Fantasy Football League Modifications
July 16, 2013 | Jeff
As a proud fantasy football league commissioner, I often view myself as a mechanic at home in my garage tinkering with my old hot rod while enjoying a few ice cold adult beverages. Unfortunately, I have zero mechanical talent and my time in the garage is spent pounding frosty drinks with little to no vehicle restoration. Either way, tinkering with the setup of my home town league is a passion of mine and over the past decade I have managed to overhaul most of the league’s structure until every minute detail is to the liking of myself and my fellow league mates. As the humid days of summer roll on and training camps can’t seem to arrive quickly enough, it is a great time to fire up the old thinking cap and consider making some modifications to the way your league is constructed. Here are a few possible changes to consider presenting to the owners in your league:
Stuck in the boring world of snake drafts? Try switching your league’s draft format to an auction. Anyone that has been stuck at “the turn” in a fantasy draft will appreciate the limitless possibilities that auction drafts present. Each and every owner gets a fair shot at any player they like. Crazy homers can blow their stack on their favorite players, and your cheap buddy that never tips the bartender at your local watering hole can meticulously spend each dollar at his own pace. Auctions are very easy to set up (each team generally begins with an auction budget of $200 imaginary dollars to assemble a roster), and great fantasy football auction advice can be found very easily, including right here at The Fake Football. Even if your league is a keeper league, the transition is still possible. I spent a grueling summer once converting snake draft keepers into auction keepers and managed to not have a stroke or spark a mutiny in the league I preside over. If you’re curious on those details, hit me up in the comments below. Either way, consider the world of auction drafting if your annual snake draft is growing stale.
Fake football league standings are often a hotly debated topic once the NFL season is in full swing. If you are new to Twitter, you will realize this quite quickly as tweets like, “I am the highest scoring team in my league and I am 1-6! What the @#$*&%!” are frequently blasted over Twitter airwaves. If you dabble in the world of imaginary football, there is a strong chance that you’ve felt the stinging pain of a rough stretch like that and wondered how justice could ever be restored to our precious game. Fortunately, there are some solid options to curb this dilemma without turning your league into a rotisserie scoring league. The first and most simple option is to adjust your league’s tiebreakers. Instead of involving head-to-head records to break ties in the standings, simply use total points scored. This gives a slight edge to higher scoring teams, which is the point after all.
A better and even more effective option is to decide league standings using “victory points.” Host sites like myfantasyleague.com offer this option for leagues and I highly recommend checking it out. If you haven’t encountered this feature, don’t worry, it is actually quite simple. Each week you play your head-to-head opponent like usual. The outcome of your game and your points total dictate how many “victory points” you receive. Points are accumulated in two ways each week:
WIN = 2 pts TIE = 1 pt LOSS = 0 pts
Points Scored Total
Top Third of the League = 2 pts
Middle Third of the League = 1 pt
Bottom Third of the League = 0 pts
Each week your team can earn a maximum of four points and a minimum of zero points. The “victory points” then decide the order of league standings, taking precedent over win/loss record. This is a great feature to install in your league because it helps reward teams with strong point totals while keeping the integrity and intensity of the head-to-head schedule intact.
Many leagues enjoy installing a small (or extremely large in some cases) entry fee to keep things interesting. I generally find that leagues with a little United States currency on the line are more competitive and have owners that are more engaged in league interaction, which is what makes this game of fake football so awesome. Simply handing your league commissioner a crisp Andrew Jackson (or ten) on draft day is certainly an option, but there are even better ways to handle league finances that can keep your league more competitive. I covered the “pay per loss” system in depth this offseason, so I won’t go too far into it here, but the gist is that general league entry fees are abolished, and each owner coughs up a predetermined monetary penalty for each regular season loss. It requires some fifth grade level math, so be sure to slurp down your morning coffee before clicking the link. In a nutshell, the idea is to keep owners engaged each and every week despite falling out of contention, as money has a very funny way of motivating us fantasy degenerates.
Points Per Reception
If you play in a standard league that awards no points per reception, this is a critical adjustment that needs to be considered. PPR leagues are becoming more and more common and will eventually become the “standard” that is referred to when drafting in a “standard” league. Remember cracking open a fantasy football magazine and seeing cheat sheets for “touchdown only” leagues? Weird, I know. Leagues that award no points per catch will soon follow the Velociraptor, Triceratops, and Touchdown Only leagues into extinction. If a full point per catch seems like a steep jump, test out the waters by using a half point per reception. Either way, consider this league modification and stay on top of the curve.
Imposing change on a league full of stubborn headed fantasy owners can certainly be a challenge, but it is not impossible. Even if your league retains its current structure for the 2013 season, at least spark some conversation among your league mates and debate the pros and cons of making some modifications to your league. Have other suggestions for fantasy league optimization? Let’s hear them in the comments section!