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Fantasy Football Rule Changes to Consider

Jan 2, 2018

As we enter 2018, it’s time to consider things like which New Year’s Resolution you’ll break first and avoid writing ‘2017’ when dates are required on forms. It’s also time to think about 2018 fantasy leagues. Yes, even re-draft. There is always an opportunity for optimization, and that includes the rules of your fantasy leagues.

As such, our NFL writers joined forces to bring you a list of rule changes that your league should consider entering the 2018 season. Be sure to vote on these quickly before your league mates forget how annoying things like playing meaningful games in Week 17 are.

Editor’s Note: Friends don’t let friends play in fantasy leagues with Week 17 championships.

Rule Changes to Consider

Reward the regular season champion
In too many leagues, you never see the regular season champ win anything. They should, as it’s the toughest thing to actually do. If you have a top-tier player like Antonio Brown who misses Week 15 with an ankle injury, should that negate the fact that you had dominated the regular season? It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I’d recommend at least 10 percent of the pot.
Mike Tagliere – @MikeTagliereNFL

Adjust defensive points to reward low points allowed
Turnovers and sacks are sexy, but a defense’s main job is to keep the other team off the scoreboard. Bad defenses sometimes put up big fantasy numbers because of a defensive TD or a kick return, but the best defenses in fantasy should be the ones that are the best in reality.
Andrew Seifter@andrew_seifter

Banish kickers
One of my leagues recently eliminated the kicker spot, and it was the best decision that commish has ever made. Just one less usually dart-throw decision you don’t have to make each week now. There’s nothing worse than losing because Harrison Butker dropped a 20-spot on you.
Joey Korman – @Leaveit2Divac

Avoid the ‘forever keeper’
If you keep a player, you lose the round he was drafted in, though there is a catch. To keep fantasy owners from keeping Odell Beckham Jr. forever as a 13th rounder, the minimum cost for a keeper is the 6th round. So any player drafted after the 6th round would still cost a 6th rounder. If you have multiple late-round keepers, that’s the only time you could lose something later than a 6th. Those players would cost 7th and beyond (depending on how many keepers there are).
Mike Tagliere – @MikeTagliereNFL

Position weeks for 12-team leagues
The regular season is 13 weeks long, but you only have 11 different opponents. If your commissioner changes nothing, you will play the same teams you played Weeks 1 and 2 in Weeks 12 and 13. That’s pretty random and adds an element of luck. Why not do something to take the randomness away and also allow teams to have more control of their own destiny? My proposal: position weeks. In Weeks 7 and 13, it will be 1st place vs. 2nd place, 3rd place vs 4th place, etc. This way, you play every other team once and at both the midpoint of the regular season and in the final week of the season, you play a team directly competing with you for playoff positioning. It takes away the randomness of the extra two matchups each season and gives you more direct control over your spot in the standings.
Jason Katz@jasonkatz13

The last playoff seed goes to the team outside the playoffs with the most points
Every year we hear the same gripes from someone in 80% of leagues: “I had the most points in the league, but got screwed and went up against by far the hardest schedule so I missed the playoffs.” Typically, you would call them a sore loser, but it doesn’t quite apply here because the goal of fantasy football is to have the best team, and in order to have the best team, you have to score points. Their complaints are legitimate and fantasy commissioners can and should rectify this error before it becomes a problem again next season. There are all kinds of fancy ways to ensure these teams don’t get the shaft, but the easiest is to just clarify at the start of the season that the final playoff seed belongs to the team with the most fantasy points among the remaining squads. You can easily edit your playoff teams in any commissioner platform. Your league mates will be grateful and your job will get easier.
Bobby Sylvester@bobbyfantasypro

Consider switching from head-to-head to points
If you don’t have intense head-to-head rivalries, it might be time to move to a points league. You’d still set your lineup as you normally would, but you’re playing against the whole league. This way, the highest scoring teams are guaranteed to get into the playoffs.
Mike Tagliere – @MikeTagliereNFL

Use an FAAB system
Leagues should have a Free Agent Acquisition Budget system in place. Having owners bid on players either in the draft (auction) or through the waiver wire is a true testament to how much each owner values a certain player or position. Therefore, they must prioritize their budget and claims accordingly. No two owners will have the same strategy as some are more aggressive than others, and no two owners are likely to have the same amount of FAAB funds once the season is rolling along.
Josh Dalley@JoshDalley72

Eliminate Divisions
This is fantasy football, not the actual NFL with 32 teams. If your league has divisions, it is dumb. There’s no sense in some 7-7 team making the playoffs over a 9-5 team because their division was garbage. Unless your fantasy league has 16+ teams, this shouldn’t even be a consideration.
Joey Korman – @Leaveit2Divac

Add a second flex position
There is a lot of randomness in fantasy football with kickers, defenses, etc., so adding a second flex adds strategy and rewards skill. It makes you dig deeper for sleepers and means you won’t necessarily lose a matchup because one guy on the other team went bananas.
Andrew Seifter@andrew_seifter

Protect the integrity of your dynasty leagues
In order to protect the sanctity of your league, have an owner who trades away a future draft pick pay for that year’s buy-in. So if I wanted to trade away my 2018 and 2019 1st round picks for AJ Green, I’d have to pay the league buy-in for both 2018 and 2019 up front. This will prevent teams from trading their future draft picks just to win now, only to leave the league the following year.
Mike Tagliere – @MikeTagliereNFL

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