© Cheddarhead Fantasy Football League 2023
Fantasy Football is about more than just drafting a team and collecting a score from your players each week. The game is supposed to be lucrative AND FUN. Here is a list of some of the fun things you can do to make your league more interesting and fun for everyone involved. LEAGUE LOSER PUNISHMENTS 1. A LOSER’S TROPHY a. There was a time when getting a loser’s trophy would be considered the ultimate symbol of embarrassment. b. The trophy’s are usually creatively designed and hilariously insulting. I have seen a picture of a trophy that has a set of truck nuts swinging from it. Yes, it is funny but who REALLY knows what you got for losing the league except you and the rest of the league? 2. JERSEY SWAP a. The Jersey Swap punishment is perfect for humiliating your fellow fantasy football league member. Picture yourself wearing the jersey of your most despised rival team, surrounded by your friends and league mates. b. Ehhhh, not that creative or embarrassing. WHo cares what jersey you are wearing to the next fantasy draft? 3. FOOD CHALLENGES a. Food bets SOUND innocent enough but be careful what you wish for because you might just be chowing down on something genuinely revolting. Here are some ideas we came across when researching. b. Mine are from a deep dive into reddit. c. The loser hosts a home cooked meal for the league. It’s a good way to get everyone together, and have an owners meeting for changes that need to be voted on for the following year. Plus our league is mostly full of Italians so it’s always good eating. d. We make the bottom 2 owners (regular season) buy a keg for the draft next year, and the loser of the playoffs be "pump bitch" for the keg which means they have to fill and deliver everyone's beers should a player demand it. It's honestly got to the point where the goal of the league is to simply make sure you not buy keg. I don't even know who has the most championships but we definitely know the top 5 keg purchasers and their totals. e. We all go to a baseball game and the loser must eat one hot dog and finish one beer each inning. Puke or fail to finish by the 3rd out and you lose. Everyone else wagers on how far they make it, which then determines draft order. Loser gets 1st pick if they complete it. This year: Puke in the 7th Last year: Puke in the 9th f. We call it Taco Hell: Loser has to eat $40 of Taco Bell and immediately do the Edward scissor hands challenge- duct tape a 40 oz malt beverage to each hand. Can’t go to the restroom until both 40s are finished. The strategy behind the 40 dollars spent is always interesting to me because we don’t care what you spend it on. Sure you can buy a bunch of large Baja blasts but you have to finish all of it and the extra soda will just make you piss your pants during the scissor hands part. g. Loser has to eat an extra strength laxative brownie and take the ACT. If he doesn't score at least a 25 he loses his first round pick. If He doesn't score at least a 20, he loses his first two rounds. h. Last place has to take first place’s parents out for a nice dinner (and go, not just give a gift card. It often involves travel). i. I pitched the following punishment this year but it was not approved. My league mates are cowards. The loser has to go alone to an Outback Steakhouse and order a Bloomin’ Onion. They must then eat all of the fried coating, leaving a weird looking translucent onion. They must ask to see a manager, and rave about how perfect it was. “Give my compliments to the chef” must be said. 4. SOCIAL MEDIA TAKEOVER a. In the era of social media, allowing the league winner to take over your accounts for a day is a fantasy football punishment that will have lasting consequences. b. From embarrassing posts and awkward selfies to cringe-worthy comments and questionable hashtags, this last-place punishment will leave you praying for the day to end. c. Frankly, this one doesn’t bother me that much because I have maybe 20 followers on my Instagram and i don’t know if many of them pay attention to my feed. 5. A LEMONADE STAND a. Have you ever wanted to run a lemonade stand? If you finish last in your fantasy football league, that dream can become a reality! As the last-place finisher, you'll be tasked with setting up a pink lemonade stand in a crowded part of your town. b. But here's the twist, that makes it a little easier to handle. All the profit you make from selling lemonade goes to a charity agreed upon by the league. So not only will you have to face the embarrassment of being the fantasy football loser, but you'll also have to watch someone else benefit from your hard work. c. A little more embarrassing way to raise money for a good cause, Last place has to create an onlyfans and earn $1000 in a certain allotted time or else their draft pick moves from first to last. 6. THE WAFFLE HOUSE CHALLENGE a. Another very popular punishment that requires the loser of the fantasy league to spend 24 hours in a waffle house or whatever type of all night diner your town may have. b. The loser will be allowed to eliminate 1 hour from the punishment for every waffle or food item of the leagues choice that is eaten by the loser. 7. DATE WITH AN INFLATABLE DOLL a. An interesting idea from Reddit was this. Last year the loser had to take an anime body pillow on a date. We were nice and let him go to Buffalo Wild Wings. b. You MUST purchase a full meal for the doll along with dessert. After dinner you need to meet the rest of the league at a bar for drinks. 8. TWO DAYS JET LAG a. The last-place punishment for coming in dead last is taking multiple consecutive flights around the country for two straight days. From early morning flights to red-eye journeys, you'll be jet-setting from city to city, enduring fatigue and endless layovers. b. This MAY just require a good travel agent to set this baby up. c. OTHER REDDIT IDEAS d. loser gets kidnapped and dropped off in Des Moines, IA with $50 to find their way back home. e. Simply called Lone Knight in the Woods. f. Last place must spend a night in the woods armed only with a sword and nothing else. g. Grey Hound bus trip to Cleveland. As soon as you arrive in Cleveland hop on a bus and come home. 9. STAND UP COMEDY SET a. So, you've found yourself in last place in your fantasy football league. The punishment? A stand-up comedy set at an open-mic night. The audience eagerly awaits your arrival, unaware of your league loser status. As you step onto the stage, the spotlight glaring in your eyes, you can feel the nerves creeping in. b. It is all part of the fun, right? You'll have to embrace the challenge and make them laugh, even if they have no idea why you're up there. c. OTHER EMBARRASSING TAKES d. We pick a random bar, have the loser put on headphones, then have him dance in a 4x4 taped off area for two hours to whatever music we play in the headphones. They have to chug a beer every 15 minutes. It’s hilarious. e. We make them walk around a crowded park handing out leaflets promoting Flat Earth Theory. They aren't allowed to leave until all leaflets are accepted by random strangers. f. Last place has to create an only fans and earn $1000 in a certain allotted time or else their draft pick moves from first to last. g. The loser must trick or treat in costume, in the middle of the summer, and not stop until they get candy from 10 houses (without mentioning it’s a punishment) h. This year’s punishment the guy has to basically sit in a dark closet and build a 300 piece puzzle with only a headlamp. i. Last place wears a clear backpack on draft day/night that each league member places one item in. j. Donate sperm and check the box allowing the child to contact them when they turn 18. 