Last Week's Question: Is your league
full of oldtimers or newcomers?
If the results of last
week's informal survey are any indication, Q&A does seem
to appeal to an older crowd of readers. For each note I received
from someone whose league was founded in the current decade (2010-2013),
I received three from leagues founded between 2000 and 2010; and
for each response I received from leagues founded in the first decade
of the current century, I received two from leagues founded in the
1990s. The responses were rounded out by a handful of leagues that
go back to the '80s. None of the leagues from the '70s that I've
heard from in the past wrote in this time, but that could be because
1) they've said their piece in the past or 2) we've reached the
point in the point of the football season when fewer and fewer folks
are paying attention to their fantasy leagues because many teams
have been eliminated from postseason contention.
James, the reader responsible for last week's question, fell into
the largest category of all (leagues founded in the '90s). In his
response to the survey, he mentioned the early days of distributing
results to the league:
Before the cyberspace age, I would tally all
the teams' points with the official “multi-colored fish wrap”,
typed up results and updated standings on a spreadsheet and then
faxed out to everyone. No emails then!! Or mobile phones……and
for the life of me, can’t remember how line-ups were turned
in back then, but it got done.
He went on to mention one of the stranger moments in the history
of owner turnover:
Very little [owner turnover--], mostly at the
beginning stages. But one year, an owner slept with another owner's
wife, and after a vote, a Fedex package was sent, kicking him out.
A few years later, all was forgiven and he’s back in. We all
look back and laugh at that now.
Older leagues do their best to keep up with technology, but the
younger leagues are, the better they seem to do at keeping pace.
Jack (whose league was founded in 2005) wonders how many leagues
are conducted online vs. in-person. That's exactly the kind of question
that I get enough anecdotal feedback on to say that it varies not
only from year to year, but from league to league. Some leagues
that are usually adamant about having owners attend the draft in
person will suddenly have a couple of owners who absolutely have
to be out of town for the draft, so they will be "mostly live"
with just one or two folks participating online. In Jack's league,
Our draft happens entirely offline and for those
who can't make it, we set up a television with a Google Hangout
set up. It's like they're right there in the room with us!
I get overwhelmed trying to keep up with you youngsters and your
new-fangled technology. Google hangout? Sheesh, those of us who
started back in the '90s are usually happy if people just log in
to the league website on time.
Some of the leagues founded in the last five years are clearly run
by folks who have no idea which fantasy websites qualify as "old,"
but the only alternative websites to receive at least 3 mentions
were FFChamps, Rotowire, and The Huddle. Of course, I'm sure FFToday's
owner and editor (Mike Krueger) will be delighted by this response
from Gary (a former commissioner whose league was founded in 1989):
Honestly, I have only used this site consistently.
I catch news other places, but FFToday, from what I remembered,
supplied me information on targets a receiver got a couple of years
before other sites did.
I also received a thoughtful note from our own Matthew Schiff (our
Survivor Picks guru) about the longevity of his fantasy league (now
in its 23rd year):
Over the years our league has "matured."
We find our kids are now taking over some of the spots in the league,
albeit financed by dad. In some cases, they know more than we do--but
not always (that's for my son). Our drafts have gone from drunken
nights boasting about our awesome teams that would then go 1-12
in the season, to family events hosted on the deck at my house at
a time that would allow the kids to be done early enough to get
homework done. What's nice is we always make sure that our draft
is done in person and not online. It is the one time of the season
everyone is guaranteed to get together, and I've been told it's
the main reason that our owners are part of our league.
I've been the commissioner from the beginning. Our rules have changed
over the years, mostly for the better, and since I've always run
our league with the full knowledge that the league is not mine but
rather the participants', I've never been told that they had a problem
with the commissioner. And thank God for the internet. We probably
were one of the first leagues to sign up for online administration
when we moved away from our original website to CBS Sportsline,
[though] we currently use MyFantasyLeague.com.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer my questions--and
especially to Matthew for his short essay on his league's development.
It's hard to think of anything less scientific than a voluntary
online survey, but the responses I received to last week's question
only reinforced my sense that the folks who read this column tend
to belong to an older crowd. I can't help thinking that most leagues
formed in 2013 were done so online by groups of owners who will
never argue about whether a quarterback should get a deduction for
taking a sack. I suspect that most new fantasy players simply accept
the default settings of whatever online platform they join, which
is probably fine. Nevertheless, I still enjoy the kinds of discussions
that happen in this forum, such as . . .
This Week's Question: Now that the NFL
has gone crazy for the passing game, should scores for running backs
be tweaked in performance leagues?
Darren has a concern:
Do running backs even matter anymore? I have
Adrian Peterson, and I'm in last place in my division. Meanwhile,
the guy with Calvin Johnson was the first to clinch a playoff spot.
