Mr Maxwell H Cubberley has contributed a suggestion for amendments to the scoring for the DynaBowl Fantasy Football Championships 2015 onwards. If you would care to read his words, they will follow shortly.
Now, in fact.
Binning the Big Plays: Proposed Scoring Changes for 2015
As anyone who has been on the receiving end of an 80 yard pick 6 or a double strip-sack game from a DE will likely tell you about (at length) the Dynabowl IDP game is currently dominated by big plays. Each INT or FF is worth 10 points, each defensive TD is worth 6 points and all return yards on fumbles and interceptions are valued at 0.1 per 1 [NB – only INT yards are counted – ed]. The aforementioned 80 yard pick 6 currently nets your CB 24 points for that one play. This is particularly painful as INTs are often quite random and not much to do with particularly good play from a CB or S. Meanwhile, a strip-sack is worth 15 points (16 if you’re a DT) and that’s not including the possibility of your strip-sacker recovering it (3 more points) and returning it for a TD. Somewhere lurking out there is a 34 point strip-sack, 100 yard fumble recovery TD. Probably for JJ Watt. I’m surprised he hasn’t done it already.
Bearing this in mind there have been several solutions proposed to try and even out some of the scoring. Below are the proposed rule changes for 2015:
- The point return for INTs and FFs to be reduced from 10 to 6 for all players
- The points for INT and FF recovery yards to be reduced to the same as punt return yards (0.05 per 1 rather than 0.1 per 1)
- The points for passes defended (possibly a more accurate gauge of defensive backs’ skills) to be increased from 2 to 3 for CBs and Ss and 1 to 2 for everyone else.
Evening Out the Linebackers
Anyone who based their pre-draft rankings of LBs on those suggested by popular IDP sites might be slightly confused as to why their LB corps isn’t producing as expected. This is because most IDP leagues are tackle-based, giving plenty of points for tackles and less for sacks, FFs and INTs. Our league is a big play league, focussed on those game-changing moments and the players who make them. For all that there seems to be too much of a disparity between middle linebackers (those players for whom tackling is their bread-and-butter) and outside linebackers (more of the edge rushers looking to hit the QB in the backfield). With the tackle points as low as they are it’s difficult for all but the most elite MLBs to compete with their outside compatriots.
With that in mind, a second rule change has been proposed, to slightly increase the points scored by solo tackles. The idea is not to swing the league from a big play league to a tackle-heavy league, but just to allow a few more MLBs to ease towards the top of the LB rankings and even the distribution out a little. The proposed change is:
- Points for solo tackles (not assists) to be increased from 0.5 points per tackle to 0.75 points per tackle.
Over the course of a 100 solo tackle season (a very good but not outstanding season) that equates to 25 more points.
To try and illustrate what difference this would make I’ve crunched it all into MFL and can present the difference as it would have pertained to the 2013 season. I’ll compare both the new points system and the old points system to look for the difference.
Top 100 Breakdown
Here is a breakdown of the top 100 scorers in 2013 by position. This should show how the points changes affect the make-up of the top bracket of scorers.
|Position||Top 100 Players – Old Points||Top 100 Players – New Points|
This indicates a very slight increase in the value of LBs (though 2 of the additional 4 were numbers 99 and 100 in the top 100).
To look at the IDP players in more detail, I’ll breakdown just the top 100 defensive players.
|Position||Top 100 IDPs – Old Points||Top 100 IDPs – New Points|
Again, the changes seem fairly minimal in terms of the split amongst the positions. Going deeper, CBs receive a bit of a boost and Ss a small hit (presumably due to a higher number of pass defence opportunities than Ss) but the broad make up is the same.
The indication is that these changes don’t make a huge difference to the proportional make-up of the overall top 100 and the IDP top 100. They shouldn’t cause one position to become more valuable going forward than it was at the draft.
Specific Player Value
There are still two checks to make. The first is specific player value. Sure, maybe CBs as a whole aren’t more valuable but what if the top 10 CBs under the new points are 10 completely different players? What if the #1 DT is now the #10? Below is the top 10 at each defensive position under the new points and the old. Their position in the opposite points scoring system is also included for reference.
|Defensive Tackle||Position – Old Pts||Position – New Pts||Shift|
|Kyle Williams, BUF||1 (204.5)||1 (212)||= (+7.5)|
|Gerald McCoy, TBB||2 (180.25)||2 (193.6)||= (+13.35)|
|Nick Fairley, DET||3 (172)||3 (171.2)||= (-0.8)|
|Ndamukong Suh, DET||4 (152)||4 (163)||= (+11)|
|Marcell Dareus, BUF||5 (134)||5 (144.25)||= (+10.25)|
|Cullen Jenkins, NYG||6 (122)||10 (120.25)||-4 (-1.75)|
|Sen’Derrick Marks, JAX||7 (118.25)||6 (126)||+1 (+7.75)|
|Jared Odrick, MIA||7 (118.25)||7 (124.75)||= (+6.5)|
|Clinton McDonald, SEA||9 (115.8)||11 (118.4)||-2 (+2.6)|
|Michael Brockers, STL||10 (115)||9 (120.5)||+1 (+5.5)|
|Kendall Langford, STL||12 (109.25)||8 (122.25)||+4 (+13)|
No huge changes here which would be expected as DTs don’t have as many FFs as LBs and DEs and rarely catch INTs. Any loss of points from FFs seems to have been compensated for with the tackle bump with most coming out a few points better over the course of the season. Although Cullen Jenkins drops 4 places in the ranks he actually only ends up 1.75 points down under the new points.
