The Fantasy Football Mailbag

Mike Donnelly of TOJ answers readers questions about how to form a perfect Fantasy Football league.

It’s that magical time of the year… Fantasy Football is here! Last year I did all you fantasy football players a favor and published a revised version of my 8 Rules for a Perfect Fantasy League (which can be found HERE). It’s pretty much a step-by-step guide on how to create your league, what scoring system you should use, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I was going to update it and make a Volume 3 for this year, but that would be boring. Instead I’m going to just link to the articles from last year and answer a bunch of the questions and comments that were posted on them here. So, without further adieu, let’s empty the fantasy football mailbag….

8 Rules for a Perfect Fantasy League: PART 1 , PART 2

(The questions/comments in bold are from the comments section in both parts 1 & 2 linked above. My responses are below in regular old font.)

How do you address keeping 2 players that were drafted in the same round last year? I have an owner that wants to keep 2 players that were each drafted in the 1st round last year. Thanks.

Good question here and the answer is simple. If you have two players who have the same round keeper value, you simply have the second player be graded as the round after. So, for example, if you have Alshon Jeffery and Leveon Bell on your team and both are 8th round values from last year’s draft, you simply make one your 8th and one your 9th. HOWEVER, you need to make note that both were 8th round values, despite one being placed in the 9th round for next year’s draft. Gotta keep track of the little things.

Mike, great write up, I’m transitioning to a PPR league this year, I have 12 teams with the same rosters, what does your bench and IR consist of? How much? And also how much RB, WR, QB your allowed to have?

My main league I run is a keeper league so we have a few extra bench slots to possibly stash guys on. In that league we have an 18-man roster, but standard leagues are typically 16. I also wouldn’t set any limits as to how many players you can have at each position. If you want to load up with 9 RB’s or something, then that’s your business and you can run your team as you wish. As for IR spots, there should be no such thing. If you want to carry an injured player, you have to decide if he’s worth the bench spot or not. This isn’t stupid fantasy baseball here. This is the big leagues. 

hey mike, how bout your defense scoring settings? do you mess with Yards allowed (scoring) besides points allowed as well?

No, I don’t do defensive yards allowed scoring. I think defense should strictly be about points allowed and how many sacks, interceptions, etc. that they rack up. The full scoring can be found in the link to the article. 

I’ve been running a league through ESPN for about 5 years, so I’m still getting my legs. Maybe I’m just missing something, but it sems to me that a roster of 16 in a 12 team leagus is too many. Even in a 10 team league for that matter. Halfway through last season there was nobody worth picking up when you needed to because all of the talent was sitting on your opponents bench. This year, we’re doing a 12 team league with 6 starters: QB RB WR Flex K DEF, and 5 bench spots. And acquisitions from waivers/FA’s is limited to 10 for the season.

I really just don’t agree with any of this. There are always guys you can find on the waiver wire who can help in a pinch. You shouldn’t expect to find really good players or anything, because they should all be rostered already, obviously. Also, 6 starters is way too little. It should be 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1 Flex, 1TE, 1K, and 1 Defense. I also don’t believe in limiting the amount of acquisitions a team can make, so you should go ahead and do away with that rule. 

Would love this if it weren’t for the generalization of girls in your rule…especially when you deem it “your most important”. As a girl who is an avid football fan, I play in a 10 person league with 8 guys and 2 girls. We have all been best friends since our college years and we have no problem taking and/or dishing out smack (think Jenny from the League, without the Kevin link). 

This was all fine up until….

In fact, I’d say us girls get the jucier embarrassing info considering we become friends with the guys’ girlfriends.

And there it is. What in the blue hell makes you think I want you getting embarrassing info about me from my girlfriend and bringing it up on the fantasy football league page? This is exactly what I mean here. I have no problem with girls playing fantasy football whatsoever. I’m just saying mixing in significant others into a diehard league with your good friends is usually a terrible, terrible idea. That being said, there are plenty of girls out there who knows just as much – and a lot of times more – than some of the idiot guys who are probably in your leagues. So, to summarize… girls can play. Just not in my close friends league. 

PPR leagues are idiotic. So you’re going to artificially inflate the fantasy point totals of running-backs because they catch a lot of high percentage receptions at the line of scrimmage? Often times a pass to a rb is just a check-down, because the wideouts were too well covered by the opposing d. Many times these passes result in minimal or negative yards, but you think these players should be disproportionately rewarded, because the opposing secondary is playing well?

So much wrong with this. These days RB’s catching passes out of the backfield is a huge part of offenses around the NFL. There is nothing artificial about it. Sure there are some times where the guy will catch a dump-off for little to no yardage, but the same can be said for WR’s. The fact is PPR balances out the scoring and gives more players increased value.

Way to be a misogynist asshole. Glad I’m in a league that understands that I’m female AND a football fan. The two are not mutually exclusive. Good luck with your Bro-fest.


I really found your article informative until the no girls allowed section. I am a female and I am the commissioner of an all girl FFL. I was the only girl in a 12 person league for 8 years and held my own. Girls can dish it out and take it just as well as guys can. Woman are just as competitive and knowledgeable about football as guys are. We have a big ass trophy and $50 buy in so we have just as much at stake as a guys only league. Not to mention our draft party is epic. We would welcome any guys with open arms if they thought they could hang being apart of a league full of women and named Brew N Screw Chicks Fantasy Football League!!

