Fantasy Football Mailbag: Thursday 7/28/16

What should you do when your league rewards six points per passing touchdown rather than four?

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Now, let's answer some questions.

This is always a crucial question. Knowing your league settings really does matter, and it's important not to get caught up in chasing players who might not even be worth it in your particular league.

So what happens when leagues offer six points per passing touchdown rather than the typical four? Conventional logic might say that guys who can flirt with 40 passing touchdowns gain a big edge, but is that the case?

As a quick snapshot: among the 336 top-24 quarterback seasons since 2002 in terms of four-point touchdown scoring, only 11 had differences in ranking greater than three spots when we convert the production to reward six points per passing touchdown.

In 2015, only three players in the top 12 in four-point leagues had a different rank when swapping to six-point formats: Aaron Rodgers went from QB7 to QB8, Kirk Cousins went from QB8 to QB10, and Eli Manning went from QB10 to QB7. That's it. And Manning was the only top-24 passer to change ranks by more than two spots (and Cousins and Alex Smith were the only others to change more than a single position).

When players are finishing within two or three spots of their ranking in the alternative format, you probably don't need to re-arrange your approach much at all, and that's true even when you view the position as a weekly challenge rather than a year-long one.

During the 2014 season, for example, more quarterbacks posted top-12 weeks at some point in six-point passing touchdown leagues than in four-point setups. You have to stream the position effectively, which can be done without hindsight, meaning that you should still wait to get your quarterback and play passers in good matchups while shoring up your other positions earlier on in the draft.

This is one that I'm passionate about because fantasy football has a lot of volatility baked into it and because I take fantasy football more seriously than I should.

How many times have you had a top-two score only to pick up a loss the next week? How often does your points for column make you cry because it doesn't reflect your actual rank?

Maybe it's just me, but I've been in my fair share of leagues with the top three or four (or more) teams were randomly plopped into the same division, meaning that deserving teams missed the playoffs while less worthy teams got a crack at the title because of weak opponents and easy wins throughout the regular season.

When you throw that on top of the (assumed) head-to-head format, you're just throwing variance all over the place. You could, theoretically, finish each week second in points but get matched up with the team that goes off, meaning that you could go winless and miss the playoffs while leading the league in scoring. Divisions just add to that nightmare scenario.

On the flip side, divisions help build rivalries and help keep players engaged for a full season. If you're down 500 points by Week 3, you can check out pretty easily, assuming you're better off giving it another shot next year. If you're five games back at the midway point in a league without divisions, it's hard to stay competitive, and that causes problems for teams really giving it 100%.

If your league is rooted in fun, divisions are a great way to ramp up the wackiness factor that can make fantasy football great. They make weekly results matter.

But if you're in a competitive league with a, uh, championship belt on the line and no need to keep participants engaged, nix the divisions and try to help the best teams make the postseason.

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