Last Week's Question: Is there any point
in fantasizing about regular officials?
Last week's column
featured Chad's question about how fantasy leagues might respond
to the statistical disruption that some FFers attribute to the replacement
refs. I shared that question long before the touchdown reception
credited to Golden Tate at the end of the Monday night contest between
the Packers and Seahawks.
Most of the responses I received had nothing to do with Chad's statistical
quandary (which concerned adjusting the scoring of receiving yardage
in performance leagues). Not surprisingly, even though the Week
3 column has been posted on the FFToday website since Thursday of
last week, the majority of the responses started drifting in on
Readers who were upset about the Tate call in one way or another
were suddenly interested in supporting the idea of allowing fantasy
leagues to "adjust" or "overrule" NFL decisions.
As far as this argument goes, I seem to be stuck in the same place
I was last week--uncertain how seriously I am supposed to take these
messages. According to the webhost of my primary fantasy league,
Golden Tate was only started by about 2% of fantasy owners on the
entire website, so it is difficult to believe that his controversial
TD reception really had that much of an impact on fantasy games.
I would have taken the notes more seriously if people had written
that the Packer defense was being cheated out of points from a fantasy
perspective. Many performance leagues award defenses a substantially
higher bonus for holding an opposing offense to 7 points (which
is what the Packers really did) than for yielding 14 (which is what
the refs ruled). Additionally, many leagues award some kind of bonus
(often two or three points) to defenses for each interception. If
the M.D. Jennings interception had been called for what it was,
then the Packers would have benefited in two clear ways from a fantasy
Now I am not saying that every response I received to Chad's question
was embellished or unreliable. But it strikes me as odd--suspiciously
odd--that none of the stories people sent me about the grave injustice
that the replacement refs are doing to the NFL had anything to do
with points that should have been awarded to the Packer defense
(which was started by 80% of the owners on the website that hosts
my primary league). Instead, all of the complaints were about Golden
Tate (who was started by less than the 2% of owners on that same
To be clear, owners in Week 3 were FORTY TIMES more likely to start
the Packer defense than they were to start Golden Tate. Yet somehow
all the horror stories I received from readers about how the replacement
refs are ruining fantasy football focused on the points that had
been awarded to Tate rather than the points that were denied to
Sorry, but I find that a little hard to swallow. I'm not saying
that everyone who wrote in was distorting or exaggerating the circumstances
in their fantasy leagues, but on the whole, I think the responses
were more about general frustration with the replacement refs than
with actual turmoil in the fantasy community.
I cannot help suspecting that some people are so frustrated with
the replacement refs that they wrote to me about what would have
happened if their opponents had started Golden Tate instead of whatever
actually happened in their leagues. My apologies to anyone who wrote
in and thinks I am being unfair, but even if some of the individual
stories are believable, I find them not credible in the aggregate.
Maybe there really is an owner out there who forfeited his fantasy
game because he knows the NFL got the Tate call wrong, but if the
Packers have to accept the blown call in reality, it is difficult
for me to understand why fantasy owners should have a difficult
time going along with it in their imaginary leagues.
The two best answers I received to Chad's question prior to the
Monday night fiasco were both humorous, and I'm happy to share them.
According to Tom:
The only changes the replacement refs have made
for me is that, given a reasonable option, I will avoid playing
Monday Night players, so as to avoid feeling an obligation to have
to listen to Gruden WHINE. I mean, he whines about everything anyway,
and he's never seen a call that he actually liked. Football would
be better off without refs for him. But this last week was the worst,
in part because Tirico joined in as well.
So yeah. I have Finley at TE, and I'll watch MNF because I'm a Packer
fan. But on other weeks...I look for reasons not to watch MNF. So
[I guess Chad could blame that] on the replacement refs.
I got an especially hearty chuckle out of Bernie's answer:
I can’t tell from here whether Chad’s
tongue is firmly planted in his cheek, but the tweaks caused by
replacement officials are temporary and pale by comparison to the
800-pound gorilla of the gridiron, the problem we rarely discuss
and ignore at our peril.
Bad weather is absolutely destroying fantasy football as we know
it! A touchdown reception in the rain and wind caught by a guy wearing
dishwashing gloves should at least count double. Or, if it’s
an 8-yard pass, count it as 80. If a running back slips ‘n
slides all over a snowy field in the Northeast or up in Cheese country,
don’t count his distance, but the number of steps he takes.
These solutions will take much of the guesswork out of drafting
and, as they say, will level the playing field!
Once we solve the weather problem, I’d like to take a crack
at adjusting the yardage on fields where a rock concert the night
before leaves the grass in poor condition.
Always love to read your stuff, Mike, but some of your readers should
just relax and enjoy the game.
