisional matchup. However, it's so rare
for NFL teams to finish the season without a single victory that
this could be a trap game. The 6-7 Bills are still technically
alive for postseason contention, but they're tied with the Colts
for the 6th-worst record in the AFC, so they know their playoff
hopes are on life support. If Sammy Watkins gets dinged early
(always a possibility), the Bills might just become demoralized
enough to let Isaiah Crowell and the Browns steal their first
win of the season. To be clear, I expect the Bills to win, but
I would feel more confident about a team with a more realistic
shot at playoff relevance.
#2 Falcons over 49ers
This game also fits Matthew's recipe in that the Falcons are favored
by 13.5 points and playing at home against a team outside their
division. But it's not the point differential in the line that
makes the Falcons more attractive than the Bills this week; it's
the fact that the 8-5 Falcons can achieve separation from their
divisional rivals (the 8-5 Buccaneers) if Atlanta can defeat San
Francisco (likely) and Tampa loses to the Cowboys (also likely).
It doesn't hurt that offensive playmakers keep stepping up for
the Falcons (Tevin Coleman, Taylor Gabriel), whereas key injuries
are hampering the 49ers (Vance MacDonald).
#1 Vikings over Colts
Matthew boasted to me over the weekend that he made it to Week
15 without having used either the Vikings or the Raiders as his
top pick this season, which suggested that he was debating between
the two as his top pick for Week 15. The Raiders are favored by
just 3 against San Diego. The Vikings have a slightly larger margin
(4.5) vs. Indianapolis. My guess is that Matthew would end up
taking Minnesota—not because of the extra 1.5 points on
the line, but because the Vikings are playing at home in an inter-conference
matchup, whereas the Raiders are playing a divisional opponent
on the road. Andrew Luck's offensive line has struggled under
optimal conditions—but facing both Minnesota's strong defense
and the crowd noise of Vikings fans who want their team to pull
ahead of the Packers is far from an optimal situation.
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.