Fantasy football: The innovative solution for breaking ties

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Everyone has that movie: The one they want to hate because it wasn’t nearly as good as they wanted it to be, yet they can’t truly hate it because it wasn’t terrible. It just didn’t live up to expectations.

It’s frustrating. It causes internal strife. You almost wish the movie had just been awful so you could hate it without feeling guilty. It feels like defeat even when it isn’t.

Sort of the same feeling you get when your fantasy matchup ends in a tie. Computer screens or phones beware: There could be high-impact damages oncoming once something is thrown in disgust at realizing their fantasy match has ended in a deadlock.

So how can commissioners or providers solve this problem? Well, the easy answer is fractional points. But that is sort of like splitting the baby, it just doesn’t wash logically. The Falcons didn’t lead 28.8 to 3.3. You don’t kick an extra half-point. There are no spaces on stadium scoreboards for fractions, so why should there be on fantasy scoreboards? It’s lazy to diverge so drastically from the game the fantasy realm aims to mimic.

(Note: Exception made for daily fantasy contests, since thousands can be competing in the same contest. But no exception granted for season-long leagues).

The better solution was actually introduced decades ago and somehow, inexplicably, disappeared when fantasy football became mainstream. Fanball, in its infancy in the late 1990s-early2000s range, included a slot for an “overtime” player.

At some point, someone at a big media conglomerate was building their first fantasy platform using sites like Fanball and Sandbox and others as their template. And they looked at this wonderful, universally unopposed option and said, “Nah, we know better.” And then the other big sites followed suit. And this glorious creation was lost to history. To our knowledge, whatever buffoon that made this initial decision to scrap the OT player has yet to be slapped around with a rubber chicken, and that is a travesty.

The idea is fantastically simple. You assign one of your bench players as the “overtime” player. If the game ends in a tie, only then are that player’s points applied, as well that your opponent’s OT player. Whoever has the highest-scoring OT player then wins the matchup.

If those two players tie, only then do you get an actual tie, in the regular season. In the playoffs, well, if the outcome isn’t resolved by the OT player, then you use the same sort of postseason tiebreaker measures we use now, but only as a fallback.

This adds an additional element of strategy and could also help with tough roster decisions: Feel like Joey Rungood is gonna have a big game, but he hasn’t done enough to warrant a position in your lineup? Give him the OT slot. Think Jimmy Catchalot will have a big game, but he is facing a tough cornerback and you have other, safer options? The OT option gives you some comfort against benching those guys outright.

It’s amazing this option ever disappeared. It is long past time to reintroduce it. But I imagine the biggest hurdle is the proliferation of partial points leagues that rarely, if ever, need such an option.

Though, if such an OT option still existed, perhaps there would be no need for fractional points. And that is what we would call a better life.

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