As Commissioner of your own fantasy football league, it’s your job to make sure people are playing fairly and competitively, while having fun. There are a couple of scenarios that really strike me when I’m doing fantasy and can leave me bitter at the end of the season. Firstly, I hate it when people forget, or simply refuse, to log in every week and set their starters. Easy wins are easy and for me there is no gratification in that. Another thing that bugs me as a commissioner, mostly because of the heart, is seeing people who really focus, do their research, make excellent moves on the edge of opting out, and don’t make it to the end-of-season payout.
Over the years, I’ve tried to make my leagues as fun as possible for a couple of reasons; to attract new and interesting players and to hold attention from week to week. I’ve compiled a small list of things I do to help keep people interested, which will ultimately keep them logged in from week to week.
1. King of the Hill (KoTH) – Side matches are a great way to keep focus for your league players. KoTH is a fun game where league players choose a single game and then predict the winner of that game. As long as the player has chosen correctly, he will move forward. The problem is that each player can only pick one team to win a game all season. If the Patriots play the Broncos and I pick the Patriots to win that game, I can’t pick the Patriots again all season.
2. Weekly Challenge – This can be a wide range of topics or scenarios, it really depends on your creativity as a commissioner. I like setting simple challenges, but with payments every week. A challenge idea can be as simple as “Which Kicker will score the highest fantasy points this week?” or narrow it down a bit and make it “Which soccer player will kick the most shots on the pitch?”.
3. Choose them – Another idea for a side game is a Pick ’em forum, where players post their predictions for every game outcome during the season. Each win can be worth 1 point and have a running total until the end of the season. You could also choose to have a separate match for the play-offs as well.
4. Sizes – A great way to keep people focused and entertained is to encourage people to keep track of their sizes. A bounty is a select set of instances that can either pay money or be just for fun. A bounty can be “QB with longest touchdown pass” or “TE with most touchdowns scored.” This is different from the weekly challenges because they run throughout the season, not just for one week.
5. Credits/Debits – This is for the more aggressive fantasy leagues. It’s a method I like to use in the higher paying leagues, to really keep my members’ attention. A credit can be if someone has a big hit streak, maybe adding a point or two to their weekend score or, in my case, adding money to payments. A charge will happen when someone fails to log in for a week and loses points or money for not logging in. In case you were wondering, most websites have a way to log in when people log into their sci-fi team. I like to give everyone a $5 starting pot, and add or subtract as needed. This really encourages everyone to pay attention and stay focused!
These are just a few ideas I like to use, and each one can really be expanded to fit your league’s style of play. “But Nate, I don’t like football and I only play Fantasy Baseball!”. All right, I say. You can shape these ideas to fit any other fantasy playstyle. For baseball you can do King of the Mound and maybe pick a series winner every week. For basketball you can make a Hoops Pick ‘Em. The concepts could go on and on.
If you think it might be difficult to get your league members to pay these extra dues, coordinate your league entry fee to include money that can go into separate pots for these ideas (e.g. $50 membership fee will include $5 fee Pick ‘Em, $5 weekly challenge fee and $40 for championship winners). Something to keep in mind is that while I was using money as an example, you don’t need to do it for money. Everything I mentioned may have a “for fun” aspect and there is no reason to feel obligated to pay to play this incredibly awesome game.