The week of August 24, 2014

5 leagues that are better than yours

By Josh Klein

Tired of your standard office league? You’re not alone. Here are five different types of leagues that you should try if you’re looking for something that’s a little more challenging and extreme.

1) The Players Club League

Number of teams: 12
Difficulty: Slightly advanced

Starting lineups are very similar to the dreaded ESPN Standard League, just on steroids:

2 QB
3 RB
4 WR
2 TE
2 D/ST

This means a longer draft, and a lot more research, but the week that you find out that Ryan Griffin is getting a lot of Red Zone looks in practice, and he scores a touchdown to win, you’ve just found yourself a new favorite player—and a new favorite league.

2) TD-Only League

Number of teams: 12-14
Difficulty: Easy

Just like it sounds. Sometimes simplicity is the best policy. Take the standard lineup and remove all the scoring except for touchdowns. But there’s a catch. QBs get 1 point for scores, RBs get 2 points, WRs 3, and TEs 5. Who’s more valuable? Eddy Lacy or Calvin Johnson? A.J. Green or Colin Kaepernick? Does Jimmy Graham last past the third pick? Isn’t this fun?!

3) The Dynasty

Number of teams: 12
Difficulty: Normal

The first year, you have a normal auction with a $280 salary cap. You can use as much or as little of your cap as you wish during the auction, but you must leave $20 for free agent signings throughout the season. Each player can be kept at the end of the year for their previous year’s price, each team must keep at least 10 players, and the salary cap goes up $40 each year. What’s your strategy: youth movement or winning now? Imagine having Peyton Manning on your team for $31, and your team is 3-8. Are you trading him to a contender? Do you hold him for next year? Are Manning and his guaranteed 48 touchdowns more or less valuable than Blake Bortles for seven bucks? These are the kinds of questions you will have to answer.

Please note, this is the most basic of the complicated leagues you can be in. But even the most simple dynasty league will be the most fun fantasy football you will ever play.

4) The Man’s League

Number of teams: 16
Difficulty: Maddening

Before you send cards and letters, I know this is the league they play on the Fantasy Focus Football podcast. Just because other people invented it doesn’t mean it’s not fun. At least I’m not recommending the league from The League.

This league is very simple, with one twist that makes all the difference. Instead of a flex spot, you have an “offensive player” position, at which you can play any player, including a QB. We also jack the passing touchdown points to six, making QBs hyper-valuable. If you’ve never played in a league this size, let me break it down for you. Each team is starting three WRs, so at any given week, someone is starting the 48th best WR. If they’re lucky. More than likely, someone is starting WRs ranked in the 60s. That means you’re doing your own research and making your own decisions, not just reading the ESPN cheat sheets.

5) The Premier League

Number of teams: 32
Difficulty: Frustratingly insane

Two 16-team conferences, each having separate drafts in which they draft from the entire NFL pool. Each conference breaks into divisions with four teams each. Regular season lasts through week 13, with the playoff seedings mimicking the real league (the top two finishers from each conference get byes, division winners get the top four seeds, two wild cards). Three rounds of playoffs before the champions from each conference play each other in week 17, The Super Bowl. Theoretically, you could be playing your exact doppelganger in the Super Bowl. The dream scenario is somehow you’ve both made it to the big game with the same team except for one minuscule difference at TE, so you’re just rooting for Owen Daniels to score more points than Visanthe Shiancoe. It could happen.

All teams get four keepers, but the playoff teams get their keepers at $10 less than what they paid in the auction. Non-playoff teams pay $10 more. Each team must keep four players. I’d tell you to enjoy yourself, but let’s be honest—you probably don’t have 31 friends.

Photo via Ed Uthman/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed