Last Week's Question: What's the quirkiest
rule your league's website can handle?
In my column for
Week 11, I asked readers to share the quirkiest rules that
survive in their leagues in the age of automated scoring. It was
a pleasure to hear from Jim, a long-time advocate of the option
to create a spot for coaches on fantasy rosters. Years ago, the
folks at MyFantasyLeague.com heard from Jim about coaches and
another darling concept of his: the bye week carryover:
Bye week carryovers are an interesting option when it comes to
weeks when a player is on a bye. Traditionally, we have always
had to make the choice if the player’s score was carrying
over or not before they play their game before their bye week.
The default was that the player score would carry over if no notification
was made ahead of time. After all, [owners] confident enough to
start the player for that week would generally be confident enough
to have the score carry over. There were times when a bench player
had a sweeter matchup the following week that an owner would post
they were not going to carry over from their starter.
Beginning next year, my league has agreed to let owners make the
decision if they are carrying over a score or not after the player’s
game is played. This still leaves an element of chance most of
the time. A player may have an average score carrying over leaving
the owner to decide if they want to try and improve upon that
average score or not. Even if a player has a great or poor score
there could be options (or lack thereof) which would make the
choice to carry over less than a certain thing.
For example, this week Cam Newton is carrying over a huge score
at QB. His owner is happy about the carryover and content to take
the huge score for a 2nd straight week.
Gore is carrying over a slightly below average score, but his
owner is happy to stick with it because he doesn’t have
much else on the bench and there is nothing in the free agent
The bye week carryover is interesting enough all by itself, but
once you throw in having to decide about carrying over a bye week
player's points in advance vs. after the fact, the strategic implications
become almost hypnotic.
Anyone who has ever been annoyed by 1-yard runs resulting in
4-point TDs will understand why Richard's league developed a reduced
score (just 3 points) for short TDs:
Our non-ppr league’s quirky rule goes back to when George
Rogers was with Washington in 1986 and 25 of his 18 rushing td
plays were 5 yards or less, (massive nonsense exaggeration for
laughs intended), but now one of our league rules is any TD play
of 5 yards or less (pass or rush) is worth 3 points.
The [reduced score for short yardage TDs] encourages GM’s
to draft “big play” footballers ahead of grinders
/ volume dependent plodders / short yardage specialist players.
Richard's league gives owners an additional incentive to target
playmakers by awarding bonus points for long scoring plays, a
wrinkle that seems to be increasing in popularity and that was
mentioned by Mike as well. But Mike's league amplifies this big
play bonus when skill players score outside of their specialized
skill set. For example, when Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin reverse
roles so that Baldwin throws a TD pass to Wilson, both players
are entitled to "wrong way points" according to this
Our 21 yr old league [still awards bonus points for longer TDs
and awarded] "wrong way points" till 5 years ago.
So as electrifying as it is to see Kareem Hunt break free for
a 70-yard rushing TD, it would be far more significant (under
such a rule) to see Tyreek Hill score a 45-yard TD on an end-around.
Very interesting. Since Mike posted his comment on last week's
column, I hope he'll post again this week to explain why his league
abandoned that rule 5 years ago. Was it just too hard to keep
track of? Too unfair with rushing QBs like Cam Newton and receiving
RBs like David Johnson?
In any case, my thanks go out to everyone who wrote in to share
a quirky rule. I hope these examples can inspire some commissioners
to do a little outside-the-box thinking.
This Week's Question: How deep does
your fandom go?
The question for Week 12 comes from Jim, who supplied the first
answer above. At the end of his email, he wrote: "I would
still really like to see an article asking how deep one's fandom
goes. I think it might give some very amusing responses."
The answers to such a question are likely to be amusing if only
because I'm not sure what Jim means by depth of fandom. But instead
of writing him back to ask for clarification, I thought it would
be fun to let readers interpret the question for themselves. If
you think he's asking whether you let your loyalty to a particular
NFL team impact fantasy decisions, please explain how this might
apply to you. If you think he's asking about how committed a fan
of fantasy you are, then please explain how losing (or winning)
your league resulted in getting a tattoo (or whatever). If you
think the question means something else entirely, just explain
what you take it to mean before plunging into your answer. Responses
can be sent to me via email or posted directly below this column.
When the schedule makers put this on the calendar, they probably
remembered the playoff game the Ravens hosted almost five years
ago. But these teams are not what they were then. Heck, they're
not even what they were supposed to be in the preseason. The Texans
have lost their defensive star (J.J. Watt) and their offensive
savior (Deshaun Watson) for the season. It doesn't help that they're
missing Will Fuller this week as well. The Ravens are moving in
the opposite direction on the injury front, as Danny Woodhead
has finally returned from his Week 1 injury. He only had 23 yards
last week, but his 5 receptions testify to Joe Flacco's need for
a receiving RB. With Woodhead having shaken off the rust in Week
11, take the Ravens and their seven points and enjoy your turducken
#2: Washington over the NY Giants (7-4,
NE, SEA, PIT, ATL, PHI, HOU, TN, CIN, JAC, LAR, KC)
The Giants pulled off the upset last week while hosting Andy Reid's
Chiefs. In all honesty, that was an under-the-radar trap game.
Why? Because Steve Spagnuolo knew his old mentor and dialed up
the perfect defense. He will need to do the same on Thanksgiving
in D.C. to overcome Kirk Cousins and company in a game that has
the Redskins playing for their playoff lives. The New York secondary
is vulnerable, and their offensive line is missing some key components.
My bet is the Redskin defense is good enough shut down Orleans Darkwa, even though he ranks #1 in yards after contact since Week
5, when he took over the starting tailback position. Although
the Redskins failed to contain the two-headed rushing attack of
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in Week 11, the Giants don't have
quite the same embarrassment of riches at the RB position as the
Saints. This should be a fun game to watch through the haze of
a turkey coma, but take the home team as the Giants just don't
have enough firepower to stay with the Redskins on a short week.
#1: Cincinnati over Cleveland (8-3 ATL,
OAK, NE, SEA, PIT, DEN, DAL, PHI, HOU*, DET, JAX)
We've seen this formula before: Pick against the Browns . . .
until the day they blow up your survival pool. For those who took
Kansas City over the Giants last week, this game may seem like
an even less attractive prospect. However, the Browns are last
in the NFL in offense, averaging just 15 points per game, and
are the third team in history to start the season 0-10. Problematically,
however, their opponents have woefully underperformed all season,
even with Joe Mixon begging for more carries. Combine that with
an offensive line that hasn't opened any holes for the rookie
running back and a quarterback who hasn't taken advantage of his
star wideout A.J. Green, and it's a formula for an upset. But
in Week 12, sometimes you have to go out on a limb . . . if only
because you've used all the other locks. Take a leap of faith
that the home team wins the battle of Ohio 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.