Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's so great about your league?

Some fantasy leagues rock. Some are worse then a jail sentence.
What the hell? Why?

In the three leagues I particiapte in I have found that format makes a difference, the league settings contribute, the entry fee plays a small role and the biggest key is the right mix of people. You might think that close friends or family would make for a great league, but the two most important elements I've found are the competitiveness of the players and their general proximity to one another.

League A - Friends and friends of friends. No two people that I am aware of are in the same time zone. The owners are competitive, draft online, talk a little trash and mostly pay attention to their teams during the season. But there's very little chatter and all in all this league is the least exciting. Sure it's also the league I'm getting whipped in. But I almost won it last year and it still never really put a wire in my veins.

League B - Friends and Family, a few people geographically close, but still an online draft. Mostly competitive players, a little more trash talk and even though I am borderline on the playoffs it remains fun. Lots of movement, a few trades. If I weren't the commish of this league I would like it more. As it is the season is fun, the getting people to pay up is almost annoying enough to make me give it up.

League C - Some friends, but mostly folks I know only through my involvement in the league. Even though I'm not childhood friends with this crew, we do get together for a live draft (a couple of folks from out of state call in) and I've never been around more competitive, trash talking SOBs then this group - and therefore it is the league I put the most energy into and get the most enjoyment from. We don't all go way back so in some cases the fantasy rivalry is the defining characteristic of the relationship, which makes those games important. That this is a keeper league is no small matter, I feel a greater sense of ownership of the team because I have a generational investment in it. Even though I can only keep two players (the methodology is slightly complex, but you basically can't keep guys who are drafted in the first four rounds the year before - so the top talent in the league is always available on draft day with some exceptions) I can dictate the type of team I want to have. The scoring is important too, lots of incremental bonuses for players boost the scores so 130 point game, while not standard, is far from unheard of. The current high score is 176 - that guy will get a bonus at the end of the year if maintains it. Aside from being a keeper league the format is divisional and only 4 teams make the playoffs, three winners and a wildcard. The difficulty to get into the postseason makes every game a must win, there's no slogging it out and coasting in to that 6th slot. But this also tends to take the teams with the worst records out of the hunt by midseason. So to keep people excited and more importantly to keep people from dumping players - the last game of the regular season has an added bonus: The person with the most points that week - bench included - gets the proceeds from the transaction pot. This can be considerable and will more than pay for the league dues. Even though the bench score won't affect your weekly matchup, it adds some incentive to keep your team strong enough to compete all year.

What I want to know is what makes your league good? What crazy formats have you used or heard of that throw some spice into the season. Leagues evolve so I'm always on the lookout for better ideas to make any league I am in better. Share your stories.

-Eric Edwards


J said...

My "money league," called that because it is the one with an entry fee (my other league is an ESPN league), is great because it is so maddening. We hand out bonuses for everything - 1 point per reception, 10 bonus pts for 100 yards rushing and receiving, up to 15 bonus points for 250-300 yds passing, 7 pt bonus for 10 receptions. 125-150 points is normal, and 1 or 2 guys break 200 each week. So you can go to bed as soon as the SNF game starts with a 99-pt deficit and get up Monday morning tied. Brady got 56 points (17 pts for 350 passing yds, + 15 pts for breaking 300, + 24 for TDs), and Mike Wallace got 43 (12 pts for TDs, +13 pts for 135 rec yds, 10-pt bonus for breaking 100, + 8 pts for 8 receptions). Macklin got me 18 pts on MNF to seal my win. Last week, I scored 196 - and lost to a guy with a losing record who just happened to go for 230 that week. It's going to drive all of us to mental illness, alcoholism or heart disease. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

The Owners said...

Here, here. I love the bonuses. A couple of years ago I amped the bonuses in my league up to those levels and I loved it, but some of the owners thought the scoring was too high so I brought them back down 5 points for 100 yard games, half point PPR, and 5 point for 300 yards passing. The scores are still pretty high, but you can go to bed with a 99 point lead and feel pretty good that two guys aren't going to beat you.