13 Excellent Fantasy Football League Ideas
Back in my day, we had to wait until Saturday to watch cartoons. (It was inhumane!) And we’d get detention for passing notes because texting didn’t exist. And my Fantasy league was Basic TD-only scoring. The Fantasy Football league ideas were few and far between back then!
Basic scoring! That’s right. Barry Sanders averaged seven touchdowns over a 3-year stretch, making him a fleet-footed RB2 in Fantasy Football, averaging 42 points a season. Can you imagine!?! He would have been a top-10 player overall in leagues today.
We were barbarians, I know.
But everything evolves, including Fantasy Football over the past 20 years. From adding points for yardage, to adding a third wide receiver, to adding a flex position, to drafting IDPs, to auctions, to survivor leagues, to two-QB leagues, to DFS — a Fantasy Football league is always being modified every five years or so.
It’s time to start modifying again!
By the way, click on these links if you are looking for:
- 16 Ideas for Fantasy Football League Names
- 25 Ideas for Fantasy Football Team Names
- 201+ Horribly Awesome Fantasy Football Team Names and Logos
Fantasy Football League Ideas: Fixing What Ain’t Broke!
Before you click on the Twitter link to e-yell at me that I’m ruining the purity of the game that your great-grandfather taught you, just hear me out.
I’m not trying to make you throw your league out, and start anew with European scoring rules or anything.
All I’m saying is you’re probably in more than one league already. So think about making some alterations to one of your “other” leagues, with some of these Fantasy Football league ideas. You can even get the same guys from your one league and get them to try one of these alternative Fantasy Football league ideas.
For instance, most leagues are redraft leagues, so consider getting the core of that league to also start a second league that happens to be a Keeper or Dynasty league!
Variety is the spice of life!
You’re So Money, You Don’t Even Know It
1. COLLECTIONS: Collecting league fees is always a pain every season. 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!
2. SUPER DUPER BOWL: In one dynasty league I was in, we instituted a rule where each year, all of the teams would pay 125-percent of the league fees. So we would pay $125 for a $100 league fee. That extra $25 would go into a kitty, and then, after four seasons, we had a Super Duper Bowl. This meant the champion that season would take home a prize that had been building for four seasons, adding up to an extra $1,200. The reason this was so great was because it added an extra layer of strategy, as some teams would adjust their strategies in Year 2 or 3 in order to gear up for a big Year 4.
I did not win. So Fantasy Football league ideas like this are dumb! But it did keep owners year after year because they already had non-refundable money invested.
Feeling a Draft
My buddy George is Australian and he loves Fantasy Football. Did you know their Fantasy drafts go in a counter-clockwise order, and the 12th pick selects first and the first pick drafts last? OK, well, sometimes I lie.
But I do think people don’t take advantage of how exciting the draft and the draft lottery can be. Too often, we’re all so excited to get the draft going, that we zoom through the lottery and rush our way through the draft. Take a step back and enjoy it!
3. DRAFT LOTTERY: Rather than just have the same old hat with the same old names being pulled out of it, mix it up. I read on Reddit where someone set up a beer pong table, and people tossed ping pong balls into mixed-up red solo cups that had a draft number on the bottom of it. That’s what determined their draft order! Be creative! Drink!
4. DRAFTING DRAFT PICKS: Also, consider allowing the lottery winner to choose where in the draft they’d like to pick. Many times, I’d rather have the third overall pick over the first two picks. You’d get a top-three player and you’d end up with a higher draft pick in the second round than the other two owners.
5. WEIGHTED LOTTERY SYSTEM: If you’re in a keeper league, think about putting three names into the hat for the worst team from the previous season, and two names in for the second-worst team. This gives them a better chance at a high draft pick, hopefully, counteracting the fact they likely don’t have great keepers.(Just remember that if you pull names out of the hat for Pick No. 12, then 11, etc., then that team with three names in the hat actually gets the pick when his name comes out for the third time.)
If you are in a dynasty league, they should automatically get the top pick. It might not be a popular Fantasy Football league idea with the rest of your league, until they need that rule next year.
Riding the Waivers
It’s not uncommon to see the teams that lose in Week 1 finding themselves in the championship at the end of the season. A few years ago, Week 1 losers had a chance to snatch up players like Michael Vick and Peyton Hillis, or even the last couple years with DeMarco Murray or Alfred Morris.
6. FROM WAIVERS TO FAAB: So rather than over-rewarding a loser, how about changing to a free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB) system? This allows everyone the same chance at all the players every week. They can bid on players each Wednesday, choosing to spend what they want, with a $100 budget for the year (free agents are free after Thursday).
7. TWITTER WAIVERS: 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 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.)
Twitter is underutilized by many Fantasy owners. There’s a lot to be learned on there, and I’ve set up a huge list of 66 Fantasy Twitter people to follow that will help you for free.
More Fantasy Football League Ideas
8. RESERVES: In real football, depth is pretty important, as it should be in Fantasy Football. So your Fantasy reserves should go up against your opponent’s Fantasy reserves, and if you outscore their team, you get six bonus points added to your team’s score (but you don’t also get the points from your reserves).
9. HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Give the best teams in the regular season a three-point advantage heading into their matchups against the lower seeds. But remember, there’s no home-field advantage in the Super Bowl.
10. RIVALRY WEEK: Set up the schedule so that the second week of the season is a rivalry week — pitting natural rivals against each other in all of the matchups. Brother against brother-in-law. Father against son-in-law. Best friend against best friend. Inmate against warden. And then, give the winner the ability to change the losing owner’s team name and team avatar to whatever he wants for ONE WEEK!
11. DOUBLE-HEADERS: Most commissioner services allow you to schedule double-headers in your Fantasy Football league, so why not make the first week coming off of byes into a double-header Fantasy extravaganza!?! That means Week 13, when many teams’ Fantasy fates are still in the balance, there could be a two-game swing! You can even leave the matchups open until after Week 11, and face the two top teams off against each other, and the third/fourth teams, fifth/sixth teams, etc. Brilliant!
12. PLAYOFFS: Rather than go off of records for the sixth and final playoff spot, reward that last seed to the remaining team with the highest points scored total. For those teams that randomly lost games in which they scored the second-highest points that week, now they have a saving grace.
13. COLLEGE PLAYERS: This last one is kinda kooky (unlike all of the sane ideas above). In Week 12, just a couple weeks before the Heisman Trophy is awarded, allow the two worst teams in your keeper league to draft one college football player apiece. This makes for a great topic for debate in-season, and it injects some excitement into a normally detached group of owners. Peyton Manning, Randy Moss and Ricky Williams were all great college player picks in my old keeper league. Lawrence Phillips, however, was not.
If you liked these Fantasy Football league ideas, then check out the “33 New Fantasy Football Rules to Make Your League Awesome-r!” that I wrote over at SoCalledFantasyExperts.com.
Hopefully, you can install some of these Fantasy Football league ideas — or better yet, it inspired you to come up with some interesting rules of your own! Post a comment below or tweet them to me! (Grown men should not say, “Tweet.”)