Last Week’s Question
In last week’s column, I
asked folks who participate in what some of my readers lovingly
(or not-so-lovingly) call “dinosaur leagues” to explain
why they haven’t brought their fantasy leagues into the computer
age. The question came from a reader named Craig, but since I occasionally
receive responses from commissioners who mention that they still
use calculators and box scores from the sports pages to run their
leagues, I shared Craig’s curiosity.
My first response came from Bart. I’m not convinced that
he expects to be taken seriously:
Duh, the obvious reason I prefer to keep score myself is
so that I can cheat the knuckleheads in my league. If you move
your league to one of those websites, it means the days of the
commish winning every year are over.
Whether Bart really is cheating the other folks in his league
is less important than the implication that leagues run on websites
are likely to be handled with more fairness than leagues run by
hand. Of course, it’s a mistake to assume that leagues operated
on computerized league-hosting services are error-free. The league-hosting
services for my leagues have all made at least one error this
year, but the errors weren’t designed to favor any one team—and
they were made consistently for all teams and corrected for all
teams at the same time. But even though computer errors do occasionally
crop up, I think it’s fair to assume that humans generally
botch their calculations more often than computers do. In terms
of both fairness and mathematical accuracy, it’s hard for
me to see how leagues whose commissioners do things by hand compete
with those that don’t.
I don’t think many readers will find Bart’s response
very persuasive, but I suspect that many will sympathize with
Eric’s position. Even though he admits to using a league-hosting
service, he makes a fair point as to how those services have cheapened
the fantasy football experience in some people’s estimation:
From a stat keeping standpoint, yes the websites are wonderful.
We use one for our league. What I do not like about [such websites
is that they put] information right in front of owners who [otherwise]
could not be bothered to get it for themselves. Information
is one owner’s edge over another, and those who take the
time to figure out where to find the best information typically
have a better season. These days, if you use a website, you
are spoon-fed news and recommendations, comparisons, etc.
Those of us who took the time before still have a slight
edge because there is more information available than the site
that the league subscribes to offers. For myself, I would just
ask from a website hosting the league to manage the stats, schedule,
roster and a message feature.
Eric makes an excellent point, as I can recall the days when
I was breaking into fantasy football writing, and I knew which
reporters gave good information about player injuries and which
reporters were just guessing. Those inside scoops won more than
a few games for me, but the popularity of fantasy football has
made such information far more accessible than it used to be.
I think a website such as the one Eric describes might actually
appeal to a few customers. But the simple fact of the matter is
that if one of my leagues played on such a website, I would simply
use the website for a different league as the place to have my
information spoon-fed to me. At this point, I think we have to
assume that everyone has access to the kind of information that
these websites offer, and those of us who are serious simply have
to get better information.
David offers a more pragmatic (and more succinct) response: “Not
everyone has a computer. And not everyone who has a computer uses
Sure, but I participate in at least one league with a person
who never goes online. That doesn’t prevent the rest of
us from using a league-hosting service and letting him know how
his team did according to the automated scoring feature.
And then there’s Kyle, who speaks for more leagues than
his own in all likelihood:
I wrote you couple of years ago about how I still ran our
league by hand and how none of us ever intended to use one of
those services you mention. The next season, my wife paid for
a subscription to one of those services because she said that
I always got grumpy on the nights when I came home from work
and had to calculate all the scores. I told her what I think
I told you: “It’s good for me to do those scores.
It keeps me on top of things.” But I guess it did also
make me cranky sometimes after a long day at work. Long story
short, I paid for that subscription myself this year. The downside
is I’m really not as on top of things as I used to be,
but I can’t see going back to the old way now.
Junior wrote in to say that it’s hard for him to imagine
that people like Kyle and David still exist:
I don't know anyone that adds up with pen and paper stats
out of box score from the newspaper. Like your article said
there are way too many sites that are completely customizable
to any scoring/rule you can think of.
