Points per reception (PPR) leagues
Leagues that fail to award points for receptions are about as ‘en vogue’ as the mullet. If you are stuck in one of these dinosaur leagues, tell your commissioner to update your scoring system or bolt for a better league and a better experience. PPR leagues are thankfully more prevalent than ever before and should be the standard if you are looking to the future. PPR helps bring balance to the positions, and that adds some juice to the draft as well as your weekly contests. Awarding points for receptions and the dawn of the runningback by committee make drafting a wide receiver or quarterback at some point in the first round at least a respectable proposition.
Don’t worry – runningbacks will always be the position that holds the most value in your league unless you do something completely bizarre with your scoring system. The first four picks (at least) in this year’s draft will still be runningbacks and you will still have to overpay in a trade to get a usable runningback, etc. But the most exiting leagues will make a concerted effort to balance scoring between runningbacks, wide receivers and quarterbacks. Instead of waiting to get bowled over by a team with two good runningbacks, you can go into your weekly matchup with the hope that your receivers or that stud quarterback can lead you to victory. I promise that no league that goes in this direction will be disappointed by the weekly action.
Defense/Special Teams (D/ST)
Why do you have to pick a defense every season? Is it because it’s there or because that’s just what you do? You don’t have to apply a “because it has always been done that way” mentality to your league. Is it really a great strategic point in your draft? Does it really tax your evaluation skills to pick a defense? Do you really want to lose a match to someone who has that rare (and seemingly random) big score from his D/ST spot? Worse, most leagues use an inverse scoring system for defensive points. This means you start with ‘x’ number of points and go backward as the team your defense is facing tallies yards and points. Simultaneously, sacks and defenses are adding points, so the score just jumps around. This means that following your games or checking on other contests is unnecessarily confusing. Who wants to actively follow a defense on Sunday?
Some of the random quirkiness of this “position” gets taken away if you go the other direction and draft individual defensive players, but that’s a little much. You don’t want a third of your starters to be linebackers and the like. You won’t be following their exploits on the NFL Network … and for good reason. Better just to forget about the defense and focus your draft strategy and weekly cheering efforts on offensive skill positions. Don’t listen to any whining about how defense is “a part of the game.” Some people need to be reminded that fantasy football is not real football. You don’t draft punters just because they are on NFL rosters. That would be ridiculous … and so is drafting defenses.
Remember, just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s not stupid.