Hot Reads - Week 10

  Posted 11/5 by Jeff Pasquino, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Welcome to "Hot Reads", a new column for 2008 here at Footballguys.com. The general purpose of this column will be to collect some of my thoughts and observations throughout the NFL season as we go along - from waiver wire comments, how to get the most out of the Footballguys site, or anything else football related that comes to mind. It will mostly be a free-flowing, stream of consciousness - that means that there's no predicting what I might talk about in a given week. So....welcome to my world.....

Thursday Night Football

Heads up, everyone - Thursday Night Football is coming starting this week. Just when you thought that the schedule issues were about to come to an end with byes finishing in Week 10, along comes another night of football. While this is great news for NFL fans who can't get enough of prime time football viewing (at least those with the NFL Network), it does wreak havoc with many fantasy football decisions. Hopefully your league allows for starting lineup changes after the NFL week starts, but if not I do have some words of advice. If your league has any flex spots, absolutely get any Thursday night player out of them and into a regular roster spot to give you more flexibility later in the week. Don't get caught without enough RB or WR options on Sunday because you flexed one on Thursday.

Also, if you are in a league that locks roster spots on Thursday, what's up with that? Where's the fun in beating someone who has to guess if a questionable player will start on Sunday based on Thursday afternoon information? That's guessing, not managing, a lineup. Push for a rule change for next year right now even if you are not directly affected - because you very well could be next season.

Commissioner's Corner

As some of you know, I also run a reasonably popular discussion thread called Trader Joe's, and I got a very interesting trade question just the other day from "football newbie" that was about a deal he was trying to make with a team in his redraft league that was 0-8 and completely out of playoff contention. Rather than go into the deal itself I decided to talk more about the generality of making a trade with a team with zero incentive to improve. As a commissioner for a league for many years now and having helped several leagues, commissioners and contests with rulings I like to think that I know a thing or two about how to run a pretty good fantasy league, so I told him that trading with a team out of the playoff hunt should be frowned upon. Think about it for a minute - even if you do pull off a deal, do you really think that the rest of the league would appreciate this? Do you think that the dreaded "c-word" of collusion would be mentioned? I do, so that's why I strongly suggest that all leagues adopt a rule (or policy, if you want to soft-sell this idea) that once a team is eliminated from playoff contention that they should not be permitted to make any trades. That's just a good idea to keep everyone happy and have a fair conclusion to your fantasy season.

One more point I would like to make about eliminated teams, and that is also about promoting good competition. If your redraft league charges for transactions, it may be a good idea to allow teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention to make free moves. Why would you do that? Well, for one thing, a league with abandoned teams is a bad idea. While some teams will still try and play the spoiler role, if a fantasy owner is going to have to throw good money after bad just for the sake of fielding the best team possible and maybe give a good team an extra loss, odds are that they will not bother to try very hard to improve their team. Allow bad teams to stay as competitive as possible and let them replace a few players for free.

NFL Schedule Expansion - Part 2

Last week in this column I mentioned that the NFL is looking at adding two more regular season games, and explained how this could make for more competitive balance. I'll go a step further now and explain more of their motivation.....

The NFL is a cash cow for all of their owners and the television networks, and a new television contract will be coming up in three years. Given the current breakdown of both the schedule and the divisional alignments it is far too clear that there are some inequalities across the board. The NFL is not getting the six best teams in each conference into the postseason with the current setup. Far too often a team misses out on a wildcard berth that is arguably better than a weak division champion in the same conference. That disparity will be highlighted the rest of this year with the NFC East teams fighting to get two or three spots when all four teams could be playoff caliber squads.

The argument that teams who beat up on each other within a division have earned the right to play on if they win that division no longer makes sense - in the past, five or six teams were in the same division, so at least half of a team's schedule was comprised of divisional games. Today that number is a mere six games, which of course means that every team plays more games outside of their own division than within that grouping. Giving a weaker divisional team an automatic playoff spot is very unlikely to go away but there will be a much stronger push to give out more postseason spots to more teams, which means that there will be more playoff games (and money) in the next TV deal. Consider playoff expansion a slam dunk for 2012 and beyond for these reasons alone. I'll explain how many teams they will add and why next week... so stay tuned.

Does Everybody Really Love A Parade?

Ever wonder what it is like to attend a championship parade? I had the privilege to go to Philadelphia this past Friday, so... welcome to my world.

As an avid Eagles fan, I had always hoped that the drought for the city of Philadelphia would end with a Super Bowl victory by my favorite team, but if I had to pick another franchise from the City of Brotherly Love it would have been the Phillies in a landslide. I grew up on the Phillies - Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Pete Rose - and I guess I got spoiled as a youngster with the success of all the area teams - yet I never got to go as a kid to a championship parade. Well, given the success of the Phillies, I decided to make the trip.....welcome to my world.

I went to the parade on Friday, and I have to say that while it was great to see a sea of people all in the same state of mind - euphoria, celebration, relief, joy - it is not exactly a great "parade". I got a great spot for the parade about 90 minutes or so before it started, but the procession started about 20-25 minutes late and consisted of maybe 10 tour buses and lasted maybe 20 minutes. As for getting out of the city (Halloween, kids - you know what I'm talking about here, dads...), I'd rather not relive the three hour ordeal of getting a train just to get to a car that was over an hour from home, but I will say two things. First, it was worth it. Second, it was not worth it. I'll explain - I loved being a very small part of a unique celebration, but the price I paid in time and effort was pretty steep. Objectively it was 20 minutes tops of a parade at the price of a full and long day. If I was just there for the parade (which I was) I would have to say that watching it on TV was likely the better option. I'm not going to say that it is not a good idea to attend, especially if you are both local and can enjoy the festivities for the entire day (and evening) to celebrate, but keep all of that in mind if you ever want to attend one of these. I do recommend that you enjoy your team winning a championship in any way you see fit (within reason, of course) but think twice before attending a parade like this just for the parade.

That will do it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this window into my world. Until next time.....