10. IN THE CAGE a. The Cage is by far the worst punishment ever in fantasy football. Imagine being trapped in a small enclosure while your league members take turns picking ingredients to pour over you. The possibilities are endless, from ketchup and mustard to chocolate sauce and mayonnaise. b. And to make matters worse, you must sit in the cage for half an hour after they've poured everything on you. This best fantasy football punishment is a humiliating and messy experience you don't want to endure. c. Other cage ideas involve requiring the loser to sit in the cage for the entirety of the fantasy draft. 11. HAIRCUT FROM HELL a. If you think getting a bad haircut is a nightmare, imagine enduring "The Haircut From Hell" as a fantasy football punishment. b. This terrifying consequence involves letting the winner of the league choose your haircut, and trust me, they won't be kind. From bizarre patterns to embarrassing designs, this last-place punishment will leave you questioning your decisions in life. c. And the worst part? You'll have to live with this haircut until it grows out, which could take months. 12. TATTOO BET a. This is the punishment that I think likely started all these punishments. This punishment takes managing your team to a new level of commitment. b. Just imagine losing your league and having the league winner for that year designing a PERMANENT PIECE OF ARTWORK for your body. c. I don’t think I would be able to do this. 13. There was ONE idea that involved a punishment DURING the season that anyone could be part of. a. It is called the "Stapp Infection", In reference to Scott Stapp, the lead singer of Creed. The player with the "Stapp Infection" could get rid of it by beating someone, then they had it. The player with the Stapp Infection had to post a bunch of Creed stuff on social media, (pictures, lyrics, concert schedule, stuff like that) with no explanation. It was really fun! SCORING 1.Tight Ends: 2 points per reception 2. First Down: 0.1 points per passing, 1 point per rushing/receiving 3. Tight Ends: 2 points per first down 4. Kicking: 3.3 points per XP, yardage points for FGM (37 yards = 3.7 points) 5. 1 point for touchdowns: Touchdowns are somewhat random. No more worrying about vultures. 6. Diversify kicker scoring to make them relevant: In the vast majority of fantasy football leagues, kickers have little value and are usually selected in the final rounds of drafts. This is not because they don’t score enough, rather, they’re all interchangeable and hardly separate themselves. Why not shake it up and create separation between the best kicker and the worst? Award bonus points for kickers that can hit longer field goals, subtract points for missed extra points and field goals, give points for touchbacks, etc. By creating separation between kickers, you inherently increase the value of the position and suddenly add a dimension of strategy on draft day. 7. Award Fantasy Points For First Downs Gained: I stole borrowed this idea from DynastyLeagueFootball.com, where Dan Meylor mentioned it in his column. By adding single points for any first downs made by a running back, wide receiver or a tight end, you even out the scoring between RBs and WRs a little bit more. Use this rule instead of points per reception or else you’ll over-reward WRs again. This new Fantasy scoring rule also eliminates a running back or wide receiver getting a point for catching a screen pass and losing two yards. It does, however, award a running back that can plunge forward with some extra effort for that third-and-short conversion. 8. Increase defensive scoring opportunities: The old adage “defenses win championships” should be amended with “…except in fantasy football leagues.” Why are defenses so valuable in real life but not in fantasy football? Bump up points for defenses and make them just as valuable as any other position. 9. No PPR and no fractional scoring leagues: Each one of these can be a separate rule, but I’m combining them both for the sake of saving space — and because I’m in a league that is guilty of both. PPR (or point per reception) leagues are a must these days. In an era where offenses are pass-heavy, you need to reward receivers who play an integral role in their offenses by catching a lot of passes. And as for fractional scoring, if one of your players falls a yard short of a 10- or 20-yard threshold, why should they be penalized a full point for that. For instance, if one of your receivers has 19 yards and your opponent’s has 20 yards, why should that be a full-point difference? There’s barely a discrepancy. Instead, award 0.1 points per yard and then you have a difference of 1.9 points versus 2.0 points. 10 Radicalize scoring system to make all positions about equal value: I’m a traditionalist, so I will never abandon the kicker position as some leagues are now doing out there. But in most fantasy drafts, smart owners will wait til the last few rounds to take their kickers. And why? Because kickers are interchangeable and dispensable. Likewise, defenses are usually taken in the mid-to-late rounds. Only a few quarterbacks and tight ends are taken early. What do you see in the first three rounds? An avalanche of running backs and wide receivers come flying off the board. One novel idea is to tweak the scoring rules in a manner that puts the best quarterback on par with the best running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker and defense. Could you imagine a kicker being taken in the first round (if you’re a Raiders fan, of course you can)? It seems outlandish, but if you tweak the scoring rules enough, it could actually be good strategy. 11. The Psychic: We all know that luck often plays a bigger part than skill in the end result of fantasy football games. An owner can correctly surmise that Team X will win big and choose to run the ball rather than pass, adjust his/her lineup accordingly and still watch in horror as an unexpected injury garners him a goose egg. Why not reward owners who correctly predict the outcome of games -- even if individual players might let them down -- by having each owner also play ESPN's Pigskin Pick 'Em and adding a scoring bonus based on how many games they get correct each week? 12. The Captain: Fantasy owners can't control which members of their team get the ball during the games, but that doesn't mean you can't artificially create your own game plan. Allow each owner to assign a team captain for the upcoming game. The team captain's fantasy points are then given a slight increase, say 20 percent, so if he scores 10 points in your standard scoring, it becomes 12. You can do the same thing defensively by having each owner identify a player to "key on," giving him an automatic 20 percent deduction. 