Fantasy Football RULES!

Posted: August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

I personally think that our league is more exciting than your standard league on ESPN, CBS, NFL, YAHOO!, or any other website because of all the crazy scoring rules we have. If you’re in multiple fantasy leagues, the different scoring rules can be a breath of fresh air.

Every year, I evaluate our rules for improvements. I keep a list of my ideas on my phone throughout the season so I can pitch them to you guys before the start of the next season. Now is your chance to give me some feedback.

IDP Rosters

Our league switched to using Individual Defensive Players (IDPs) in 2012. Since then, I’ve had more fun. The IDP format not only accentuates the defensive side of the game, but also gives me more to research and find advantages in.

One problem with IDP formats though is that it favors linebackers because they get more tackles than every other position, and tackles are the most frequent, consistent scoring category. Last year, most teams carried only linebackers to fill their DP slots because outside of guys like JJ Watt and Peanut Tillman. It’s hard to get significant contributions from the other defensive positions, even though they are equally as important as the linebackers in the actual game. (Shout out to Richard Sherman).

Richard Shermand Dancing at Seattle Mariners Game

One solution is to change the IDP rostering so that teams must start a mix of each defensive position (defensive linemen (DL), linebackers (LB), and defensive backs (DB)).

Pros: This would make other defensive positions more important. You’d finally get your chance to pick up and start your favorite cornerback or defensive end.

Cons: The downside is that it would require more work to manage a team. We’d have to decide on what combination of defensive positions we want to use. What if you like using team D/STs? Having a lot of IDPs might mean getting rid of team D/STs altogether.

 

Passing TDs

All quantitative sports analysts agree that passing is more efficient than rushing. And yet we count passing touchdowns as 4 points instead of 6. It isn’tuncommon to see 6-pt PTD leagues (it’s standard at CBS and NFL), but some sites will score passing TDs as 4 points so QBs aren’t overvalued.

But should QBs be overvalued? After all, quarterback is the most important position in team sports (FACT according to me). Take a look at different sports analytics articles and you’ll see that most experts agree that passing is much more efficient than rushing, giving more importance to a teams passing game.

 

So how does this affect us in the fantasy world? Increasing the value of passing TDs from 4 to 6 wouldn’t make all quarterbacks more valuable over all other players. Instead, it increases the spread between elite and non-elite QBs, making the elite passers (Manning, Brady, Brees, etc.) worth 1st round picks and much more valuable than non-elite QBs, especially those who throw more yards and less touchdowns. Thankfully, I doubt this change would affect our league’s draft strategy too much. Check out how quarterbacks have been drafted in our league’s history.

First QBs drafted in 2013:

Penis of Unspecified Color QBs Drafted ESPN Projections in 2013
Round 1 (1st overall): RG3 Round 1 (9th overall): Aaron Rodgers
Round 1 (6th overall): Aaron Rodgers Round 2 (12th overall): Drew Brees
Round 2 (16th overall): Peyton Manning Round 2 (17th overall): Peyton Manning
Round 2 (18th overall): Colin Kaepernick Round 3 (21st overall): Tom Brady
Round 2 (20th overall): Drew Brees Round 3 (24th overall): Cam Newton
Round 3 (28th overall): Tom Brady Round 4 (40th overall): Matt Ryan

 

First QBs drafted in 2012:

This is AMURIKA! QBs Drafted ESPN Projections in 2012
Round 1 (2nd overall): Aaron Rodgers Round 1 (6th overall): Aaron Rodgers
Round 1 (3rd overall): Tom Brady Round 1 (10th overall): Tom Brady
Round 1 (6th overall): Drew Brees Round 2 (13th overall): Drew Brees
Round 1 (8th overall): Matt Stafford Round 2 (17th overall): Matt Stafford
Round 1 (10th overall): Cam Newton Round 3 (27th overall): Cam Newton

 

We’re a league full of owners who love grabbing their QB early. The last two years, the first 5 QBs came off the board in the first two rounds, and most were much earlier than ESPN projections! We also are a league of owners who don’t value grabbing QBs early, and like to find them in the late rounds. In any case, 6 point PTDs fits in with both of these draft strategies.

