Wednesday, July 26, 2006
As posted in a previous article I stated that I was going to begin to rate Bill Simmons articles in an attempt to get him to revert back to the Sports Guy we knew and loved. A frivolous attempt I know, but I don't really have anything better to do.
To be completely honest with you I was actually waiting for an awful one, but he's been mediocre the last three. Plus I'm impatient, so our first article is entitled "The New Fantasy Rules". To be seen in the July 31st issue of the FABULOUS ESPN the Mag. Our judging criteria is based on the following: 1) Timing and Relevance 2) The number of Boston Sports References 3) Knowledge and conveyance of said knowledge 4) Overall writing and impact (i'm not sure what impact means, but I'll know if when I see it).
Here we go......
The article (as you've probably guessed by the title) is Simmons' take on how Fantasy Football should be governed by a certain set of rules.....his rules. First paragraph sums it up in a nutshell: You're not allowed to complain about four things in life: nudity, free food, free drinks and fantasy football. So why would I want to tinker with the latter, a multibillion-dollar business that brings us so much joy?
So there you have it! You can't complain about fantasy football, so why do we need 6 printed pages on it? Well because the Sports Guy has nothing better to do with his time.
SPORTS GUYS PROBLEM #1: Every league has different rules.
Imagine that you and your friends belonged to various bowling leagues, only some used extra-big balls, some used 12 pins instead of 10, some counted strikes as 15 points and so on. How could anyone ever brag about a 300? You'd spend more time explaining your rules than anything else. Well, isn't that what happens with fantasy football? Some leagues start eight guys, others start 12. Some leagues start multiple QBs, others start one. Some leagues count stats for individual defensive players, some don't count defense at all. When a buddy tells you a war story from his league, he always has to spend 45 seconds explaining his rules. Complete waste of time.__________________________________________________________
Now I've never personally found Fantasy Football to be rocket science. You know the rules ahead of time and they don't ever change during a season. But I guess if I was in eight different leagues with my buddies House and J-Bug then it would get a little confusing. Also, how does that analogy even work? One is an actual physical sport the other is a FANTASY game based on an actual sport.....moving on.
SOLUTION: The Sports Guy's rules. (A little bit egotistical huh?)
B) Shutouts count for 10 points, holding an opponent to seven or less counts for five and holding the other team to under 200 total yards counts as another five. Defenses don't matter enough in fantasy. In what other scenario is a tight end more important than all 11 guys on the opposing defense? I mean, except for Ben Coates in Madden '97?(Here is our first Boston mention, and Ben Coates was not that good in '97. Nowhere near as dominate as Ron Mexico in Madden '04)
SPORTS GUY PROBLEM #2: Nobody can pull off a schmuck-free league.
Look, the duties of an owner are simple: Don't bring your girlfriend/wife to the draft; don't draft someone that was already drafted; don't draft an injured guy (leading your buddies to be thrust into an awkward position of either screwing you or giving you a do-over); try to field a competitive team; create an offensive team name; start a lineup of healthy players every week; return e-mails or phone calls within 24 hours unless you're trapped under something; and, when all else fails, at least come up with an occasional funny e-mail or message-board post.(This point I agree 100% with. Last year we had a player drop out, so I got a Team Owner's brother to fill in. Needless to say he's never played Fantasy before, and proceed to draft Chris Cooley in the fifth round, Jason Campbell!?!?! in the sixth round, and never once changed his lineup. Funny thing is that he went 5-8)
SPORTS GUY PROBLEM #3: It's impossible to make it through a season without a one-sided trade causing complete chaos.
We all know that the wrong trade can divide a fantasy league faster than the Spelling family fell apart. In my West Coast league a few years ago, the first-place team had Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. It needed a receiver and traded Manning straight up for Amani Toomer. You read the correctly. Nearly 700 angry e-mails and five near-fistfights later, the trade was somehow approved. If that wasn't bad enough, the first-place team won the title -- Toomer filled a gaping hole at receiver -- and Manning's new team finished second. From then on, we called it Toomergate. And, honestly, I never want to go through anything like that again. It was more traumatic than the last 20 minutes of "American History X."(I was with him up until the solution............)
SOLUTION: Form a trading committee.
Enlist three unbiased outsiders who aren't in the league but are friends with a few of the owners. It's not like you'd have trouble convincing them. They'll be delighted to kill a few minutes at work arbitrating. And you think I'm kidding. They'll be like, "Wait, you want me to be on your league's new trading committee? Sure, I'm available!"(Okay this is an AWFUL idea. First off if you had a friend that knew enough about football to analyze trades wouldn't he/she already be in your league. Bribes would run rampant....it would be like Fantasy Football turned into Deadwood....you C'Sucker.)
