Fantasy Football Leagues Prepare To Award Points For Concussions

Wes Welker leaps to first round in mock drafts
By Manny Cortez | 2014.08.31

Fantasy football is constantly evolving to keep up with the changing face of football. In the years since fantasy football first made its way into the collective consciousness of NFL fans everywhere, the balance between running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers has swung back and forth like a pendulum. Keeper leagues and Points Per Reception leagues, also known as PPR leagues, are just some of different "flavors" that fantasy football team owners have available to choose from when picking a league. However, it looks like fantasy football is about to have a new option available, one that does not come without its share of controversy.

This week, it was announced that some major fantasy football services are allowing league commissioners to enable an option that would award points for player concussions. Most leagues will allow a customization of fantasy points awarded, but the default settings would be two points for a concussion sustained during a game, and then six points for each game missed due to a concussion. Critics of the new points system are concerned that the new format may lead some fans to be more hopeful for a severe head injury than a touchdown or long pass completion.

Concussion points could be a game-changer for the popularity of some players. Some updated mock drafts now have Wes Welker being taken in the first round, due to his numerous head injuries. Jay Cutler and Michael Vick, both players with fairly recent concussions, have also seen a surge in early round pickups. However, on average, most fantasy football league owners are not building their team around concussion points. Rather, they are looking at it as insurance when taking players with a high concussion risk.

One unintended consequence of the new source of fantasy points is the possibility that leagues using defense and special teams units could place too much weight on the defense. For example, if a defense has two players sitting out of a game with concussion injuries, they would immediately have a twelve point advantage. Or, in situations when an offensive player like Wes Welker is typically a punt or kick returner, team owners would essentially double-dip in the points, receiving six for the player and six more for the defense/special teams.

Only time will tell if the concussion point fantasy football format catches on, but in the short term, the public debate will rage on.