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Not Your Normal Fantasy League: Crazy Person Edition

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Fantasy football has become an intrinsic part of the regular football season. As some of you may know I don’t play in your typical 12 team 1QB, 2RB, 3WR fantasy leagues. What draws me in is level of difficulty. I like lots of teams, lots of roster spots, and unorthodox scoring. In this article I’ll be breaking down a league I played in last year, the best strategies to win in these types of leagues, and give you advice on players suitable for these types of leagues.

The League

Name: Toughest League Ever

Teams: 20

Scoring Type: Head-to-Head

No Max Acquisitions

Divisions: No

Fractional Points: Yes

Negative Points: Yes

Roster Spots: QB(2), RB(3), WR(3), TE(3), W/R/T(3), Q/W/R/T(4), DEF(2), D(Defensive Players 5), BN(6)

Scoring

Offense

Completions: .3

Passing Yards: 10 yards per point

Passing Touchdowns: 7

Interceptions: -1

Rushing Attempts: .4

Rushing Yards: 5 Yards per point

Rushing Touchdowns: 6

Receptions: 2.5

Reception Yards: 5 yards per point

Reception Touchdowns: 7

Return Yards: 7.5 yards per point

Return Touchdowns: 10

2-pt Conversions: 2

Fumbles Lost: -2

Offensive Fumble Return TD: 6

Defense (Team)

Sack: 4

Interception: 8

Fumble Recovery: 3

Touchdown: 10

Safety: 5

Block Kick: 5

Kickoff and Punt Return TDs: 6

Points Allowed 0 points: 20

Points Allowed 1-6 points: 10

Points Allowed 7-13 points: 5

Points Allowed 14-20 points: 1

Points Allowed 21-27 points: 0

Points Allowed 28-34 points: -2

Points Allowed 35+ points: -5

4th Down Stops: 1

Tackles for Loss: 1

Defensive Yards Allowed 0-99: 5

Defensive Yards Allowed 100-199: 3

Defensive Yards Allowed 500+: -4

Extra Point Returned: 2

Defense(Player)

Tackle Solo: 4

Tackle Assist: 2

Sack: 8

Interception: 10

Fumble Force: 5

Fumble Recovery: 2

Defensive Touchdown: 7

Safety: 5

Pass Defended: 2

Block Kick: 5

Tackles for Loss: 1

Extra Point Returned: 2

Strategy

Generally speaking in standard fantasy football formats running backs present the best value. In a standard league, an RB duo of Le’Veon Bell and Eddy Lacie could very lead you fantasy playoff victory. QB’s offer a good chunk of points too but are less valuable you could find a quality starter in Derek Carr, or Phillip Rivers in the later rounds of your fantasy draft. Wide receivers are less important unless you are targeting true number one receivers such as Antonio Brown, Deandre Hopkins or Odell Beckham after those three there is a significant drop off in my opinion and you could find great value players in the mid rounds. Tight ends are getting tougher to rely upon unless you get a top tier TE in Jordan Reed , Rob Gronkowski, or Tyler Eifert. After that, there is a good drop off in consistency from week to week. The goal in your standard fantasy lineups is to put up two quality backs that get the lion's share of carries that you hope to score a touchdown or two each week, have your QB toss a touchdown or two to a receiver on your team (Big Ben and Antonio Brown stack anyone?) and have your other receivers and tight ends play moderately well and hope your team defense doesn’t give up a gang of points.

Well in this more umm complex league all of that standard thinking goes out of the window. The first thing to pay attention to is the scoring format and remember that there will be 500 players started each week between all the teams.

Position Breakdown

Quarterbacks clearly present the most value and represent the biggest need for a team. There are two quarterback slots but four flex positions with an option to plug in a QB. Remember there are 20 teams as well. In the first round of the draft all the quality QBs are gone. Literally there were people holding onto Ryan Nassib (me), and there were fights over claiming Tavaris Jackson off waivers in hopes they would somehow get to play. The five highest scoring QBs in this league were:

  1. Cam Newton - 951.5 points
  2. Russell Wilson - 902.9 points
  3. Tom Brady - 898.5 points
  4. Blake Bortles - 871.1 points
  5. Drew Brees - 842.8 points

It’s clear that when targeting your first QB you want to get someone who also takes off occasionally to take advantage of points for rushing and rush attempts. Also try and find a guy that throws a low interception total.

Wide receivers are the next valuable position group because of the 2.5 points per reception. You want to target a high volume / high target receiver if you can. Someone like Jeremy Maclin is just as valuable Doug Baldwin because of the number of catches even though Baldwin put up higher yardage and TD numbers. Other good choices are receivers that tote the rock from time to time and return kicks. Jarvis Landry was amazing for me last year and players like Antonio Brown are stars while Tyler Lockett would be a good value as well later in the draft. The top scoring receivers in this league were:

  1. Antonio Brown - 841.87 points
  2. Julio Jones - 778.2 points
  3. Brandon Marshall - 677.9 points
  4. DeAndre Hopkins - 676.7 points
  5. Jarvis Landry - 673.67 points