SPORTS GUY PROBLEM #4: The free agent system is a complete failure.
You know how someone does a brutal job picking his team and gets rewarded with first choice on the free agent wire every week? "Congratulations, you stunk out the joint; now you get to add a receiver who just exploded for 190 yards and a TD last week!" How does that make sense? You're almost better off tanking Week 1. Anyway, those days are over.
SOLUTION: A weekly auction.
Give everyone a budget of $100 to spend on free agents. Every Thursday, if you want someone, you bid for him; highest bid wins. Not only is it more fun than humans should be allowed, but there's some genuine strategy here. Let's say nobody picks Bethel Johnson, who busts out with a 160-yard game in Week 1 after Joe Horn breaks his collarbone patting himself on the back. And let's say you need a wide receiver because Chad Johnson blows out his knee dry-humping the upright. What do you bid for Bethel: $15? $20? $25? Isn't this more exciting than everyone putting in for the same three standouts, followed by the three most incompetent teams landing those guys?
(How does that make sense?!?!?! Because that's the way every damn free agency system in the world works! For example, say the Diamondbacks waived Russ "Too much Junk in the Trunk" Ortiz after the trade deadline. Would it be fair to your Red Sox if they automatically let him go to the Yankees who would almost automatically buy everyone available? Just retarded.)
SPORTS GUY PROBLEM #5: Unless you make the playoffs, your fantasy football season is done by Week 14.
Everyone willingly accepts a shorter season. Why? Because that's the way we've always done it. Well, isn't it possible we messed up from Day 1, like when HBO greenlit "Arli$$" and kept it on for seven years?
(I completely disagree with this. The highlight of every season is when the lower level teams make the loser's bracket and start picking of teams and the trash talking escalates to ungodly proportions. Not a chance I take that out of my league)_____________________________________________________________
SOLUTION: Make the regular season last 17 weeks.
Why? BECAUSE A 21-WEEK FANTASY SEASON IS MORE FUN THAN A 16-WEEK FANTASY SEASON, THAT'S WHY!
Here's how this works:
1. The top four teams advance to the playoffs.
2. Playoff teams can protect just six players from their roster, which makes the original September draft more interesting. Now someone like Tom Brady is worth more than someone like Drew Brees, because of his playoff value.
(This is a fine idea....in fact a good one. But here's the problem: HE'S ALREADY TOLD US THIS IDEA 10,000 BLEEPING TIMES!!!! I've been hearing about this for 3 years now, and not once have I seen someone try it. Give it up already.....also we had our second Boston mention)
Remember, the whole concept of fantasy is based on procrastination: guys wasting incredible amounts of time preparing to pick the team, then picking it, managing it, arguing about it, following it, rooting for it and alternatively bragging/complaining about it. That's why we're involved. We should keep tinkering with the product until we get it right.
If that makes me a world-class complainer, so be it.
(No your personality and ego make you a World-Class Complainer, so be it.)
1) Timing and Relevance: I'm with Deadspin on this one. Our league's draft isn't until the middle of April. I don't entirely blame this on Bilbo since he's pretty much at the mercy of the World Wide Leader, but July is a little early.
2) The number of Boston Sports References: There were only two so I'm giving him a pass on this category......this time.
3) Knowledge and conveyance of said knowledge: Bill has been playing and commenting on Fantasy for quite sometime now. So much so that his ideas have become ridiculous. Not every idea was bad, but the bad ones most certainly outweighed the good ones....and to a pretty large degree. It is also my view that Fantasy Football doesn't need fixing as it's already time consuming enough.
4) Overall writing and impact: The overall impact of this is pretty straightforward. You knew it was coming, but not this early. It was funny in some spots, but pretty pointless in others. At this point he could cut and paste old fantasy articles and come up with this in 10 minutes (not his fault since he's been writing forever).
CONCLUSION: I was going to give this article three Boston Championship Rings (out of 5), but then I saw the ESPN the Magazine that it was featured in. Simmons now has his articles in the main part of the Magazine!!! Not that he should be penalized for something like that, but ESPN the Magazine is the worst publication ever put together.....so I'm penalizing him for that.
View the Digital Version of ESPN the Mag here. Page 64/65 of 152. You of course have to have Insider like everything else. Make sure you note the gay cartoon Moses on the one page, and flip past the article to see Chris "I cheat on my wife with Redskinettes, AND I'm from Utah" Cooley blowing a beautiful bubble.