Fair enough, Junior. Since the strongest argument that I received
concerning the pen-and-paper method actually came from someone
who uses a league-hosting service, I suspect that the number of
folks who still haven’t gone the route of automation is
something close to negligible.
This Week’s Question
If you check the FFToday forums any time in the first
dozen or so weeks of the season, you are bound to encounter questions
from commissioners who want to know whether they should allow
or prohibit Trade X because Trading Partners Y and Z have been
accused by league members A & B of colluding.
If I wanted, I could feature one such question in each column.
However, my experience has been that most people who comment on
trades do so in relative ignorance. They measure the value of
one player against another—often without considering peculiarities
in scoring or individual team needs. If I need a receiver and
Clinton Portis is my #4 running back and I’ve gotten through
my byes and never expect to use him, it doesn’t really matter
whether you have a receiver that is as good as Portis. What matters
to me is getting the best receiver I can get for a running back
that I’m not going to need.
For some reason, trades bring out emotions in people that make
productive discussion very difficult, so I’m reluctant to
pose a trade question to the FF community. However, since I had
2 questions concerning trade vetoes come in this week, I’ll
do my best to give the readers of this column a crack at discussing
trades civilly and even-handedly. Whether next week’s responses
will be any good or not, I have no idea, but I’ll give you
an abstract and a concrete question to focus on.
The abstract question comes from Vince:
I have one owner who wants to trade Chris Chambers + a 4th-round
pick in next year’s draft to another owner for Terrell
Owens. I don’t have a problem with the trade itself, but
I don’t like the idea of allowing owners to trade future
draft picks even though it happens in the NFL. The way I see
it, if the player who is giving up the 4th-round draft pick
doesn’t come back next year, then we’re screwed.
Who’s going to pay an entry to fee to join a league knowing
that his 4th-round pick has already been given to a rival? I
just see too many potential headaches here, but the owners insist
that it’s a fair trade and that they are both definitely
going to be in the league next year. I believe them, but once
they do it, other owners will want to make similar trades. Sooner
or later, I’ll end up in a position of either a) screwing
an owner out of a draft pick he traded for; or b) trying to
con some newcomer into joining our league without all his draft
picks. Do you know of any other commissioners who have solved
The concrete question comes from JB, who eventually gets around
to asking what my specific criteria would be for vetoing a trade.
I’m interested in the specific criteria that some of you
might offer to JB in his situation (as I think he provides adequate
detail for us to understand the proposed trade in its proper context):
1) I’m a commissioner of a 10-team league.
2) Our rosters include 1 QB, 3 WRs, 2 RBs, 1 TE, 1 flex player
(WR or RB), 1 kicker, and 1 Team Defense
3) We use a performance scoring system and included points per
4) This league is a mix of some very experienced managers and
some who have never played before. Some trades have been executed,
but one was recently rejected. For trades to be rejected, 4
out of 10 teams must agree that they are too lopsided.
5) The two owners proposing the following trade are both experienced
in FF and good friends.
Team 1 (trying to trade Steven Jackson
for Derrick Mason)
- Driver was going to have a bye and the owner wanted a WR
QB Jon Kitna
WR Wes Welker
WR Marvin Harrison
RB Willis McGahee
RB Adrian Peterson
TE Vernon Davis
W/R Thomas Jones
K Adam Vinatieri
BN S. JAX
Team 2 (trying to trade Mason for
-Didn't mind dropping Mason to load up on rb's
QB Drew Brees
WR Larry Fitzgerald
WR Dwayne Bowe
WR Jerricho Cotchery
RB Frank Gore
RB Kevin Faulk
TE Jason Witten
W/R Derrick Mason
K Jeff Reed
BN T. HENRY
BN R. JOHNSON
BN B. JACOBS
Now Jackson obviously has been out since wk 4 and will be out
this week 7 ....and Mason is an incredible PPR WR average (like
12 pts a game or something). I originally didn't see a problem
with the trade, but upon looking closer I would MUCH rather
have Jackson than Mason...I mean the last game S.Jax had was
30 rushes for 115 and 4 rec for 18 yds...when/if he gets back
to full speed he would be the entire team...his potential is
sky high...where you know what you are getting with
Mason...don't think his value could rise like S.Jax....so I
now look at the trade as lopsided and it should be denied...well
I didn't even have a chance to vote as it got vetoed by our
Should this trade in your opinion be vetoed?
