Thursday, October 31, 2013

zombies! aliens! vampires! dinosaurs!

I considered a Scooby Doo musical sequel this year as I know how much everyone enjoyed the first one. But it's just such a work of art I think I'd rather leave it undisturbed to fascinate avant-garde fantasy football minds for years to come. That being said, I couldn't let Halloween come and go without looking at what's haunting the league this week so let's get to it.

The carryover storyline from the weekend of course is The Commish getting monster mashed out by The Institute. And the predictable reaction of the league to this crushing and humiliating defeat.

The unlikely sudden popularity of VZ in league circles was enough to match the ratings for one AMC cable drama hit featuring moaning reanimated carcasses and lots of head shots. But that's not the only thing that The Institute has in common with The Walking Dead. His team is back from the dead.
Obviously, I have enjoyed the down year so far for my rival (and still hope to get two wins out of it).
And I don't have much of a beef with a manager choosing to pursue a strategy that I would not adopt for my own team. You don't get to tell me how to manage my team and I don't get to tell you how to run yours. Those are the rules and when everyone is trying to win that sovereignty leads to the most entertaining league.

What I have worried about is the fire sale coming before the trade deadline for The Institute's best assets that don't have any value going into next year. (The name "Calvin Johnson" comes to mind.) Now VZ is at least ostensibly a contender for the playoffs. A game and a half out of the playoffs with 8 days before the trade deadline hits, The Institute is some inexplicably in the mix. I could even make an argument that he has a better shot at the playoffs than some teams above him because other squads have a definite ceiling while VZ at least has the upside of players coming back from injuries in the next few games.

There's every reason to believe that The Institute will have a stronger second half of the season than first half given the realities of his roster. Much to The Commish's chargrin, VZ will have a say in who makes the playoffs whether he manages to sneak his own team in or not. I just hope his effect is felt as a spoiler on the field and not as a kingmaker through trades.

The Commish was not the only team to suffer a fantasy tragedy this week however. As black is for sunday's hopes of a five game win streak succumbed to a grisly death at the hands of the Jason Voohrees of ties of our league: the KRabbits. In the history of our league, there have been 16 ties. Kris has been a manager involved in 5 of them. He is well overrepresented as a serial offender. In 2004, the KRabbits managed to tie The Commish in both of the teams' meetings. In sum, I should have been on the lookout for Golden Tate on Monday night. No one is the master of the come from behind tie like Kris.

We don't have to live this way. We don't have to spend our seasons in fear that our teams will be dragged from our beds by unseen demons of ties that would edge out otherwise worthy teams from playoff contention.

It's bogus. And it's unfitting for the greatest fantasy football league in America.

There are leagues that have fractional points. For each 1/10th of a point added to the decimal place of scoring, you make ties ten times less likely. Every year this situation affects one or more teams that may be jockeying for playoff position. It's only a matter of time before someone ties in a playoff game, or even worse, the championship.

I've seen this happen in a league where I am the commissioner. I tied with someone in a semi-final game. I was determined the winner through the normal Yahoo tiebreaker procedures and the next week my team went on to win the championship. There was some bitterness. Needless to say, the league by unanimous vote adopted fractional scoring before the next season began and we haven't had a tie since.

Every year that we go through the offseason not addressing this issue in our rules we are running a risk. We have had at least one tie in this league every year of its existence except for two and four times we have had multiple ties in the same season. How long until one of this is in the playoff rounds?

We need to fix this rule in 2014 to adopt fractional points. (Or at the very least declare some other system rather than the Yahoo tiebreaker will determine who is the official champion.) We should not wait until there is a blemish on our trophy before we put this issue six feet under.

The talk of the NFL this week has been Dez Bryant and his sideline tirade during the latest heartbreaking loss to beset the Dallas Cowboys franchise. Many were tricked into thinking that Bryant's treatment of Tony Romo and other teammates was a sign of disrespect. But if you watch the video, you'll see that Bryant really was just trying to pump up his teammates and stoke their competitive fire. Now, yes, he was doing it very demonstrably and very confrontationally but he was not doing it disrepectfully. His basic message was, "We're better than this." (A sentiment I'm sure The Commish was yelling at his players on Sunday as well.)

There's nothing wrong with being competitive. If Tom Brady barks at his receivers or his coaches, it's treated as leadership and a will to win. If "diva receiver" Dez Bryant does it, then he just must be complaining that he's not getting the ball enough. First, he wasn't. Second, he should be getting the ball more. Bryant may not be Calvin Johnson. But he's as Calvin Johnson as the Cowboys have on that roster. And catches like this are not going to be had by any other player taking the field on Sundays in Jerry World.

So I say go for it, Dez. Let out that competive spirit. Even if it looks more like Carrie than Casper the friendly ghost. The Cowboys can only benefit from someone pushing them a little harder. Romo, Witten and Jason Garrett just don't strike me as the rah-rah type.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Have fun! Hope the kids are safe trick or treating (hopefully, they don't go too close to Kris' house). And I hope at least one of the league's junior members is dressed like one of these guys.

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