The time is upon us. The Gods of the Gridiron have returned from their slumber atop Mount Lombardi and have descended among us mere mortals to bestow their divine favor. They are gods of woe and glory. They instill inspiration, aspiration and exasperation alike.
Fantasy football, as it is now known, is becoming not only accepted in the workplace, but encouraged as a team-building exercise.
We’ve all heard how team-building exercises can forge more effective partnerships in the workplace. And nothing brings people together like a little friendly competition, right? If your team could benefit from some extracurricular activities, a workplace fantasy football league might be just the ticket. But how do you create a league that’s both fun and competitive? Friendly for pros and fair weather fans alike?
Warning: Fantasy football diehards may find the following suggestions to be cringe-worthy. The idea is to create a league that is both fun and friendly for beginners. Helmets still required.
DRAFT TIME OF YEAR
Weed out preseason injuries hamstringing your roster and consider drafting a week before regular season commences if possible (which means round about NOW). Additionally, as a commissioner of a beginner league, consider drafting in person, after hours. After all, this is about team building. Online drafts can be confusing. Time limits, autodrafting, clicking errors and more can plague your draft. Drafting in person not only keeps things friendly but helps the commissioner walk players through any potential questions they may have.
While some leagues may have as many as 16-plus teams, this forces participants to troll rosters for third-string wide receivers, risky rookies and more. The fewer teams in a league, the more “big names” managers will be able to draft. For inexperienced drafters, the sweet spot for the number of teams is anywhere between eight and 12. Remember to always have an even number of teams since matchups should be head-to-head on a weekly basis.
The best leagues for beginners are the ones that make the most sense in football terms. I’ve found that a Point Per Reception league, one in which points are awarded for each catch, are the most rewarding for new players. Additionally, touchdowns should be worth six points for all players who score (many competitive leagues would disagree). Additionally, granting points for yardage is a way to keep passive viewers interested in games. I recommend one point per 10 yards rushing, receiving and passing. Finally, bonuses for players racking up incredible stats such as 100-plus yards rushing/receiving or 300-plus passing.
Drafting with a small number of teams? Consider a 2QB starter league where each team drafts and starts two quarterbacks. This helps create some parity between elite level quarterbacks and the rest of the field while still helping to drive point totals. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more boring than having a week where you score under 100 total fantasy points. Additionally, be liberal with other starting positions. For leagues with few teams, consider extending the starting positions and shrinking the bench. This helps with other logistics outlined in the next section.
2QB, 3WR, 3RB, 1TE, 1 Flex (WR, RB or TE), 1K, 1Def. 4 Bench
PREVENT ACCIDENTAL CHEATING
Collusion, handcuffs, waiver wire confusion and more can all contribute to weekly frustration. Many new players might not understand why temporarily trading a WR for a TE during a bye week then trading back the following week might be cheating. I have disabled trading in all beginner leagues I have ever managed, and to great result. This prevents accidental cheating, eliminates the need for trade vetoes and commissioner intervention and a range of other problems.
In keeping bench slots to a minimum, you help ensure that quality players remain on the waiver wire. This is the main mechanism for acquiring new players. It’s up to you as commissioner to choose waiver order style from there.
INCENTIVES & DISINCENTIVES
We all want to win. Whether it’s a trophy or bragging rights, fantasy football is about the glory of winning. Consider awarding cash payouts for overall winner, but also returning the dues of the second-place team.
Additionally, many leagues will reward the team with the most points at the end of regular season. Statistically, it’s possible to have the highest number of points but still miss the playoffs, which is a huge letdown.
But when a team has a terrible, seasoncrushing run of losses, it may become disengaged. It may forgo changing its lineups or making acquisitions, essentially granting challenging teams free wins. But how do you keep all teams, even the ones that have been statistically eliminated from the playoffs, participating through the end of the season? Consider a negative incentive for last place. Perhaps last place has to treat the overall points winner to lunch. Keep it lighthearted, but also worth fighting to avoid.
As internet marketing specialist at BBR Creative, Cory LaGrange spends his workdays managing the online marketing and optimization operations for digital clients. From SEO to paid search, he ensures content is seen and voices heard.