Last Week’s Question:
How Does Your League Handle Dual-Position
Last week’s column
featured a question from Nestor, whose league is having trouble
with Dexter McCluster because he is listed as a running back and
a wide receiver on the Yahoo! site that hosts the league. Nestor
wonders whether McCluster’s owner should be able to plug
the player into an RB slot or a WR slot depending upon his needs
Readers had widely differing (but in most cases sensible) responses.
The most legalistic answer came from Todd:
Precedence works for the legal system—and
should work in games as well. Whatever McCluster’s owner
did first should stick for the rest of the season. If he started
him as an RB in Week 1, then he’s a running back for the
rest of the season. If he first started him as a receiver, then
he is a receiver for the remainder of the year. It is clearly
an unfair advantage to be able to put one player in at multiple
positions (since that is freakishly rare in the NFL), and I would
make a stink about it if anyone in my league tried to use the
same player in multiple roles over the course of the season.
I am glad that this question pertains to a player with
the limited productivity of McCluster (who has scored a grand
total of 22 points so far this season in my primary league). I
understand the point of raising a stink on principle, but the
good thing about addressing this question in regard to a player
with marginal fantasy impact is that most heads will remain cool,
and the question can be answered more soberly than would have
been the case with a star such as Eric Metcalf (who spurred Eric’s
league to put a rule on the books for dual-position players years
Our league (the Semi-Tough Fantasy Football
League) has been in existence since 1993 (albeit with only 2 original
members of an original 10-team league still in the league). We
dealt with the issue of dual-position players way back in the
days of Eric Metcalf, who was listed as a RB/WR and subsequently
codified it in our league rules:
Players listed as multiple position players (e.g., a player is
listed as a RB/WR) can be played at any position at which they're
listed. The bible will be the official rosters as listed at the
We also addressed and codified instances where defensive players
sometimes play offense (we do not use IDP), called
1. The " Deion Sanders rule":
a) All defensive TD’s scored off of a fumble return/recovery,
interception return, or blocked kick (FG or punt) will be scored
to the team defense, not the individual player.
b) All offensive TD’s scored by defensive players playing
an offensive position will be scored by the individual player,
not the defense.
2. Special team scores will be scored by the individual player,
not the team defense (except where noted above) including:
a) Kickoff and punt return TDs.
b) TD passes, receptions, or runs resulting from fake kicks.
Shaun’s response might not stand up to a great deal
of scrutiny, but the simplicity of his position is very attractive:
Sometimes we have to be bold enough to imagine
that we are smarter than Yahoo. Just because a website says someone
is a running back doesn’t make it so. If McCluster were
a running back, then you would think he would have some rushing
yards to his credit this season, but my stat sheet shows that
his only yardage has come from receptions and punt returns. There’s
really no question here. Move along.
Nestor’s league might be persuaded by Shaun’s
logic, but there isn’t much here that is generally applicable
to the question of dual-position players. If I start a receiver
who goes into a game and gets one touch on an end-around before
being shut out for the rest of the day, then my receiver wasn’t
transformed into a running back just because his only yardage
for the day was rushing yardage. Nevertheless, Shaun’s response
is funny and moderately compelling.
The response that is likely to ruffle the fewest feathers in Nestor’s
league (and that seems generally applicable in similar cases)
came from Evan:
[The problem of] players listed at multiple positions never came
up as an issue in my league—maybe because our site doesn't
list multiple positions. But if it did, I would have to allow
[the owner to use the player however he wanted] if that is how
the site [categorizes him]. In my league, if we do not have a
specific rule for something, the site's default rules apply (e.g.
the Robert Meachem Play).
My thanks to everyone who wrote in concerning the dual-position
question. Even if all the responses were not included here, I
believe that all of the positions on the question were represented
by the responses above. I wish Nestor and his league the best
of luck in figuring out how to proceed from here, and I will try
to inform readers about his league’s decision if I hear
back from him.
This Week’s Question:
What Measures Can Commissioners Take to
Encourage Trading in Stagnant Leagues?
Before I get to this week’s question, I want to thank everyone
who has been submitting questions to me so far this season. In
order to keep the column coherent, I try to focus on the one question
each week that seems to be of greatest general interest to the
fantasy football community. But I also consider the “time-sensitivity”
of questions when deciding whether to ask them right away or to
save them for later in the season. For some reason I have received
an unusually high number of good questions in the last three weeks,
and I will do my best to feature them in the order that seems
likely to do the greatest good for the greatest number of readers.
I want to focus on Evan’s question about trading this week
because the timing is right for trades to be happening at a brisk
pace (as I explain below):
Our league is fairly active. There are 5-10 free
agent/claims every week—with people swapping out their rosters
regularly. However, there are rarely more than a couple of trades
the whole year. Some owners are trying very hard to trade, while
others are very complacent, even at a detriment to their team.
We have a veto procedure to challenge, but it rarely gets used.
Are there any ways to increase trade activity?
In my experience, trades occur with their greatest frequency
immediately following the draft, then fizzle out for the first
three weeks of the season when there are no byes because everyone
is still in love with their own roster depth. Trades start to
pick up again in Weeks 4 through 8, but often fizzle out again
starting around Week 9 or 10 because many of the owners who need
help most through trades simply give up on the season at that
Injuries and the bye week schedule should put sufficient pressure
on owners to consider trades, but there are some leagues in which
owners would rather make do with the players they have than risk
embarrassing themselves by making a bad trade. I am speaking generally
here about the various leagues in which I have participated. I
cannot say whether any of these observations apply to Evan’s
league, but my take on trading is that if it doesn’t happen
in Weeks 4-8, it isn’t going to skyrocket later in the season.
What advice can FFers
offer to Evan and his leaguemates to get those trade juices
Last Man Standing Picks (Courtesy of
Mark Den Adel)
Last week I got all 3 games correct along with the upset alert
as Baltimore rallied for a last second win. For the season I am
10-2 on my picks and 3-0 on the upsets.
1) Baltimore over Denver
Denver got a surprising win on the road at Tennessee, but the
Broncos will not be able to pull another surprise right away against
the best team in the AFC. Orton has been on fire, but he's up
against the top-ranked Ravens pass defense (which is yielding
only 119 yards/game to opposing QBs). With no rushing attack,
the Broncos will have to rely on special teams and/or turnovers
to get the job done in Baltimore.
2) Indianapolis over Kansas City
Even though KC is undefeated and coming off of a bye, I don’t
see the Colts falling to 2-3. Manning is throwing the ball well
and KC is 25th against the pass. The Chiefs will be able to move
the ball on the ground, but Manning's will and focus should be
the deciding factor in this one.
3) Cincinnati over Tampa Bay
Cincinnati will recover after a disappointing loss to Cleveland.
Tampa’s defensive backfield is terrible (28th against the
pass) and if you saw what TO did last week, get your popcorn ready
for more of the same from him and Ochocinco.
Upset alert – I try to look
for a home dog, so my top candidates were Cleveland over Atlanta
or Washington over Green Bay. I’ll go with Cleveland over
Atlanta. Both teams are tough against the run and Cleveland is
terrible against the pass, so Matt Ryan could post some big numbers.
I think Joshua Cribbs will be a difference-maker somehow. Even
though the cold weather hasn’t set in, Atlanta is outside
and away from their dome.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question please email me.