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Twists on Fantasy Football

Keeping it fresh

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by Mike Laverdure, Guest Writer

Original Release: August 5, 2004

So you've played some on-line fantasy football and are now ready to make the leap of faith into running your own league or you've been running the same league for years and its fun, but could use a little more pizzazz.   The good news is there are many different options you can include in your league to keep your league successful.   The most important thing to remember is that you should tailor a league to what makes it fun for you and your group of fanatics.   Here are a handful of examples from a grizzled fantasy veteran who has seen it all and played in more leagues than he cares to remember.

My league started out as quite the basic league.   You drafted 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 3 WRs, 2 TEs, 2 Ks and a Team Defense.   After one season we realized that we wanted to expand our horizons.   We had a meeting of the minds and came up with several enhancements to the league.

My group hated the team defense concept.   It just didn't work for us.   So we switched to individual defensive players.   We have been using IDP for 7 years now and it has been nothing short of awesome.   It surprises me that this concept has not taken off in a lot of other leagues.   Granted it adds 4 rounds to the draft (we draft 2 Defensive Lineman, 2 Linebackers and 2 Defensive Backs), but it adds so much more to the strategy of the game.   Besides isn't draft day one of the best things about fantasy football? The team defense was always selected towards the end of the draft (right before Kickers).   Under the new format, defensive players flow throughout the draft - Ray Lewis was taken in the 2nd round Last Year, quite a change.

The second thing we changed was individual QBs.   I'm sure all of this has happened to you at one point during your career.   Your QB gets clocked by a blitzing DB and is knocked out of the game in the first quarter.   Guess what.   Your fantasy week has just ended if you only play 1 QB and it was seriously impacted if you start more than 1 QB.   Let's face it, chances are you are going to get a L this week due to some stupid tackle missing a block.

We tailored our rules to the NFL.   If you have a QB and he gets knocked out, his back up goes in so why not the same in fantasy football.   Our initial thought was to have your back up QB points count if your starter got knocked from the game.   However this became complicated so we through it out and we decided on the Team QB concept.   We now draft Minnesota's entire QB system, not just Dante'.   So if Culpepper goes down, you automatically get his replacement's stats.   This has definitely helped keep our league competitive.

So we went into year two with the above major changes and had a very enjoyable season.   However, everything still wasn't quite the way we liked it.   All of you who have been playing fantasy football for a while will remember the old days in Tampa Bay when Warrick Dunn would rip off an 40 yard run and get shoved out of bounds at the one.   In comes Mike Alstott to run in for the TD.   This posed multiple problems for us.   One TDs are worth 6 points, which is a fair amount of points.   So Dunn gets the 40 yard run worth 4 (1 point for every 10 yds rushing) and Alstott gets the TD worth 6 points.   Very frustrating for the Dunn owner.   Also, which was more valuable to the team, that 1 yd run by Alstott or the 40 yard dash by Dunn? The solution: we liked the team QB concept so much we came up with the radical idea of the team RB concept.   The Dunn Alstott dilemma was solved.   This is the most radical concept I know of in Fantasy Football.

After year three we decided to group WRs and TEs together as one position (we were a little slow on that one) and in year four we came up with our last off the wall rule change.   In our league, trading was minimal.   Most moves were made by free agent pick ups.   We had to resort to the time stamp of emails to determine which team got a player.   We really wanted a more interactive league and we came up with the Free Agent Guy rule.   Each team is allowed 5 Free Agent Guys.   A free agent guy is basically a waiver acquisition, but with a twist.   These free agent guys are treated as players and as such can be traded.   If a team has used a lot of free agents, he could trade a player for a free agent guy.   This really added a whole new dimension to the game and trading became much more prevalent.

In the following years, we also made several minor rule changes to enhance the game, which I will not waste your time with.   The point is - you as commissioner have many different opportunities to enhance your fantasy football league.   Don't be afraid to try new and radical ideas to help make your league fun, exciting, and challenging.

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