|Defensive End||Position – Old Pts||Position – New Pts||Shift|
|Robert Quinn, STL||1 (250.75)||1 (237.9)||= (-12.85)|
|JJ Watt, HOU||2 (191.75)||2 (199)||= (+7.25)|
|Justin Tuck, NYG||3 (145)||4 (147.15)||-1 (+2.15)|
|Greg Hardy, CAR||4 (144.5)||3 (151.25)||+1 (+6.75)|
|Muhammed Wilkerson, NYJ||5 (138.85)||8 (140.3)||-3 (+1.45)|
|Cameron Jordan, NOS||6 (138)||7 (142.55)||-1 (+4.55)|
|Chandler Jones, NEP||7 (137.25)||6 (143.25)||+1 (+6)|
|Calais Campbell, ARI||8 (133.5)||5 (146.85)||+3 (+13.35)|
|Carlos Dunlap, CIN||9 (132.75)||10 (134.6)||-1 (+1.85)|
|Jared Allen, MIN||10 (130.75)||9 (137)||+1 (+6.25)|
Like DT, DE doesn’t show too many major shifts here. The same 10 players make up the top 10 under both the new and the old systems and although there is some shuffling of positions (Wilkerson and Campbell particularly) the actual season ending point totals don’t shift drastically with most seeing an increase of 1 to 7 and only sack-machine Robert Quinn seeing a reduction.
Because we all start 3 or 4 LBs I’ll compare the top 20 at this position. I’ve also noted (where I can) when the player is an MLB or an OLB (we should be looking for MLBs to move up the rankings in the new points).
|Linebacker||Position – Old Pts||Position – New Pts||Shift|
|Robert Mathis, IND – OLB||1 (242)||3 (221.75)||-2 (-20.25)|
|Lavonte David, TBB – MLB||2 (232.95)||1 (235.85)||+1 (+1.9)|
|Karlos Dansby, ARI – MLB||3 (199.05)||2 (223.65)||+1 (+24.6)|
|Navorro Bowman, SF – MLB||4 (198.55)||4 (208.4)||= (+9.85)|
|Jerell Freeman, IND – MLB||5 (185.05)||5 (180.35)||= (-4.7)|
|Alec Ogletree, STL – OLB||6 (173.55)||8 (173.4)||-2 (-0.15)|
|Tamba Hali, KCC – OLB||7 (167.75)||12 (158.3)||-5 (-9.45)|
|Daryl Smith, BAL – MLB||8 (165.1)||6 (176.3)||+2 (+11.2)|
|Kiko Alonso, BUF – MLB||9 (158.3)||10 (163.8)||-1 (+5.5)|
|John Abraham, ARI – OLB||10 (155.5)||18 (150.25)||-8 (-5.25)|
|DeAndre Levy, DET – MLB||11 (155.1)||11 (163.55)||= (+8.45)|
|Paul Posluszny, JAX – MLB||12 (152.4)||7 (176.2)||+5 (+23.8)|
|Mychal Kendricks, PHI – MLB||13 (152.25)||13 (156.55)||= (+4.3)|
|Danny Trevathan, DEN – MLB||14 (149.9)||15 (155.45)||-1 (+5.55)|
|Vontaze Burfict, CIN – MLB||15 (144.95)||9 (173.25)||+6 (+23.3)|
|Nick Roach, OAK – OLB||16 (144.75)||20 (148.25)||-4 (+3.5)|
|Ryan Kerrigan, WAS – OLB||17 (143.75)||22 (142.5)||-5 (-1.25)|
|Luke Kuechly, CAR – MLB||18 (142.55)||16 (155.15)||+2 (+12.6)|
|Brian Orakpo, WAS – OLB||19 (136.65)||21 (145.95)||-2 (+9.3)|
|Thomas Davis, CAR – OLB||20 (136)||17 (153.15)||+3 (+17.15)|
|Derrick Johnson, KCC – MLB||21 (134.4)||14 (155.5)||+7 (+21.1)|
|DeMeco Ryans, PHI – MLB||25 (126.85)||19 (149.05)||+6 (+22.2)|
The change to the points can clearly be seen here with OLBs that rack up pressures and FFs (e.g. Mathis, Hali, Abraham) taking a hit and prime tacklers (e.g. Posluszny, Dansby, Burfict) getting a significant boost. Although this was the desired effect the fact that, even in the old system, 12 of the top 20 LBs were MLBs already does seem to call into question the need for this change. The 2014 stats paint a picture of a system that heavily favours OLBs but that could be a result of the number of injuries to or change in situations of big scoring MLBs.