Brew N Screw? Where do I sign up? Seriously though, your leagues sound fun and as I said I have nothing against girls playing fantasy football. I just don’t think you should be playing in your boyfriend’s league. Damn, this turned into a women’s rights movement here, didn’t it? 

No IDP?! You sir, know nothing about Fantasy Football if you think drafting an entire TEAM for your defensive slot is the way to go. The scoring system for team defense is one of the dumbest things about fantasy football, and knowing the Individual players displays a much bigger breadth of football knowledge. As far as bonus points, I guess a 400 yard game by a QB is nothing to see, and deserves no additional reward. Same goes for a 200 yard game from a WR…What a joke.

IDP sucks. So do bonuses. What’s the difference between a QB throwing for 399 yards and 400 yards. The difference is 1 yard, which equates to 0.05 points. The difference between 399 and 400 shouldn’t be a 10 point bonus or some other silly crap like that. Sounds like your league sucks and you should re-read the article to fix that up. You’re welcome. 

Is this too weird a lineup for a 10team league: qb wr wr wr rb rb flex te k def + 7 bench

Not at all. In a 10 team league adding an extra starter spot is probably a good idea. Going 2 RB’s, 2 WR’s, and 2 Flex’s would be another way to go instead of 3 WR’s, but both are good.

No negatives for field goals missed? Even for 0-39?

Nah, because then if it’s blocked or something it would count as a miss, and that would be annoying. Also, there are times teams try desperation field goals at the end of a half or something that have virtually no chance of going in and that isn’t fun. 

But what do you do if a player is drafted in an odd numbered round? Say I Draft cooks in round 13, I lose a 13th next year and then what? 6th or 7th?

It’s up to you. In my league we round up, so 13 would become a 6.

What about bonuses?

Again, I think bonuses are the absolute worst, most idiotic part of fantasy football. They make zero sense. If a RB rushes for 100 yards, you already got rewarded by getting all of those points. The difference between a guy getting 99 yards and 100 yards is 1 yard. 1 yard doesn’t deserve a 5 or 10 point bonus. Stuuuuuupppiiidddd.

Your suggestion for starting roster size is WAY too shallow except for newb leagues.

9 starters and 9 bench players? No it isn’t. 

Nothing about a trophy? You’re missing out, I promise.

100% correct here. It was an oversight on my part. Your league should ABSOLUTELY have some kind of trophy or prize for the winner. Also, you need to make sure there’s a severe punishment for the person who comes in last. In my league, the loser has to supply all the beer for the next year’s draft, which is no treat. 

You did a great job describing the best league. My favorite event is scheduling and attending my fantasy football draft!! It’sthe best event of the year without a doubt! Believe it or not, I have all your rules with one exception. I have QB’s at 6 points instead of 4. Do you really think that 4 points compared to 6 points makes it a better for fairer league?

I think 4 points for passing TD’s helps even out the scoring. QB’s are already the highest scoring players, but this makes them not quite so far and above all the other positions.

Part 1 mentioned there would be suggestions on websites for running the league. I didn’t see anything in Part 2. Any advice would be great.

I would recommend CBS, which is the site I’ve been using for 10 years now. You have to pay for a Commissioner League, but it’s worth it. ESPN and Yahoo are just terrible. 

Mike, do you give one point for a reception as well as a point for a completion, or are we talking apples and oranges? I suppose if I award one point for a completion, I would have to take one point away for an incompletion..?

That’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples and BBQ ribs or something. No points for throwing a completion, and no points deducted for incompletions.

Mike, how do you go about deciding if trades are fair or not? It was my first year being commissioner and that was a big problem in my league.

This is a big issue, and there’s a pretty big misconception here. It’s not about if a trade is fair or not, it’s about if you think there is cheating going on. If someone gets robbed in a trade without any cheating being suspected, that’s their fault and actually it’s your fault too – you should have tried to rip your friend off with an unfair trade as well. You could just put all the power in the Commissioner’s hands to rule if a trade needs to be overturned, or you can put it up to a vote for the league. In general though, I don’t think trades should be overturned unless you think there’s cheating going on.

Mike, I’m in a CBSSports league. We’re all friends and have been doing this for a lot of years. This past week one owner forgot to change his lineup. He left in two players who were on a bye. If you ask me shame on you, you play short handed. One or two new teams in the league had a problem with this saying it questions the integrity of the league. They feel the commissioner should step in and put there available players in there lineup. What are your thoughts?

I think the Commissioner should contact a person who has bye players in to tell him to change his lineup. If the lineup remains unchanged, then the guy just has to play short-handed. I don’t think the Commish should go in and change a team’s lineup on his own. Sounds to me like you need to kick that guy out of the league though. No excuse to have 7 days to change your lineup and leave a player who is on bye in there.

Author: Mike Donnelly

Mike Donnelly is a Staff Writer and life-long Jets fan, who was previously a featured columnist at multiple other New York Jets and fantasy football websites. He lives and works in finance in the NYC area and will help lead our Jets and NFL coverage in 2013.