9 Creative Ways to Enhance Your Fantasy Football League


Fantasy League Suggestions

As fantasy football has become increasingly popular over time, being in just one league has become increasingly rare. This creates variety, but if the majority of your leagues are a similar format and have similar rules it can begin to feel stale. Below are several ways to shake things up and make the old feel new again. These rules won’t be for everyone. But if you give them a chance, you may enjoy fantasy football again in a way you haven’t since the first few seasons you played. 

1. Find a creative way to choose your draft order

If you’re like most leagues who choose your draft order by randomizing it or going in the reverse order of the way the league finished, you may want to think about a change. One thought is having managers choose their draft spot in reverse order of their finish, instead of being forced into a spot. This is especially beneficial in keeper leagues where the No. 1 pick might be less desirable. Allowing managers more control over the spot they draft from allows them also to control the strategy they deploy. Of course, this is just one idea. There are many others. But however you choose the draft order, make sure it’s fair and discussed ahead of time. 

2. An auction/snake draft hybrid

When it comes to drafting, everyone has their favorite way to draft. Some prefer an auction draft, while others prefer a regular snake draft. But what about a hybrid of the two? Pick the top 40 or top 50 players to be auctioned off with each going to the highest bidder. Once that is complete, rosters are filled up through a regular snake draft. It could take some time to adjust to this format, specifically figuring out how much auction money everyone should start with, but once the kinks are worked out, it can be the best of both worlds. This is not an ideal format if you aren’t all in the same place, but if you are, you should give it a try.

3. Add extra wins to help eliminate luck

It’s impossible to eliminate luck from fantasy football. However, one way to minimize it is by awarding an extra win every week. Instead of just a straight win/loss record, teams that score in the top half of the league earn an extra win for that week and those who finish in the bottom half get an extra loss. We’ve all had those weeks where we were the second-highest scorer but had the bad luck of going against the highest-scoring team. This rule awards the highest-scoring teams and often leads to the better teams making the playoffs. Keep in mind this rule is just for the regular season. Once the playoffs start it’s back to normal.

4. Format your schedule and include divisions

While it’s impossible in the NFL to have every team play every other team at least once, it’s not impossible in fantasy. As the Commissioner of your league, you can format the schedule so that every manager plays every other manager throughout the season. This helps ensure that a team doesn’t make the playoffs just because they never played the best teams. On top of this, you can then add divisions and make sure that everyone plays the other teams in their divisions at least twice and award the division winners a playoff spot. This helps keep people engaged all season even if they’re a weaker team because as long as they win their division they still have a chance.

5. Give those in the consolation bracket something to play for

Throughout the fantasy season, certain teams do well and are vying for a playoff spot while others do poorly and are out a few weeks before playoffs start. Those latter teams often give up on the season because they’re out of contention. But what if the winner of the consolation bracket was playing for something that could help them the following season? For example, they could get to pick their draft spot or they could get an extra keeper if it’s a keeper league. Whatever it is, having an incentive to keep teams that have missed the playoffs engaged makes things much more fun.

Or... if this doesn't work, introduce a Fantasy Football Punishment for the last-place league member. There are a lot of hilarious loser punishments to choose from, check out that link. 

6. Make college players keeper eligible

If you’re in a keeper league and are finding it difficult to keep the underperforming teams interested all season long you may want to consider this change. At the end of the season, you allow the two worst teams to select one college player as a possible keeper. This way, if teams are thinking about bailing on the league, they might reconsider. Deciding where rookies slot in on draft day could be difficult, but the easiest way to make this determination may be by going by their ADP come draft time. Allowing college players for the two worst teams could help keep them engaged while also keeping things interesting.

7. Award highest scoring non-playoff team

Whether you’re playing in a cash league or simply playing for bragging rights the goal is to have a competitive league where everyone participates and has fun doing it. But if you’re one of those teams with a poor win/loss record fantasy football can lose its shine quite quickly. But a team’s record isn’t always an indication of how strong their team is, so instead of just putting the six teams with the best records in the playoffs why not award the teams with the top five records with a spot and reserve the final spot for the highest scoring team of those who remain? That still might be the team with the next best record, but this way if a solid team has a tough schedule they still have a chance to compete beyond the regular season.

8. Bonus points for the best set of backups per game

How many times have managers lost a matchup only to see the players on their bench outscore their starters? Weekly decisions of who to start can be difficult, especially if you have a deep squad full of talent, but one way to eliminate this frustration is by allowing the performance of the bench to play a role in the outcome. If your bench outscores your opponent’s bench, then your final score that week gets a bonus added to it. The bonus can be anything but I’m a fan of treating it like an additional touchdown and adding six points. NFL teams get to use their bench, so you should too. 

9. Guillotine/Vampire 

For this final one, I’m including two different formats. Both have their advantages and are gaining popularity, although they’re still relatively new. The first is the Guillotine. The concept is simple. You start with 18 teams. There are no head-to-head matches. Points are totaled each week and the team with the lowest total gets chopped from the league. Their players then go to the waiver wire for people to claim or bid on. The last team standing come week 18 wins. The second is the Vampire format. In this format, all but one team takes part in the draft. That team is the Vampire. They construct their roster solely of unselected players. Trades are not permitted and only the Vampire can add free agents. If the Vampire wins their weekly match they get to steal a player from their opponent’s starting lineup, so managers have to decide between possibly losing elite players and protecting their better players but losing the match. Both formats are a bit unorthodox but help to create a league that is unique and unpredictable. If you’re looking to spice things up this season, these formats might just do the trick.

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