Critical Fantasy Football Lessons Learned Through Ridiculous Trade

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent INovember 21, 2016

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I just completed a trade of Weemsian proportions.

In other words, it was a ridiculous deal. In fact, it is probably the craziest trade I have ever completed in my fantasy football tenure. Those who’ve played in leagues with me know how bold a statement that really is. I don’t have a trade-aholic reputation for nothing.

And, in most moments of unexpected, off-the-wall decisions, there was a valuable lesson hidden in the subtext. A lesson worth repeating for the masses.

The trade was in a 10-team money league. I got Eric Weems, who is going to be my starting WR.

Yes, in a 10-team league I’m excited about an afterthought of a receiver from the Falcons to be a fantasy starter. Dealt away Dez Bryant and Matt Ryan to get him, nonetheless.

The lesson is in the why.

How closely do you look at your league’s scoring system before draft day? In many situations, it may seem silly to worry about something that in most standardized fantasy leagues is pretty typical. Players get points for touchdowns and for yardage. They lose them, in some leagues, for fumbles, interceptions and, in some leagues, even penalties committed.

But this specific league had undergone some scoring changes this offseason. Added to the basic scoring structure were return yards and TDs. In fact, these categories were given a heavy hand...we get a point for every 10 return yards. We get four points every time a return guy goes for a touchdown. And considering the potential for a special teams guy to break some big runs, the value goes up astronomically.

So it affects the scoring. A lot.

Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland’s return guy, is projected to score sixth highest among ALL offensive players in this league, quarterbacks included. Among wide receivers, Cribbs is ranked first and projected to score nearly 100 points more than Andre Johnson, of all people, this season. In fact, there are six receivers ranked ahead of Johnson. In order, they are Cribbs, Percy Harvin, Danny Amendola, Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson and...Eric Weems.

The draft strategy for such a scoring system became fairly simple. Load up on elite RBs and a QB earlier, and get under-the-radar WR options that are favored with this type of scoring system.

And even though I didn’t prepare for the league like I should have, I was happy to snag a slew of elite RBs early (due to numerous flex roster positions, we can start up to four running backs per week). Rashard Mendenhall, Steven Jackson, Pierre Thomas, and Felix Jones will see plenty of time in my starting lineup this year.

I was more than happy to take guys such as Johnny Knox and Dexter McCluster in later rounds, knowing their potential for return yards along with increased roles in their respective offenses.

But even I underestimated the power of elite return guys in this league...until after the draft. One other extraordinaire, our own sockonfl, was on top of that.

From a traditional standpoints, his starting lineup looks questionable. Tony Romo, Cribbs, Harvin, Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Darren Sproles, Eddie Royal. But factor in the scoring system, and he’s projected to beat opponents, on average, by nearly 40 to 50 points PER WEEK.

And so I altered my strategy some. Made the deal for Weems. Picked up Amendola (so glad he slipped through the cracks and was still available on waivers). Have Knox and McCluster to ripen on my bench like some freshly picked produce.

And suddenly I’m looking at a very nice projected cushion each week against the rest of the league. Short of something crazy, and with a little luck, it looks like sockonfl and I are on a crash course for the championship game.

Not that anything less is acceptable for chinstrap ninja nation. Find us at Or, to hightail it directly to our more than 100 pages of fantasy football advice, strategies, sleepers and rankings, go here.

So, as fundamental as it may sound...and totally redundant...don’t overlook your league’s scoring system on draft day, or throughout the season.

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