Auction Draft

Figure you’ll never win the Lottery?

Does it seem like half the first round goes to one team?

Does it feel like you’ll never have a shot at drafting your favorite player?

I propose that in 2015 we transition to an Auction Draft.

SOLD!I doubt I have to explain how it works (but in case I do, click here). And I probably don’t need to explain why it is awesome, so I will suffice it to say that it is simply the most fun way to draft. I think it would be particularly fun in a league like this one, where everyone knows each other’s tendencies so well. I am sure that many of you have participated in auction drafts in other leagues, and I encourage you to share your feelings about it with the rest of the league.

I have spoken with several of you in past seasons about how awesome this would be, but I have never before proposed it because it would un-do the future draft pick trading system that has made this league so unique. But now, ESPN allows us to adjust the auction budgets for each team before the draft, and so, we will still be able to accommodate trading of future draft value. Just instead of trading picks, owners would be able to trade draft dollars in exchange for players (only for the following season).

For example, if the standard auction budget is $200, then I could (theoretically) trade Aaron Rodgers to Weiss for $50. Flash forward to the 2015 draft: Dave would have Aaron Rodgers as his keeper, but only $150 in his auction budget. Meanwhile, I would have $250 in my auction budget with which to make it rain at the draft.

We would still have two unrestricted keepers and the change couldn’t take effect until next season, but I think it would really spice things up. What do you think? We’ll vote on this (and other proposals) later this month, but I would love to hear what people think about this idea. Feel free to email me or the entire League with your thoughts.

 

Value Rushing Attempts

Recognize this guy…?

That’s Jamaal Charles, the top running back in fantasy football last season. Under our scoring system, he averaged 191 fantasy points per game. That’s not bad, but it wasn’t enough to outscore Tom Brady, who was the 12th best quarterback.

Or take this fellow…

Shady McCoy was the #2 running back but he was outscored by quarterbacks Alex Smith (#15), Ryan Tannehill (#16), and Carson Palmer (#17). The problem?Running backs are undervalued.

But the solution is also pretty simple:

I propose we value rushing attempts.

Rewarding rushing attempts is nothing more than valuing a player’s usage rate. We already reward receptions, which measures the same thing, so it only makes sense that we would also value rushing attempts.

Ultimately, it is a more accurate measure of the number of touches a player receives.

It also makes sense though, because so many teams have migrated to the dreaded “Running Back by Committee” approach, which further depresses the value of individual running backs. I realize, of course, that running backs still average more attempts than receivers do receptions, plus running backs also have the opportunity to make receptions, while the reverse is rarely true. So I propose we value rushing attempts half as much as receptions. We currently award 5 points per reception, and so, I propose that we award 2.5 points per rushing attempt. What affect would that have, you ask..?

2013 NFL Running Backs by Rushing Attempts/Game

Jamaal Charles averaged 17.3 rushing attempts per game and therefore would have scored an extra 43.3 points per game. That would have given him 257.7 fantasy points per game, which would have put him ahead of all quarterbacks except Peyton Manning (357.5 pts/gm) and Drew Brees (311.1 pts/gm). And he would have only bee slightly ahead of Philip Rivers (256 pts/gm). Doesn’t that seem more appropriate?

Shady averaged 19.6 rushing attempts per game, which would have been good for an extra 49 points per game, giving him a total of 240 points per game. That would have sandwiched him between Andy Dalton (245.1 pts/gm) and Cam Newton (236 pts/gm).

It also makes the running back pool deeper, by giving a few extra points to secondary backs that consistently get 10 to 15 carries but aren’t party of the passing game. And since each team can theoretically start four running backs, it’s better for the league to make the running back pool as deep as possible. Anyone who was desperate for running backs to start during bye weeks knows exactly what I am talking about.

Because this change would affect the value of players, it couldn’t take effect until the 2015 season. So we are stuck with another season of undervalued running backs. But I encourage you to think this over carefully, because I am sure that next summer we will wish we had acted early to correct this.

Daily Waiver Wire

Razor Waiver Wire

I propose we process the waiver wire every day**.

Currently we use an auction-style free agent system and the waiver wire processes for the first time each week on Wednesday morning at 9am pacific. As a result, owners have approximately 36 hours to submit their bids.

