It’s been too long since we wrote an article on how to improve your fantasy league. As we move closer to the end of this decade, it feels like most operating fantasy football leagues have settled into a groove. Perfect time for some new additions to the list! Here are some ideas for spicing up your league and making it a little bit more exciting.
1. Create Rivalry Weeks
Instead of just letting ESPN, Yahoo, or whatever platform you’re using generate your league schedule at random, go in and set it manually. Have a couple weeks where each team naturally faces off against someone they know best in the league. Best friends, couples, siblings, you name it! It’s always more fun when you know the person you’re going up against. In our league, we love putting two testy brothers with decades of sibling baggage against each other every season, knowing that every heated text exchange may be their last. Did I really just type that last sentence?
2. Create Some Type of Rollover Payout
You might think this rule can only apply to empire and dynasty leagues, but it could be adjusted for redraft leagues as well. In fact, this one isn’t even football-dependent. Having some portion of the league pool roll over to the next season makes every season more exciting. Of course, it helps to use an entry fee collection system that allows rollover payouts in their league settings, such as TeamStake. In one of my redraft leagues, last place has to pay an extra $50 at the end of the year and it continues to build until someone wins first place in consecutive years. It’s a combination of our “Punish Last Place” suggestion and the “Rollover” suggestion!
3. Double-Header Weeks
You ever feel like 16 weeks of fantasy football just isn’t enough to figure out who the best team really is? Well, you can start instituting double-header weeks into your league, where each team plays against two other teams in the same week. Most leagues like to do this before bye weeks start (Week 3) and after bye weeks end (Week 12), but I like doing it twice more – in Weeks 6 and 9 – so that having your team play poorly during a double-header week isn’t overly-weighted.
4. Let the Consolation Bracket Win Something
What do I do when I miss the playoffs after Week 13? The same thing everyone else does – delete the fantasy app from my phone until next August when it’s time to start drafting. Most fantasy platforms automatically create a Consolation Bracket for the teams that don’t make the playoffs, but there is no incentive to try to win that bracket. Change that! Award that bracket a portion of the league pool – our favorite variation is for the winner of the Consolation Bracket to win back their entry fee amount, but only if they also beat the league champion in Week 16. We have the entry fee amount come out of First Place’s winnings, so that creates a really fun 4-team wrinkle heading into the final week.
5. Allow Free Agency Acquisition Budget in Trades
Every league has those handful of owners who are always attacking the waiver wire like crazy. Eventually, they are bound to run out of their FAAB faster than other league members. One interesting idea is to allow teams to include their FAAB in trades. For example, a waiver-heavy owner can trade a decent running back to a team that almost never checks the waiver wire for a backup running back and $25 in FAAB. This is another rule that’s not football-dependent and I’ve seen it create an interesting market for FAAB on many occasions.
6. No Kickers
I know what you’re going to say – kickers are a part of the NFL and have a stupefyingly large impact on the game, so they should exist in fantasy too! Maybe, but let me paint a picture for you. I’m sure it’s a situation you’ve all found yourselves in: It’s 1am and you’re looking up Ka’imi Fairbairn’s game log and trying to compare him to Robbie Gould. You think that Fairbairn might be the right answer to fill in during Justin Tucker’s bye week, but then you check the weather in Houston and see that there’s a chance for heavy rain so you spend another 30 minutes looking up his UCLA tape for that one time he kicked in the rain. Do you think that this whole situation is fucking stupid? Well, the answer is yes. And the solution is to stop doing it.