Fantasy Football

9 Fantasy Football Rule Changes Your Commish Should Consider

Fantasy Football Rule Changes

Fantasy Football rule changes can be both very much welcomed – and very much reviled – by many of the other owners in your league. That’s where we come in! This is part of a series we’re starting for new Fantasy Football rule ideas!

We’ve been tracking great Fantasy Football league ideas for several years now, with the full list exceeding 40 great new Fantasy Football rules, but we’ve handpicked a couple handfuls that are specifically for the overall setup of your league.

These Fantasy Football rule ideas are more about the overall structure of your league.

We’ll be updating this page, as well as posting new articles with fully fleshed out Fantasy Football rule ideas for other parts of Fantasy leagues, like scoring changes, scheduling, lineup and waiver ideas, how to come up with your Fantasy draft order, lottery ideas, dynasty and keeper league rule changes and even Fantasy Football playoffs rules to consider.


Please post your ideas for great Fantasy Football rule changes commissioners should consider in the comments section below! Our readers want to hear about them!

9 Fantasy Football Rule Changes For Your League’s Structure

As I mentioned, these Fantasy rule changes aren’t scoring rule ideas or draft ideas, but they consist of ideas I’ve considered or used in other leagues over the past 28 years.

1. Install a Three-Headed Commissioner

This new Fantasy rule idea gets the commissioner off the hook from all your league’s complaints! If the league helps choose three people to serve as a “Commissioner Committee,” then they can break up the league duties for a few reasons. First, it alleviates all the work from landing on one person. Second, in a 12-team league, it now allows for one-fourth of the league to be much more in-tuned into how the league is being run, as opposed to just the one commissioner playing papa. Third, separate duties allow those people to concentrate fully on making sure those duties are done to the utmost of their ability. And fourth, the power is spread out a little bit, and owners don’t have to fear the commish is up to something no good.

The league’s owners should make sure they vote for three owners they know are fully committed to the league, and not half-in and half-out. You likely know which types of owners I’m talking about.

I’m in a softball team league with former co-workers and friends from CBSSports.com, dating back almost a decade now. Here’s how we broke up the duties:

  • Logistics – Jamey Eisenberg: This is the guy that handles everything on the league’s website, including the league setup, draft order, scoring settings and everything else.
  • Treasurer – Brett Tresky: He’s our enforcer, collecting league fees from everyone and harassing those who haven’t paid yet. At the end of the year, he’ll also be the guy that dishes out the winnings to whomever has money coming their way. He also handles paying for the league service fees. (Make sure you trust this guy a lot!… Or choose someone like B.T.)
  • Sports Information Director – David Gonos: This is our media member, sending out fun emails no one wants to read, getting the league pumped about the playoffs with “magic number” talk and “playoff scenarios.” Maybe he even sends out a weekly newsletter to the league after getting some fun quotes from the owners. He’s your fun uncle who you really don’t want to trust with everyone’s league fees. Like me!

A Commissioner Committee handles every trade, making sure they aren’t sketchy trades or too one-sided, and they work to come up with new Fantasy Football rules to fix whatever travesty happened last year (there’s always one!).

Note: There should be one or two alternate members for this committee – maybe people who normally would’ve been great commissioners but are limited by time – who can stand in on trade votes if one or two of the committee members are involved in a trade.

2. Come Up With a Fantasy Football Theme

Rather than just have a traditional Fantasy league with an awesome Fantasy league name, consider coming up with a fun Fantasy Football league theme.

Whether your league revolves around an awesome TV show, a great movie franchise, or whatever, having a theme helps add an interesting flare. For instance, you can ask all the owners to name their teams off something based on whatever theme you choose. I’ve been involved in leagues with themes surrounding “Seinfeld,” the mafia, Disney characters, and more. Here are a few Fantasy Football league theme options you might love:

  • Recurring characters from “Saturday Night Live”
  • “The Simpsons”
  • “Game of Thrones”
  • “The League”
  • Your local NFL team

Name your divisions after your theme and make sure you come up with a cool trophy name for your league’s champion!

I wrote a full article about coming up with different Fantasy Football league themes here.

3. 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!

4. Give Early Payers a Discount – and Give Late Payers a Penalty

One major problem every season for league commissioners seems to be getting everyone to pay on time. This rule helps you get the money early! I like those types of Fantasy Football rule ideas!

  • The first six owners to pay get a 10-percent discount on their league fees!
  • The last three owners to pay have to pay a 20-percent penalty with their league fees!

In other words, if your league fees are $100, then the first six owners to pay only have to pay $90, the next three still pay $100, but then the final three owners have to pay $120! The end result is still the same, with the same kitty for the league winnings to come from. This also incentivizes and rewards those that pay early, and if others want to pay late, they can, but they’ll have to pay extra – like a late fee!

5. Create a Super-Duper Bowl Season Every 4 Years

This generally only works for dynasty and keeper leagues, for the record. Think about how the World Cup works in soccer – a tournament is held every four years. So, for Fantasy Football, you can have each team pay 125% of their league fees every season, with the same normal payouts for three consecutive years. But in the fourth year, all of those extra league fees get poured into the kitty, and that fourth year’s championship is a battle for twice as much money!

For instance, if your league fee is $100, then each year, the owners pay $125, for three straight years, and the extra $25 goes into a kitty. Then in Year 4, there’s an extra

  • ((extra $25 x 12 owners)) x 3 years) + (Year 4’s $125 fees x 12 owners) = $2,400 kitty

This changes keeper strategies somewhat, as some will make plans based on that one big payout, whereas others might take advantage of everyone aiming for Year 4, and try to win this year instead.

6. Move New Owners In With Relegation – and Bad Owners Out

Speaking of the World Cup and soccer, how about using the relegation system that soccer teams use in Europe? First, let me paint a picture for you:

Your league has some owners that regularly stink the place up, but they’ve been in it so long, you can’t just kick them out. You’d like to make your league more competitive, and you have several friends that know Fantasy who are dying to get into your league!

Start a second league, even if it’s just with six or eight teams. This is your minor league. The top two teams that make it to the championship game in that league get bumped up to the major league the following year. They’ll replace the two teams with the worst records from the major league – who now get relegated down to the minors for the next season!

Plus, those league owners who get bumped down don’t even get to vote on your new Fantasy Football rules for next year!

7. Regular Season Champs Need Love, Too!

What’s more frustrating than having the absolute best Fantasy team during the 13-week regular season, crushing everyone in your wake, only to get knocked out of the league’s semifinals because your studs had one bad week? It’s brutal – and un-American! So let’s reward the regular season champion, possibly giving him back his league fees at least.

8. Vote On Owner Awards

Get everyone involved toward the end of the season and have them vote on fun awards, like Fantasy MVP, Best Late-Round Pick, Best Free-Agent Pickup, Worst Owner of the Year, Unluckiest Owner of the Year, Worst Drop of the Year, etc. Then …

9. Keep Owner Records

If you play on CBS Sports or MyFantasyLeague, your draft results and league records are already kept – at least dating back 10 years or so. But you should even take it a little further and share the owner records of all the voting, too. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see that one guy always seems to be the “Unluckiest Owner of the Year,” or one smart owner always ends up picking the “Rookie of the Year,” or making the “Pickup of the Year”?

I’m hoping these Fantasy Football rule changes and new Fantasy Football league ideas helped you come up with something that can spice up your league. Remember, I posted over 40 other new Fantasy Football rule ideas here. But I wanted to expound on several of them on this page, first! And once your league is all set up, make sure you you use some of these awesome free Fantasy Football draft tools to draft a winner!

David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.

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