The problem with that is there isn’t any opportunity to get a ‘deal’ on a highly coveted free agent because every owner has time to read the week’s ‘Top Add’ articles before submitting their own bid. I think it would be nice to reward owners who follow the games and are ready to submit their bids on Tuesday.

**Tuesday is currently the only day that wavier wire does not process. It technically processes on Monday, but only for players involved in the MNF matchup.

The Bench Is Too Big

The League currently allows 10 starters, 8 bench players, and 1 injured reserve spot. This means that all 12 teams could, and often do, roster 19 players. Simple math tells us that means that 228 players are locked up at any given time. The result of that was felt by each of us last season–waiver wire scarcity.

Just think about what your bench looked like last season–how much garbage was on there? Now think about that time you ran to the computer to bid on some guy you just heard about, only to find out that he was already rostered. It also allowed people to hoard valuable positions. Scarcity, and to lesser extent, hoarding, is what allowed Winerman to overbid on free agents in early weeks only to (unsuccessfully) attempt to extort a trade from the rest of us shortly thereafter.

The ESPN default for 10 team leagues is to have 7 bench spots with no injured reserve. I think this is a good compromise for us since we are a league of 12. And so…

I propose that we eliminate one bench spot and the injured reserve spot.

That's a big bench!

This would have no effect on the rest of the roster setup. It is simply a reduction in the size of our bench. It’s a very small change, but it will go a long way to alleviate the roster pressures created by such an active league with enormous benches.

It is difficult to imagine what the pros of such a large bench are because, beyond hoarding, it promotes inactivity among owners because they don’t need to cycle any bench players to accommodate for injuries or bye-weeks, plus there is little reason to do so when you know the cupboard is bare. But, if there are folks who like the big bench, I’d like to hear why. So please email me or the League with your thoughts.

Eliminate Divisions

This is a tough one for me to suggest, because these divisions have been in place since the League’s inception in 2006. But there is more to like about them then just tradition. It makes scheduling easier, because with 12 teams and 13 weeks in the regular season, each team must play two other teams twice and since there are three teams in each division, that’s an easy choice. Playing your divisional opponents twice each season also helps promote inter-seasonal rivalries.

But it is also a little confusing because we don’t strictly follow the division results when determining playoff seeds. And frustratingly, it makes it more difficult to directly compare teams on the stats page because ESPN breaks them down by division.

I propose eliminating divisions in favor of a unified 12-team league.

That way, we could easily determine our place in the standings, making crystal clear which teams are in the playoff hunt. We will still have the decide which two opponents each team will face twice in a season. Perhaps we could maintain the matchups from the old divisions to preserve some of the history. Just an idea.

Let me know what you think.

Benefit of the 10x Scoring System

I was recently asked if there was any benefit to the scoring change. The only tangible benefit, to use NFL-speak, is the change in quarterback scoring. Previously we had valued passing yards at 0.5 pts per every 10 passing yards. The problem with that is illustrated by something that happened to a friend of mine in another league this week…

My friend had defeated his opponent by 0.9 pts. Now, because of a scoring adjustment, Andrew Luck’s passing yards were downgraded by 3 yards. Now, under identical scoring to ours, yards doesn’t get you shit. But the points are scored in tiers, and so the 3 yards dropped Luck into the lower tier, costing him 0.5 points! Now, the same thing happened in the opposite direction to his opponent’s QB, Tony Romo. And so ended up losing – this morning – by 0.1 points. By valuing passing at 0.5 pts per yard, he would have been up by 9 points and the two 3 yard adjustments (6 yards total) would have only netted 3 points total. He would have won by 6 points.

So, although rare, it can make a difference, and would have in this other league (which is prompting my friend to suggest a similar scoring adjustment). We couldn’t do it another way because we can only value points to a tenth, not the hundredth, due to limitations in the espn system.

So this actually a more accurate scoring system. Something to keep in mind when you are deciding whether you want to vote to keep it.

Payouts & Prizes

I regret to inform you all that the League trophy, casually referred to as the Bad News Barristers Cup, is no more. After only one season in use, it has been irreparably damaged in transit between our 2011 and 2012 champions. Although every precaution was taken to ensure the trophy’s safe transport, including providing a budget for its proper packaging, and supplying a custom-made shipping crate for packaging (at no cost to the League), this tragedy was ultimately my fault for believing that a trophy of such magnificence could survive as a long term traveling trophy. But the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and the Bad News Barristers Cup was, in the end, too beautiful for this world.

