There are roughly 27 million people playing fantasy football each season on a whole host of different websites, but they all suffer from some serious scoring flaws that could easily be fixed and save those 27 million of us from losing points that should be scored differently.
Here are my top six ways to improve fantasy football:
Whether you stream defenses or go with one for the whole season, the problem is the same: points are points. For the sake of the outcome of the actual game all points carry equal weight, but for the sake of fantasy, all points scored in a game should not be counted equally against the defense. I have three main issues with the current scoring model of fantasy football in relation to defenses.
Those six points count against the total point margin even though the defense wasn’t even out there on the field for it. This is one of the easiest fixes out there. If it happens, just don’t count those points against the defense.
The safety poses basically the same problem as the pick six. Those two points count against the defense even though they had no role in giving up those points. Easy fix again.
Turnovers that lead to ridiculous field position.
This one is a little more difficult to police, but there should be some sort of reward for a defense who takes the field because of a turnover inside of field goal range and holds the other team to a field goal.
Example: Rams v. Cardinals (3rd quarter) Carson Palmer is intercepted by Trumaine Johnson, who returns it for 29 yards to the Arizona 4 yard line. The Cardinals defense takes the field where the field goal, without gaining another, is about 22 yards. The Rams run three plays for a total of negative three yards and kick through a 25 yard field goal.
The defense held the offense to negative yardage, but because of the field position they still gave up three points that count against them the same as if they had allowed the Rams to march 92 yards down the field to the same spot. My solution would be to not count field goals against the defense when the drive begins inside the 45 yard line and count any touchdowns given up from the spot as three points (four if you include the extra point).
– Receiver Interceptions.
There is nothing more annoying when your quarterback loses those two points for an interception coming off of a perfectly thrown ball that gets tipped and then intercepted. This one is a little tricky to solve because a lot of it is up to personal opinion. I would solve this one by saying that if the receiver touches the ball first, uncontested by a defender and it is then intercepted the interception will not take points away from the quarterback.
-Taking a knee should not count as a rush.
This is becoming more and more of a problem with the rise of running quarterbacks taking over the league. When the game is in hand and a quarterback takes a knee to run the clock out, it technically counts as a negative rushing play and since it goes 10 yards to a point, the chances of losing a point is pretty high.
Example: Rams v. Panthers Cam Newton has 30 rushing yards then proceeds to kneel the ball three times to end the game thus giving him rushes of -1, -1, and -2 which reduced his total to 26 and reducing his fantasy score by 1. My solution is to not count taking a knee as negative yardage in terms of fantasy stats.
– The defense should get the yards for fakes.
This one isn’t as applicable to most games as the other ones are, but I do think that it is important to helping score correctly. When the punting or kicking unit attempts a fake the D/ST should get awarded the same as if it were a player: 1 point per 10 rushing yards, 1 point per 25 passing yards, and 6 points for a touchdown. Currently those points are awarded solely to the individual players even though D/ST encompasses the special teams.
– Dropped Passes
This is one that would actually be very easy to put into place, but would really only want to be used in PPR leagues, but drops should count as a negative point. The NFL keeps track of drops already, so there would be little room for debate about what was a drop and what was not.
Finally, we get to one thing that might be the most important: injuries. Everyone who plays fantasy football is most scared of one thing on Thursday, Sunday, and/or Monday: their guys going down early in the game with an injury and not coming back. I would fix this by allowing everyone to select a single player to count for each position if a player leaves the game with an injury. Specifically, each player must have been able to fill that role from the beginning (a running back cannot be your back up for a tight end and so forth). Also, the players must be chosen to be the back up prior to their game starting and you are required to take the backups score if you named one for the injured player regardless of if the backup’s score is lower.
My solution to fix this would actually serve two purposes. First, people who be less angry at players for getting injured (people shouldn’t be so short sighted to begin with). Second, the blow of losing one of your stars would be softened, at least for a week.