13. Assign team captains who get a turbo boost: Don’t you wish you had a turbo button in life, like you do for “Madden”? Run faster, drive faster, work faster! Do it for your fantasy leagues, allowing each team to name a team captain each week, allowing that player’s score to be multiplied by 150 percent. You could also make a rule that you can’t name a player as captain more than twice in a season, making it more strategical. (That’s a word!) 14. The Boy Scout: As the motto says, "be prepared." No matter how elaborate the scoring system, you're bound to end up with a tie every now and again. While that's not a disaster in the regular season, in the playoffs it can cause a nuclear explosion of outrage if there's no plan in place to break the deadlock. While some leagues simply advance the higher seed, why not let the players settle it on the field? Each owner should name an overtime player prior to the game. In the event there is a tie, then the score of these extra players are added to the mix to try to tip the scales. 15. Bonus TD awarded for best set of backups per game. Eliminate the frustration of having a player go off on your bench and not help your team. If your backup players score more points than your opponent’s backup players, then your final score that week gets a bonus six points tacked on. NFL teams use their backup players, so why shouldn’t you? It will change the makeup of your roster, too. 16. Award Half-Points to Backup Quarterbacks: The quarterbacks position is one of the most important in the NFL, as he’s often the leader on the field and in the clubhouse, and he makes the offense go. But in Fantasy Football, quarterbacks have been neutralized because you only start one, and the top 12 are generally all very good, with little separation. By awarding half-points for every point a Fantasy backup quarterback scores, you make the position more important, and you keep from having to go to a full Two-QB league, which changes everything. DRAFT 1. Third-round reversal (the team picking first in Round 2 also picks first in Round 3) 2. Draft a head coach: If you’re looking for ways to add dimension to your league’s scoring system without getting too outlandish, consider drafting a head coach. When that coach’s NFL team wins, you get points. 3. Draft complete offensive lines: Another way to fluff up your league’s scoring rules is to draft a complete NFL offensive line. And why not? Most leagues draft complete defenses. The way your offensive line can earn points is by how many rushing yards they help their NFL team generate, how few sacks they allow, etc. 4. Use a hybrid auction-draft combination: The first time I heard of this strange rule, I was a little bit skeptical that such a thing would work, but we tried it once and it really did seem enjoyable. Some fantasy football owners like to draft players. Others like to auction players. Why not do both? You can start with a five- round auction. If you have 12 players in your league, that means 60 players would get auctioned off. After that period is over, you then switch to doing a draft. The draft order would be determined by available salary, with the team that has the most money available drafting first and the team that spent the most in the auction would draft last. 5. Award compensatory draft picks in dynasty leagues to compensate injuries: In recent years, there have been several high profile players that have gone down with injury early in the season. And if you were one of the unfortunate souls to draft said players, you likely kissed your championship aspirations goodbye. But if you are in a dynasty league, you might consider giving relief to those teams who suffered catastrophic injuries. For example, maybe you award an extra third-round pick to a team who lost its first-round pick the prior year for at least six games. Maybe you give a seventh-round pick if a team lost its third- or fourth-round pick the previous year for more than six games. You can play around with the formula however you want, but in essence it gives a morale boost to the teams who had to suffer through a painfully disappointing and boring season the year prior. 6. The Ping-Pong Rule: A very real and unfortunate byproduct of some keeper leagues is "tanking," where a team intentionally starts an inferior lineup in the hopes of losing games in order to get a better draft pick for the next season. The biggest problem with this comes when the tanking team's loss ends up "stealing" a playoff spot away from another team by simply handing a victory to his competition. If this is happening in your league, go the David Stern route and get yourself some ping-pong balls. A draft lottery may not eliminate all tanking, but it certainly makes it a lot less likely to occur. Weight the draft lottery toward the have-nots in keeper leagues: A team with bad keepers has a real uphill battle year after year. That tends to make owners think twice about returning the next season, which is a pain for the commissioner. Just like the NBA Draft, award the worst teams from the previous season with extra names in the hat during the draft lottery, improving their chances for landing a top-three pick. 7. Week 3 free-agent drafts will change your life! Rather than allow teams to make free-agent pickups in the first two weeks of the season, hold a special Week 3 Free-Agent Draft, with the worst team getting the first pick in each round. Just think over the past few seasons how players like Dak Prescott (2016), Justin Forsett (2014) and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) would have helped push some 0–2 teams into contention. It’s a great reason to get the league together again, too. 8. Invent interesting draft pick lottery ideas: Deciding the fantasy draft order might be the most important event outside of the actual fantasy draft, so why not make it a bigger deal than just pulling numbers out of a hat? Set up some competitions, like miniature golf or skee ball. Better yet, make the competitions a little more random and have everyone pick a NASCAR driver for an upcoming race, or a horse in the Belmont Stakes held in June. A favorite I’ve heard recently is putting draft pick numbers on the bottom of cups, shuffling them around and having owners play beer pong to decide their draft pick’s fate. 9. Draft your draft picks: You could also make the draft lottery a little more strategic. Have owners draft where in the first round they’d like to draft. Their lottery number is the order in which they pick their picks. It’s always interesting to see at which point someone prefers the 12th or 11th pick over the seventh, eighth or ninth picks. ROSTER 1. Free Agency: $100 blind budget 2. Use a FAAB system: Leagues should have a Free Agent Acquisition Budget system in place. Having owners bid on players either in the draft (auction) or through the waiver wire is a true testament to how much each owner values a certain player or position. Therefore, they must prioritize their budget and claims accordingly. No two owners will have the same strategy as some are more aggressive than others, and no two owners are likely to have the same amount of FAAB funds once the season is rolling along. 