This ESPN Fantasy Football Scoring Change Could Greatly Affect Your League

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It’s Monday night, and you think you have your fantasy football matchup locked up.

Leading your archrival by two points with only your defense, the New York Jets, still playing, all you need is for the Gang Green offense to run out the clock in the fourth quarter. Then disaster strikes: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a pick-six, and instead of allowing 13 points, New York now has allowed 20. That means your D gets docked three points, and you lose your fantasy matchup by one point.

Brutal, right?

If you think about it, that scenario also is pretty unfair. And ESPN apparently is doing something about it this year.

At ESPN’s annual Fantasy Football Rankings Summit, fantasy expert Matthew Berry revealed an important change coming to leagues in 2017: Touchdowns scored against an offense — i.e. a fumble or interception return — won’t count toward a defense/special teams unit’s overall points allowed. (The ensuing point-after attempt still will count, though.)

“Let’s say you’ve got the (New England) Patriots defense,” Berry explained. ” … Tom Brady throws a pick-six … (and) you get knocked negative points because they ‘gave up a touchdown,’ even though it was actually the fault of Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. Now this year, that won’t happen.”

The change makes obvious sense: The defense was not responsible for giving up the touchdown, so why should it be penalized? In fact, it’s pretty surprising it took so long for this update to happen.

This rule change is great news for fantasy owners who have been burned in the past, though. As For The Win points out, there were 56 defensive touchdowns in the NFL last season. In short: You now can start the Jacksonville Jaguars defense without worrying about Blake Bortles handing opponents touchdowns on a platter.

Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images

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