Monday, September 9, 2013

Commissioner Me

My Top Fantasy Football Scoring Changes



I love fantasy football. As with any relationship, sometimes I hate certain things about it, but I always come crawling back. One of the things I hate most is when the scoring doesn't reflect value in the real (NFL) world. The horrible trend of a quarterback's passing touchdowns being only worth 4 points is a perfectly absurd example of this. Quarterback is the most important position in football - and possibly in all of team sports. Why would you not want to reflect that in the fantasy game?? Look at the playoffs - you'll see most of the league's dominant QBs playing in January. Why? Because teams with dominant QBs usually win a lot of games. That's how it is in the NFL, and thus how it should be in fantasy football.

I've never been the commissioner of a league - too much pressure, what with having to approve and reject trades and such - but if I ever become one, here are the other scoring changes I will immediately implement:

No loss of points on quarterback kneel downs. My #1 pet peeve in fantasy scoring. Your QB has played well enough to win the game. He has the ball and is simply running out the clock by mercifully taking a knee after the snap. Yet the official scorer counts this as a rushing attempt - for a loss of yards! QB kneel-downs should be considered their own thing - DEFINITELY not rushing attempts. I know a guy who lost a close fantasy matchup because his QB lost a couple of points by kneeling with the ball after a dominating victory. It's the spirit of the rule.

Instead of Points Per Reception (PPR), first downs should count for points. PPR leagues are dumb. Why is a 1-yard dump-off to a running back worth a point? Are Wes Welker's 10 catches for 80 yards really worth 18 points? No. In the real world of the NFL, first downs are much more valuable than a simple catch. A tight end catching a 2-yard pass on 2nd-and-13 means nothing, but on 3rd-and-1, that could be crucial to winning the game.

Tackles for loss should be worth 1.5 points. I love playing with Individual Defensive Players (IDP). It brings a whole new element to the game and makes you a more informed fan. Plus, it turns out defense is important, and having a dominant defensive player in real life can get you to the playoffs. But in normal fantasy scoring, ALL tackles are worth a point, whether you drag down a receiver who just burned you for 55 yards, or you tackle the running back 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Make the latter worth just a bit more.

Missed Field Goals should cost you points. I'm not talking about desperation 50-yard attempts. But if you miss a gimme chip-shot field goal - say, 30 yards or less - your team should be docked a point or two. In fantasy scoring, your team gets more points based on the length of the field goal (4 points for a 40-yarder, 5 points for a 50-yarder, etc), so make a missed 30-yard FG worth -1 point and a missed 20-yarder worth -2. Because again, in the real world, missing a scoring chance and turning over the ball so close to the end zone is like giving a point or two to the other team. 

Major Penalties = loss of a point. This would be great, because it adds a new wrinkle to your draft strategy. You'll think twice about drafting Ndamukong Suh or any Raider if they lose a point for every 15-yard penalty. And I'm not talking about anything of the 5- or 10-yard variety. As a reflection of the real world, doesn't this make sense? If you kill your team's drive with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, should't that be worth losing a point in fantasy?

Recovering an onside kick should be a point or two. Most leagues have a Defense and Special Teams on the roster. Yet the biggest play they might make in a game goes unrewarded. Considering how rare and valuable an onside kick recovery is, it should be worth AT LEAST one point. 

Return yards should count. In most leagues, you don't get points for return yards (whether the yards come on an interception return, fumble, punt or kickoff return). If Adrian Peterson breaks off a 50-yard run, that's worth 5 points. But if Patrick Peterson (see what I did there?) returns an interception 50 yards, it's only worth a couple of points. How is that remotely fair? The interception and return is a MUCH more valuable play in the real world, and should be valued as such in fantasy. 

2 comments:

  1. You have only scratched the surface... FG's at the end of the game to win should be worth more. DB's that make interceptions on 4th down and cost their teams yards should be worth negative points. A TD at the end of a blowout should be worth less. A INT at the end of a half or game should be worth fewer negative points - maybe -1 instead of -2 or -3.

    There needs to be an intelligent fantasy football system where the value of the play in football is quantitatively reflected in the number of points given in fantasy - a converted 4th and 1 with a 1 yard run should be worth more than a 1st and 20 1 yard run.

    Start a site and I will be the first to join... #FightOn

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  2. Baldy,
    Some of the changes you propose (e.g., bonus for tackle for loss, negative points for missed FGs, IDP return yards) are already available the major fantasy sports sites. Your issue shouldn't be with fantasy football scoring, but with your particular league's scoring.

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