What’s the best way to set a season long Fantasy Football league?

Do you like avocado? If you do or you don’t can you describe why?

I hate avocado. I don’t like the taste, but I can’t describe the reason why the taste doesn’t appeal to me. I could go texture, it bothers me, but if something has a bad texture but an amazing flavor I can pull a Tim Gunn and “Make it work” (topical culture reference!).


Sometimes we can’t describe why we like things and why we don’t. I’m in a league where one person complains about any rules we can make to improve the fun of the league but has specific things he wants to add to the league. When I try to figure out what he likes and what he doesn’t it’s almost a cyclical conversations watching someone tap dance in circles of evasive answers. To me it comes off as fear of trying new things, because he’s played fantasy for so long and is worried he won’t understand the changes. But what if your fantasy life can improve drastically? Why we do and don’t like things is hard to describe some times. So I thought I’d (along with Jeff my foster kitten who climbs all over my keyboard) help your league decide what’s the best way to set up your league.


Jeff has 2 speeds. Maniac and pictured above.

I guess the best place to start is the draft.

The two most common types of drafts are snake and auction. I assume if you’re reading this you know what they are but for the rare chance you don’t, a snake draft has a draft order of team-1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 (end of round 1) team- 12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. (end of 2nd round) and so on. Where as an auction you have a budget and take turns nominating players and bid on players and build a team within your budget constraints.

Best set up of a draft: Online draft is the best. The system does all the work for you. However, that shouldn’t stop you from gathering as a league and drafting on your computers together. Yes, I know this sounds like some dark dystopian future, everyone together staring at screen, but it makes it easier for everyone and does organization for you.

Best method of a draft: Auction. Auction x100! Snake is easier and better for beginners, which obviously has a purpose. We all want to win, but you also want to have a league fit for the worst player because it’s no fun if a team is out of it from the beginning. So if your league is pretty even, or at least all fantasy veterans, go auction. With an auction you can build your perfect team. You have a chance at any player in the pool. Where as snake, you’re at the mercy of all the players taken ahead of you. In one of my more competitive leagues I’ve never gotten a pick higher than 9. That’s lame, I’ve never had an elite player in all the years I played.  However, with the auction a lot of strategy comes into it. Do you go Stars and Scrubs? Do you go depth all the way through? Do you bid heavy early to lock some guys down, or do you try to waste everyone else’s money and wait until you can get bargains? Even nominating players has strategy. Generally a $200 budget is where we’ve had the most success.

An important part of the league is the league size.

I hate doing a league less than 12. 12 seems like a good number, 10 is for beginners, but I love 16 or more. You really get to show your prowess with more teams. Free agent pools are also smaller, which encourages trades and also makes finding gems even more rewarding. 12 is probably the most common way to go, but going 16 is much more fun. Plus, more teams to trade with.

Do you go keeper, dynasty, or redraft?

This is really by choice. I see all sides. I love dynasty leagues with a auction where you can keep players at their draft value. You can love players for years. In my dynasty league, I’ve had Russell Wilson at a bargain for years. But like how I prefer auctions, a redraft my benefit players who want a chance at everyone because in dynasties, you may never get a chance to get a player. One player in a league i’m in took over a team that had Gronk at a bargain and never once entertained offers for him. Things like that will happen in a dynasty league.

Free Agency: Do you do waivers? Free for all after the week ends? FAAB?

Free for all is out. There was always be someone who is up at 3am on Tuesday that will get all the good players. Lame.  Waivers is interesting because having the 1st slot is a blessing and a curse. Obviously, you’re in the drivers seat but you need to weigh if it’s worth giving up the top slot for any specific player. With your luck you’ll use it and the next week David Johnson gets dropped or something ridiculous. I prefer FAAB (Free Agent Auction Budget). FAAB is when you have a few days to all place a blind bid (a bid no one else can see) and who ever bids the most gets the player (with ties using waiver order). The FAAB I’ve used is $100. The tricky part is what happens when you run out of FAAB for the year? Well in general, I like allowing zero dollar bids. That way you can still get someone for zero FAAB and just hope no one else tries to claim them. That way it also won’t limit the number of times you can use FAAB. When it comes to auction dynasty leagues you can use the FAAB value as the keeper value for next season. For instance, in 2011 when Jamaal Charles missed most of the year, he was dropped and people bid on him and stashed him on the IR. I got him at a bargain for $4 for years to come because no one else wanted to use more FAAB on him.

Do you use IDP?

I don’t like IDP (individual defensive player) because so few defensive players are on the rosters that basically everyone is on waivers. So what’s the point. HOWEVER, I do have a defensive league that drafts a full defensive roster. That league is AWESOME. So I love defensive fantasy but not if it’s only a few IDP slots.

PPR or non-PPR?

This one is tough. I think the best way to go is .5 PPR (points per reception). I’ve always been a running back person but the NFL has gone more and more towards passing. Not having PPR favors RBs and full point PPR swings it strongly towards receivers. What I hate about PPR is when a player catches a pass and gets tackled for a loss and you still get a point. That’s stupid. So half PPR is a nice in between. It adds some value to passing-down RBs and WRs that do a lot of the dirty work.

Scoring yards.

The standard scoring is 1 point for every 10-yards for rushing and receiving. Go .1 points per yard that way 10-yards you’ll still get a point but 5 yards will get .5 points. This 1) helps prevent ties and 2) if your player gets 9-yards you don’t get any points. Dumb. Passing yards should be .025 per yard equalling 1 point for every 25 passing yards. Rushing and receiving touchdowns should be 6 points and passing touchdowns should be 4. Giving 6-points passing TDs weighs to heavily towards QB. I understand that QB is the most important position in football, but if you make them too strong, the 1st round would just be the best QBs across the board and take very little skill.

Also, allow players to get return yards. Give marginal players a boost, special teams is a 3rd of football. Makes guys like Cordarrelle Patterson valuable.

To kicker or not to kicker? 

Who cares. Kicker is fine and an important part of football but I could go either way. The worst way to lose is based on your kicker sucking or their kicker going off. Get rid of em.


Defensive scoring:

The two most common ways are points allowed (+ turnovers/special teams) or points + yards allowed(+ turnovers/special teams). I very much favor yards and points allowed. I love to stream defenses and it does show a lot of knowledge in game plans and matchup if you can pick the right D. Points allowed is the only thing that matters but only counting that in fantasy is marginalizing what the defense does. If you really want to make fantasy as realistic as possible, you want defense to be important.

Lastly. Don’t have the playoffs in week 17. A 16-week season is fine. Week 17 is so flukey.

In conclusion, this is the ideal league:

16-team, online $200 auction draft, $100 FAAB waivers with zero bids allowed, no IDP,  .5 PPR, fractional yardage points, 4-point passing and 6-point rushing/receiving TDs, return yards, defensive scoring with points and yardage allowed (+ turnover/special teams). When it comes to Dynasty, that’s up to your league. While your starting this league you should decide what you all want. Kickers? forget em!

What are some of your favorite ways to set up a league? Comment or tweet @sportsthetweets

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