With just over three months left until the heart of the fantasy football draft season is in full swing, it’s time to get the administrative stuff out of the way and review the rules of your league. You may be thinking, ‘but we have had a successful league for years now and never had to change the rules before.’
Even if that is the case, it never hurts to review things to improve your league or at the very least, keep things fresh. Trust us when we say your league managers will be more receptive to rule changes than you might think!
Just as the rules of the NFL evolve over time to accommodate the increased speed and athleticism of the players, so too have the default rules for its fantasy counterpart. It wasn’t long ago when PPR was a rarity and now it’s the norm.
The same can be said for auction style drafts and dynasty leagues. Still running a snake draft? Get with the times! Fantasy football is as popular as ever, so to get ready for the upcoming season, let’s take a look at five rules you need to change today!
1. It’s Time to Switch to FAAB
This has to be priority number one for any fantasy football league that has not implemented FAAB yet. What is FAAB? It stands for Free Agent Acquisition Budget, and is universally revered as the only fair way to handle the waiver wire.
There is no other fantasy sport where waivers are as important as it is in fantasy football, and the right add at the right time can be the difference in bringing you the ever-elusive fantasy championship. You can think of FAAB as a weekly auction to add players off of the waiver wire.
At the start of the season, each manager gets an allotted budget to spend on free agents throughout the year. Let’s just say the FAAB is $100 for each manager for the season. Each manager can bid as much or as little as they want each week until their FAAB has been used up. With FAAB there is no ability to hog the first overall waiver spot, and all managers get a fair shot each and every week at any player that is on waivers.
2. It’s Also Time to Switch to Superflex
This rule is going to absolutely change the format of your league so make sure you hold a league vote before instituting it. Superflex leagues are often confused with 2QB leagues.
While they can essentially be the same as far as lineup construction is concerned, there is one major difference between the two formats. Superflex has a designated flex spot where you can slot a second quarterback which generally gives you a higher ceiling of total points each week. If you do not have a second quarterback to play, you can slot any other positional player in that flex spot.
In a 2QB league, you must play a quarterback in those spots or miss getting any points from that position. Superflex leagues have gained popularity in recent seasons as there is a much larger pool of quarterbacks that can be used on a weekly basis.
Last season 20 different quarterbacks averaged over 17 fantasy points per game, and 12 averaged more than 20 fantasy points per game, including Dak Prescott who was injured in Week 5.
It’s time to add a second quarterback to your league rosters, and the best way to do that is adding a Superflex position.
3. Implement a Weekly Payout for the Top Scoring Team
I love this rule for a number of reasons. First, if you are playing in a money league, I am very much in favor of spreading the money around so that everyone enjoys the fantasy season.
Winner take all pots are more lucrative, but it has never really made sense for a second-place team to take home nothing after an incredible season!
Adding a prize for each week gets everyone more involved, especially when it comes to waiver claims (using FAAB of course), and setting your lineups. It also helps teams who are eliminated from the playoffs at the end of the year, still have something to play for even if it is just a small prize.
Any successful fantasy football league thrives off of active managers, and giving them that incentive to stay engaged will go a long way in having an enjoyable season.
4. Add a Keeper Rule
Do you find yourself playing with the same managers each year in a fantasy league that just needs a little something to spice things up? Adding keepers or making it a dynasty league is a great way to keep managers active and engaged even in the offseason.
What’s the difference between a keeper league and a dynasty league? Keeper leagues generally have a set number of players a team can keep from season to season, whereas a dynasty league has teams building and maintaining a whole roster of players for multiple years.
There are several different types of keeper leagues, so finding the right set of rules for your league can take some research:
- Keep X number of players as long as the manager wants.
- Keep X number of players but each player can only be kept for X number of years.
- Draft a player in Round X and if you keep that player, you lose your next season’s Round X draft pick.
- Keep less players than you need to, and get more draft picks instead.
The variations are endless, and fantasy football leagues are getting more creative as time goes on. If you are just changing over to a keeper format, start slow and then work your way up from there once you have tested the waters.
If you are moving to a dynasty format, you are likely going to want to create a new set of rules that will follow the league for years to come. The one downfall of keeper or dynasty leagues is that some managers tend to feel that they can pack it in for next season, earlier than in a redraft league.
Maybe you want to add in a lottery draft or the weekly high scorer prizes to mitigate tanking as much as possible!
5. Winner’s Award and Loser’s Punishment
A controversial rule, but one that can really add some spice to your leagues! We have all seen the social media posts of losers of fantasy leagues having to do humiliating things in public. While you probably don’t want to have the last place, team get a tattoo or anything extreme like that, having them pay for the beer at the after party or cover the league fees of the champion the next season, can be good fun and really keep everyone trying until the very last week.
Having a winner’s award can also boost the morale of the league managers, so think about getting everyone to chip in a few bucks for a trophy or championship belt. Some leagues have even done the honorable thing and donated all league fees to a charity of the champion’s choice.
If you are looking for the most personalized options for your fantasy trophies then check out our VIP packages for championship belts and trophies. Week 17 is the only company that allows you to personalize your name plates by picking your favorite color, design or even slapping your mug on it.
We also, offer some of the most creative loser punishments that are bound to up the banter in your league.
Whichever way you prefer, having something other than a pile of cash at the end of the year can promote friendly bragging rights and an increased spirit of competition between friends.
So, have we convinced you to at least review the rules of your league now that you have ample time before the draft to get a good discussion going with your managers? It doesn’t matter how long your league has been active, it never hurts to revisit your league settings and find ways to keep things fresh.
Most of the fantasy platforms like Sleeper (our favorite) ESPN, Yahoo!, MFL, or Fantrax all add new features and options for each season, so checking out what the developers have added is a great way to figure out what can be changed.
I still remember all of the negativity that surrounded leagues changing over from standard to PPR, and this was just a few years ago. Now, there are near limitless rules you can add including tight end premium scoring, points per first downs, all-flex rosters, no kickers, and yardage bonuses.
Like most things in life, fantasy football has evolved over the years, in ways that I think ensure that it represents the real-life NFL games even more. So, before you set down a date and time for your fantasy football draft, make sure you check over your rules and open up a discussion with the other managers in the league. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!