But you all chipped in on that thing and one you was going to win it this year, so the loss effects us all. To make up for my hubris, I will pay the cost of the replacement. If we choose a trophy, I will have one constructed here that is more suitable for regular travel and pay the cost of its creation and shipment. I will do so quickly, so that Hank can enjoy it for as long as possible before a new champion is crowned. (Sorry Hank, I don’t see a repeat in your future, as the Power Rankings make clear.) But, in lieu of a trophy, I suggest an alternative prize for our league champion…

That ring is made by Jostens, the good people who make class rings (you know, those things no one buys anymore). It costs about $320, but if you want it in real gold or with real diamonds, the cost goes up considerably. But you can add the League name and your team name to the sides of the ring for free. Of course, buying a ring for each year’s champion would eat into the winner’s purse, but it would also allow for a permanent, easy to keep memorial of your fantasy glory. You could even display it in a little case, if you didn’t see yourself wearing it to work. Josten’s does make less expensive rings (if your peruse their website), so it is conceivable to think that not every champion would have to get the same ring. Hold that thought, I’ll come back to this idea in a minute…

The League coffers are now swoll with $1200 (American). To quote the immortal words of some douche in my Enterprise Organization class:  What are we going to do with all that money? Well, here’s what I suggest we do with it… Let’s give $100 to the highest scoring team every quarter. The season has 13 weeks, so the first quarter would 4 weeks long and then the final three distributions would occur after Weeks 7, 10 and 13.

That leaves $800 left in the pot. We could simply give $500 to the champion and $300 to the runner up (similar to what we have always done). Or we could decide to throw something at the consolation champion (but no more than $100, because we shouldn’t reward someone for being a loser). Or we could allow the champion to design his own championship ring with that $800 and keep whatever is left over. Sure it screws second place out of some cash, but remember what I said about not rewarding losers?

I will email each of you individually calling for a vote on these issues. Please respond no later than next Thursday, October 3rd so that we can promptly distribute winnings for the first quarter of the season.

Increase Scoring 10x

Fantasy football players are like real football players in maybe only one way: they both fear change. To their credit, however, the Bad News Barristers have never shied away from creative and new ways to increase fun in the League. In that spirit, I propose one, small, superficial change…

I propose we increase all scoring by a factor of 10. That’s it. So instead of getting a tenth of a point per rushing or receiving yard, you’d get 1. Yes, that would mean that you will also get 60 points per rushing or receiving touchdown and that means that teams will be scoring over 1000 points a week, but strategically nothing would change. Psychologically, though, I think it would be more fun to watch your score jump 100 points or more when someone connects for a long touchdown.

I realize that it would make it a little harder to cross-compare your team in this League with other leagues. But, given differences in scoring, and especially now that we have the offensive player position, is there even really a good comparison anyway? And you can always divide by 10 in your head if you’re curious what your ‘old’ score would have been.

So, since there is no functional change to this tweak, this will be instituted in Week Five as a test run. After Week Five, if six of you email me and say you want to go back to the old system, then it shall be so. Otherwise, the new scoring system will remain in place. I mean, come on, fractional points are stoopid anyway, you can’t win by half a point in real football, why should half points count in fantasy football?

More Money, More… Fun!

When the Bad News Barristers began in fall of 2007, gas was $1.25 per gallon, a gallon of milk cost a quarter, and you could get a z-job on any corner for a nickle and a song… A $50 entry fee made sense in that time and place. But in 2013, even a dime-bag costs twenty bucks. You can see where this is going…

I propose that we raise the entry fee. But rather than just give the champion more sweaty cash, here are some ways more money might mean more… Fun!

The most obvious way to spread the good times around is to keep final payouts the same and to add mid-season payouts. We could, for instance, offer $50 to the highest scoring team every week. Or, we could give $100 to the last undefeated team, or the mid-way points leader.money

Another fun twist would be to offer $100 for the best draft(er), or best general manager–which could be determined through league-wide votes. I suppose it’s possible that people would just vote for themselves, but with 12 votes, I still expect the cream to rise to the top.

