Is your fantasy league boring? Try this:

Some tweaks to your format that might spice things up

Mike Schopp
August 01, 2019 - 1:59 pm

Photo: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports


Fantasy football is fun, and for most people the way it works -- the way it's always worked -- is fine.

You buy a magazine around now (late July, early August), maybe make a few notes, take it to your draft in a few weeks and pick away. You finish your beer, take your 16 players or whatever home with you, figure out when you're going to play a couple of your closer friends, and set the whole thing aside until games start in September.

Do you want more out of this experience than that? Many fun innovations and variations have come to fantasy football in recent years.

If "the way it's always been" isn't enough anymore, try one of these ideas:


  • Draft coaches

You can attach a point value to whether a coach wins or loses his game in a given week. Maybe, +5 or -5. You can also award points for successful challenges. One complaint about fantasy football is that it doesn't reflect the importance of who wins each game. (In fact, if you think about how passing games on losing teams can roll up fantasy points because their teams are behind, that can be even more true.) Change that by awarding point bonuses to winning coaches. If you make it +10 or -10, a difference of 20 points depending on whether a certain team wins, top coaches are going pretty early in your draft.


  • Premium scoring

I've seen this done for tight ends in some leagues. If you want to make the draft more interesting by elevating positions other than running back and wide receiver, make it so those positions can rack up more points. Fantasy website FFPC uses tight end premium in its leagues, where tight ends get 1.5 points per-catch, rather than the typical one point.


  • Two starting quarterbacks or "Superflex"

This is another version of the last point. The typical league starts one quarterback, and with that, quarterbacks tend to get picked more like afterthoughts. Somebody else is jumping up to get Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers, I'll keep pounding running backs and receivers until I "settle" for, say, Matt Ryan in Round 8. But, if your league starts two quarterbacks, the whole board changes. Not only will you need to pick your starter(s) earlier, you'll also want to end up with three or even four quarterbacks on your roster. (While you can require two starting quarterbacks, "Superflex" is where you have one starter and the option of starting a second. Almost always you will start a second quarterback in that format.)


  • Take out all the Patriots

If you're a Buffalo Bills fan that's sick of the New England Patriots, or you just don't want to ever root for them even in fantasy, fine, then eliminate them from your league. No reason why not.


  • "Guillotine" format

Last year was my first time trying this, and everyone in my group seemed to love it. The lowest-scoring team each week is eliminated, and all of his or her players go to waivers. Other teams bid on them and add them to their rosters the following week. By the time you're around halfway through the season, the rosters are laden with superstars. Do you spend most of your bid budget on stars in Weeks 2 or 3, or instead might you save your money? Lots of strategy in this format. I don't necessarily recommend guillotine if you're only in one league, but if you play in a few then this can be a great addition.


  • "Vampire" format

If you want an extra challenge as a fantasy player, try Vampire. The vampire in this league doesn't draft; instead, he or she picks up players that remain available after the draft. So your team will start off looking pretty weak. However, if you beat someone you get to take a player of your choosing off their roster. A few early wins (if you can get them) set you up for an excellent roster, and in that case could have you looking like a league favorite by as early as October. If intrigued, check out what your waiver wire looks like after a draft you're in to see what assembling a team from that crowd might look like.


  • A funny "punishment" for last

I've heard some hilarious examples of what leagues make the last-place team owner do. My favorite is one league where the last-place owner was forced to take the SAT. Maybe you don't take it seriously because (presumably) you're not applying to colleges, but if it has your name on it maybe you would want to do better than completely blow it off. Either way, you have to take it! The cleverer, the better.


Got an interesting variation I haven't mentioned? Tweet me @Schopptalk to share.

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