Last Week's Question: Should scores
for running backs be tweaked in performance leagues?
In my column
for Week 12, I shared one reader's concern about decreased RB
productivity in 2013. I'm not sure the problem is as significant
as Darren makes it out to be, but I will concede that the top RBs
of 2013 aren't performing quite as well as top RBs in recent years.
This may just be a statistical anomaly, but it may be (as Darren
suspects) connected to recent rule changes in the NFL that seem
to favor the passing game.
I had no idea that the question would trigger such heated and thoughtful
responses from so many readers. Consider Joel's reaction:
How about instead of a knee-jerk reaction like
changing the scoring, people change the way they draft running backs?
[Darren] drafted Peterson in a down year, but does that really necessitate
a change in how running backs are scored? "I can’t win
my league drafting RB-RB, so change the scoring." [Maybe he
should consider changing] the way [he] drafts [instead of changing]
the scoring system just so [he] can continue drafting like [he]
did five years ago. It is almost to the point of why not make all
positions score the same? Aren’t the different positions supposed
to score differently? Isn’t that what fantasy sports are about,
taking a bunch of players at different positions and trying to build
a high-scoring team? In the one league that I run, we have adjusted
the scoring, but it wasn’t to make the wide receivers score
as much as a running back would or vice versa. It’s the [w]ussification
of fantasy football when we have to figure out how to even out the
My apologies for all the editorial modifications, but Joel wrote
the middle section of his response as if he was speaking directly
to Darren, which could be confusing to some readers. The "wussification"
change was made in order to keep Joel's note family friendly. If
you're curious about the word that Joel used in his note, you only
need to change that first letter.
Like Joel, Andy saw Darren's question as an opportunity to reflect
on what a fantasy scoring system should accomplish. But he took
a much more statistical approach:
Our league is one of few that I know of that
awards QBs a point for each completion and RBs a point for each
carry – in addition to fairly standard ppr scoring.
Consider this hypothetical (especially for PPR leagues), why is
it that player 1) gets 11 points for 5 receptions and 60 yards,
player 2) gets 11 points for 5 receptions and 60 yards and player
3) gets only 6 points for 60 yards? Player 1 is Jarrett Boykin,
Player 2 is Ogbannaya, and Player 3 is Alfred Morris on 7 carries.
We believe that our award system better accounts for position scarcity,
performance, effectiveness, and percent of game plan. In our league,
Morris with 7 carries and 60 yards would get 13 points in the above
scenario. He’s a slightly greater portion of the game plan
and a carry is really equal to a reception conceptually.
From an overall standpoint our league’s weekly point totals
are high – in the neighborhood of 175-200 is a pretty good
week. Qbs with a point for each completion have the most value,
but there is a pretty good distribution after the elite couple –
the highest totals can be up around 60+ points per week for a Manning
or Brees. Average QB scores are 45-50ish. RBs have the 2nd most
value at the elite level where there are or five’ish –
their totals push about 50 per week like a Marshawn Lynch or Jamaal
Charles. Average is 28-35 ish. WRs and TEs have fewer points per
week. An elite WR or TE score ends up being around 30-35 with average
being in the 20 range.
To me those numbers also better reflect the relative scarcity of
their positions around the league. It’s a rare RB that is
not in a committee and can take over a game (Lynch this year or
Peterson last year) and their scores should reflect that scarcity
on a regular basis.
My problem this week is twofold. Firstly, the responses of Joel
and Andy barely scratch the surface of the feedback from readers
that I would like to cover. But secondly--and much more importantly--the
Q&A column that appears on Thanksgiving Day is invariably my
least read column of the year.
I know how you guys are. You don't sit around thinking, "Boy,
I can't wait for the next installment of Q&A on FFToday."
Most of you only know about Q&A because it flies far enough
under the radar not to have been blocked by whoever is in charge
of policing the internet at your place of work. To put things as
simply as possible in the language of Office Space: You
read Q&A when your boss thinks you are filling out TPS reports.
Compared to doing ordinary paperwork, reading this column may seem
like fun. But compared to getting a second helping of turkey and
sitting down to watch the Cowboys or Lions, Q&A isn't very much
fun at all. That might not stroke my ego, but it is the reality
of the situation, which means that if I were to use this column
to showcase all the great responses I received to Darren's question,
then I would be showcasing them for a much-smaller-than-usual audience
in Week 13.
