Last Week's Question: How Do Advanced Performance
Leagues Handle Scoring for Onside Kicks?
Last week's column
featured a question from Mel about how onside kicks should be scored
in performance leagues whose commissioners have too much time on
All right, maybe that part about the commissioners is a bit of editorializing
on my part, but the responses I received indicate that it is not
at all common for performance leagues to award points for onside
Simon was the only commissioner who wrote in to say that his league
currently awards points for onside kicks:
We consider onside kicks the special teams equivalent
of an extra point. A successful onside kick is worth 1 point. A
failed onside kick gets a minor penalty (-1) just like a missed
PAT. Points are awarded to or deducted from the special teams unit,
not the kicker.
Another commissioner, Chad, wrote in to explain why he is unlikely
to incorporate onside kicks into his league's scoring formula even
though he goes out of his way to track plenty of stats that are
ignored in standard performance leagues:
I run a custom league. We match up defensive
totals against offensive production, include punting stats as a
defensive category, and use other 'non-standard' categories. So
far, I haven't worked onside kicks in. They happen so infrequently
in the NFL that I'm not certain they're worth the effort of including.
[They usually occur as nothing more than] a desperation tactic (with
the Saints' onside kick in the Super Bowl being a flagrant and spectacular
exception). To me, even when they *do* work, all they really do
is give the offense a chance at making a play to salvage the game.
A pick six, punt/kickoff return, or fumble recovery for a TD is,
to me, infinitely more game-changing, so if I were to include them,
I would make them worth much less. If I awarded 6 points for a pick
six, for example, I'd probably weigh a successful onside kick as
2 points at most.
Michael's league does not currently award points for onside kicks,
but he was intrigued by the possibility. Unlike Simon (who treats
an onside kick like a PAT), Michael sees the onside kick as being
fairly analogous to a fumble recovery:
For the recovering player (or Defense/ST), I
would imagine that it should be treated the same as a turnover.
If recovering a fumble or INT is worth 2 points in the league, then
recovering an onside kick should be the same. For the kicker, I
think it would be fair to grant the same points that a Forced Fumble
is given in the league (as the kicker is the one that sets up the
recovery much like the player who forced a fumble).
I do love the idea of incorporating all important stats into the
fantasy game, and this is one that I had not thought of but will
now propose for our league going into next season.
In other words, Mel, it appears that there is no prevailing
school of thought on how onside kicks should be scored. If your
league (or Michael's) ends up adopting a scoring method for onside
kicks, please let us know how it works out.
This Week's Question: Is It a Good Idea to
Allow Players on a Bye to Post an Average of Their Weekly Scores?
This week's question comes from yours truly. One of the leagues
that I belong to is hosted by RealTime Fantasy Sports (one of several
league-hosting services to have been mentioned in this column over
the years). Here is the notice that I saw at the top of the page
when I logged into the RTSports website earlier today:
We now offer the ability to use a player's year-to-date
(ytd) average fantasy points for players on a bye week. Most leagues
award zero points to players on a bye, however this gives commissioners
I am unfamiliar with this practice in fantasy football and
would like to hear from anyone who has participated in a league
that allows owners to earn points from players on a bye. From my
own perspective, bye weeks are the single most important stimulus
for trading and/or waiver wire activity. The three factors that
drive me to consider a trade or waiver wire acquisition are 1) bye
weeks, 2) injuries, and 3) the failure of a player to live up to
my expectations--in that order. If I could start players on their
bye weeks, my incentive to alter my roster in the course of the
season would be drastically reduced. I am not sure whether this
would be a good or bad thing, but it would definitely change my
approach to team management.
If you have used a year-to-date average to award points to players
on their bye weeks, I would like to know whether/how that has affected
your league. If you have not used such a scoring mechanism but have
a strong opinion about why such a practice is or is not a good idea
for your league, I welcome
of Matthew Schiff)
Trap Game: Houston at Baltimore:
knows that the Ravens are good. But are they as good as the odds
makers have made this game? Probably not. The Texans have an offense
that is high powered with Arian Foster and Matt Schaub, and while
Andre Johnson might be in street clothes, this game will really
come down to the running game of each team. This may be a preview
of the AFC Wild Card or Divisional Playoff game and a game that
if you can avoid for your survival pick, do it. But from an NFL
fan perspective, it should be one of the more interesting games
#3: Cincinnati over Indianapolis (3-2,
PIT, SD, GB, BUF, HOU):
The Bengals have been surprisingly good this year and Andy Dalton
is gaining confidence each and every week. With the Colts offensive
line banged up and the skill positions primarily playing backups,
the Bengals top ranked defense should easily get by a Manningless
team that is now on the Luck watch come April.
#2: Pittsburgh over Jacksonville (4-1,
SD, AZ, DET, GB, NYG):
Pittsburgh’s number two ranked defense, while old, should
have little trouble with a Jacksonville offense that is dead last
in total yards gained in spite of Chris Johnson (CJ2K) and Matt
Hasselback. The Jags offense as been nothing but atrocious and
may come out with some new wrinkles, but considering the Bengals
rolled over the Jags last week, the Steelers should have little
trouble at home in spite of the injuries on the Steelers offense.
#1: Green Bay over St. Louis (4-1 SD, PIT, TN,
Let’s look at the stats. The Packers are in the top quartile
in almost every offensive category and the Rams defense is in
the bottom quartile in almost every category. The Packers are
at home and are the reigning Super Bowl Champions with one of
the best quarterbacks in the game today, Aaron Rodgers,. As long
as this team shows up, you can pretty much pencil in an automatic
win in front of the Lambeau faithful against a Rams team that
is struggling mightily in spite of Sam Bradford’s heroic
efforts on a weekly basis.
For responses to this month's fantasy question please email