There's something to be said for Bernie's position.
This Week's Question: How should cumulative
points be handled in leagues with sporadic doubleheaders?
I think we would all like to see the regular refs back in action
as soon as possible, but FFers are in the exact same position
as the players on the field. We have to accept that the refs are
making bad calls on both sides of the line of scrimmage. There
are going to be lots of bad calls, but they are just as likely
to go against your opponents as they are to go against you. Unless
someone has an earth-shatteringly new perspective on officiating
in the NFL, it seems like the logical response for FFers is to
take their lumps along with Aaron Rodgers. Complain about the
bad calls all you like, but in the end you have to accept the
loss and move on.
It never fails.
The week after I closed the discussion in this column on sporadic
doubleheaders in fantasy leagues, I received this question from
We just implemented [doubleheaders] this year
for weeks 2-4. Our playoffs spots are determined by record and then
a couple of spots by points. What we didn't realize was that the
point tally is doubled for the double header weeks. I had assumed
your points for the week of the doubleheaders would only count once.
Now we're debating which is right. Count them twice or once? Do
you know what is normally done in leagues?
I wrote Tim back with my own answer about what I have seen commissioners
do, but I welcome additional
feedback on the question. If your team scores 100 points against
a single opponent in Week 1 and then 100 points against two different
opponents in Week 2, how many cumulative points on the season have
you earned? 200? Or is it 300?
Last Man Standing - Week 4
(Courtesy of Matthew
Hopefully you are still alive in your pool. Unfortunately, if you
took anything but my #3 pick last week, you aren’t. That said,
they still ask me to write my column as there still seems to be
some people who have survived these past few weeks of wild games
decided by the replacement refs (oops, am I not supposed to comment
about that?). Well, on with the column.
Trap Game: Oakland at Denver (1-2, Wash,
I’m taking Denver in this game (unlike my prior trap games
– with upset picks) because I think the Manning factor will
be the difference in this game, unless a ref tells one of the wide
receivers that he needs another point to win this week’s fantasy
game and spots the ball ten years downfield from the spot of the
tackle. These teams are statistically even in almost every category
(18th or 19th), and the home field should be enough to give the
Broncos the victory. But since this is a heated divisional rivalry,
avoid, avoid, avoid.
#3: Arizona over Miami: (2-1, PHI, TB, CHI)
Are the Cardinals for real? Very possibly. San Francisco better
watch out. The Cardinals have been impressive on the defensive side
of the ball, allowing the second least amount of points this year
– 40 in all. And while the Dolphins have moved the ball between
the twenties this season, they are only 20th in the league in points
per game. With Reggie Bush not expected to play, the Cardinals will
be able to pin their ears back and attack Tannehill all day long.
This won’t be a “Can’t miss every play”
type game on the Redzone channel, but the workmanlike effort may
soon have everyone wondering, “Are they good enough?”
about the Cardinals. For this week, they should be. The Cards are
not going to be exciting, but they will be efficient.
#2: Houston over Tennessee: (1-2, CHI, Wash,
Last week this was the Saints pick. Maybe I should have been wearing
a bag over my head as New Orleans fans did decades ago, when they
referred to their own team as the Aints. That said, we slide down
I-10 to Houston where the Texans seem to have this season on autopilot
with the 2nd best overall defense in the league and an offense that
is 5th overall in points and 7th in yards gained. This team is solid
and barring major injury (shhhhhh!) should lock their playoff ticket
by mid November. Don’t expect a surprise win from Andrew Luck
and company when he brings the “old Oilers” (Titans)
into town to visit the “new Oilers” (err Texans) with
Chris Johnson, who seems to be doing his own rendition of Steve
Miller’s song “Take the Money and Run” with a
paltry 1.5 yards per carry. Look for the Texans to bag CJ2K and
win another one at home.
#1: Baltimore over Cleveland (2-1, HOU, SF,
If you’ve gotten this far, good for you. This week the Ravens
host division rival Cleveland on Thursday night. So if you’re
going to use your survivor pick on this game, make sure that you
aren’t reading this on Friday (as I will already have been
proven right or wrong and you will have no option to use this game).
This Ravens team has flipped the tables on their winning formula
from years past. Instead of a stellar defense and an offense that
barely put enough points on the board to win, Joe Flacco and company
are lighting up the scoreboard with the second most points scored
in the league (98) while the defense is giving up a whopping 400+
yards per game (good enough for 27th in yards per game). But this
aging Ravens defense has more than enough to beat a Browns team
that is ranked in the lower quartile in passing, running and points
scored by fellow rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson. Look
for some gimmick plays, but even if the gimmicks work, they won’t
be enough on Thursday night as the Ravens remain unbeaten this season.
For responses to this month's fantasy question please email