I don’t know about you, but I play fantasy football. It is the only fantasy sport I play. It is simple and easy, set your team once a week for a Thursday through Monday and reset it the next week. It isn’t like baseball or basketball, it is just one game a week and easily manageable. I play in different leagues all having little quirks here and there but I am here to write about my league. The one I set up and run. It is by far the best league EVER. Not because I am bias but because of the rules we have set up. So I am here to share it with you and you most definitely can use it. So you got your notebooks out, good, let’s get started.
Couple points to remember through this whole process. There are 32 teams. The gold standards for offensive players are running backs strive for 100 yards, receivers strive for a 100 yards, quarterbacks strive for 300 yards, a touchdown is worth 6 points in an NFL game. NFL offensives no longer rely on a single running back (unless you are the Bears) and QB’s were averaging 35 passing attempts in 2014. Offensive stats are up, so long gone are the days of drafting the top RB and WR. The second and third string RB and WR are reaching the 100 yard games. These are all factors in the perfect league.
Now let’s move to recruitment of your members. We are going to look for 16 members of your league. 16? Yes, 16! There are 32 teams that means two QB’s a team, two D/ST, two TE, and two K a team. There are plenty of RB’s and WR’s to go around. Remember our points from earlier, second and third stringers are racking up points. I personally struggle with 10 or 12 in a league. It makes no sense to have players just sitting on your bench and not willing to part with them just because you have them. Which brings me to my next point. Limit the benches. You should start 1 QB, 1RB, 1RB/WR, 1 WR, 1 WR/TE, 1 TE, D/ST and K. You set you limits on how many QB’s (2) RB’s (3) WR (3) TE (2) D/ST (2) K (2) you can draft. I do recommend allowing either one more RB or one more WR on your team. That is it. You know you have played in leagues were some yahoo has 5 RB’s and wont trade a single one unless you give up your star QB or WR.
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When recruiting the members, you want to recruit people who want to come back next year. You want to create a keeper league. The only way this can happen is at least 80% of your league returns. And in this keeper league you are allowed to keep from the 4th round on down. Never higher than 4th round. Allow a max. keeping of 2 years after the initial draft of the player. You should be rewarded for lucking out on a player taken in the 10th round and be allowed to keep that player for 2 years after the season.
Change your scoring to reflect the gold standard of 100 yard RB, 100 WR and 300 WR and please make each touchdown 6 points. Just because a QB throws the ball shouldn’t mean we only give him 4 or 3 points. It makes no sense.
With all that said I am going to give you the icing on the cake. With a keeper league and the same participant’s year in and year out (yes there will be some changes but find the core group) this nugget is what makes my league the best. Let me set the stage. It is week 7 and you are sitting at a solid 1 and 6 or 2 and 5. Your team sucks for whatever reason, drafting, injuries, deflated balls, DUI’s, aggravated assaults, domestic violence, marijuana, I could go on but you get the point. What do you have to play for? If your league has a high score at the end of the season or weekly high scores, than that is something, but really what do you have to play for? You hate the fact that your team sucks and your fantasy football season is over halfway through the regular season. So here is what I am proposing in your keeper league. Trade players for draft picks in next year’s draft. For example, two years ago in my league I was 3 and 4 and really not winning games. I knew even if I made the playoffs, which was unlikely, I would lose first round. I just didn’t have the team. So what did I do, I ship Jamaal Charles and my 8th round pick (the pick is to balance out the draft the following year) to a league owner, who is ready to win now, for his first round pick in the next draft. I have to build for the future. I was out of the season, but I was still in engaged. I could fire sale my team and build for the future. It is brilliant and works very well when teams start shopping around players for picks. Now teams can trade players, but they can also trade picks. Which means your season is not really over, but always beginning if you are not winning.
Last but not least, if you implement the trading of the picks, you have to have a version of a live draft. Because you have to be able to record what happened last year and who picks when and for whom. So you have to have a league commissioner who is willing to input the picks from all the owners at the end of the draft and in the order. Not hard just time consuming.
Some things I forgot to mention is I have 4 divisions, I have 8 playoff spots (division winners automatically in and the next 4 best records), I do my own schedule where each division plays within itself the first 3 weeks and the last 3 weeks (because that way you get a crack at the division leader twice) and I pay out high score of the year. Keeps people engage even when they don’t make the playoffs. What more can I say, it is the best. Don’t believe me? This has been going on for 13 years now. Live draft every Labor Day weekend. We have people that call in from Detroit, Phoenix, Chicago, and Denver. We make it work and look forward to it every year.