3. Start 12 players: 2 QBs, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, TE, 2 Flex, K, D/ST. More starters = more decisions = more fun. Also reflects today’s NFL in which several teams have 2-3 viable Fantasy RBs and 3-4 viable WRs. 4. Institute a college feeder system: For the really ambitious fantasy owners out there, instead of drafting rookies onto your active roster each year, why not consider having a separate college football draft immediately after the bowl season? It’ll give you something fun to do in the dog days of winter and it’ll create a farm system (or feeder system) from which you can pull when you’re ready. Basically, you draft any college player you want who is not already in one of your team’s farm system. Then, when they declare for the draft and get signed by an NFL team, you then have to make the decision whether you activate them to your active roster, or you cut them and they become free agents. 5. Combine daily/weekly fantasy sports with head-to-head leagues: Some fantasy owners really enjoy the latest craze of daily, or — in the case of football — weekly fantasy leagues. You get to select a whole new lineup each week so you aren’t stuck with an underperforming roster for 13 weeks. Other fantasy owners prefer the traditional league types where you draft a team in August and play a different opponent each week throughout the season. Why not combine both concepts? You still create a schedule where you compete against one other owner each week of your season, but now you get the fun of selecting a whole new team each week. 6. Avoid the ‘forever keeper’ 7. If you keep a player, you lose the round he was drafted in, though there is a catch. To keep fantasy owners from keeping Odell Beckham Jr. forever as a 13th rounder, the minimum cost for a keeper is the 6th round. So any player drafted after the 6th round would still cost a 6th rounder. If you have multiple late-round keepers, that’s the only time you could lose something later than a 6th. Those players would cost 7th and beyond (depending on how many keepers there are). 8. KEEPERS - Late Round & No Free Agents: EVERY league should have some sort of keeper rule implemented. It not only keeps the league engaged throughout the offseason, but it (you keep hearing this) changes the dynamic of draft day!!!!!! Keepers can absolutely be a double-edged sword, however. Too many can ruin a league. I’ve been in leagues with anywhere from 1 to 5 players can be kept for the following season. I, along with my big-money-league members, have agreed that having one, just a solo keeper is optimal. But that's not it. How your keeper rule is set up is arguably more important than how many keepers you allow. For my friends and I (and any of you that do a live draft for your league), draft night is easily the most enjoyable night of the football season. But if Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins, Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham, etc. are already off the board before the draft starts, draft night REALLY isn't that much fun. The smaller the player pool is, the less fun it is, in my humble opinion. That is why our rule is this: Any player drafted in the 8th round or later can be kept the following season. No free agents whatsoever. It’s set up in a way to minimize any ridiculous advantage a league owner can have going into the following season. Every year there are players that bust tf out who weren't drafted at all in the previous fantasy season. For instance, if you allow free agents to be keepers.. Whoever picked up Alvin Kamara in 2017 has a monster advantage for 2018. That league member is virtually receiving an additional first round pick along with the one he already has. I understand the argument... he should be rewarded for noticing the player and picking him up last year!!! He was... by having him on his team last year. He got all of Kamara’s production, all season and didn't have to pay any draft capital. It's the same reason we have the keeper round set at 8. We originally started with Round 6, and the same thing happened, too many really good players were still drafted that early. Every year there are a few 6th rounders that end up being first or second-rounders in the next season, and it didn't take any real research or skill to pick them in the 6th round. We eventually pushed it back to the 10th round which I personally liked the most since it rewards the league members who do their research and are nice with the late-round picks. At the time when our rule was 10th round or later, we also allowed two players to be kept, not one. That led to my friend CHRIS R., who I’ll keep anonymous, being able to keep both David Johnson and Jordy Nelson... that happened to be the szn both guys ranked #1 in fantasy at their position. Sufficient to say, the league wasn't much fun for the other 9 of us. Thus, we eventually settled on round 8, with one keeper. It's late enough in the draft that people who don't do their research likely won't get lucky hitting on a future first rounder, and if they do, that's all the damage they can do, they can't keep anyone else. The best part about keepers is its ability to keep you engaged all off-szn. You're thinking about who you can keep, should you trade him? Yes, we allow keeper trades. You can trade your keeper for someone elses, or for a draft pick - just make sure that at the end of the trade every player must still have the same number of draft picks (or draft picks + keepers). If you trade away a keeper player for a draft pick, then you just take away the last round pick of the league member that is keeping someone. If your keeper rule is set for round 8, you might start drafting differently once that round 8 hits. Rather than taking a high-floor vet, you might take a swing on a rookie running back who is behind a veteran on the depth chart, but that veteran’s contract expires at the end of this year. Stay woke. Dynasty leagues are great too, but it’s a LOT of commitment to be in one and operate successfully. You need to make sure that every single league member is active and in it for the long haul - I’m talking years on years on years. 9. Make two college players keeper eligible: For keeper leagues, one way to keep the bad teams interested as the season wears down is to have the two worst teams choose a college football player as a possible keeper. This makes those owners who might bail have a reason to return, and it makes for some interesting picks. For instance, some great college keepers in recent years would have been Amari Cooper, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. And some great busts would have been Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson and Montee Ball. Two intriguing picks for your 2017 draft would be USC quarterback Sam Darnold and LSU running back Derrius Guice. 