Running backs are the next valuable group. The highest scoring backs are ones who get high carry totals and also have a few receptions per game. But the standard names aren't as valuable as you think here. While attempts are yards are important remember the 2.5 points per reception and the return scoring. Backs who catch the ball out of the backfield a lot can be very valuable. Devonta Freeman would be more valuable than Adrian Peterson here. Remember you get negative points for fumbles so someone like Doug Martin or Matt Jones shouldn't be your first backs taken. Players like Ameer Abdullah and David Johnson become valuable because of their return yardage. The top scoring running backs in this league were:

  1. Devonta Freeman - 706.3 points
  2. Adrian Peterson - 607.2 points
  3. Doug Martin - 577.3 points
  4. Danny Woodhead - 533.4 points
  5. David Johnson - 519.33 points

Next up are the tight ends and as I type this I have 2.5 points per reception etched in my brain. The same logic applied to wide receivers applies here except without all the rushing and return yardage factored into it. Receptions and yardage are the two biggest factors when thinking about the TE you are selecting. The top scorers were:

  1. Delanie Walker - 516.2 points
  2. Rob Gronkowski - 496.87 points
  3. Gary Barnidge - 489.1 points
  4. Jordan Reed - 484.9 points
  5. Greg Olsen - 472.3 points

How many of you have played in IDP leagues? If you haven't you should give it a try. The reason I have defensive players lower than the TE group is that there is a bigger pool of them. After the first 6 or 7 TEs are off the board pickings are slim. Having a fantasy team with individual defensive players makes you pay attention and account for both sides of the ball. In this league players with high volume of tackles and assisted tackles present the most value. Going after linebackers that produce in this area is your best bet think Levonte David and not Chandler Jones (even though the sack total is high). If you miss out on linebackers the next best player to target is one that may have high interception totals. The top scoring defensive players were:

  1. Rashad Jones (S) - 600.73 points
  2. Navarro Bowman (LB) - 576 points
  3. Levonte David (LB) - 575 points
  4. D’Qwell Jackson (LB) - 552 points
  5. Paul Posluszny (LB) - 535 points

Lastly, when evaluating team defenses takeaways and point allowed are huge. 4th down stops and touchdowns scored by the defense also play a big role. When choosing a defense try to choose one with a front 7 that can get after the QB and create turnovers and score off them as well. The team defensive leaders were:

  1. Kansas City - 585 points
  2. Carolina - 578 points
  3. Denver - 561 points
  4. Arizona - 540 points
  5. Pittsburgh - 519 points

The Really Hard Part

With 500 players playing every week and 620 players selected overall and a finite amount of good players much less players that play at all you will most likely need to make sacrifices to your team and specifically your bench. While you should try to get your bench as good as you can it may inevitable to have a bench consisting of Patrick DiMarco, Landry Jones, Rashad Ross, Tony Moeki, that rookie you never heard of, and Whitney Mercilus. Sort of depressing I know. Don’t be like me and draft Tony Romo in the 2nd round (FAIL) try and draft durable and reliable players all around and don't turn your nose up at second stringers you think can see the field sooner rather than later. Brock Osweiler did wonders for me for a few weeks. You will have to be active on the waiver wire dropping JAGs and hoping the JAG you pick up will be better.

This Was the Final Roster for the Winning Team

QB: Jimmy Garoppolo

QB: AJ McCarron

WR: Jarvis Landry

WR: Doug Baldwin

WR: Brandon Cooks

RB: Lamar Miller

RB: Latavius Murray

RB: Duke Johnson

TE: Delanie Walker

TE: Jacob Tamme

W/R/T: Devante Parker

W/R/T: Bishop Sankey

W/R/T: Bryce Brown

Q/W/R/T: Marquise Lee

Q/W/R/T: Dion Sims

Q/W/R/T: Deonte Thompson

Q/W/R/T: Luke Willson

DEF: Houston

DEF: New England

D: James Laurinaitis

D: Preston Brown

D: Kenny Vaccaro

D: James Brinkley

D: Rolondo McClain

BN: Bryan Walters

BN: Alfred Blue

BN: Michael Hoomanawanui

BN: Bryan Hoyer

BN: Kellen Clemens

BN: Jasper Brinkly

Yep, it’s crazy.

Final Tips / Notes

  • If you decide to play in a format like this one take the time to really think about the players and how they would produce in this type of scoring system, particular running backs.
  • Grab your QBs early and try to get as many as you can. Remember there are 20 teams and only 32 starters. Case Keenum was money last year. Don’t be afraid to go to 2nd stringers whose situations may be in flux (Josh McCown, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, etc).
  • Tight ends who catch the ball a lot are more value able than guys who are purer end zone targets. Ben Watson outscored Travis Kelce last year.
  • Make sure you have a comfy chair and a tasty beverage your draft will take awhile.
  • Dynasty league thinking definitely does not apply here. Sure draft Josh Docton if you think the Redskins will trade Garcon or Jackson later (or they get hurt) but don’t count on him working his way heavily into the lineup. A player like Corey Coleman would be the better pick as he is a target with way less depth in front of him.
  • This is not something you draft for in early August, you want to have teams set a couple days before the season opener.
  • This was a lot to think about and cover even for me. The Ieague I just covered filled up today. And I know I inevitably forgot to cover something. If anyone has any interest in joining a similar league (I’d be happy to make a similar one) or wants any advice please let me know.
  • Go and win your league!