Retro-response: I received a belated
answer from Mark concerning Mike’s question about quarterbacks
and receivers who play on the same team in the NFL but on opposing
teams in fantasy leagues. I wish this answer had been available
for last week’s column,
and I include it here just in case Mike is still looking for feedback:
I have both Brees and Orton as my QB’s.
I played a guy whose best receiver was Brandon Lloyd. The rest of
his team was off or had bad matchups, so the only way he was going
to win was if Lloyd had a career day.
In that situation although Brees is my stud, I could have started
Orton. That way if Lloyd has a great game, my QB almost certainly
has one too. If Lloyd is off, then Orton might still be okay. As
it turned out, Lloyd was my opponent’s top scorer with 22
points. Orton had 19 and Brees had 23. I ran away with the game
That’s about the only kind of situation I could see for using
fantasy match-ups to decide on starters.
Last Week’s Question:
What do commissioners plan to do with their
leagues if the NFL moves forward with an 18-game season?
Evan wonders whether any other commissioners are thinking about
changes they might make to their leagues if the NFL extends the
regular season to an 18-game format. I look forward to returning
to this question if and when we get official word from the NFL
on this subject, but I wanted to get some initial thoughts about
how commissioners might respond to such a change as the basis
for that discussion. Evan’s tentative plan seems simple
My current league has a 13 week regular season,
with a 3-week, 6-team postseason (two 1st-round byes in first
week) from Weeks 14-16. We have 16 roster spots for 9 weekly starters.
I think I would make the following changes:
1. Expand the regular season by one week, keep trade deadline
2. Expand the playoffs by one week. This extra week will be used
to make the championship and third place matches stretch over
two weeks, letting good teams duke it out a little longer for
the top spot.
3. I may add one more roster spot, or maybe an IR spot to help
owners cope with the increase in injured players.
The first response I received to Evan’s question
came from Mike Krueger (who has the advantage of seeing this column
before anyone else does, since he is the one who posts it each
I wouldn't be surprised if the NFL incorporates
two bye weeks for each team if they do expand to 18 games. I'll
probably add a roster spot or an IR spot like Evan suggested if
these things happen.
Walter hopes the NFL does change the format of the regular
season precisely so that he can leave his league untouched:
I won’t change a thing. We currently
have our championship game in Week 16, and every year one of the
guys in the championship [whines] about how this or that player
won’t have a genuine shot to produce because his coach won’t
risk injuring him in a game that has zero playoff implications
[either because the team has locked up its playoff spot or because
the team has no chance of making it into the postseason]. I think
over the years every single one of my guys has complained about
this, so I won’t even ask them for their input on the question.
I am just going to tell them to quit their [whining] and enjoy
the last few weeks of the regular season without fantasy teams.
I’m sure a lot of commissioners share Walter’s
frustration, but Bill’s model is more consistent with what
I would expect from the majority of leagues:
I am commissioner of a 12-team league that
plays 13 games with 3 weeks for the playoffs. Although I haven't
discussed my ideas yet with other members of the league, here's
my thinking right now.
We have split into 3 4-team divisions in which everyone plays
their division opponents twice and every other team (except one)
once. With an 18-game, 20-week season (two bye weeks per team
is what they are discussing now), I would split into two divisions
of 6, play each division opponent twice (10 games) and everyone
else once (6 games) and still maintain a 3-week playoff (not playing
Mitchell agrees with Krueger & Bill about the extra
bye week and thinks that FF owners should get a week off as well:
If the NFL really goes to an 18-game regular
season, they are bound to give each team an extra bye. Instead
of playing 16 games in 17 weeks, I think teams will end up playing
18 games in 20 weeks—which is a really long season even
for people who are only putting together imaginary lineups.
I might actually try giving byes to 2 owners each week in November
and early December. Most of us have to do some traveling for work
or family around that time of year, and sometimes it can be a
real pain to keep up with fantasy stuff when you are flying on
Saturday night and/or Sunday morning.
We give the best draft spots to the teams that finish last, but
maybe we could reward the teams that finish best by letting them
pick which week they want off based on their work/travel schedule.
It’s something I’ll have to think about.
Len’s league used to have a second draft in November,
and he thinks an 18-game season might let him revive that tradition:
Our draft party was the highlight of our season
when our league started decades (I’m not saying how many)
ago. We liked it so much that we decided to have 2 drafts. We
would have one 12-round draft at the end of August to set our
rosters for September and October. Owners constantly had to cut
quality players just to get their lineups right with a roster
of only twelve, but it made for a really active waiver wire for
the first two months of the season.
