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Week 3

Last Week’s Question

In last week’s column, I passed along Rudi’s question about how leagues that pass a trophy from one champ to the next can honor past winners. The responses I received were too varied for me to say that there is a typical way of responding to this question.

Paul wrote in to point out that there’s nothing wrong with having multiple trophies (particularly when they are cheap):
My league buys a trophy every year from They have a bunch of fantasy football trophies for around $20 or under that are pretty clever. The person who scores the most points that week gets to keep the trophy at their desk. After the Super Bowl, the winner keeps it at his/her desk permanently. I have two sitting on my desk (one is a football bobble head trophy, and the other is Natural Light beer can trophy). I am quite proud of them.

This year we are going to order a plate with the winning team name on it. In the past it has just had the league name and the year.

Don also considers trophies important and doesn’t mind buying multiple trophies on a limited budget.
I've been commissioning my league for four years now. When we kicked it off, we mulled trophies. Since the major trophy is prize money, I did not want to reduce that amount too much. However, I am a firm believer in giving out trophies. Long after the money is gone, I can appreciate my wins through my trophies.

What we did in our league, on the first year, we bought a perpetual plaque. On it is a plate about the league, a nice football symbol, and 12 plates for the league winners. In addition, every year, each divisional winner (we usually have three), gets a trophy as does the winner of the Fantasy Bowl. From year to year, we have special events and the winners of those events all get some type of memorial doohickey or trophy.

The important part to consider is budget. My annual budget is about $50/year for trophies. This will buy a minimum of five trophies and get the plate for the perpetual plate engraved. They are cheap trophies, but good enough for us.
I think Don makes a great point. Your winnings in fantasy football won’t last no matter how much they are, but a trophy will last no matter how cheap it is. I hadn’t ever thought of it that way.

John wrote in with a comment that wasn’t exactly a response to the question, but is nevertheless relevant.

I don’t know what the right way to handle the trophy situation is, but I know that having a trophy of some sort is important. I play in multiple leagues, and the ones that have lasted the longest all offer trophies. I’ve brought up trophies in the leagues that don’t offer them—and everyone just sneered and said they would rather have a few dollars more in the purse. The funny thing is there’s no purse the next year because those leagues don’t last. I’ve often thought that the leagues that fell apart after one or two seasons would have lasted a bit longer if the owners looked into trophies more thoroughly.

Darrell shares John’s sense that trophies are important, but he doesn’t like the idea outlined above of having multiple trophies:

It’s simple. If the Colts want to keep the Lombardi trophy, they need to win another Super Bowl. By the same token, if the guy who won my league last year wants to keep it for another year, he has to win the league again. The thing that gives the trophy its appeal is that there’s only one, and there’s only one way to get it. Once you start making multiple trophies and trying to make everybody feel good about what they did once upon a time, you diminish the value of the main trophy.
I follow Darrell’s logic even if I’m not sure about his facts. The Wikipedia entry on the Lombardi trophy says that a new trophy is created each year and that “the winning team maintains permanent possession of the trophy.” (Please note that I spend a great deal of time telling my students that the Wikipedia is not an authoritative source, so I’ll welcome any corrections if that entry is inaccurate.) That information doesn’t invalidate Darrell’s position, but if his league’s purpose is to emulate NFL practice, they don’t appear to be doing so if they are passing one single trophy from champ to champ at the end of each season.

Plenty of leagues restrict themselves to one trophy not because they are trying to follow a misperceived NFL tradition, but because they don’t want to spend any more money on trophies than is necessary. Stan wrote in to explain how his league responded to the fact that there is only one trophy in his league:
I feel Rudi’s pain. Nobody in our league likes giving up the trophy to the new champion. In fact, this is what led to one of the really cool traditions in our league. We handle the trophy exchange at our draft each August because that’s the only time we all get together. We thought it was weird that the guy who was going to have to give up the trophy showed up wearing a jacket in August (in Florida!), but when it came time for him to hand the trophy over, he took off his jacket and revealed the T-shirt that he had made just for the occasion. It said:

FF Champion 1998 & 2001

The next year at the draft, everybody who had ever won a championship in the league came to the draft with a T-shirt commemorating the year(s) of their victories. The league didn’t pay for the shirts; people had to pay for their own. So my advice to Rudi would be that if the owners who have won championships want something to remind them of their victories after they’ve passed the trophy along, they should have T-shirts printed.
I know some leagues that don’t keep good records, and I can imagine fistfights breaking out between owners who are both sure that they won the championship back in 1995, but I suspect a lot of leagues could have fun with Stan’s idea.