I mean they are friends...but they do know what they are doing....I
mean what are the overall conditions in your opinion that
should be used to veto a trade?
1- If both players are experienced managers and it is lopsided
let it go through
2- If one manager is new and it is lopsided than veto it (or
let it go through cuz that’s part of the game)
3- Only veto if you think there is 2 managers trying to create
a incredible team.
Also what if I want lopsided trades to go through if I am making
a trade...for instance I am sitting atop this FF league right
now...and already looking towards playoffs...if I find a defense
that would be GREAT to have during playoff weeks...and am able
to trade for him...but since others in league may think that
I am giving too good of a player to get that defense...they
may look at it as lopsided and veto it...I wouldn't want that!!!
What do you think about changing to let commissioner only be
able to veto trades next year in our league? (I didn't think
I would have wanted that responsibility originally, but now
I don't know.)
I’m interested in answers to either trade question, but
I’m not interested in chest-beating and finger-pointing
and stories about how you were cheated because of a trade back
Trap Game: Detroit at Chicago:
Okay, maybe this isn’t much of a trap game but the odds
makers have made the Bears the favorites for this home game against
Mike Martz and company. Jon Kitna has said that Lions will run
the ball when the defense dictates it and while the Eagles were
not entirely successful against the Bears last week, Kevin Jones
should be able to put up some yards against them because of the
threat of the passing game. But the only way that the lions win
this one is to stop beating themselves and shut down Brian Griese.
As a side note, the Redskins are a heavy underdog against the
Patriots and they have probably the best secondary in the NFC.
Look for this to be a close game.
#3: Tennessee over Oakland (6-1):
Tennessee is playing some great football with a combination of
youth and mature leadership (if you can call Kerry Collins mature).
Meanwhile, the Raiders are back in the cellar of the AFC West,
where they have been for the last few years. This game should
be interesting since the #4 ranked rushing offense of Lane Kiffin’s
(145 yds/game) will go up against the #1 ranked rushing defense
of the Titans that give up only 59 yds/game. Josh McCown might
be back under center, and if that happens the Raiders might get
a spark and keep this close.
#2: Tampa Bay over Jacksonville (3-4):
The Bucs have a quarterback who can control the game, a running
back that is getting his chance to play and succeeding, a wide
receiver that can stretch the field and another receiver that
is known for running great possession routes. That said, it will
be the defense that makes the difference in this game where a
rookie QB will be facing a team known for causing havoc on opposing
offenses. With David Garrard out of the line up the Jags will
place the ball in Quinn Grey’s hands and hand the ball off
to Maurice Jones-Drew. It will be there hope that he can bounce
off tackles enough to keep drives going and not put too much pressure
on their rookie quarterback. If this game had been played two
weeks ago, everyone would have chosen the Jags as the favorite.
It just goes to show what a week of injuries in the NFL can do
to a team.
#1: NY Giants over Miami (7-0):
For those that have read my picks over the years, you know that
I hate to pick “my team”. The Giants are on a five-game
winning streak and the Dolphins, who are now without Ronnie Brown
and Trent Green for the season, are extremely motivated to prove
to the world that the beating that they received from Tom Brady
and the Patriots is not who they are. Nothing would be better
than to do this against a team on a hot streak in front of a worldwide
audience. But the Giants seem to beating up on teams when they
are supposed to and not getting ahead of themselves. Is this a
sign of maturity or just luck? Not sure, but either way Brandon
Jacobs and Eli Manning could have a very good day across the pond.
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
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.