Nothing derails a great fantasy league quicker than a terrible rule. Some of them started off well-intentioned, but when you step back and take a wider look, most of them are preventing owners from enjoying the best parts of fantasy football.
During the recent Fantasy Footballers’ LIVE! show in Minneapolis, Andy, Mike, and Jason covered a few of these rules that absolutely must be removed or changed for the betterment of your league. In addition to those suggestions, I’ll identify a few more rules that need to go. In some cases, alternatives are available; other times, the best remedy is complete elimination.
This one is a no-brainer but for some reason, it still exists. Get rid of the veto system immediately. 99% of the vetoed trades are canceled for petty reasons. “I don’t want that team getting better” or “that owner isn’t getting an equal value of that player” are not reasons to veto a trade. One of my first leagues used to have vetoes and we didn’t have a trade completed in 3 seasons! We all recognize that trading is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game, why are we limiting it with bogus vetoes? Everyone’s player valuations are different, so let owners run their own team. STOP THE VETOES!
Along with that same topic, eliminate the “review period”. If I make a Sunday morning trade to get a player, I should be able to use him right away. Set trades to process immediately on your draft platform. Make sure you or your commissioner has a ruling procedure for trades that appear like collusion, but it’s extremely rare to enforce that rule. In 12 years of running multiple fantasy leagues, I have NEVER overturned a trade for being collusive. Were there trades that appears lopsided on the surface? Sure, but it’s funny how often those trades backfire or end up opposite of what you expected. Let owners run their own team. It is their team and not yours for a reason.
For more info on this subject, check out How to Eliminate Collusion & Tanking by Cory Evans.
Week 17 Championships
We’d all love to play this amazing game for one more week per year, but Week 17 always ends up being a goofy week. Playoff bound teams rest starters or pull them out at half-time. Non-playoff teams suddenly start or give extra playing time to younger players or guys that may have a larger role next season. Inevitably, a championship team will end up benching a key starter because of this. You don’t want to lose a championship because your stud RB is riding pine Week 17 like Todd Gurley last year. Use Week 17 as your last chance to enjoy a full weekend of Football.
For years, the standard scoring for yardage was a full point per 10 yards rushing and receiving and 25 yards of passing. If your QB threw 324 yards, you didn’t get that extra point, as if those 24 yards were meaningless. Rushed for 99 yards? Sorry, you only get 9 points as those last 9 yards don’t count. Why should there be a full point difference between 9 and 10 yards? (Answer: there shouldn’t!)
This scoring system originated way back in the stone ages when you had to calculate scoring by hand from the newspaper box score and then mail the results by pony-express to your old chaps. Even more annoying is how full point scoring inevitably leads to ties. I played in a league where the Championship game ended in a tie. Not surprisingly, the league transitioned to decimal scoring the very next season. Now that we’ve evolved into the digital age and everything is done on a website, there is no reason to not be using decimal scoring.
Set your league up with .1 pt/yard rushing or receiving and .04pts/passing yard. Make this switch now and watch those annoying ties disappear!
What enjoyment does this rule bring to the table? I’ve seen leagues that limit owners to 3 trades per season. Trading is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game! The most common transaction limit is waiver moves. Limiting owners to a set number of waiver moves has no benefit for the league and only annoys the owners. If an owner wants to stream defenses, QBs, churn their 5th RB or 6th WR spot, let them. It doesn’t hurt the league to increase transactions, it, in fact, improves the league. The more active owners are in the waivers and trades, the more active and enjoyable your league will be. Encourage participation, don’t dissuade it.
Waiver Priority Systems
Speaking of waivers, it’s time to transition all leagues to the “Free Agent Auction Bidding” (FAAB) system. To recap in case you haven’t been listening to the Fantasy Footballers Podcast, the FAAB system allows owners to “bid” on available players, awarding the player to the highest bidder. Here’s the best reason to institute FAAB: Assume your stud RB goes down in Week 4. With a FAAB system, you have the ability to bid to get your handcuff. Acquiring a player should not be limited to the owner who happens to have priority 1 that week.
Positional Roster Limits
Unless you have some crazy league set-up such as a 32 team league that has a 1 team QB type approach, there is no reason to institute positional roster limits. If an owner wants to carry 5 QBs, let them waste their roster spots. If an owner hit on a great draft and has 7 RBs on the squad, that’s ok! Want to carry 4 TEs, by all means, you do you. An owner hoarding a position simply means they are not rosters depth at the other positions, giving you an advantage in the league. If you put in roster limits, you are forcing owners to build a team that is not optimal to their enjoyment of the game. Let them play the game how they want too. If that means hoarding defenses, it’s their team to ruin.
There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about eliminating kickers from fantasy football. For all the reasons out there to eliminate them, some people still think they should be included in the game. But the reality is that no one pays any attention to them until the end of a draft. Think about the last time a podcast spent an entire episode talking about which kickers are the best waiver pickup for the week. Plain and simple: no one really cares about kickers in fantasy football. Of all the positions, they are the bottom of the totem pole. Be honest with yourself: it’s not fun to draft kickers. No one really enjoys researching kickers (except our editor). No one with an ounce of Fantasy Football experience has ever traded to acquire a kicker. When your kicker goes on a bye, you don’t drop another player for a second kicker, you just drop your current kicker and get a new one.
The proof lies in the realization that once you’ve eliminated kickers from the league, not a single owner will cry, beg or fight to bring them back. Just like old yeller, it’s time to take the kicker position out behind the woodshed and put it out of its misery. For more Kicker takes, check out Should Kickers Get the Boot? by Nate Hamilton.
Dynasty League Bonus* No Start-up Draft Pick Trading
A few years ago, I was invited into a start-up dynasty league, run by a friend of a friend. This guy had no idea how to run a dynasty league. While I was able to give him a few tips, one thing that he would not budge on was running the league on a specific website that is not conducive to a dynasty format. As such, we were given a 90-second pick clock and no ability to trade draft picks during the draft. One of the key components of a start-up dynasty league is the ability to trade draft picks to build a roster you love. Not being able to move around during the draft took away the strategy and excitement from the roster construction process. Even if you want to run your league on one of those platforms, use another program to draft and allow draft pick trading.
As the Ballers’ often highlight on their shows, it’s extremely important to remember that we play this game for fun. If a rule in your league is not contributing to the fun and only hindering or preventing owners from having fun, then it should be modified or removed. If you do everything you can to make you league fun and original, you will end up with one of those leagues that last forever and builds strong bonds between your owners!