It was probably inevitable that late-stage capitalism would give rise to a concept as bad as tight-end-premium fantasy scoring.
We have truly exhausted all the good ideas, so we are now double-counting fantasy points from the most talent-scarce positions. Which, of course, further amplifies the already galactically large positional edge enjoyed by Travis Kelce.
Great work, everyone.
Drafts have just recently wrapped up in Scott Fish Bowl and, as you may have guessed, this contest uses a TE-premium scoring system — which is, again, a monstrous idea. SFB also includes fractional bonuses for both completions and carries, plus a full point per reception. Basically, it’s a league loaded with participation trophies.
We’re this close to point-per-snap scoring. Bah.
But Scott Fish himself is among the most generous, kind-hearted, supportive people any of us will ever know, so we can forgive his many terrible fantasy ideas. He’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity via Fantasy Cares and he’s created a huge, sprawling, delightful (and fantastically unrelatable) league.
I’m not gonna make you endure a player-by-player recap of my SFB draft, but just please know it was an absolute triumph of contrarianism and player valuation. Instead of diving into one person’s team, I’d like to keep the focus on Fish Bowl’s rules and settings.
For all of Scott’s points-because-they-tried bonuses, I do love that he’s willing to implement different scoring systems each season. SFB is never the same contest that it was the year before. The 13th iteration of SFB includes three highly recommended scoring settings that every commissioner should consider. Let’s begin with a personal favorite …
Points per first down
This is a stellar alternative to point-per-reception scoring because it rewards an event that is unambiguously beneficial in reality. Whereas a catch or a carry has no value beyond the yardage and/or points associated with the play, a first down is pretty clearly a positive result for an offense. We don’t have to live with a scoring system in which a 10-yard run has the same fantasy value as a reception for no gain.
PPFD is the way forward, friends. Generally speaking, it rewards heavily targeted receivers who do work downfield and it boosts the game’s most efficient high-volume backs. Last year’s leaders in receiving first downs were Justin Jefferson (80), Travis Kelce (77) and Tyreek Hill (77); the leaders in rushing first downs were Josh Jacobs (94), Nick Chubb (69) and Derrick Henry (67).
If you have a problem with that particular group getting a scoring bump, then it’s possible you just don’t like good players.
Fantasy scoring at quarterback has been broken from the beginning. We didn’t get it right in the early days and have simply lived with terrible settings for decades. In reality, quarterback is easily the game’s most important position — by orders of magnitude — but it’s often an afterthought in fantasy because we haven’t done enough to separate the truly elite passers from the high-volume chuckers.
It’s pretty wild that everyone was OK with Blake Bortles finishing as the overall QB4 back in 2015, a season in which he actually led the NFL in interceptions, sacks and fumbles. Standard fantasy scoring has never gone far enough in penalizing negative plays — the exact plays that the NFL’s best QBs masterfully avoid. Ideally, we’d hammer the bad quarterbacks for their many mistakes. But we’ve never done it and there seems to be no appetite to do so.
Superflex leagues are far from perfect, but at least the format forces us to place a high value on a position that’s critically important in the actual game. In addition to the typical QB roster spot, managers also have the option to play a second quarterback in a flex position. The end result is that every starting QB in the league will be drafted, as will several high-upside backups. In my SFB league, for example, 42 different quarterbacks were drafted, including guys like Tyler Huntley, Gardner Minshew and Mike White. Eight of the draft’s first 11 selections were QBs. Kirk Cousins was my fourth-round pick, and I was thrilled to land him.
Regrettably, Superflex doesn’t do anything to address the Bortles fiasco, but at least it successfully boosts the relative importance of the position. So it’s a start.
Kickers belong in the game
It’s wild that this is even a conversation. It’s wild that some of you have been convinced that kicker scoring is random, when, of course, it verifiably isn’t. If your league members simply don’t want to invest the minimal time necessary to learn which NFL offenses are good and which kickers are accurate, fine. Go ahead and eliminate whichever stats and positions you don’t like. But a league without kickers seems like an incomplete and unserious league. Kickers are just another way we invest in the league’s premier offenses.
In Fish Bowl, we receive a point for every ten yards of field goal distance — so a 44-yard kick is worth 4.4 points — and a successful extra point is worth 3.3. Those might seem like large bonuses considering the real-life point values of these plays, but, again, scoring is inflated in SFB everywhere you look. In a fantasy league with a less cluttered scoring system, it’s easy enough to dial back and simplify kicker points.
But eliminating them entirely? Ridiculous. There’s never been a time in the 140-plus years of American football that kickers were irrelevant. It certainly isn’t the case today. Removing kickers from your league only dumbs it down.
The best measures of the difficulty level in any fantasy format are the number of lineup decisions that need to be made each week and the number of players rostered at any given time. Eliminating distinct, well-defined positions never makes a league more challenging or hardcore.
#bored #league #settings