Fantasy football continues to grow into a huge empire in the sports world, which quite frankly is awesome. Last year, nearly 75 million participated according to the New York Post.
As someone who has been participating in running multiple teams every year for the last 10 years, one of the main problems for me as a commissioner is keeping things interesting. I get bored if it is the same regurgitated bullshit, so I make it a point to try something new each year.
I decided to compile a list of ways for you to make your respective fantasy football league as entertaining as possible. Additionally, you will also get to hear some great ideas from people who commented on our Facebook page.
This is the most obvious and easy way to make your league a fun one. When money is on the line, this gives your team owners incentive to actually set their line ups and take an interest in the league. Plus, that payout if you win usually looks nice. For the last few years, I have done a buy in of $50. I decided to shake things up this year and do $100 buy in, which probably is what your average league will cost among working adults.
Just make sure you collect before draft day if you have that one friend who always will “get you later.” If you are THAT guy, don’t be that guy. You’re a stupid idiot and I will go full Roger (Goodell) on you.
Gabby Ortiz – Last year the winner received $400 and a football trophy..winner got to name the trophy.
Determining Draft Order
This quite frankly is one of my favorites parts of the entire season. It is also one of the toughest things to come up with. In the two leagues I run, no one knows where they pick until the day of the draft. This means no mock drafts so you can strategize like dorkchop. Know your shit ahead of time or flop. If you truly know what you’re doing, you won’t have a problem.
I have personally used a couple of methods in the past. In my family league, we took the Wonderlic before the draft and highest score received the first pick and so on.
In my money league, we played beer pong. We had a 10 team league last year so we wrote the numbers 1-10 on the bottom of each cup and randomized them. We shot in the order in which we finished last year. Whichever cup we made, the number on the bottom signified where we picked. Pretty simple, yet fun. It is almost like a draft lottery.
This year, we will be playing a round of free-for-all laser tag an hour before our draft (thanks to my good friend Andrew Blackwell for the idea). The winner gets first dibs on selecting where he will draft and we will continue to work our way down the list until all the spots are taken. This idea is a win-win. Even if you lose the game, laser tag is always a fun time.
Pierce Pitre – We just came up with a way to choose the draft order using the PGA Championship. It’s a 10 man league. We will each select one of the top ten golfers with the best odds… Shout out scoresandodds. Then it’s self explanatory until the results are in. Whoever wins.. let’s say who had Jason Day.. Gets to select what pick they want 1-10.. Then so on… Makes it interesting and adds an element to the draft.
Allow Draft Day Trades
Although I have never really experimented with this in any of my leagues because it would be hard to keep up with, draft day trades could certainly add some flare to your draft. I was in a league last year where draft day trades did happen. I jokingly said to one of the guys that I will trade you my fourth and fifth for your second and seventh round pick to which he agreed. They allowed it.
Since I started doing live drafts, I have zero intention of doing anything else. I love the idea of being able to shit on someone for making a dumb draft choice. I love heckling my friends. Plus it is just fun to be around friends, drinking beer and talking football. BECAUSE I’M A MAN!
Live drafts can be done in so many ways whether it be at a bar/restaurant, house, hotel or another city. Experiment and have fun with whatever fits you and your friends budgets. I can barely afford Netflix so…
I am particularly fond of Fox and the Hound sports bar. They provide you with a draft board and all kinds of merchandise. They give you a $50 food credit, which is spent easily. There is no catch. They will make their money off drinks, especially with my friends. We are functioning alcoholics.
This is something I change more than my underwear. The format can be expanded in so many different ways. It can start with something as simple as Points Per Reception (PPR), Individual Defensive Players (IDP) or adding more positions.
This year for my money league, we decided to add several positions and change the scoring around. Each roster will have the following…
Because our league has 11 positions, a standard scoring system would not suffice as you could have players putting up goose eggs every week. We added .5 point for a reception and .25 points for every 25 return yards. This gives some added value to guys like running back Darren Sproles or receiver Tyler Lockett.
If you are looking for an easy shake up to your league, adjust the format by adding teams (we went from 10 to 12). If anyone complains because drafting will be “too difficult,” tell them to come back when they have some testicular fortitude.
