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by Zack Cimini, (8/29/12); Special for FantasyFootballStarters.com


Has Minus Two Outgrown Its Original Beginning?

Over time in professional sports new rules are implemented to help overcome an area that has put up abnormal numbers, and impacted the sport as a whole. In the NBA we have seen the addition of the three point line followed by extension of the three point line. The NFL and MLB are always adapting, even this year in the NFL with kickoffs continuing to be from the 35 yard-line.

This was implemented to lessen the hits and injuries on special teams. What was the precipitator of this rule change was the fact that return men were unafraid to take the football out of the end zone. Before 2000 if the ball surpassed the end zone a player would kneel almost without hesitation. Suddenly returns for touchdowns spiked and that caused special teams coaches and players to feel comfortable about bringing it out of the end zone.

In fantasy football, standard league scoring has pretty much stayed the same. Bonus points for long touchdown runs or throws, or eclipsing a high mark for the day are in some leagues. Points per reception leagues are now becoming the norm, but these are all improvements to add points for teams. Subtraction of points has remained relatively the same. Minus two for a fumble lost, defensive teams allowing points over a certain mark, and quarterbacks minus two for an interception.

Does minus two from a quarterback hold the same value as it use to? I don't believe so.

The record breaking years of the quarterbacks has not only seen skewed marks in terms of yardage, touchdowns, and pass attempts, but fantasy numbers as well. More now than ever are fantasy football draft strategies changing to selecting a quarterback high over running backs.

Years ago, drafting a quarterback high was maybe a decision with only a quarterback or two, and that was in the mid to latter part of round one. If you are still drafting old-school and deciding to wait until mid rounds to draft your starting quarterback, you're getting dusted on a weekly basis during the regular season.

NFL teams emphasis on just one running back have been long gone, so much that teams are evaluating lower on drafting running backs. Offensive focus is on airing the football out and scoring touchdowns. Last season ten quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards and fourteen threw for over twenty touchdowns.

Flashback to 2005 and the 4,000 yard mark was a milestone only two quarterbacks hit and that was 4,110 yards from Tom Brady and 4,014 by Trent Green.

The tremendous sudden impact of fantasy numbers by a quarterback can be seen each week of the regular season. Drew Brees had over 40 points four times last year in standard leagues according to CBS Sports. Most of the top five quarterbacks averaged well into the mid 20's to low 30's, but the games they exceed are absolutely giving opposing fantasy teams almost no shot at winning.

In 2005, quarterbacks gap between touchdowns and interceptions was maybe 2 to 1. Tom Brady threw 26 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions that year. Twenty one different quarterbacks threw for double digit interceptions that year, and a handful of others were right there with nine. There just was not much separation between their overall touchdowns and interceptions on the year.

Some may argue that the quarterback touchdown value is only four points for a reason, and that an average quarterback will likely only throw only two touchdowns each week. So an interception or two would cut that touchdown value in half.

That is what the original scoring point system was meant to do, because the quarterback throws the football and handles it more. Where the point separation is hurting and rising is all the points being racked with passing yardage and now rushing yards.

Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Mike Vick, Big Ben, Tim Tebow, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are just a handful of quarterbacks adding additional fantasy points with their legs. Heck, even Tom Brady added twenty eight points with three rushing touchdowns and over 100 yards on the season in 2011. This is a growing area for the fantasy quarterback that is only going to rise with the infusion of youth at the position.

Five second year players, and five rookies will start week one this season. All except maybe Andy Dalton and Brandon Weeden are viable threats with their legs.

Unless you have a fumble prone quarterback, is there really anyone being affected anymore by subtracting two points for an interception? The devalue that it was meant to do to a fantasy team just is not there anymore. A year ago of the top caliber quarterbacks that truly hurt with interceptions you could circle a quarterback or two.

Philip Rivers value declined tremendously in fantasy drafts this year because of his one season, but that could be short lived with a quick resurrection.

Nothing can really be done to hurt a quarterback fantasy point structure wise. Raising an interception even to minus three would be silly. The evolution of the quarterback being the base of your fantasy team has come. This season Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and even Matt Stafford snuck into first rounds of drafts.

The numbers will only rise of first round quarterbacks in years to come. A restructure will need to occur eventually, but for the time being, draft a quarterback in round one.
 

Zack Cimini is the co-founder of NotJustaGame.com