10. Give kickers the boot: Until you’ve played in a league that has already eliminated the kicker position from lineups, you’ll never realize how nice it is to not have to deal with a kicker on a bye week when six NFL teams are on byes. 11. Make Tight Ends More Important In a 2-TE Lineup: Tight ends, like quarterbacks, have plenty of talent, but just one lineup slot on Fantasy teams. Rather than having a tight end mix into your flex position (what a waste!), make each team start two tight ends, along with two running backs, three wide receivers and a flex position! Now, that second tier of tight ends really mean something, and sleeper tight ends can start being drafted. Rookie tight ends can finally see a starting Fantasy lineup! 12. No Free Agent Pickups Until the Week 3 Supplemental Draft! When I first started in Fantasy Football, back in 1989, we drafted large teams, so we had plenty of backups, but we wouldn’t allow for waiver pickups in the traditional sense. We had in-season supplemental drafts at different points. By not allowing owners to make free-agent pickups after the draft, forcing them to wait until after the first two weeks of the season are over, then the worst teams in the league suddenly get a chance to add a superstar to their teams. In the past 20 years, players like Kurt Warner (1999), Alfred Morris (2012), Justin Forsett (2014) and Dak Prescott (2016) all ended up being great waiver-wire pickups at the beginning of their seasons. Let those players build up for a couple 13. Speaking of Kicking, Let’s Punt Flex Positions, Too: One of the original goals of creating the flex position was to help make wide receivers more important, and trying to equalize the importance of running backs. So teams could choose to start a third (or fourth) wide receiver instead of a third running back. How about having four wide receivers and no flex, then you can add a third running back slot, too. To me, the flex is a copout, and this forces owners to make decisions. 14. Let Waivers Be a Twitter Free-For-All: Another fun Fantasy Football league idea is to have your waivers play out on Twitter! Players can be picked up and dropped at any time – even during a game! That would definitely make Sunday dinner at the in-laws (more) stressful! The first one to pick up a player gets him – and whomever he drops is instantly available to other owners. This reminds me of a boiler room at some finance firm on Wall Street with people yelling “Buy! Buy!” and “Sell! Sell!” and “Who ate my sandwich!?!” (I honestly don’t know what goes on in those boiler rooms, but I like to think there are a lot of sandwiches being pilfered out of the breakroom fridge.) SCHEDULING 1. Position weeks for 12-team leagues 12. The regular season is 13 weeks long, but you only have 11 different opponents. If your commissioner changes nothing, you will play the same teams you played Weeks 1 and 2 in Weeks 12 and 13. That’s pretty random and adds an element of luck. Why not do something to take the randomness away and also allow teams to have more control of their own destiny? My proposal: position weeks. In Weeks 7 and 13, it will be 1st place vs. 2nd place, 3rd place vs 4th place, etc. This way, you play every other team once and at both the midpoint of the regular season and in the final week of the season, you play a team directly competing with you for playoff positioning. It takes away the randomness of the extra two matchups each season and gives you more direct control over your spot in the standings. 13. Schedule double-headers twice per season. You might figure, like many of us, that a 13-week fantasy regular season is too small to really establish the six best teams. Schedule two weeks of double-headers (the week before bye weeks and the week after so everyone has full rosters), preferably against division rivals. You’ll add two games to the schedule, and you’ll have two “super” weeks of action. 4. All vs. one scheduling: Wouldn’t the NFL be better if every team played every other team at least once? Obviously, it’s impossible for that to work, but that’s not the case in fantasy. Have each team face off against the other 11 teams in the league — every week! That will truly determine the six best teams that should be in the playoffs — which are then just Head-to-Head contests. 5. Add Rivalry Weeks to Your Fantasy Schedule: During your Fantasy Draft Day, figure out a rivalry for each owner. So if you have 12 teams, figure out which six rivalry matchups you could create. These rivalries could consist of matchups between: Brother vs. Brother, Father vs. Son, Husband vs. Wife, Neighbor vs. Neighbor, Worker vs. Boss, In-laws, Husband vs. Wife’s Former Boyfriend! Basically, you just want to make each game to take on a little special meaning. The winner of these rivalry weeks gets to do something to the loser. Obviously, you don’t want to make it too painful, but it could be something like the winner renaming the loser’s team, or changing their team logo for one week. Those new Fantasy team names could change to something like: David is a WAAAAAY Better Fantasy Player Than Me!, My Wife Picks Losers, Just Like Me, Loserville — Population: Me STANDINGS 1. If you lose your head-to-head matchup but finish in the top half of the league in points, you go 1-1. Each week you go 2-0, 1-1 or 0-2. 2. Play every team in the league every week for one point, with a weighted head-to-head matchup worth 5 or 10 points. Another way to make Fantasy less random. 3. Play against every team every week: Have you ever been victim of the “I had the absolute worst matchup of the week” syndrome? It goes something like this: you’re watching your team kick butt and light the fantasy world on fire. Your quarterback is playing out of his mind, your running back just scored his third touchdown of the week, and your receiver just surpassed the 10-catch mark. You’re headed for a “W”, right? Wrong. You may have scored the second-most points in the league that week, but you had the misfortune of playing the highest- scoring team. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Why not play against every team in the league every week? That way, if you’re in a 12-team league and you scored the second-most points, you finish with a 10-1 record for the week because you beat all but one of the teams in your league. 4. Use complex statistical ranking system instead of standings: All too often, the best team does not always win due to a number of unfortunate twists and turns. Be it weather, injuries, or just freak performances, the best fantasy football team in any given league can sometimes find itself somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of win percentage. Another unique rule to combat that element of luck is by using a statistical ranking system instead of pure win-loss standings. You can combine win percentage with total points scored, strength of schedule, player rankings, etc. You can get as nerdy as you want with it, but the more factors you employ, the more accurate the rankings are likely to be in determining the best teams. 