Unaccountably, the most thoughtful and comprehensive reflections on trophies came from Craig, who admits that he’s never participated in league with a physical trophy:

Having played all my leagues through online services (Yahoo/Fox) with friends who are in different states, I’m not familiar with having any type of physical trophy. However, some of these services keep track of your finishing place (using trophy graphics at times), so you can click on teams and see how they’ve ended up in the past which is nice when you have the same players each year. I’ve liked seeing that some players, while not winning, always ended up in the final 3 spots the last few years in a row, meaning that he must be doing something right (and if you are that player it does feel good to know you’re always competitive if a bit unlucky at the end).

But to answer the question I feel that a “traveling” trophy is the way to go. For starters it makes it convenient to find out a history of the league. And it also can add something extra to play for if you have a lot of returning players in your league, as returning/consistent champ will be targeted by other players to knock them off and break any streaks. And when it is all said and done, the only people who really care about your league championship win are other players in that league, so having a trophy you can keep to “show off” to others not involved in it is kind of silly.

I do think that if you have a long returning player who finally leaves your league for good, a nice going away gift might be a small trophy with all his championships so that he can have something other than memories of his 5-10 years in your league.
My thanks to all those who took the time to write in. I’m grateful to Paul for confessing that he is proud of his trophies—but equally grateful to Craig for pointing out that fantasy trophies really do look pretty silly to anyone not directly involved in the league.

This Week’s Question

This week’s question comes from yours truly, fantasy analyst Mike Lee Davis, who thinks it’s outrageous that Neil Rackers’ miss on a 53-yard field goal attempt resulted in a 1-point deduction.

Some leagues don’t penalize kickers for missed field goals; others only penalize them for misses within a certain range; still others penalize kickers for all misses. So my questions this week all concern penalties for missed field goals. If you believe that there is a certain range beyond which kickers should not be penalized for missed field goals, what is it? Do you think that range should vary depending upon whether the stadium is indoors or outdoors? Do you think penalizing kickers for missed kicks is a good or bad practice in fantasy football? Whatever your answers to these questions (or other related questions that might occur to you), please explain why you think as you do.

Last Man Standing (Courtesy of Mike Davis)

Trap Game: Indianapolis at Houston
The Colts are a great team, and they’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of beating up on the hapless Texans and Titans for the past few years. Nevertheless, the Texans found a chink in the Colts’ armor last year when they beat the Colts in Week 16. (True, the Colts were already locked into their playoff position, but a win is a win.) This year, the Colts and Texans are both of to a 2-0 start. Something tells me that Houston will come to this game emotionally prepared and ready to beat the Colts for the second time in a row. Be warned.

#3 New Orleans over Tennessee:
The Saints haven’t looked like their 2006 selves, and the Titans are trying to pick up where they left off with Vince Young’s momentum last season. Nevertheless, these teams are both so similar to what they were last year in terms of personnel that I think we really do know them better than their start in 2007 suggests. I expect the Saints to rise to the occasion at home.

#2 Carolina over Atlanta:
I have warned readers for years against divisional matchups and against picking the visiting team. This recommendation runs counter to both of those guidelines, but that’s just how discombobulated the Falcons appear.

#1 New England over Buffalo:
I’m breaking one of my rules here by focusing on yet another divisional game, but at least the Patriots are at home. The logic behind avoiding divisional matchups is that once teams get to know each other extremely well, anything can happen. That logic may not apply to the Bills, who are going through players (both good and bad) with Raider- and Redskin-like regularity.

For 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.