10 Ways to Make Your Fantasy Football League Even More Fantastic
Fantasy football is amazing, but have you ever wished it was amazing-er? Here are 10 ways, most of which are already being implemented in leagues around the globe, for you to take your fantasy football league to the next level.
10. Add "Buttfumble" as an Offensive Category
Most fantasy leagues award points for the same boring standard categories. Touchdowns. Yards. Blah blah blah. The only major difference between leagues is whether they award "points per reception" or not, which is as exciting as choosing whether to have your burger with or without ketchup.
According to our metrics, the percent increase in buttfumbles last season was infinite when compared to any other season in NFL history. Do you know who led the NFL in buttfumbles last season? If you guessed Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, or Tom Brady you guessed wrong. Mark Sanchez led the league in buttfumbles (1) last year. Sanchez, who contributed negatively to the Jets' offense last season (-.14 net expected points per pass), is our number 32-ranked quarterback in standard 12-team leagues, rendering him virtually undraftable. However, in a non-standard league, where buttfumbles are worth, say, 20-770 points per buttfumble, Sanchez could crack the quarterback top 10.
9. Spelling Counts
In order to draft a player, you must be able to spell his name correctly. Owners in this type of league will not be able to refer to any materials during the actual draft. You never thought drafting "Payton" Manning would ruin your season, did you? An extra "t" gets you someone named Ryan "Matthews" who isn't even in the NFL! Even though his next expected points per target (.81) last season was better than that of Calvin Johnson, don't even consider taking Demaryius Thomas. When spelling counts, it's a whole new ball game.
8. All the Colors of the Rainbow
Owners must draft a team that satisfies every color of the rainbow, based on players' uniforms. Anticipate a heated debate on what constitutes the color "indigo," but then the fun begins! Warning, if you are color blind, do not join a league like this!
Trading his Rams blue and gold for Falcons red and black, Steven Jackson has moved up draft boards with an average ADP in the late first, early second round. Although he is in a far more dynamic offense this year, Jackson is a 30-year-old back who comes with a 2012 rushing NEP per attempt of -.04, meaning his rushing numbers come more from opportunity than they do from efficiency. Confidently take Jackson in the middle of your second round, but don't overdraft him.
7. Things Bill Belichick Says
Teams must be named after Bill Belichick quotes. Look out for the Week 1 matchup of "We'll Do the Injury Report on Wednesday" versus "What Pleased Me Most Probably Was That We Made Decent Steps With Fundamentals and the Foundation of the Team"!
One player who is extremely happy he no longer has to "put up with" what Belichick says is Wes Welker. He's our 14th-ranked wide receiver this season, as we expect Welker to be just fine without Belichick in his ear.
6. Mustache Mania!
Each team must include one, and only one, player with a mustache. Players with goatees, mustache-beard combos, and fu manchus and are not eligible.
The best potential for a mustache this season is Aaron Rodgers, who despite injuries to wide receiver Jordy Nelson and left tackle Bryan Bulaga, is numberFire's top signal-caller. The Packers dealt with injuries to the receiving corps and a subpar offensive line in 2012, and Rodgers still threw for 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns.
5. The Manti Te'o Rule
Every league owner must successfully "Catfish" an NFL player in order to be eligible for the playoffs. Have you ever wanted to be Joe McKnight's imaginary girlfriend? Well here's your chance!
Manti Te'o has actually received good reviews thus far and is slotted to be a starting inside linebacker in San Diego this year. We've ranked the Chargers D/ST number six this year, and their Week 16 matchup with Oakland looks to be a favorable one for fantasy championship week.
4. Sacrifice to the Gods
Each owner must slaughter a wild animal and sacrifice it to the fantasy gods. Gain bonus points for killing a falcon, jaguar, cardinal, or any other animal used as an NFL team name.
One Cardinal who finally has been smiled upon by the fantasy gods is Larry Fitzgerald. It seems like decades since Larry Fitz had a capable quarterback tossing him the rock, and the Cardinals' acquisition of Carson Palmer is one reason Fitzgerald is our 15th-ranked receiver. Expect Fitzgerald's receiving NEP/target to impove from .43 in 2012 with Palmer under center and in Bruce Arians' offense. While he shouldn't match the touchdown totals he compiled with Kurt Warner as his quarterback, Fitzgerald has value in the 4th or 5th round of any standard 12-team draft.
3. Rename Your Kids
Each owner must change one of their children's names to the name of their favorite fantasy player. What if you don't have kids? Make one. How do you do that? Well, when a man loves a woman very much...you can figure out the rest. Many leagues have already instituted this rule, so don't be surprised to learn there are plenty of kids out there named "Seahawks D/ST".
One kid whose name we continue to hear is Giovanni Bernard. It has already been hinted that Bernard will be in a 50-50 time share with Benjarvus Green-Ellis to start the season. Bernard is a far better receiving threat out of the backfield than Green-Ellis (Green-Ellis had only 22 receptions last season for 104 yards), and Green-Ellis finished 2012 with middle-of-the-road rushing efficiency score. Look for Bernard to be a more effective back both on the ground and in the air this year.
2. Set Your "Personal Bye Week"
Just like NFL players, regular human people need time to rest, recover, and let loose a little bit. Therefore, each owner must take a "personal bye week" during one of the weeks of the fantasy season. You must tell your spouse or significant other that you don't care what they think or how they feel; you are "on a bye week." Tell your boss you're not going to make it to work. Could you get fired for this? Sure. But that just leaves you more time for fantasy football. It's a win-win!
For fantasy purposes, you should virtually disregard players' bye weeks when making selections. You need to draft for value and depth, and these ideas should not be discarded due to one-week considerations. Draft the best team possible and fill in the pieces later.
1. Meet Aaron Hernandez
The owner of the last-place team gets to spend a week with former Patriot Aaron Hernandez in prison! We're always letting contest winners meet their favorite celebrities, but what about the losers? Adding this wrinkle could give fantasy owners real incentive to stay out of the cellar. Or, for some, stay in it.
In this scenario, the "league loser" will share a tiny cell with the immensely talented tight end and alleged murderer. Shower in the same shower! Make "toilet wine"! Your fantasy outlook and bodily functions may never be the same.
Without Hernandez and injured Rob Grokonwski, a name to remember at tight end this year is Zach Sudfeld. An undrafted free agent nicknamed "Baby Gronk" by ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, Sudfeld has been taking first-team snaps with the Pats. Keep your eye on him.