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Wednesday 21st Feb 2018

There is something in general that is a little more laid back about fantasy football than fantasy baseball.

A lot of this is rooted in teams playing once a week rather than six, and there is also the principle of just drafting say 16 players instead of 30, and playing 11 instead of 23 on any given day.

I think there is also that angle that most of my football drafts--currently in process--are handled via e-mail, during the week, over several days, rather than over three-to-four intense hours sitting at a table trying to out-think a dozen guys.

For me, though, after a long haul of baseball, which pretty much starts in January, and pushes into November, the weekly transactions and games, leading up to a long and leisurely Sunday on the couch with the NFL, a fire, and a mound of wings is as relaxing and pleasurable as life can get.

Of course, during those Sundays there is the constant stat tracking among my five football leagues that goes with the channel surfing as I watch for signs of Cam Newton and Matt Ryan and Anquan Boldin, my favorite players.

The only problem I really have had with fantasy football is that though there certainly is skill involved in selecting and starting the right players, there is also so much more luck involved in the game.

Obviously, the chance for injury leads that list, but there is also the Zack Crockett factor, a stigma that harkens back to the Raiders days when Napoleon Kaufman would gain 1,000 yards each year, and be a fine player, but it was Crockett, so much bigger and more powerful, who was the guy punching the ball over the goal line.

The other thing that has bothered me about standard fantasy football dynamics is that the specific luck in most leagues is rooted in the Running Back.

Quarterbacks are important, as are Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends but most players in most leagues favor the numbers driven by RBs, and for me that tends to make the draft, the game, and the season more one-dimensional that baseball.

Hence two-QB leagues, of which I play in...two.

One, the Utter Genius League, is what is known as a "Super Flex" competition, where one can indeed play a second signal caller at an offensive Flex position.

The second, the long standing Kathy League Gifford, is not only a two-QB league, but one in which we added the wrinkle of playing three individual defensive players instead of a single defensive unit.

Needless to say, this league is my favorite, the hardest, and the most fun.

To start, just the fact that if we consider bye weeks, in a 12-team league, when you are obligated to start a pair of Quarterbacks each week, then there will be teams caught short as there simply are not enough starters at the position to go around.

And, since only one really plays for each team on any given week, obviously there is a shortage before we even go into the draft.

So, the question is how to balance a roster, and points, making sure you pick the perfect combo of receivers and linebackers and runners and throwers to simply field a full roster each week.

This all makes for a fun draft where there are crap shoot QBs selected in the late rounds, for we are allowed to freeze three players from the previous season, with draftees moving up three draft rounds each year. Meaning if you drafted Russell Wilson on a crap shoot in the 15th round in 2012, he would be a ninth rounder this year, and that is a real help.

This setup also makes for some really fun FAAB weeks, where shelling out $75 on the likes of Josh McCown is something that happens all through the season, and which generates some great bidding wars, coupled with an enormous amount of shame and second guessing (nothing like bidding that much on Charlie Batch, huh?).

Similarly, the rule works for some fun draft strategies as noted, though from start to finish.

In League Gifford, though, the fun does not stop there, as that use of an individual defensive player similarly is a game changer, for a sack and fumble recovery that result in a touchdown make the likes of Patrick Willis as valuable any given week as Pierre Garcon.

It does seem that over the course of each season, however, the two-QB rules always force talks for rule changes, because it can indeed be so frustrating to suffer with injured and/or ineffective QBs.

Or, worse, I can cite a couple of years back, when I decided to play it cautious, drafting Alex Smith and Eli Manning, figuring quiet, steady, and healthy was just fine.

And, both guys did indeed start out well, but by Week 7, Smith lost his job to Colin Kaepernick while Manning simply lost all of his skill set.

On the other hand, even with just one Quarterback, in League Gifford, if you can adjust around your remaining players and get good week out of your defensive players, your team can still put up some points.

Because, one other angle of the Gifford League is we are an "all play" configuration, meaning each week, each team's point total is matched up against the other 11 teams, something that mitigates a lot of the anguish of who gets lucky with the Crockett principle on any given Sunday.

So, while there are a lot of things to consider when both drafting, and even setting a roster in Gifford, all those wheels in motion make play so much more fun and challenging.

Which is great for me, as though I like to win, victory is never that satisfying to me if there is no effort expended.


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