One of the greatest things about fantasy football is how different each league can be. There are PPR, standard, 1.5 PPR for TEs, Dynasty, Auction, the list goes on and on. Some people like playing the exact same settings every year. Good for them – as long as they enjoy it there is nothing wrong with that. But if you are looking for a couple new wrinkles to add to your fantasy league, here are just a few of many suggestions:
Make It A Two-QB or Superflex League
This is probably the most popular suggestion, but with good reason. The idea of fantasy football is that it is supposed to reflect real-life football as much as possible, to make YOU the general manager. Obviously, it is impossible to do this exactly. But what about giving the most important position in sports a little more value in fake football?
It has been proven time and time again that drafting an early round quarterback is much less efficient than streaming and the late-round QB strategy in fantasy football. But it is the exact opposite in real life football: GMs and coaches stake their entire careers on drafting quarterbacks, and rarely do teams win Super Bowls without a top-flight option. That is a huge disconnect.
One of the best parts about two quarterback leagues are the vast amounts of strategies that come into play. You can still do Zero RB in two QB leagues and stream both of your QBs. You can draft balanced in the early rounds and play matchups at the QB2 slot. You can start QB-QB and have that be the strength of your team. It introduces much more strategies than it eliminates.
Two-QB leagues are actually becoming quite popular, with our friend Salvatore Stefanile leading the charge and founding TwoQBs.com. If you would like more in-depth analysis of this, check out their piece on Rotoworld.
Real-Life Money For Free Agents
One of the ultimate versions of “put your money where your mouth is”. The basic idea is that your league has blind-bidding money for free agency (if this isn’t in your league, change it immediately. Where is the strategy in waiver priority or first-come, first-serve?). But instead of using your imaginary bidding money, use real money and have it go toward the winner’s payout!
This is based off of the poker idea of “pot odds” – let me explain: when deciding to call a bet in poker, the odds of you drawing the card that you need to make/win your hand need to be greater than the percentage of the bet compared to the pot. In other words, if you estimate that you have a 25% chance to catch the card you need, you should not call a bet that is more than 25% of the pot. Obviously, that is the tip of the iceberg, but you get the idea.
Let’s apply that same lesson to free agency: if you believe that a particular free agent boosts your team’s odds to win the league by 15%, then you should theoretically pay up to 15% of your buy-in fee for that free agent.
There would be many different ways to do this: for example, you could have people only use real-life money after they’ve used all of their imaginary blind-bidding money. It’s another way to add strategy and make the pot bigger!
Give Weekly and Differentiated Prizes
Daily fantasy has grown to be an absolute monster in fantasy sports. Why not add a wrinkle of it into your own league? For example, most leagues simply reward the playoff results and/or regular season standing results. But what about adding a few money prizes during the season and for certain specific accomplishments? Here are just a few ideas:
- Have a small prize for each win or scoring the most points in a given week, even if it’s only a few dollars.
- Yahoo lets every team pick the outcome of every matchup in their league for each week. Tally up who guessed the most correct matchups (it is much easier than it sounds) in a season and give them a reward.
- Institute a “survivor pool” into your league. For those unfamiliar, it is when everyone picks ONE team to win in the NFL to win its matchup every week. The caveats: you can only pick each team ONCE, and if you lose one time, you are eliminated.
- Have a vote at the year for “Best GM” in which you can’t vote for yourself or the league winner. This rewards people who had to deal with a horrific amount of injury luck, played the right matchups, and had their team over-perform expectation. The best team doesn’t always win, but if you did an exceptional job managing your team, this is a way to earn a little extra cash and your league-mates’ approval and respect.
Have Real-Life Consequences For Finishing Last
We’ve all had league-mates who do it: they are far out of contention, so they either stop setting their lineup, trade their best players to their buddies, or sell their best players for next year’s draft picks. The issue is, there are no consequences for finishing in last place! You’ve heard of the league where the guy in last has to get a tattoo the other league-mates pick for him. That’s a little extreme for my liking, but here are some other ways to punish the loser and discourage tanking and selling out:
- Make the loser buy all the food and drinks for the live draft next year.
- Institute a large fine for each time an owner plays someone injured or on bye.
- The league gets to pick a ridiculous outfit for the loser to wear the entirety of Super Bowl weekend, or any weekend full of social events. Bonus points for picking their karaoke song in said outfit.
- Make them buy and wear a jersey of their least favorite team/player to wear every Sunday of the following season. This is especially fun if they drafted a player who they bragged about or were very high on, then proceeded to flop (my Santonio Holmes, David Wilson and Davante Adams jerseys are en route as we speak).
- Get a championship belt (a la WWE) or trophy for the winner, and the loser has to pay for the engraving of the belt/trophy and make a speech while he presents it to the winner.