This past Thursday night, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in a low-scoring affair 13-6. Nothing out of the ordinary happened virtually throughout the entire game, but in the final minute, an unusual choice was made.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh made a decision to decline a call that would have given San Francisco a safety. This decision obviously didn’t affect the outcome of San Francisco getting their fourth win of the season, but just might have an affect on some fantasy football leagues.
In standard fantasy football leagues, a team’s defense recording a safety is worth two points. This may not seem like much, but in some fantasy league match-ups, this could be the difference between winning and losing. I should know this first-hand, because I’m a participant in a league, and this week I had the 49ers’ defense in my starting lineup.
San Francisco’s defense ended up with 10 points this week, which is a pretty good number of points. However, everyone who plays in any fantasy league knows that every point is crucial.
A prime example of this was in Week 5 when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was credited for a 13-yard touchdown pass, which was originally ruled a 13-yard rushing touchdown for Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall on a lateral. Adding a touchdown pass to Roethlisberger’s statistics, and taking away 13 yards from Mendenhall’s rushing total affected the outcome of several fantasy match-ups that week.
Of course, I believe that Harbaugh should have accepted the penalty and taken the two points for the benefit of my fantasy team. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people in Las Vegas wished he would have as well.
Other than reducing the possibility of injuries, the only logical explanation that I could come up with is that San Francisco didn’t want to take the safety, and possibly have Seattle attempt an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff.
However, even if the Seahawks did do that and recovered the kick, the score would have been 15-6, making it a two-possession game with less than a minute to play. With that much time left, it would have been virtually impossible to make a comeback.
We won’t know until tomorrow if Harbaugh’s decision not to accept the safety will have a major impact on wins and losses for this week. Personally, I hope it doesn’t. Just like me, I know that there are a number of other fantasy owners who are in a tight match-up this week, and had San Francisco’s defense in their starting lineup.
Right now, I’m up two points on my opponent, and we both have one player left to play on Monday night. If I end up losing by two points, coach Harbaugh will be hearing from me.
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