So what do you guys think?

Pros: It makes elite QBs more valuable, which matches how we’ve drafted them before. It also reflects the significance of QBs in the actual game.

Cons: If you relied heavily on ESPN rankings, you might not do so well, because ESPN bases their analysis on 4-point PTD leagues. Or maybe, you just don’t think that passing TDs should be scored so highly because they happen so often.

 

 Fumble Recoveries

I really dislike scoring fumble recoveries. You might remember that last year, I made the scoring change to make fumble recoveries the same absolute value as fumbling, so you couldn’t gain points when a player lost a fumble, and then another player on your team recovered said fumble. But really, who plans on fumble recoveries? No one ever says, “Oh I love that player. He recovers so many fumbles!” Why? Because fumble recoveries are completely RANDOM. There is no statistical proof that players or teams recover fumbles with any consistency. No one knows where the hell it’s going to bounce. It’s an oblong ball for crying out loud!

Andrew Luck Fumble Recovery TD

That touchdown was pure Luck.

Am I saying fumbles have no importance in the game? Nay! In fact, there is a correlation between fumbling and losing, and a correlation between forcing fumbles and winning, regardless of who recovers the ball. There’s just no evidence that shows that recovering fumbles is a skill.

I propose that we remove fumble recoveries completely as a scoring category. Furthermore, instead of having Fumbles Lost as a scoring category (-2 points), I propose we change it to just Fumbles (-1 point), which will count regardless of who actually recovers it. Theoretically, this causes no overall change in scoring — if fumble recoveries are random, there is a 50% chance of losing a fumble and you would lose 1 in every 2 fumbles. Under both scoring rules, you’d still lose 2 points. Similarly, forced fumbles would increase from +2 points to +3.

Pros: Fumble recoveries suck! Who needs ‘em!

Cons: Randomness is just part of the game. It happens, so deal with it. Defensive TDs are pretty fluky too, but you don’t see anyone complaining about those!

 

 Kick/Punt Return Yards

A couple years ago, Bongratz asked if we scored return yards. I said we didn’t, and he responded, “WEEEEEAAAAAAAAAK!”

Kick and punt return yards aren’t a standard scoring category. They’re so rarely used, it’s crazy hard to even find any analysis about it online. But, there is no denying how much great field position from big kick returns can affect a football game.  What we could do is award 1 point for every 25 KR yards and 1 point for every 10 PR yards.

See, that kick return from Dan Connolly doesn’t count for shit because he didn’t score, but if we counted return yards you would score 2 points. That is, if you started him. But in that case, why the eff are you starting a right guard in your fantasy lineup?

So, how do you guys feel about scoring kick return yards (1 point for every 25 yards) and punt return yards (1 point for every 10 yards)?

Pros: We score all other yards (passing, rushing, receiving), so why don’t we score return yards? Field position is huge, and nothing affects field position more than return yards. Plus, since we use an IDP format, every returner is eligible, and it makes defensive backs even more important.

Cons: It’s not a standard scoring category, so it will be hard to find any analysis or rankings on kick returners. We already have our work cut out for us since we use an IDP format. Why add more work? Plus, return yards are hard to score. A guy can take a knee in the middle of his endzone on a kickoff and score no points, and the ball is placed on the 20 yard line. Or, he can return the kick 25 yards, get 1 fantasy point, and the ball is still placed on the 20 yard line. What gives?

Don’t Care: Sure, return yards are hard to score, but aren’t all yards? A 20 yard pass on 3rd-and-25 gets you 2 fantasy points, but was it really worth anything at all? Adding return yards as a scoring category does add more work, but it doesn’t really have an impact. Since the NFL recently moved the kickoff line, there have been more and more touchbacks on kickoffs. Anyway, all the best returners are specialists, and don’t have an impact as an offensive or defensive skill player. So even if you rostered the NFL’s best kick returner, you’d never start him anyway.

 

I’ll post the results in the next LM note, along with our official draft day. So far it looks like the draft will be on Sunday, August 24 at 9 p.m. CT/ 7 p.m PT. If you have any solid opposition to this, input your schedule using the link in Mary’s email. Thanks guys!

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