I’ll show the CB and S tables back to back as I would expect both to be affected similarly by this change.
|Corner Back||Position – Old Pts||Position – New Pts||Shift|
|Brandon Boykin, PHI||1 (159.475)||3 (147.675)||-2 (-11.8)|
|DeAngelo Hall, WAS||2 (157.65)||1 (158.2)||+1 (+1.55)|
|Richard Sherman, SEA||3 (151.95)||5 (139.2)||-2 (-12.75)|
|Alterraun Verner, TEN||4 (142.275)||2 (154.575)||+2 (+12.3)|
|Tim Jennings, CHI||5 (138.1)||8 (133.55)||-3 (-4.55)|
|Tramon Williams, GBP||6 (135.5)||4 (141.25)||+2 (+5.75)|
|Captain Munnerlyn, CAR||7 (130.85)||6 (138.55)||+1 (+7.7)|
|Corey Graham, BUF||8 (121.55)||14 (124.9)||-6 (+3.35)|
|Logan Ryan, NEP||9 (119.7)||32 (108.85)||-23 (-10.85)|
|Adam Jones, CIN||10 (118.9)||12 (126.8)||-2 (+7.9)|
|Lardarius Webb, BAL||19 (106.8)||7 (136.6)||+12 (+29.8)|
|Leodis McKelvin, BUF||26 (101.6)||9 (128.35)||+17 (+26.75)|
|Joe Haden, CLE||12 (115.95)||10 (127.85)||+2 (+11.9)|
|Safety||Position – Old Pts||Position – New Pts||Shift|
|Eric Berry, KCC||1 (165.65)||1 (170.65)||= (+5)|
|Troy Polamalu, PIT||2 (161.35)||3 (155.05)||-1 (-6.3)|
|Antrel Rolle, NYG||3 (160.8)||2 (163)||+1 (+2.2)|
|Michael Mitchell, CAR||4 (141.55)||9 (135.9)||-5 (-5.65)|
|William Moore, ATL||5 (139.35)||7 (138.05)||-2 (+1.3)|
|Tashaun Gipson, CLE||6 (137.55)||6 (138.15)||= (+0.6)|
|Earl Thomas, SEA||7 (130.85)||11 (128.95)||-4 (-1.9)|
|TJ Ward. CLE||8 (126.95)||4 (144.4)||+4 (+17.45)|
|Barry Church, DAL||9 (126.5)||5 (144.1)||+4 (+17.6)|
|James Ihedigbo, BAL||10 (123.15)||10 (130.7)||= (+7.55)|
|Eric Weddle, SDC||12 (118.75)||8 (136.55)||+4 (+17.8)|
As you can see the changes are much more impactful on the CB position than the S position. At CB there are big positive swings for the likes of Webb (2 INT, 23 passes defended) and McKelvin (1 INT and 20 PD) and big negative swings for such as Sherman (8 INT and 6 PD) and Ryan (5 INT and 10 PD). This is what you’d expect from the rules. It’s also worth noting that although Logan Ryan lost 23 ranks, he actually only scored 10.85 points less under the new points. In general, the points seem to bunch CBs a bit more towards the top which I think reflects the reduced wild-card factor of INTs over steady pass defending.
It is worth mentioning, at this point, that CB is an incredibly volatile position from year-to-year anyway. None of last year’s top 10 CBs are in this year’s current top 10 CBs. In fact, only Adam Jones and Alterraun Verner are even in this year’s top 32 CBs.
Oddly, at Safety the changes are nowhere near as large. Possibly this is a result of Safeties having more all-round play capability or maybe it’s a reflection of the fact that Safety interceptions are more skill-based. At any rate, there are a few changes, notably bumps for TJ Ward and Barry Church (both had a notably higher number of solo tackles than those around them), but nothing too major.
Summary of Findings
It’s noticeable, looking through the week-by-week performances of players, that these changes, overall, raise the floor and lower the ceiling of IDP production. What was a 40 point game is often now a 30 point game and what was a 3 point game is now a 5 point game. The average points per game and total season points, in general, trends slightly upwards with the bottom-end of players brought a bit closer to the top-end whilst still keeping elite levels of performance for top players.
Some players whose games are built around big plays have taken something of a hit but, in most cases, this is not hugely significant and shows more in comparative score rankings than in actual point production. The reduction of big plays and increase in passes defended seems to have had the desired effect, reducing scoring ceilings but not overall scores and not reducing the CB and S points-scoring. Although the big changes at CB look scary, as mentioned above, the position tends to turn over a lot from year-to-year anyway. If anything, these new changes may make the position more reliable as tackle numbers and pass defence numbers are more consistent year to year than INTs and FFs.
The question of the increase in points for tackles is hazier. The proportion of MLBs and OLBs in the top ranks of the position could be a natural seasonal fluctuation. It doesn’t make a massive difference to the overall points-scoring at the LB position (with only the same small upward trend seen in every position). The new system produces a better balance between very steady LBs with big tackle production and those who get sacks, FFs and INTs. In the current system, a player has to make 10 solo tackles to score the equivalent of a sack. In the new system they have to make 7. The latter seems more in line to me with what one would consider a ‘good game’ but everyone can make their own mind up.
If you want me to produce more information to look at this just ask.