5. The Boot: One of the most frustrating things for a commissioner is having an owner "quit" midseason when his/her team is losing by simply going through the motions and not really putting in any effort to improve. Sometimes it's hard to get rid of owners like this, especially if they've paid a form of league dues. Do you want to ensure people play the entire season no matter what? Take a page from the world of soccer and incorporate "relegation" into the mix. Whoever finishes last overall is out of the league for a year. If an owner truly cares about being in your league, you'll see a change in attitude when this rule gets added to the constitution. 6. Eliminate Divisions: This is fantasy football, not the actual NFL with 32 teams. If your league has divisions, it is dumb. There’s no sense in some 7-7 team making the playoffs over a 9-5 team because their division was garbage. Unless your fantasy league has 16+ teams, this shouldn’t even be a consideration. 7. Eliminate luck by awarding extra wins: One of the biggest complaints about fantasy football is that it seems like luck has a huge say in the standings. Like when a team scores the second-most points of the week, but happens to be scheduled against the highest-scoring team, and they get a loss. If you award a second “win” to the teams that score in the top half of the league that week, then the best teams get two wins, the worst teams get two losses, and the “unlucky” teams split the difference with a win and a loss that week. It’s like when your tax refund comes in the day your car engine blows. TRADES 1. Allow trade window for counter offers: Why not spice up the trading in your league by allowing owners to negotiate better deals after a trade is completed? The way it works is, after two teams complete a trade and it passes the veto window, other owners can then offer a better deal to either of the original two teams and see if the original teams want to take the new offer instead. 2. The Window: One of most often-heard complaints after a trade goes through is, "I would have offered so much more for that guy." So why not force these Monday morning quarterbacks to put up or shut up? When a trade is agreed upon and reported to the league as a whole, instead of holding a veto vote, allow a window of time where other teams may make public counter offers to either side. After the window closes, if no other offers have been made, the trade goes through. If offers have been made, either owner (or perhaps even both) may pull out of the original deal in order to accept one of the counteroffers, which will immediately be binding. 3. The Neighbors: Worried about collusion? Make it impossible for poorly performing teams to all of a sudden have a huge impact on your playoffs. Don't allow the last-place team to send his studs to the first-place team in a lopsided deal that practically guarantees the championship trophy. Institute a rule stating that after a certain date in the season, trades may only be made among teams within three spots of each other in the overall standings. 4. The Playground Rule: One of the first concepts of game theory that children develop is the time-honored tradition of "no backsies." Many a league has been ruined when teams turn trades into library loans: for example, swapping players back and forth to help each other out during bye weeks. Even more egregious is the owner who hands over his top-10 backup quarterback to the signal-caller starved team playing his primary rival in a deal that gets made again in reverse two weeks later. One simple rule is all that is needed to ensure this never happens: "Teams may not make two trades in the same season involving the same player." 5. Protect the integrity of your dynasty leagues: In order to protect the sanctity of your league, have an owner who trades away a future draft pick pay for that year’s buy-in. So if I wanted to trade away my 2018 and 2019 1st round picks for AJ Green, I’d have to pay the league buy-in for both 2018 and 2019 up front. This will prevent teams from trading their future draft picks just to win now, only to leave the league the following year. 6. Teams cannot trade the same player twice in one season: Another rule that protects against collusion, teams should not be able to trade the same player back and forth more than once in a season. Such a move is tantamount to “renting” a player and should be forbidden. 7. Institute a trade deadline prior to the playoff push: In fantasy sports, the temptation for teams to tank and collude with other owners to form a mega-team is all too real. Your league needs to have a trade deadline — somewhere around Week 9, but open to your owners’ preferences — that will prevent stockpiling and collusion. PLAYOFFS 1. 14-team league, 8 make playoffs: Feels like the NHL, keeps almost everyone in contention. The No. 8 seed has won this league two of the past three years. 2. Team with most season points MUST make playoffs: So if the points leader doesn't qualify, the lowest playoff seed gets knocked out. This one is about justice. 3. The Gold Star: Another way to keep interest year-round is to offer up some consolation prizes that can be attained at any point in the season, even by the so-called bottom of the barrel. How about the top three scores in any single week getting acknowledged with a small percentage of the kitty? How about the winner of the consolation bracket (the playoffs of the non-playoff teams) getting a supplemental draft pick between Rounds 1 and 2 the following season? And as for the dreaded Week 17, when many fantasy leagues go dark, have each team other than the champion field a starting lineup. Give a small prize to the team that finishes with the median score for the week; in other words, in a 12-team league, the sixth-highest score wins. Trust me, there's a lot more strategy to this than it may appear. 4. Have an owner waiting list? It’s time for relegation! If you have a successful fantasy league already, with 10 or 12 reliable owners coming back year after year with a waiting list of people hoping to join the party, then maybe it’s time to expand. Rather than expand your main league, screwing up the integrity of the draft, expand by making a “minor” league of owners (even if it’s just a six-team league). The top two teams in that minor league move up to replace the bottom two teams in the majors the next year, like European soccer relegation. Have a Super Draft Day, with both leagues doing their drafts at the same time — but force the minor-leaguers to draft at the kiddie table! 5. Week 17 becomes DFS Pro Bowl Week!Since Week 17 is generally regarded as a throwaway week in fantasy — much like how the Pro Bowl is viewed in the real NFL — why not have a DFS Pro Bowl Week, inviting your entire league to play a Daily Fantasy tournament for that final Sunday. Take advantage of those backups to the stars that sit for the NFL Playoffs! Maybe even give each team the option of locking in one player from their year-long fantasy team that no one else can use that week. 6. Hold a Super-Duper Bowl every 4 years: Each season, have teams put in an extra 25 percent of the entry fee, which then goes into a pool that pays out to the champion four years from now — in the Super-Duper Bowl! This is especially great for keeper leagues, which then adds some strategy on which players they hold over aiming for a Year-4 double payout! 