As the Commissioner of your fantasy football league, your job is to make sure people play fairly and competitively, while having fun doing it. There are a couple of scenarios that really affect me when I do fantasy and can make me feel bitter at the end of the season. First of all, I can’t stand people forgetting, or just outright refusing, to log in every week and set their starts. Easy wins are easy and for me there is no reward in that. Another thing that bothers me as a commissioner, mainly because of my heart, is seeing people who really focus, do their research, make great moves on the waiver wire, and come up short on end-of-season pay.
Over the years, I’ve tried to make my leagues as fun as possible for a couple of reasons; to attract new and interested players, and to maintain focus from week to week. I’ve compiled a short list of things I do to help keep people interested, which will ultimately keep them connected week after week.
1. King of the Hill (KoTH) – Side games are a great way to stay focused for 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, they will move on. The problem is that each player can only choose one team to win one game during the 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 themes or scenarios, it really depends on your creativity as a commissioner. I like to set up challenges that are simple, but have payouts every week. A challenge idea can be as basic as “Which kicker will get the highest fantasy points this week?” Or cut it down a bit and say “Which kicker will kick the most field goals?”
3. Choose them – Another idea for a secondary game is a Pick ’em forum, where players submit their predictions for the outcome of each game throughout the season. Each victory can be worth 1 point and has a running total until the end of the season. You could even choose to do a separate tie as well.
Four. Rewards – A great way to keep people focused and having fun is to encourage people to keep track of rewards. A reward is a select set of instances that can pay money or be just for fun. A reward can be “QB with longest touchdown pass” or “TE with highest number of touchdowns scored.” This is different from weekly challenges because they run throughout the season, not just for a week.
5. Credits / Debits – This is for the more aggressive fantasy leagues. It’s a method that I like to use in higher paying leagues, to really keep my members’ attention. A credit can be if someone has a great login streak, perhaps adding a point or two to their weekend score, or in my case, adding money to payments. A debit will be when someone cannot 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 fancy computer. I like to give everyone a starting pot of $ 5 and add or subtract when necessary. This really encourages everyone to pay attention and stay focused!
These are just a few ideas that I like to use, and each of them can really be expanded to fit your league’s style of play. “But Nate, I don’t like soccer and I only play Fantasy Baseball!” That’s okay, I say. You can mold these ideas to fit any other style of fantasy play. For baseball, you can do King of the Mound and maybe pick a series winner each week. For basketball you can do 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 additional fees, coordinate your league’s entry fee to include money that can go towards separate jackpots for these ideas (i.e. the $ 50 entry will include the fee $ 5 Pick ‘Em, $ 5 Weekly Challenge Fee, and $ 40 for League Winners). One thing to keep in mind is that while I was using money as an example, you don’t need to be doing it for money. Everything I mentioned may look “for fun” and there is no reason to feel obligated to pay to play this incredibly amazing game.