Although there is still one game to play in Week 15 at the time of this writing, my 2018 fantasy season is now officially over, as I have lost both of my semifinal games.
In my 25-year-old dynasty league, my team had limped into the playoffs, entering this weekend with four players on injured reserve, plus Carson Wentz on his way to join them and banged-up Jimmy Graham inspiring no confidence. Quite frankly, I'm not the least bit surprised to have lost to Matthew Berry's squad, which almost outscored my sad but intrepid bit of second-stringers with just Todd Gurley II and Chris Carson alone. I wish him well in next week's championship.
It's the loss in my other league that is far more frustrating, and I'll outline my sob story there in just a minute. But first, as this year's fantasy football season inches ever closer to its finale, let me talk briefly about this week's veteran move: to keep an open mind.
During the course of the season in this column, I've offered up ideas for different rules for you to consider for your league. Each time I've done so, I've stressed that there is no right or wrong way to play fantasy football, and I stand 100 percent firm with that sentiment.
In the past, I've played in leagues where head coaches are drafted and bonus points awarded if his team wins. I've played in leagues where you draft full offensive lines (just like you draft team D/STs), which earn bonus points based on how many rushing yards their team gains but lose points for sacks allowed and penalties committed. I no longer play in those leagues because I didn't like those rules, but I was willing to give them a try. I didn't reject the whole concept out of hand, and some of those leagues are still going strong. They may not have been my cup of tea, but those quirks clearly hit the spot for those fantasy managers.
I mean, personally, I'm all for IDP leagues. That said, I have no idea how you can properly assign fantasy value to cornerbacks. The problem is that the better a player is at his job, the fewer balls get thrown in his direction, meaning he often has fewer chances to make tackles or pull down interceptions than less-talented players. But if you like playing with those rules, then there's no reason why you shouldn't.
So back to my playoff defeat this weekend. I had both Lamar Miller and Frank Gore in my lineup. An ankle injury in the first quarter led to Miller missing the majority of Houston's game. Gore, meanwhile, gained 10 yards on a first-quarter scamper only to have his left foot injured on the tackle. His day ended in a walking boot and an appointment for an MRI.
I get it. Injuries happen and those are the breaks. However, I've always felt that fantasy football works best when it mirrors the real enchilada as closely as possible. Miami didn't have to play the game with only 10 men in the huddle the rest of the way. They were able to insert Kalen Ballage into the backfield and got 123 rushing yards and a score as a result.
Now, I'm not saying Gore's fantasy managers should automatically get Ballage's stats, especially if he was on someone else's roster at the time. But allow me to float an idea. What if you could designate one player from your bench as an injury replacement? In the event of one of your starters going down with an injury, you get the option to activate your sub instead.
Certainly, there would have to be some guidelines in place before this rule would become reality. For example, how bad does an injury have to be? How early in the game does it have to occur? What should the timing be on making the decision to switch? Does it have to happen as soon as the injury occurs or can it be made retroactively after it has been officially declared that the player will not return?
There's a lot to be discussed here. But again, let me stress that the veteran move is NOT to adopt this new rule I've proposed here. I'm just brainstorming and don't know myself how I feel about it. However, to just dismiss the idea -- or perhaps any suggestions made by your league mates -- by saying you think it's a dumb idea or that it's "not how you play fantasy football"? That's a sad way to run a league. Keep an open mind. Maybe this rule doesn't sit right with you, but perhaps by simply discussing it with your fellow managers, you'll come up with some unexpected new idea that everybody loves.
Good luck to those of you playing for the title in Week 16! I wish I was there with you.