7. Award Home Field Advantage For the Playoffs: I never understood why more leagues don’t award three-to- six points for home-field advantage to the higher seeds in the Fantasy Football playoffs. What’s the use of getting a higher seed, other than the bye week? This way, the fight for playoff seeds means even more. Of course, for the Super Bowl, there’s no home field advantage, as it’s played on a neutral playing field. 8. Do a Consolation Bracket For the Non-Playoff Teams: Once teams are eliminated from the Fantasy Playoffs, they often completely lose interest and pack it in. Commissioners have to harass them to set lineups sometimes in the final weeks. So if you have a “Non-Playoff Team Playoffs,” with the winner getting half their league fee back, then they’ll have something to play for! AWARDS/PUNISHMENTS 1. Institute punishment for owner who finishes last: While I’m against “survivor” leagues that kick the last- place team out of the league the following season, I do think there are ways to instill fear in owners from tanking the season. Maybe the loser has to host the draft the following season. Maybe he has to buy beer for everybody. Maybe he automatically gets the last pick. Maybe he has to dress as a clown and serve everybody food and drinks like a waiter. Whatever the case may be, pick something that is some form of punishment and instill it. 2. The Tribe Has Spoken: For many years, my long-time keeper league had a parallel "Survivor" tournament running alongside our regular fantasy league. With divisions treated as "tribes," the highest score received "immunity" while the lowest score was "voted off the island." Eventually, the idea ran its course, but for several seasons, the extra competition was a fun in-season diversion. Don't be afraid to give something different a try. The results may surprise you. 3. Winner's Win, and Losers LOSE: If you ain't playing for something, what's the point? Thanks to FantasyJocks me and my homies are hooked up with and play for a gorgeous FantasyJocks Championship Belt AND a Championship Ring!and that's just the icing on top of the hefty money-prize. Have each league-mate chip in an additional $5 or $15 on top of their league buy-in to grab a belt, trophy or ring and you'll be gucci. I highly suggest the belt, you pay once and it’ll last years. Bring it to your buddy’s house on Sundays. Bring it to the mall. Bring it to the bar. (just a few places my friends have been with ours) I don’t care. It’s an amazing, high-quality novelty item. As for your league’s LOSER.... woooo boy - this is arguably my favorite part about my big league. During our annual summer meeting where we discuss rule changes for the upcoming szn, we also decide upon a loser punishment for the upcoming year. We've gotten progressively better, or worse makes more sense, at picking a punishments. We started off with the loser standing shirtless in the middle of our town, in January, with a loser sign. Sorry Joe. Last year, ya man himself had to do a 5-minute stand up comedy gig at a comedy club in New York City... My league mates were the ones who got to write my jokes... This is me ^, and everything I’m writing about in this article is #facts. I’ve done it all. Our league motto quickly became - "If you ain't last... you're first." This year, our league loser will transform himself into a bathroom attendant at a club for a night. Handing out paper towels, mints, condoms, whatever, he can keep the tips. Lol, Joe (pictured above shirtless) lost again. Regardless, a punishment ensures everyone plays fully through the entire szn, and to be perfectly honest, watching the last place race is actually more exhilarating than the race for the belt. As long as you’re not in it. 4. Vote on awards at end of the season: In Week 14, before the fantasy playoffs begin, have all your owners vote for a handful of awards each season, including Fantasy MVP, Rookie of the Year, Sleeper Pick of the Year, Free-Agent Pickup of the Year, Fantasy Bust, Worst Move of the Year, and most important, Fantasy Owner of the Year. This helps get everyone involved, and some non-playoff guys might even get an award or two. Teams can’t vote for themselves, though! Also, keep owner records, year after year, including the award winners and career win/loss records (overall and against specific owners). This is great for Draft Day bragging rights! 5. PENALIZE LAST YEAR’S CHAMPION TO ENCOURAGE PARITY: While I’m not a huge fan of this one, we do use it in one of my keeper leagues because the rest of the guys seem to like it. The way it works is – our keeper league allows you to hold over two players from one year to the next. If you win the championship that season, you’re only allowed to keep ONE player the following season. Imagine if you had Todd Gurley as a keeper, and you also ended up with Kareem Hunt last season, and you won the championship. This makes it so you can’t have both keepers going forward, but you don’t care as much because you did just win a title! 6. The Biggest Loser Buys Drinks For Next Year’s Draft! I like the Toilet Bowl setup, personally, pitting the two worst teams of the regular season against each other, with the loser of that game being the Toilet Bowl Chump. That’s the worst spot ever! Whoever becomes Toilet Bowl Chump has to buy shots at the bar during next year’s draft, or they have to bring the beer if the draft is at someone’s house. I like the ideas of handing out penalties, like many of the people did in Matthew Berry’s “Fantasy Life” book. One league forces their league loser to get a horrible tattoo! That might be a little much, after all. That’s like penalizing the guy’s wife and kids. LEAGUE 1. Try a Limited Keeper League: Some people love the deep research that goes into dynasty leagues, but not everyone in the league wants to go that deep. Try what I like to call a “limited keeper league,” which means it’s a keeper league, but the only players that are keeper eligible are the ones drafted beyond a certain point of the draft, like after Round 9. This keeps the first few rounds stocked with superstars, especially incoming rookie studs like Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, since they’ll be picked well before the cutoff point (start of Round 10). But if someone does the right amount of research and locks down a good sleeper late, then they should be rewarded by getting to keep that player going forward (I like to set three-year limits on keepers, after the year they were drafted. So they can be owned for four years, essentially.) 