Well, I'm not going to fall for that trap this year. I liked the
responses I received to last week's question so much that I'm going
to postpone sharing the bulk of them for one week. Consider the
notes from Joel and Andy an appetizer. We'll get to the meat (turkey!)
and potatoes (mashed!) next week.
Next Week's Question: How should scoring
The most interesting characteristic of the responses I received
to my Week 12 question was that so many readers used Darren's plight
as an opportunity to talk about how scoring should work
(either across positions or as a way of separating the top performers
at any one position from their average counterparts). If you feel
like waxing philosophical on the subject of fantasy scoring, now's
your chance to get on a soapbox.
Survivor Picks - Week 13 (Courtesy of
Trap Game: Tampa Bay at Carolina
The Carolina Panthers are riding high. Second in their division
at 8-3, they are handily in control of their own playoff destiny.
On top of that, their defense has allowed only two first half touchdowns
all season and has given up the fewest points in the NFL (only a
little over 13 points per game). So it would make sense to take
the Panthers at home against a Buccaneers team that cut its opening
day starting quarterback (Freeman), has lost two running backs to
Injured Reserve, and started the season 0-8. But Bucs fans may have
found something in Mike Glennon and Bobby Rainey. If so, Carolina
will have a hard time believing that they are playing against the
4th-worst scoring offense (31st in yards gained). After winning
the last three games, why can't Tampa Bay continue the streak?
#3: Dallas over Oakland (8-4: KC, NEP, MN,
NO, SF, DEN, MIA, GB, SEA, IND, NYG, HOU)
Fresh off their win last week against rival New York that almost
certainly kills the Giants' playoff chances, you might expect a
letdown from Dallas against an Oakland team that is still trying
to find its identity. That isn't the case with the Cowboys. Although
the Cowboy defense has had its troubles, this Raiders offense doesn't
scare anyone (especially with the dual threat of Terrelle Pryor
out). Darren McFafadden is expected to return to the field as a
complement to Rashad Jennings, but it won't be enough to beat a
Dallas team that won the last meeting in 2009 by a score of 24-7.
#2: Jacksonville at Cleveland (8-4: DEN,
PHL, SF, IND, STL, HOU, GB, SEA, DAL, NYG, SD, DET)
The Jaguars come off a squeaker over a Houston Texans team in total
disarray (see below for further info) and this week face a Browns
team on a 2-game skid. As if the losses aren't bad enough, the Browns
are also visibly moving backward at the QB position by relying (once
again) on their ineffective opening day starter, Brandon Weeden.
The fact that Maurice Jones-Drew is playing for a contract (with
any team next year) and has started to show the flash of his younger
years should put fear in linebackers trying to find this 5’6”
running back as he darts through the holes. Combine that with a
serviceable quarterback in Chad Henne who manages the game better
than his backup Blaine Gabbert, and you have the formula for an
UPSET in Cleveland. This is not a trap game as the Jags are going
in the right direction and thus my number two pick this week.
#1: New England at Houston (9-3: IND,
OAK, SEA, DEN, ATL, CHI, SD, SF, CAR, TEN, HOU, NO)
The New England Patriots always seem to "get healthy"
and play their best football as we get into late November. This
year is no exception with a great 24-point comeback against the
team everyone expected to represent the AFC in this year's Super
Bowl (Denver). Meanwhile, nothing seems to be going right in Houston
with Gary Kubiak yanking Case Keenum in favor of Matt Schaub in
the middle of last week's game. But the Texans' faults aren't
limited to just the quarterback position. The defense has given
up the 6th-most points per game while their offense is 30th in
points per game. This is not a winning formula for a team that
went from being a preseason playoff contender to its current 2-9
record, not to mention a media circus that features a star receiver
saying "We suck" on offense and leaves the rest of the
NFL wondering if Kubiak will keep his job after a very disappointing
season. Barring a total fluke and assuming that you haven't used
Brady and company yet, take the Patriots as we flip the calendar
into December and watch Belichick pull the strings on another
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.