And who's gonna give him trouble down the road? Not the guy with
LeSean McCoy or the other guy with Jamaal Charles, but the idiot
who blew his first-round pick on a QB (Peyton!). What's happened
to fantasy football?
The NFL has gone nuts for the passing game, so I think RBs need
a scoring adjustment to remain relevant, especially in PPR leagues.
Instead of getting one point for every ten yards rushing, maybe
RBs should get one point for every six or seven yards (just to keep
pace with the receivers).
What do you think?
I think that as long as everyone in the league is playing by the
same rules, there's probably no need to change them (and also probably
no harm in changing them if that's what the majority would like
to see). I can say that even in my non-PPR league, RBs are having
less of an impact in 2013 than in recent years. From 2010 to 2012,
the average weekly score of the top 10 RBs in that league ranged
from 13 or 14 points (for the #10 back) to 21 or 22 points (for
the #1 back). That's a pretty steady 3-year sample, but things get
screwy if we go back to 2009, the year of CJ2K, who averaged a whopping
26 ppg that season.
This year, the #10 back is averaging 13.1 ppg, which is perfectly
consistent with what the records in that league show from 2010 to
2012. But there's a remarkable difference at the top, as the #1
RB is averaging just 18.7 ppg. The very best RBs of 2013 aren't
putting up numbers quite as good as the ones in recent history.
This may very well have to do with new rules that have made it far
easier to be productive through the air than on the ground. If the
rule changes are here to stay, perhaps leagues will explore tweaking
RB scores. And I hope to
hear from anyone who has given this matter any thought.
Survivor Picks - Week 12 (Courtesy of
Trap Game: 49ers at Washington
Robert Griffin III is still a shell of what he was last year, and
most teams have figured that out by now. The Redskins are on the
verge of dropping out of the playoff picture, and they will be playing
in prime time against the second best team in the NFC (and NFC West).
It will take everything Washington has to try and stretch the 49ers'
defense and let the "old" RG III run when the opportunity
presents itself. But San Francisco can hardly afford to fall even
further behind the mighty Seahawks, which will make this task more
difficult for the home team this week. Don't expect Jim Harbaugh
and company to come in and blow Mike Shanahan and his Redskins out
as they try and stay alive in an NFC wild card playoff picture that
has 4-6 teams still very much in the mix.
#3: Houston over Jacksonville (8-3: KC, NEP,
MN, NO, SF, DEN, MIA, GB, SEA, IND, NYG)
Last week in this very same column I recommended the Houston Texans
over the Oakland Raiders based upon the Texans' pride, their solid
defensive unit, and the possibility that Terrelle Pryor might not
start. All of those same things hold true this week, except that
Chad Henne is the opposing quarterback, and instead of an Oakland
defense that gives up an average of 350 yards per game, Houston
now faces a Jaguars defense that gives up over 390 yards per game
and an offense that is without its number one receiver in Justin
Blackmon (suspended because of a violation of the NFL's substance
policy). That said, the Texans are far from a lock, but better than
most other options, if only because they are still the number one
defense at 281 yards per game. Houston should win this game without
a fight, but nothing has been easy for this team lately. As such,
use this as your pure desperation pick, but if you are to follow
the collective wisdom of the "bookies," this is as close
to a "safe bet" as you can get.
#2: Detroit over Tampa Bay (8-3: DEN, PHL,
SF, IND, STL, HOU, GB, SEA, DAL, NYG, SD)
In years past, it was well documented how the Bucs never win when
the temperature at kickoff is below 40 degrees. This Sunday, it
is expected to be 32 degrees in Detroit, and while Ford Field is
indoors, look for this superstition to continue against a Lions
team that is in control of its destiny at 6-4 atop the NFC North.
Megatron, Reggie Bush and Matthew Stafford's fourth-ranked offense
should prove too much to handle for a Tampa defense that has lost
five games in the last minute this year. That isn't to say that
Mike Glennon and third strong halfback Bobby Rainey won't make it
interesting. The Bucs won't roll over like Atlanta below, but if
you've used New Orleans already, take Detroit with confidence at
#1: New Orleans at Atlanta (8-3: IND,
OAK, SEA, DEN, ATL, CHI, SD, SF, CAR, TEN, HOU)
It has taken Drew Brees and Sean Payton only eleven weeks to reestablish
themselves as the NFC team to beat after Payton's return from
his one-year suspension. This week, look for the Saints to continue
their march into the playoffs as they visit division rival Atlanta.
The Falcons are now just playing the season out after last week's
embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers. The season can't end fast
enough for this Falcons team that had such high hopes of repeating
as the NFC South Champions and number two NFC team.
Mike Davis has been writing about
fantasy football since 1999. As a landlocked Oklahoman who longs
for the sound of ocean waves, he also writes about ocean colonization
under the pen name Studio Dongo. The latest installment in his science
fiction series can
be found here.