Michael Jennings – I am part of a custom dynasty league which has been going on for 18 years, I have been in for 8 or so now I believe. Basically you can start any 6 players (QB, RB, WR, TE, K) no defense. There are four categories worth 7 points(most passing, rushing, receiving yards, and points kicking) and 11 categories worth 3 points. So you can start 3 QBs and 3 RBs if you wanted. Line ups are submitted blind so you can’t see what the other guy is starting. In the playoffs, the higher seed gets to see the line up. But it’s a cool and different way to play. Scores end up being 31-28 and such. Ties go to most yards from scrimmage. Lots of other rules but it’s been a great league for years.
Regis Welch – Because I win my league so much, last year I switched to the auction format.. The draft itself excites people. Also brings out the competitive spirit in people. Also you need to have 2 qbs, 2 rb, 2 flex, 2 wr, 1 te, and 1 kicker. Last season was the most fun I’ve had in years!
Johnny Pizzo – One of my leagues does a double format. We have your standard league champion that made the playoffs based of record and won the playoff tournament. We also keep track of total points for the entire league through the fantasy playoffs even if you didn’t make the playoffs. Both the league champ and the total points champ are paid out. Sometimes that’s the same team but as we have probably all experienced sometimes the team with the most points might unluckily have the most points against as well. This makes the league competitive every week even if your record keeps you out of the playoffs.
Get Active Owners
Leagues are more fun when everyone is active in the waiver wire and, more importantly, willing to make trades. I understand that not everyone will trade as much as I do (I average about 3 per league each season). However, entertain trades. Last year, I remember offering something absurd (two sure starters for like Jarvis Landry maybe?). After 6-7 failed attempts to the guy, I made that offer it still got rejected. One of the things I did this year is grab a bunch of my friends who I know are willing to wheel and deal harder than the Nature Boy Ric Flair!
Enhance Communication between Team Owners
Communication is key for fantasy football. For many leagues, it is rare that all team owners know each other on a personal level which makes it difficult to finagle trades and talk some smack. We are at a point in time where league message boards are not utilized like you see in the tv show The League. Let’s be honest, that is the type of league we all strive for. I advise all of the league commissioners out there to make sure every person in your league downloads the app Group Me.
This will give you and your team owners a way to communicate with everyone in the league. Plus you can add some flavorful gifs and memes to your conversation. WINNING! There is nothing more boring than a league that doesn’t like to banter a little bit.
Whether you are a free league or money league, trophies are always fun to add to the mix. Last year, the league I won had a belt so I pulled a CM Punk. I took that shit and ran because I do what the fuck I want. The league was awful. I literally traded my entire team when I was 5-0 because Steve Smith landed on the waiver wire (prior to injury) and Demarco Murray was traded for Alfred Blue. Yes, you read that right.
Enough of the back story, get a belt or trophy to give to the winner. This is something concrete they can display proudly in their office or at their home for an entire year until the championship next year. I added that to the money league this year.
On the flip side, get a sacko trophy. Something that goes to the loser. A toilet bowl trophy is always a solid choice. Just get something that the loser of the league gets for sucking so bad all year. They get to look at something everyday to remind them how worthless they are.
In addition to the enchilada that is the grand prize of money and the trophy, side bets are always fun. See who you are playing against and make a bet with them on who will win the match up. This does not have to involve money. In fact, money isn’t going to make it more interesting. You are already playing for that.
Humiliation bets are the way to go. One of my friends has to wear a dress and make up for one of the Saints away games this upcoming season at a watch party because of a little wager we made.
There is literally nothing better than humiliating your friends, especially when you have assholes for friends like me. I would not want it any other way though.
Ryan Moore – One time I lost to someone by 40 points and had to do four man shots. Snort a line of salt, squeeze lime juice in my eye, take a shot of tequila and get slapped in the face.
Also beat someone and he had to cook me dinner of my choice and I got to pick his dinner. I had steak and potatoes, while he had kale and canned tuna.
Someone in my league also had to sit on a busy street for two hours with a sign that said “I suck at fantasy football.”
Last Place Gets Punished
Want to prevent the last place team from tanking or forgetting to set their line up? Make them do something awful if they get last place.
In addition to the $100 collected before the season, the person with the least amount of points scored each week will pay a $5 fee for my league. Whoever has the most total points at the end of the year will get the bonus money. We all know that one team who leads the league in points and still misses the playoffs. So frustrating. Plus, paying a fee should also keep people from losing interest in their team.
You get to knock out two birds with one stone here. The guy who shouldn’t be losing gets compensated, while last place can’t just coast and not care.
Garrett Lee – The loser of our league had to pay to take the ACT. Another guy who lost the league had to do a 12 month calendar shoot.