It's become such an issue that it has its own title: The Meachem Play.
We've all seen it by now, and you guys probably read my explanation for how CBSSports.com decided to rule the play in Fantasy leagues. However, there is still a lot of questions and concerns brought to light as the result of our ruling, and it deserves more attention and more conversation.
Since Sunday afternoon we've received hundreds of emails, Tweets and message board posts (mostly from Meachem owners) surrounding this issue. We owe it to you guys to address the most common responses and arguments to our decision because this play has caused so much controversy. I'd also like to mention that while I'm the one who has responded to the issue, I am just part of the team that brings you the Fantasy content and product at CBSSports.com. As a team, we made the decision to reward the points as we saw fit.
Mike W. in Minnesota: While I do not disagree with your conclusion, your argument is fallacious. When Meachem recovered the fumble of Washington's offense (technically speaking), then the Saints defense gets two points as Meachem is technically a defensive player. But once Meachem gets the ball, Washington's defense is back on the field, and after change of possession Meachem becomes an offensive player once again, technically speaking of course. Thus, Meachem as an offensive player should get the points as he does in our league (but so does the defense).
Let's start here: How did Meachem obtain the football? Obviously it's a fumble recovery, but was it as an offensive player or a defensive player? If you read any explanation we've given, we established that Meachem recovered the fumble as a defensive player. Yes, this is even though he's a wide receiver by trade and he started the play as an offensive player. This is simply taking the NFL's rules at their word.
And so maybe here's where the confusion is: CBSSports.com has never rewarded points for a defender doing something on offense or vice versa. This has been our stance since the 1990s when we began running Fantasy games. This means that when the likes of Mike Vrabel score a touchdown, they did so as defensive players on offense and did not receive credit for it unless commissioners in leagues granted such credit. That's the crux of why Meachem isn't getting the touchdown -- he scored on a defensive play , not an offensive play. Technically speaking.
Now we're also aware that in the NFL's Gamebook from the Saints-Redskins matchup Meachem's score was ruled as an offensive touchdown. This is inconsistent with what we confirmed with the NFL on Monday. Furthermore, the Elias Sports Bureau, which as we've mentioned before is the official statistician of the NFL, has nothing to do with the NFL's Gamebooks. We have and always will rely on Elias as far as statistical issues are concerned.
Boz in Philly: You stated in your Monday podcast that once that Brees threw the INT, the Saints became the defensive unit and once Meachem forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD, he did so as a defensive player. That's all fine and good. But you failed to explain what happened to the Redskins. Now that the Saints are on defense after the INT, the Redskins would have to be on offense, since they now have the ball and are trying to score, correct? If the Redskins had returned the original interception for a touchdown, would they have done so as an offensive unit or defensive unit? Conventional wisdom says that the Redskins DST would have gotten credit for the touchdown despite being on offense (by your logic). That doesn't make a lot of sense and is where your logic breaks down.
Let's pretend Meachem didn't make the strip and Moore returned the interception for a touchdown. In a standard league, the touchdown goes to the Redskins DST. In an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league, the touchdown goes to Moore. So even though the NFL is classifying that the Redskins are on offense once they maintain possession of the football, it's commonly accepted in Fantasy Football that the defense gets the points. We should all be on the same page here.
That said, the exact same logic takes place in the case of Meachem's strip because he was considered on defense following the interception and when he got the ball back. Just like Moore was considered on defense at the time of the interception. And because we in Fantasy are treating it as a defensive fumble recovery, the entire play gets credited as a touchdown for the defense.
Marc J., Knoxville, TN: I own Meachem in an IDP league. If he made a play as a defender, how come I'm not getting credit for it?
For the purposes of scoring in Fantasy Football, Meachem only receives credit for plays he makes as an offensive player. Again using the Mike Vrabel example, the linebacker never received credit for touchdowns he scored on offense. Thus, Meachem shouldn't get credit for his score. However, in IDP leagues that do reward touchdowns to defensive players when they play on offense, Meachem should get credit.
Jonathan S.: In your article you say that post-interception, the Saints offense became the Saints defense. If that's the case, wouldn't the Redskins defense then become the Redskins offense? If so, why is it that CBS still shows the points against for the Redskins to be 33. The Saints defense scoring on the Redskins offense shouldn't count and therefore the points against for the Redskins defense should be 27.
This essentially depends on how you score your Points Against category. In our free and premium leagues, and as a default in our commissioner leagues, the standard Points Against category is used. This takes into account all points scored against the team of the DST. We do offer a Defense Points Against category for our commissioner leagues (as well as a DST Points Against category). In leagues that use those specific types of scoring, the points resulting from the Meachem Play do not count.
R. Russell Last, Golden Valley, MN: Our league says that the team that is on offense when the ball is snapped is considered the offensive team throughout the entire play. Ditto defenses. Excepted are punts and kickoffs, since changes of possession on those plays are intentional. Very simple and logical. So how are we wrong?
You're not -- they're your rules for your league, and frankly it's a rule that every league should adopt if not simply consider. For those owners who pay to play at CBSSports.com with their friends and co-workers, we realize that you guys put up a lot of money for the service of running your league. And as such, it's your league . We only govern our free leagues and premium leagues. You should be taking advantage of what you pay for and running your league your way.
If you're in a customized league and have a problem with our ruling on the Meachem Play, at the very least you should request a league-wide vote from your commissioner on how the play should be scored in your league.
Jim. C., Elizabeth, NJ: I'm disappointed in your ruling and am considering changing Fantasy league providers. What assurances can you give me and my league mates that this kind of ruling will never happen again?
This is a little beyond my place -- I'm a writer and just a part of the team that determines how CBSSports.com'sleagues function -- so unfortunately I can't give any assurances.
But what I can tell you is that we do meet after every season to go over events like the Meachem Play and consider offering more customization options for our commissioner leagues and even our standard free and premium leagues if deemed necessary.
A few years back when Kevin Curtis recovered an offensive fumble for a touchdown, his owners were outraged that he didn't get credit for the Fantasy points. This was because most leagues did not know they could score offensive fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Since then, we made the category a default of all leagues, so even if they don't know if they can score it, it counts unless they opt out.
We'll definitely review the play and we'll also take into consideration the emails we received from people who didn't fully understand our logic. We make plenty of enhancements to our product year after year, and it would be completely ignorant of us to not at the very least consider making an enhancement here.
Wait! I have more Meachem Play points to make!
The message board underneath this post is for future comments involving this play. By participating, I expect respectful and intelligent discussion. No cursing out me and CBSSports.com because we cost you a playoff seed. This doesn't mean you have to agree with me -- by all means if you're passionate about your point of view, here's your chance to discuss it.
Thank you for reading.