2. Give your league a theme: Don’t be “just another fantasy league.” Stand out from all the others — by assigning a theme to it, like Seinfeld, Mafia movies or Saturday Night Live. Change the division names accordingly, along with the name of the league’s trophy and championship game, while also asking each owner to change his team name and logo to something theme-related. There’s just something extra fantastic about having your “Soup Nazis” beat “Kramerica Industries” in the Festivus Bowl. 3. ason. Maybe make it so that the first six teams to pay their fees get a 10-percent discount and the last three teams have to pay a 20-percent penalty? That would make it a race for owners to pay you! 4. Bizarro Fantasy Football: These are fun to do with six or eight owners, don’t do a full-blown draft, as the deeper you go, the less interesting it is. But really, the draft is the most fun part of these leagues -- well, I guess that's true of all Fantasy leagues! Have owners choose 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 Defense. The scoring is the opposite of real Fantasy, so you reward bad players. That means you give points for carries, but deduct points for yardage and touchdowns. Low yards per carry RBs are the best. Reward these stats, too: Deductions for touchdowns or 300/100-yard games, Dropped passes, Fumbles, Interceptions, Incompletions thrown, Low yards per reception, Missed kicks, For defenses: Points and Yardage allowed is a good thing. 5. Survivor Leagues: Track down some services that use these leagues, where you can start any player in the NFL, but you can use them in your lineup only once for the season. There used to be a contest called, "Fantasy Tournament of Champions," but I haven't seen that in a couple years. 6. Redraft Leagues 7. Keeper Leagues 8. Dynasty Leagues 9. Deep Leagues 10. 32-team Leagues: Obviously, these are considered the deepest leagues possible, which means the owners with early picks get a much bigger advantage than the lower teams. Consider doing serpentine for the first two rounds, then just having the order of the second round of the draft be the order for every round after. So the teams with the top pick also end up getting the 64th, 96th, 128th and the 160th in the first five rounds, as opposed to the first pick, 64th pick, 65th pick, 128th pick and the 129th pick. The middle teams aren’t affected, but the bottom teams get much better picks in the odd rounds after Round 1. For Fantasy Baseball, we do two 10-team leagues (AL- and NL-only), but we mash them together in one mixed league. Then, as real baseball starts interleague play, we schedule interleague play among our teams (it's a Head-to-Head league). Then we also have a three-game Fantasy World Series between the best of both leagues! Also, there's this league, which I think is one of the most interesting Fantasy Football leagues ever created! 11. Player Copy Leagues 12. One vs. 11 Leagues: Every week, rather than face just one team, you face all 11 teams. So after Week 1, you could be 11-0 or 0-11 or anything in between. This would really stop all of the times teams have a great week, only to end up facing the highest-scoring team that week. The playoffs would remain standard, however. 13. Every Week Double-Headers Leagues: Similar to the above setup, have each team play just two teams each week, which would again, really help those that have big games, but bad schedules. 14. Devy League: What’s a Devy League, you ask? The name is short for a “Developmental” dynasty league. Think of it like Major League Baseball, where they have an entire minor-league organization that provides talent to them season after season. Owners draft college and high school football players for their Devy Leagues, along with regular NFL players. You can add devy players to your regular rookie draft, or set it up so they can be added throughout waivers in-season. 15. 2 Quarterback Leagues: These leagues are meant to offset the importance of the running back position and make the quarterback position be more shallow than you’re used to. This is the only position that affects every other player on an NFL team, and they rack up stats specific to their position. We need to make them more important, but the depth at the position makes it tough to do so. This is a great way to do it – every Fantasy team starts two quarterbacks every week. There are also some sites out there that specifically deal with the 2-QB leagues. 16. 2 TE Leagues 17. Superflex Leagues 18. Individual Defender Leagues (IDP) 19. TE Premium Leagues 20. Daily Fantasy Football Leagues 21. Relegation Leagues 22. Playoff Leagues 23. College-to-Canton Leagues 24. Best Ball(DraftOnly/Draftmaster) Leagues: Some services, like MyFantasyLeague.com, offer free draft- only leagues, where your team is made up of just the players you draft, and you are never able to adjust your roster. These are fun to do in June and July when you’re trying to kill time until your real league’s draft arrives. MFL also offers leagues called MFL 10s, which just happened to win the FSTA Award for best Fantasy draft contest on the web. For $10, you can win $100! 25. Guillotine League: The idea is that one team is eliminated from the league every week, from Week 1 to Week 17 or 18. However, this is not a traditional head-to-head league, and the scoring is done on points scored on the week. Therefore, if you score the fewest points that week, you are eliminated from the league, and your season is over. However, when a team is eliminated, the players from the eliminated roster are dropped into the free agency pool. Every Wednesday, when waivers run, the league-mate who bid the most Free Agency Acquisition Budget (FAAB) will add that player to their roster. 26. Vampire Leagues: This format works nicely with a 12-team setup. Once you are ready to draft, you then do your draft randomizer. The person who ends up in the 12-spot is then designated the vampire. The vampire does not take place in the draft. Instead, the other eleven players fill their rosters. Once the draft is finished, the Waiver Wire and Free Agency is closed. Only the vampire will have access to the rest of the player pool. The vampire will then be able to build their team from the rest of the player pool. They start at a significant disadvantage. However, as more injuries begin to occur, the vampire can start to build a more competitive roster. However, that is not all. The vampire is allowed to control the schedule of who they play. They cannot play an opponent more than twice in the regular season. Also, between weeks 4 and 14, the vampire can only play each team once, so they don’t get an advantage due to byes. This is also true for all the other players in the league. The last area to cover is that the vampire can steal a player from an opponent’s roster if they win and swap with someone from their starting lineup. The best rule you can use for this is that the team that isn’t the vampire can lose anyone from their roster if they lose. However, the vampire has to send a player in the same position who was in their starting lineup. 27. Money Leagues 28. Free Leagues 29. Standard(Non PPR)Leagues 30. PPR Leagues 31. Auction Leagues 32. Salary Cap Leagues 33. Contract Leagues 34. Free Agent Aquisition Budget Leagues 35. Public Leagues 36. Private Leagues References: https://davidgonos.com/fantasy-football-rule-changes/ https://theathletic.com/2017751/2020/08/27/fantasy-football-new-rules/ https://athlonsports.com/fantasy/21-ways-spice-your-fantasy-football-league https://www.fantasyjocks.com/blogs/news/fantasy-football-rules https://www.profootballnetwork.com/scott-fish-bowl-13-rules-strategy-fantasy-2023/ https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football/news/unusual-fantasy-football-rules-worth-considering/
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