We had part 2 of our draft the first Sunday of every November
while watching the games. We didn’t schedule matchups for
that Sunday. Owners didn’t even have to worry about their
lineups as you would get to submit your starting lineup (QB, RB,
RB, WR, WR, TE, Def, K) after the games had been played. The six
highest scoring teams all got wins, and the six lowest scores
all got losses, and we had rounds 13-18 of our draft while the
games were being played.
It was all just an excuse to have a second draft party and watch
some football games together as a league, but it was a lot of
fun to see what crazy waiver wire moves people would make at the
end of October to get ready for that draft.
Unfortunately, people started having schedule conflicts, and we
ended up simplifying things by having just one 16-round draft
at the end of August. A lot of us still miss the second draft
party though, and an 18-game season might be just the excuse to
bring it back.
My thanks to everyone who wrote in. I’m delighted
to have so much food for thought ready in the event that the NFL
opts to extend the regular season.
This Week’s Question:
What mid-season or end-of-season activities
have been a hit with your league?
Len’s idea of a second draft party at the beginning of November
sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t know how happy I would
be with a roster of only twelve players for two months, but bringing
the league together at some point in the second half of the season
sounds like a good idea for most leagues. Owners of bad teams
who might otherwise fail to stay on top of their lineups would
presumably have a bit more motivation to pay attention to their
players’ bye weeks if only because of an expectation of
being face-to-face with their peers at some point before next
I suspect that a lot of leagues around the country have evolved
in the same way as my primary league. Back in the early years
of the league, all of us made it to a formal draft at the end
of the summer, and most of us congregated at someone’s house
on the Sunday afternoon or Monday night of Week 16 for our league
Over time, people’s jobs required them to move to different
parts of the country. Their kids became active in school activities
that demanded parental participation over the weekend. The league
doesn’t really watch football as a group anymore. Now we
have our draft online instead of at a bar or someone’s house.
We certainly don’t watch the games relevant to our fantasy
championship together. In fact, I’m not sure that the owners
who don’t make the playoffs even know which teams end up
participating in the championship.
It’s great that fantasy football is a flexible enough activity
to enable twelve men with different jobs and family responsibilities
to “play” together for four months without having
to pay attention to each other’s schedules. There is absolutely
nothing wrong with leagues (such as one that I belong to right
now) that require no interaction between owners. Nevertheless,
some leagues must have stumbled onto some mid-season or end-of-season
activities that owners can enjoy despite their busy schedules.
I hope to hear about some
of them for next week’s column.
Last Man Standing Picks (Courtesy of
Mark Den Adel)
#1 – NY Jets over Cincinnati
The 5th-ranked Jets rush defense will have no trouble shutting
down Cedric Benson. With Darrelle Revis covering Terrell Owens
and Antonio Cromartie covering Ochocinco, what can the Cincy offense
realistically do? The Bengals are coming off a short week of practice
against a Jets team that would be too much for them under ideal
conditions, so this game should not be close in the second half.
Fantasy owners of Shonn Greene should be advised that in light
of his fumble problems late in the Texans-Jets match-up, L.T.
should carry more of the load in this game.
#2 – Cleveland over Carolina
Cleveland has had some hard luck losses against the Jets and the
Jaguars. Now they come home against a Panther team ranked dead
last in total offense (although the Browns aren’t much better
at 28th). Look for Peyton Hillis to have his way with the Panther
defense—and for the Browns to show why they are much better
than their 3-7 record.
#3 – New England over Detroit
The Patriots are too disciplined a team to let a short week of
preparation hurt them against the Detroit Turkeys—I mean
Lions. Turkey day has not been kind to Detroit, as the Lions have
lost their last 7 games on Thanksgiving by hefty margins and hasn’t
covered the spread in any of those games. I don’t see them
bucking that trend this year. The Detroit offense is hurting with
Jahvid Best out, and since their rushing offense is ranked next
to last, don't expect much on the ground. If Detroit has any hope,
it will be heavy doses of Calvin Johnson, but even he can only
do so much against a team as mature and solid as New England.
Upset of the week: Green Bay over Atlanta
I was close (again) in Week 11, but Jacksonville came back to
beat Cleveland in the end. This week I'll take my shot with the
Pack. Matt Ryan is really good at home (17-1), but Aaron Rodgers
has been playing well of late (blowing out Minnesota on the road
and triumphing over the mighty Jets-D). Green Bay wants home field
advantage for the playoffs, and beating Atlanta will take them
one step closer to that goal. The Packer defense has been stunningly
effective on the road (recall the shutout of the Jets a couple
of weeks ago). If the Packers remember to bring that defense to
Atlanta, they will win by a FG.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question please email me.