Anyone who has ever managed a fantasy football team has suffered the indignity of watching the team's points decrease after the quarterback throws an interception, fumbles, or gets sacked for a safety. It's frustrating and can mean the difference between victory and defeat. But what if there was a way to celebrate the badness of your quarterback? What if interceptions, fumbles, and safeties became things you wanted to see? Enter perhaps the most important innovation in fantasy sports since our own Fantasy Olympics: the fine folks at Grantland have developed the Bad Quarterback League to do just that.
Failure Machine, an automatic scorer for your league.
Each player only drafts two teams. Nobody wanted to go through the motions of drafting teams with quarterbacks who can actually complete passes. And if we decided to go with a "starters/bench" league format, is anyone realistically going to play Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers ever? We limited our draft to an eight-person snake with a single bend, so once the guy with the first pick also took the sixteenth, the draft finished.
Each player can "start" both teams every week. The Failure Machine builds in a limited number of starts for each team, so you can't just ride Brandon Weeden to victory every week. But that's a lot less satisfying than being able to rack up points each time he's intercepted for a touchdown. It would be like setting up a "real" fantasy football league where you draft Drew Brees but can only start him an arbitrary fraction of weeks. Furthermore, I'd sold the league to my friends--many of whom are competing in at least one "real" league--assuring everyone that BQBL would require a minimum of effort and basically no management after the draft.
Scoring is cumulative, not head-to-head. In "real" fantasy football, each player has a head-to-head matchup against another team every week. The "winner" is determined from how many of these matchups any given team wins. That's how the Failure Machine is set up as well. But with so much of the decision-making already stripped from my version of the BQBL, the head-to-head model didn't make much sense. Instead, we'll be scoring our league in at least two ways. First, all the cumulative points scored by both of a player's teams will be added together to get the league's points champion. Second, the league's consistency champion will be the player who has the highest score in the most weeks. We may give an award to the person who drafted the best, as well.
If you're interested in how all this works, you're welcome to follow along with our league.