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.