DraftKings is king here in 2016, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all love kickin’ it old school and whooping up on our buddies in some season-long fantasy football.
Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your own league to spice up the competition throughout the season and into the offseason.
1. Get The League Together To Draft
I’ve been a part of one live in-person fantasy football draft and I’d like to think it was the greatest draft of all-time. Regrettably it was back in college, and with league members all over the country now it’ll never happen again. If you’re in college or happen to have everyone in the same city (like a work league) I highly recommend getting everyone together rather than just drafting from your couch alone.
You can still have the draft online as everyone will need their laptops anyway, then just set a longer time in-between selections for everyone to make fun of each other’s picks. In my college league we still manage to get the Bostonians (which accounts for about half the league) together on draft night each year in a repetitive underwhelming attempt to relive the glory years. It’s still worth it.
2. Create Your Own Draft Lottery
Call me crazy, but determining a random draft order is SO 2006. Nothing needs to be boring in fantasy football, including determining your draft order. You can even do it at the live draft if you have the time beforehand. A Madden tournament, billiards, a standard beer pong tournament … pick your poison, but any of those are a whole lot more fun than pulling names out of a hat.
3. Draft Pick Trades/Keepers
You get this text every summer: “Yo bro, I’m starting a fantasy football league! You want in?” The answer’s always “No thanks.” If you’re searching for a new league to play in every summer you’re doing it all wrong. Get your friends together and make it last. Once you have that then you can start to incorporate keepers (to reward those with a stellar draft and an eye towards the future) and trading draft picks.
Not having a good season? Maybe it’s time to set yourself up for next year by moving Cam Newton for a future first-rounder. And there will always be a team on the opposite end that either needs a push to assure themselves the best team, or a QB to boost them into playoff contention.
4. Have A Weekly Press Conference Or Blog
This is a great way to soak in the hate from the rest of the league when you come out on top, or to get shamed for another pitiful performance. Technology has given us plenty of ways to make press conferences a real thing in your league — Google, Facebook, etc. You can have the commish come on each week and talk about league news from over the weekend, or just allow each week’s top performer to lead the presser.
Keeping it “professional” while addressing everyone by team name and treating it like the real thing can be pretty funny. Per usual talking down to your opponents will always feel great. If a press conference isn’t realistic, a league blog can be a fun way to keep everything organized (and entertaining).
5. Winner Gets More Than Just Money (And Pride)
Now it’s on to the most fun part of the league (maybe outside of draft night if you can manage to get everyone together). There can only be one first place, and of course one last place (which we’ll get to). Yeah, first place typically claims a pretty nice chunk of change, but maybe even more important, is that you have just proven yourself to be better than every single one of your friends/family members/co-workers at life.
You need something that allows you to remind the rest of the league of your accomplishment throughout the entire offseason. For example — we do this in a league I’m in with some friends I grew up- winner takes the cash, the bragging rights and the “Fantasy Football Champion” belt, which is actually quite heavy and very legit.
6. Last Place Gets More Than Just Being Humiliated
There’s only one thing more important than making sure everyone knows you’re the defending champ, and that’s making sure even more people know who finished dead last. The banter is great, but there needs to be humiliation. In the “belt league” mentioned above, a pretty brutal punishment was determined before the season began — taking the SATs. Now, the guys in this league range from about 28 to 31 years old, so actually going to a five hour college entry exam on a Saturday morning isn’t exactly ideal.
As of now, our loser has not completed his task so maybe we were a little overambitious with the SAT thing, but learn from our mistake and find something that works for your league. There are plenty examples of people standing at a traffic light in an embarrassing outfit holding an “I SUCK AT FANTASY FOOTBALL” sign for a casual eight hours. That’s always fun.
Find me on Twitter @julianedlow
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.