Last Week's Question
I have asked readers in the past about how late is too late to get
a fantasy football league started, but when I asked the question
this time, I received an answer from Rodney that would not have
made sense in previous years:
We generally have our draft at some point in the preseason.
We like to get together and have a preseason game on in the
background as we draft. I’ve always thought that was a
pretty good way to do things—especially since a lot of
the guys in my league end up getting drawn into the preseason
hype. It’s funny to see them drafting a guy who looks
great against second-team defenses, but who they’ll end
up cutting by Week 4. Things were different for us this year.
Schedule conflicts forced us to draft on the Thursday night
that the season started. We agreed at first to leave the television
off so that we couldn’t be influenced by what was happening
in the game, but then we started getting suspicious of each
other every time someone stepped outside to make or receive
a call on a cell phone. In the end, we decided we might as well
just watch the game as we drafted. The result was that Heath
Miller probably ended up going way sooner than he should have.
That got us to talking about how if we were going to draft after
one game in Week One had started, we might as well draft after
all the Week One games had been played.
The more we thought about it, the more we like this idea—at
least this year. When you consider that virtually a third of
all NFL teams have new head coaches, it seems like it only makes
sense to give us a little time to wrap our heads around the
changes that these coaches will make in their organizations.
We didn’t put things to a vote or anything in my league,
but we sort of talked about the idea that any time in the future
that there are more than 8 head coaching changes in an offseason,
we’ll put off our draft until after the Week One games
have been played. Have you ever heard of such a rule?
The short answer to Rodney’s question is that I have never
heard of such a rule, but that doesn’t mean that I’m
opposed to it. However, readers like Seth clearly think that the
uncertainty Rodney is trying to avoid is precisely what they want
to preserve in their league.
My league makes a point of drafting before the preseason.
As far as I’m concerned, the right time for a draft is
any time after the NFL has finished drafting players and before
the preseason starts. I don’t understand people who do
all this whining and moaning about injuries and suspensions
for [violations of the substance abuse policy]. Injury is one
of those risks that you have to do your best to compensate for
with depth. Suspensions for drugs can happen in the season just
as well as the preseason, so what’s the point of saying
that fantasy players shouldn’t have to concern themselves
with this injury or that suspension because it happened in the
preseason? C’mon, it’s all football. It sucks for
the Packers when Javon Walker gets knocked out in the first
game of the season, but it sucks just as much for Miami when
Ricky Williams gets suspended before the season starts. Why
do so many people who play fantasy football want to make it
so they never have to make any decisions about risk management?
I understand that there are plenty of dedicated FFers like Seth
who like fantasy football to the extent that it presents them
with the challenges of running a multi-million dollar organization.
I suppose there are people who take the game seriously enough
to have figured out a way to play it year round (with offseason
trades, renegotiations of the salary cap, etc.) However, I think
Chad spoke for most FFers in his response:
Everyone in my league is convinced that there is one “best”
time for a fantasy draft; and we all agree that it is after
the last game of the third week of the preseason and before
the Week 4 games of the preseason start. The tendency in the
NFL seems to be to give starters some playing time in the early
part of the games in the first 3 weeks of the preseason, but
to play second stringers and other “undraftables”
in that final game. Not everyone does this, but the tendency
seems widespread enough to make me wonder why anyone would schedule
a draft any sooner or later than this ideal time.
Apparently I didn’t ask my question very well, since the
responses I received tended to be about the “ideal”
time to draft rather than the latest point at which a draft for
a meaningful fantasy football league is possible. C’est
la vie. I’ll try to do a better job with my phrasing this
This Week’s Question
What are fair and reasonable rules for the handling of the “Injured
Reserve” category in fantasy football? If you think that there
is no reason for IR in fantasy football, it is probably because
you have a good bit of roster depth in your league. One of the leagues
I mentioned in last week’s column
allows participants to carry rosters of 40 players. If you have
that much space on your roster, it’s no big deal to hang onto
a guy like Trent Green for the period in which he’ll be recovering
from that nasty hit. But some leagues really try to limit roster
sizes so that owners cannot horde players. I play in a league that
requires 8 starters, but only allows owners to keep rosters of 14
players. I’ve heard of leagues with rosters of only 12 players.
