How to save your fantasy football league: Scoring tweaks to benefit us all
“Well, at least he had a good fantasy day,” is a common refrain one hears after Blake Bortles throws 2 picks and loses a fumble in the first half of a game, burying his real-life team, only to resuscitate his fantasy stat line in a second half full of garbage time TD tosses.
Or in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues where your scatback hauls in 12 catches for 15 yards and 2 TDs. Was that player the MVP of his real-life game the way he probably was in your fantasy matchup?
If Trevor Siemian throws a pick that sets up the Chargers on Denver’s 1-yard line, and Melvin Gordon punches it in on his 4th try, how is that your fantasy defense’s fault?
And then there’s the most flawed position in fantasy: Defense/ST. Nothing’s worse than when the QB throws a pick-6, and those points are tallied against your defense when they weren’t even on the field!
These are the everyday struggles of the majority of fantasy football players — but no longer. Welcome to the definitive guide on fantasy football scoring.
Most would agree that fantasy scoring is way too TD-dependent. Most leagues award 6 points for a TD, and attempt to dial it back for QBs, awarding 4 points for a passing TD. Turns out those leagues were onto something — but take the next step:
Scaling back TD points while keeping the standard for yardage will take more of the luck element out of the game.
What’s the most important facet of the real-life football game that is completely neglected in fantasy? Moving the chains. Love seeing a receiver stretch his arm forward on 3rd or 4th down, showing a keen awareness for his team’s position in the game and what he needs to do to give his team the best chance to win. For each 3rd and 4th down conversion, award 1 point. This has the added benefit of moving more points away from the luck-driven TDs.
If Trevor Siemian throws a pick that sets up the Chargers on Denver’s 1-yard line, and the Chargers manage to punch it in with their four attempts, how is that your fantasy defense’s fault? To normalize the effect of putrid offenses, do not count points off turnovers against fantasy defenses. If you object to this idea, fine. Just don’t call it the “Denver Defense/ST” anymore. Call it “Denver.” And don’t track points allowed — just track whether the team wins. Or covers! But if we’re tracking defenses, we should do it fairly and normalize for terrible offenses.
The turnover battle almost always dictates who wins in real life — so why do most fantasy leagues assess such small penalties to the players who commit them? Dial this up, from the 2-point standard to at least to a 3-point penalty for each interception and fumble lost. Bortles owners ought to feel the same sting as Jaguars fans. Theoretically speaking, of course, since we know Jaguars fans don’t exist in real life.
These simple tweaks would make fantasy much more reflective of real life performance, and thus, more fun and fair for all.