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Please DO NOT email Hondo with any dumb comments.  This picture was funny so I chose it.  It is not a slam on Jesus or a religious advertisement.  It is simply intended to make most of you laugh and to offend the rest who have zero sense of humor.

Please DO NOT email Hondo with any dumb comments. This picture was funny so I chose it. It is not a slam on Jesus or a religious advertisement. It is simply intended to make most of you laugh and to offend the rest who have zero sense of humor.

I’ve been primarily discussing standard leagues in these articles, but I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I weren’t to give a few pointers as to how to win a Spartan Nation league. I may be hurting myself with this article, since some of you will be my competition in one of Hondo’s leagues. However, for those of you who have never played in a Spartan Nation league, it really is a completely different fantasy world. Read this article carefully, or you could be passed up by the experienced players very quickly.


-Pick your quarterback carefully: Quarterbacks in Spartan Nation leagues can be very tricky to draft. If you were to take a quick glance at the scoring system you would see that a quarterback in a Spartan Nation league will get 1 point for every 50 yards passing, as opposed to the standard 25 yards per point in most leagues. Also, Hondo, ever the offensive line lover, decided to include his boys in his fantasy scoring system by penalizing quarterbacks a whopping -2 points for every sack suffered on the year. To put that in perspective, Aaron Rodgers led standard leagues in scoring last season, but because of losing 100 points due to sacks last year he dropped all the way to 8th in Spartan Nation leagues. Add on to these factors that you have to start 2 QBs on your team as opposed to the usual 1 starter, you really need to pay attention to your quarterbacks. I’d suggest stacking your pre-rankings with quarterbacks near the top, and doing your homework on each and every quarterback. You really don’t want to be stuck with Matt Leinart as your second signal caller.


-Defense wins championships: It’s probably the single most cliché saying in all of sports, but in Spartan Nation fantasy football, it absolutely holds true. Hondo awards TONS of points for big plays by defenses. Just a few highlights here: 10 points for a defensive touchdown, 3 for a fumble recovery, 3 for an interception, 3 for a sack, 4 for a safety and 4 for a blocked kick. All of those numbers are higher than their standard league counterparts, and in some cases are significantly higher. On the other side of the coin, Spartan Nation leagues will harshly punish a defense for poor play. For example, if a defense were to give up 21-27 points in one of Hondo’s leagues that defense would be penalized -3 points. In a standard league there would be no award, but also no penalty for a score in that range. And watch out if your defense gives up more than 35 points, Hondo is going to slap you in the face with a 10 point deduction, where a standard league would only hit you up for -4. One final point to keep in mind as well, Spartan Nation leagues treat special teams touchdowns as defensive touchdowns, so keep in mind a team like Cleveland could be a bit more valuable with a threat like Joshua Cribbs returning punts and kicks. I know you’d usually wait until you had filled all of your other positions before picking a defense in your standard leagues, but I would seriously consider lining up a defense much higher than that in your pre-rankings for your Spartan Nation league.


-Kickers? Really??: I hate kickers in fantasy football. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate them. They do well when you don’t need them to, and will miss three in a row when you desperately need their points. But it’s usually OK, because their scoring system in a standard league is relatively low risk and they won’t lose many points for you. Plus if your guy sucks for two straight weeks there is always a productive guy sitting on the waiver wire. That isn’t the case is a Spartan Nation league. Kicker scoring can be very unpredictable in a Spartan Nation league. This is due to the steeply weighted scoring system. These leagues will kill a kicker for missing an easy kick, to the tune of -7 points for kicks missed from within 20 yards. In fact, your kicker will lose points for any misses from all the way to 39 yards. This is in direct opposition to standard league scoring systems, most of which have no penalty for missed kicks. However, Hondo also really rewards a kicker for nailing a deep kick, with 7 points for any kick over 50 yards. Now I’m not saying you should draft either of your two kickers (yes, I said two kickers so remember that waiver depth will be scarce in this league) anywhere near the early rounds. That would be insane. I’m just saying you need to be aware of these scoring differences before you start a guy from week to week.


-Yards don’t matter: For QBs, RBs, and WRs Spartan Nation has doubled the number of yards needed to gain one point (50 instead of 25 for quarterbacks and 20 instead of 10 for running backs and wide receivers). So a guy like Stephen Jackson, who racked up quite a few yards last season but didn’t find his way into the end zone very often, will be far less valuable in a Spartan Nation league than in a standard fantasy league. So while you’re pre-ranking your players make sure you look for guys who will score, or you’ll be regretting it.


-Depth, Depth, Depth: Spartan Nation leagues demand depth more than any other fantasy league. Why? Let’s just look at what players you need to start in these leagues: 2 quarterbacks, 3 wide receivers, 3 running backs, 2 tight ends, 2 kickers, and 2 defenses. Those numbers are quite staggering to anybody who isn’t used to this style of league. Aside from wide receivers you’ll need to start one more player at every position than in standard leagues. So don’t skimp on your pre-rankings, you don’t want Yahoo’s awful standard rankings to fill your team for you.


-No fractions here: One final mini-point. Spartan Nation leagues do not allow fractional points. So if you have Chris Johnson and he goes off for 210 yards he’ll get you 10 points for that effort instead of 10.5 like you would naturally expect. Nothing you can do to plan for this, but I’m telling you know so you don’t go whining to the big guy later in the year.


There are your tips for Spartan Nation leagues. Enjoy your year, and good luck in your leagues. Unless you’re in my league, and then I hope all of your players suck.