Although I’m not set on any amount or specific use for the money, I do think if we could offer some early-to-mid-season payouts for certain achievements, it would increase excitement for everyone. And we can do all of that by increasing the entry fee by just $50 per team. There are probably a number of other good ideas for what we could do with a little extra cash–which I welcome by email or in the comments…

Trade-Deadline Party in Vegas?

Proposing the K-System

What’s wrong with the current keeper system? For starters, it doesn’t promote trading the same way our draft pick trading does. But worse then that, it allows players to be locked up in perpetuity (yes, like Aaron Rodgers). And it’s confusing–I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked if someone can trade a player in the off-season that they don’t intend to keep (for those who still don’t know the answer–no, you can’t). Despite these flaws, every year someone suggests adding keepers! Well, I’ve got a proposal that will change all of that: the K-System.contract Here’s how it works…

Every player drafted is automatically signed to a 1-year contract. This is nothing more than a change in terminology, it simply means that you have the rights to that player for the season in which you drafted him (unless you trade him before the deadline, or cut him).

But here’s the twist–each season every owner will have a single 1-year extension and a single 2-year extension to give to two players that remain on a team’s roster when the season ends. For instance, this off-season I would sign Aaron Rodgers to the 2-year extension and Jonathan Stewart to the 1-year extension (yes, my team is that bad–I just checked, and no joke, I have Titus Young on my roster).

Fast forward to this time next year: the Stewart contract will be up (thank God) and Stewart will re-enter the draft, for one of you lucky SOBs to nab. A player can’t be extended by the same owner twice (and I wouldn’t want to with Stewart), but that is how the K-System prevents controlling a player indefinitely. So I can’t sign Rodgers to the 2-year extension and then try to extend him again (with my 1 or 2-year extension) when that runs out. Still with me?

In the summer of 2014, Rodgers will be entering the final season of his 2-year extension and so I will have him “under contract” until the trade deadline in 2014–at which point he would become a free agent at the end of the season and re-enter the draft. Here is where the system really promotes trading–if I trade Rodgers at the beginning of 2014, the owner who acquires him can extend him for 2 more years, which means Rodgers’ new owner will have him for the 2014, ’15 and ’16 seasons (although that owner will face the same dilemma in the summer of 2016).

That makes Rodgers a lot more valuable at the beginning of 2014 then the end of it, because it means 13 more weeks of production from Rodgers. The same would have been true of Jonathan Stewart right after we inked his extension. The possibility of a sign-and-trade makes things much more interesting.

Now don’t forget that I also have two more extensions to hand out in 2014. Since I can’t extend Rodgers (who’s still under contract) or Stewart (who’s 1-year extension is up), I will give the 1-year extension to Jordy Nelson and the 2-year extension to Trent Richardson, both of whom I (hypothetically) drafted in 2013.

So, what does that mean for the 2015 season? Well, if I don’t trade Rodgers (or anyone else), I will have the rights to Rodgers, Richardson, and Nelson for the 2015 season. Without trading, I won’t have more than 3 active contracts at once, because the Rodgers and Nelson deals would expire after 2015 and I will only have two new extensions to hand out in 2014, plus the last year of the Richardson deal.

I say “without trading,” because there is nothing stopping an owner from acquiring multiple players with one or two years left on their deals and carrying over several players without drafting. But, I imagine that it would be difficult to do that because you only have so much to trade away–I think its a very exciting wrinkle, though.

How would draft pick compensation work then? Well, you don’t get any compensation for cutting (ie, dropping) a player to whom you have given an extension. Or if you acquired a player under contract from another team and cut him, again you get nothing. But if you choose not to use one your two annual extensions, then you will receive a compensatory draft pick in accordance with rules we already have for not using your keepers. This helps ensure parity because we don’t want teams to end up in an infini-loop of shitty players and shitty draft picks.

I think this would be a real improvement to our current system, but not really a significant departure from our current model. I would like to put the K-System on the ballot this off-season to be implemented immediately. I know that we traditionally wait one year before implementing a new rule, but if we do that, then I would have Rodger for 4 more years (thru 2016) because I wouldn’t have to burn my 2-year extension until 2014, which is too long, in my opinion. In this special case, I think it makes sense to institute the K-System right away, if the league votes it in.

I welcome any questions or thoughts in the comments or by email.