Obviously, small rosters force owners to think very carefully about
which players to cut when they have to make room for bye week adjustments.
In such leagues, the use of the IR tag is critical to hanging on
to great players who won’t be able to contribute every week,
but there are wildly different rules from one league to the next
about which players can be placed on IR.
Despite the fact that injury reports issued by head coaches are
notoriously unreliable, plenty of leagues require players to be
listed as “out” or “doubtful” to qualify
for IR status. But what about holdouts such as Deion Branch? Would
you have been able to put him on IR in your league in Week 1?
Do you have a strong opinion about whether you should be able
to protect players who won’t be able to play for you while
making room for their replacements on your squad? Is a bye week
a good reason to put a player on IR, and if so can you put entire
defensive units on the IR list? Should IR decisions all be approved
by the commissioner, or is it acceptable to let individual FFers
make such decisions? If a player is obviously hurt, can you put
him on IR on Tuesday even though the first injury report of the
week won’t come out until Wednesday? Any thoughts on the
way to handle IR in fantasy football are welcome.
This is one of those weeks that every Survival Pool contestant
should get through to the next without too much trouble. There
are 5 games in the NFL that are predicted to be double digit wins
for the favorites and three additional games that should be won
by more than a touchdown or more. That said, where are the traps?
Trap Game: Kansas City at Denver
Whoa!!! Are the Rams that good on defense this year, or did the
Broncos just come out flat like last year? Jake Plummer had one
of his worst games as a Bronco, but don’t expect the hook
in the near future (unless of course he does it against the Chiefs).
The Chiefs are going to rely on Larry Johnson heavily. Mix that
in with some short passes to Tony Gonzalez from Damon Huard and
the Chiefs might steal a victory in Mile High. If that happens,
look for some wholesale changes by Shanahan in Denver.
#3: Cincinnati over Cleveland (1-0
This one SCREAMS upset because of the rivalry. The Browns came
out very flat against the Saints this week, have gone through
how many centers? 8 or was that 9? The number one possession receiver
is out with broken ribs (Joe Jurivicius) and Reuben Droughns rushed
only 11 times in a close game. The Bengals have won the last three
meetings and should easily win this one. With few weapons at the
Browns’ disposal and a healthy Carson Palmer at home, this
game should be over rather quickly, and any thought of the upset
should be long gone by the second quarter.
#2: San Diego over Tennessee (1-0 Season):
Ladainian Tomlinson definitely does not need pre-season as proven
in his game against the Raiders. This week should be a continuation
of last week’s romp while Philip Rivers gets comfortable
leading the Chargers. Tennessee’s defense was overwhelmed
by Pennington and the Jets, it should be very interesting to see
what a high-powered offense can do. Unfortunately for Vince Young,
he will get to learn a lot about the blitz as the Chargers’
front seven should be attacking all day long.
#1: Baltimore over Oakland (0-1 Season):
How bad did Aaron Brooks look against the Chargers’ defense?
7 sacks and less than 100 yards passing are awful. Don’t
go blaming the loss just on Brooks but the whole offensive line.
Unfortunately for Raiders fans, this week doesn’t get any
better. The Ravens have a very good defense, and they showed it
in one of the other shutout games in the NFL. Steve McNair and
company should be able to open a lead and then let the defense
I'll try this again. 2-1 last week, missing the 3rd game when I
wasn't comfortable finding a third. Guess I fulfilled my own prophecy.
I'll make my top pick each week a team I haven't picked in the top
spot in a previous week. Let's see how long I last before missing
it. The other 2 will just be the best picks as I see them regardless
of whether the team has been picked before.
3. (0-1) Denver over Kansas City
I'm going with the "Inexperienced backup quarterback on the
road" theory here.
2. (1-0) Indianapolis over Houston
Colts should roll at home. I'd like to save them for Tennessee if
there is a game I like just as much or better this week, which I
1. (1-0) Baltimore over Oakland
Ravens looked great, Raiders looked horrible. Ravens at home with
the Raiders coming across country after a Monday night game.
responses to this week's fantasy question or to share your LMS picks,
please email me no later
than 10 a.m. EST on Wednesdays during the football season.
Readers who want to have their fantasy questions answered live,
on the air, by Mike Davis are invited to tune into FFEXradio
on Friday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. EST. Archived
programs are also available.