Know the Rules
Posted Nov. 18 at 07:11 AM
At this point in the fantasy season, it's important that you know how the rules of the game are played.
Does that sound ridiculous to you? Am I insulting your intelligence by advising you to understand the rules of a game you've played for years? I might have agreed before I heard Donovan McNabb's post-game press conference following Philadelphia's 13-13 tie with Cincinnati. You see, McNabb was disappointed to learn that after a scoreless overtime, an NFL game is ruled a tie. Personally, I was disappointed to learn that McNabb hadn't already learned that in his decade behind center. And I'm sure Eagles' fans were happy to learn that the guy leading the team wasn't aware during those overtime drives that it's really, really important to score because they'll eventually run out of chances.
Well, if McNabb overlooked that little nugget of information maybe you've overlooked something, too. Do you know when the league trading deadline is? How about the waiver wire rules when there are both Thursday and Saturday games, like during the all-important week 16? When is a score "final" and can you bring a scoring discrepancy to the commissioner if you find one?
How about tie-breakers? They're often different across different leagues. In one league I'm in, the tie-breaker between two teams is always total points. So even if one team swept another during the regular season, it doesn't matter. But in other leagues, the head-to-head record between two clubs would make a big difference. Better to find out now than think you have an advantage (or deficit) you really don't have.
Also, start times for games will change over the next few weeks. Flexible scheduling means that some 1 p.m. EST game-time decisions will become 4 p.m. or 8:15 p.m. decisions. If you don't have other options to throw in at those particular times, you could be out on a limb. It's a good idea to keep up with what games have been changed as soon as they're announced.
If Peyton Manning played fantasy football, I'm sure he'd know all the contingencies and possibilities. He's known for being a student of the game. But as talented as Donovan McNabb is, it's clear he didn't study up on the intricacies of the game he plays for a living. Right now, it's important you act like Manning while other owners act like McNabb. Know how your leagues differ from each other, and recognize which ones have obscure rules and which have more traditional ones. Winning is the obvious path to the playoffs, but getting there could be assisted (or hampered) by the rules your league has in place. Now is the time to know all the options that will put you in the best position to win. Injuries to players like Earnest Graham and Brandon Jacobs will have owners looking for scraps of help on the waiver wire, and could open some doors for other teams to sneak into the post-season. Whatever your position is, you're better off knowing the rules while you're playing. Otherwise, time could literally run out on you -- like it did for Philadelphia. Good luck this week.
Youtube Clip of the Week: Just in case you don't believe me, here's McNabb in the post-game press conference. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MVZg639gJ4
You can reach Michael Murillo at email@example.com.
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