"Simms" of Change - Part I

Bobby Sansone, Senior Writer

October 06, 2005

Chris Simms
Chris Simms has unexpectedly found himself in the middle of one of the YFFL's biggest controversies

Either Way You Look At It, Simms Is Not a Starting Fantasy QB

The stakes have been laid for a potential revolution in the YFFL. Owners have been debating the controversial decision by the league’s most controversial owner, Steve Dugas, to start Chris Simms at QB for the Mallards in a critical NFC East match-up against the undefeated Boys. Dugas elected not to pick up a QB off the waiver wire and instead start Simms who hasn’t taken a snap all season. The decision was more than just Dugas conceding the game though - Chris Simms awakened the league to the YFFL’s most alarming problem.

Proponents of Dugas’ decision agree that it would have been a waste of a move to sign a QB that would only start one game for a struggling franchise. Instead, it would be more beneficial in the long term to save the coveted transaction, concede the victory and start thinking about next year’s draft as the most viable option for a long term solution at QB for the Mallards. After all, building a team in the YFFL is now accomplished not in weeks but in years.

Opponents of Dugas’ decision agree it violates the league’s strict integrity rule and he is already throwing away the season just three weeks into it. They see a huge difference in losing gracefully and losing distastefully in a league that prides itself on sportsmanship and trust. They acknowledge that rebuilding does take years now but it still needs to be done with class and general respect for the other owners trying to win a championship.

Lost in the debate over Dugas’ decision is the underlying heart of the matter which happens to be the only aspect of the debate that both side agree on. That being, competition in the YFFL right here and now is suffering when Chris Simms is starting.

Trades, Talent on Waiver Wire Both Declining

There are three ways to improve a franchise in the YFFL: via trade, via the draft and via the waiver wire. The league has become so fragile though that trading is all but a distant memory now. A single bad trade could set a franchise back years and owners are hesitant to take that risk. In the past, owners at least had the waiver wire to fall back on and the draft was much more bountiful than it is now. But today, the league has become so watered-down in the 16-team format that help is hard to come by. Owners have become less likely to take the risk on a trade and some owners like Chris Davidson have ruled out trading at all. Coupled with the fact that there are only 8 owners in the league, trading is already difficult to begin with.

Meanwhile, the waiver wire is a far cry from what it used to be. What once was a chance for struggling teams to salvage their season by acquiring a Eddie Kennison caliber type player has turned into simply a collection of fullbacks and third-stringers. The 2005 Waiver Wire has no Eddie Kennison’s. It doesn’t have any Rueben Droughns, Domanick Davis’ or Deion Branch’s either. As the Thugs learned though, it does have lousy kickers like Rob Bironas. With more and more owners electing to keep more and more QBs, RBs, and WRs and less and less TEs and Ks, the waiver wire has become a kicker’s version of a dog pound.

The decrease in trades and the lack of help available on the waiver wire has put increased prestige on the annual YFFL draft. With draft order determined by the previous year’s worst teams drafting first, the Stupor Bowl is becoming a more desired January destination for YFFL teams. To get to the Stupor Bowl you have to lose and lost often. Some teams lose with grace but comply with the league’s unwritten integrity policy. Other owners try to get a leg up on the competition by eyeing next year’s draft 49 weeks too early.

Revolutionary Solution?

While Dugas’ decision to start Simms was "bush league", the YFFL has become an environment where these types of actions are one of the few ways to get ahead of the competition tomorrow. Many owners might think I am being exceptionally tough on Steve on this matter, and I agree that I am. I am because he is a great owner, possibly the best in the league, and I have much higher expectations for him than I do other owners. Nevertheless, clearly his action is detrimental to competition in the league today. Competition is the backbone of the league. If all owners aren’t competitive then everyone will stop having fun. We need to address the declining competitiveness of the league and solutions to resolve the problem.

The solution that I am proposing, with the full support of Commissioner Jon Kinsman is contraction from 16 teams to 12 and yes, 12 teams with 12 unique owners.

In the coming weeks I simply ask you to keep an open mind to the proposal at stake. The second part of the series will be an exclusive interview with Jon Kinsman, the most persuasive voice in fantasy football. The third and the most exciting part of the series will be what the YFFL might look like if the proposal is implemented.