New Twist on an Old Game: Divisional Fantasy Football

So after winning my league Super Bowl following the 2006 season, I quit playing Fantasy Football these last few seasons. Honestly, I must say I have NOT missed it. It’s nice to enjoy football for what it is, and not end up screaming at the TV and ruining a Sunday over something stupid like “Damn, why did Brady throw it to Welker? I started Gronk!!!” That said, I’m still an idea man… and I’ve got a great idea to breathe new life into Fantasy Football for anyone getting bored or looking for a new twist:  Divisional Fantasy Football.

A new way to play might spice things up.

Each of the 8 players gets one NFL Division and can field his team from any players in that division. So the person with the NFC East could choose from Eli Manning, RGIII, Michael Vick, and Romo at QB. Meanwhile the guy with the NFC West could pencil in the San Francisco defense and Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald every week. Whoever drafts the AFC West would have to choose between new Denver QB Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers of the Chargers. You get the idea.

It would sort of take the fun out of the draft, since there’d only be one round, but the guy with the first pick still has to strategize… does he take the NFC North so he’ll have Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Lions WR Calvin Johnson? Or take the AFC North just to get Ravens RB Ray Rice and pair him with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, Bengals WR A.J. Green, Browns RB Trent Richardson and the Pittsburgh Defense? And of course you’d still have week to week strategy of who to start/play.

Besides semi-killing the draft element, another stumbling block is the bye week. Usually the NFL schedule has most or all teams from one division on a bye at the same time. If one division does NOT have several teams on bye the same week, then that team would have an advantage. BUT, what if you had an active/inactive roster, so you could keep most of your top players active, but still leave plenty of “free agents” for other divisions to use one-time only when their division is on bye? Maybe you’d have to leave X number of QB’s available…. Maybe each week you could move players to/from inactive list.

So I have the NFC South, and they’re all on bye except New Orleans. Maybe I start the best of the Saints players and then fill in with the unprotected players from the other divisions. Maybe force everyone to leave 1-2 QB’s from their division on an unprotected inactive list so the talent pool was decent….

Not sure if this format would work in head-to-head style of play, or more suitable to a “rotisserie” format where you don’t play against anyone, just accumulate points each week. Maybe it could be done either way.

Not sure how this idea could make money. Unless you could have a website where people would play for $10 and just spread the word around until it’s really popular. Perhaps I could copyright the concept so I could cash in if ESPN and Yahoo wanted to start offering this. Probably not, who knows. But consider this date/time-stamped blog entry as my official claim on the idea; feel free to contact me with big-money offers.

This article is an updated reprint of my original idea previously published in 2008.

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Week 4 NFL Picks

Week 4 NFL action is upon us and once again Bums Logic has your Best Bets: NFL picks against the spread that are sure to win, but might possibly lose, as evidenced by our paltry but technically winning record so far!

Oftentimes winning football picks aren’t the glamorous Game of the Week when two popular contenders square-off in a showdown. As sad as it is to bet on crappy who-cares games that no one in their right mind would ever watch, if you have a feeling about a game, no matter how bad or boring, just take the easy money.

Case in point this week: the ho-hum Tennessee Titans to take on the perennially putrid Cleveland Browns. Not exactly the kinda game that inspires you to make sure you have a table at the wings place at quarter-to-1, eh? The Titans showed some life in a home win against Baltimore when they utilized a pass-heavy attack with Veteran QB Matt Hasslebeck. Even that season-high only yielded 26 points. In their other 2 games they scored 14 at Jacksonville and 17 against Denver. And now they are suddenly without emerging WR threat Kenny Britt. So this is probably the week they look to get RB Chris Johnson going (he’s yet to have a really big game), and that will keep the clock moving. It’s also a good bet that Cleveland will look to do the same by feeding the rock to RB Peyton Hillis in hopes of grinding out a home win. No one outside of Cleveland or Nashville will be watching this game. It’s got 16-13 written all over it. Maybe 17-14 or one of those weird-score games like 19-15. You get the idea. The point is, bet the Titans-Browns game Under 39. Even if they get to 21-17, it still stays under.

In another game that might be canceled due to lack of interest, New Orleans makes the short trip east to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Giving 7 points on the road is often risky in the NFL, but the Saints are a good team with an explosive offense and Jacksonville is mediocre at best with not much of a home-field advantage. I could see a lot of regional Saints fans from the Southeast making the trip to North Florida for this one. The only stat we need for this one is the Saints score 35 points per game while the Jags score just under 10 while giving up an average of 21. Okay maybe that was three stats. Anyway, I expect that to continue as Drew Brees and company will run a clinic en route to a 38-17 win. Bet New Orleans -7 at Jacksonville.

If you must make a bet with a bit more fun and pizazz than the two snoozers above, bet Over 54.5 in the Patriots-Raiders game. I know, it’s another obvious bet just like the Over pick in the last New England game (that won easily). But just like the 2007 Patriots were killing opponents and the spreads they were favored by kept going up and up, these high totals for New England wont keep Over bettors from cashing in for a few more weeks. The Raiders will have confidence and energy at home, and Darren McFadden is running wild on the NFL so far this year. The Pats cant stop anyone, but Tom Brady can keep them moving up and down the field and scoring quickly and often. Both teams should hit 30+ in this game and it will sail over the total. Even 31-27 or 34-24 would be a winner.

Last Week: 2-1-1
This Season: 7-5-1