So you want to start your own fantasy football league. First off congrats, because as someone who tried to start new leagues (successfully and otherwise) I can attest that it’s a task that involves a lot of careful thought. Over the next week or so you can consider me your new league spirit guide…or just someone who wants to lend a hand, because honestly even as someone who has been playing for a while, starting up a new league can be a little daunting.
To start off I think you need to do a little exploratory interest measuring. Send some texts, tweets, emails, and DMs to see if the people you know and want are interested. No promises are made here, especially if you’re thinking about a league now. Some/most of your friends are caught up in inferior sports like Baseball or better ones like Hockey or Basketball. If we’re talking about a dynasty league you might have a better chance since you’re looking for people who would be participating just about year round, so they’re definitely hooked on football. You’re just gauging the likely hood of participation.
Once there’s a decent bit of interest you need to come up with a scoring format. This is so key and I believe overlooked because this affects everything from how players are valued to the type of fantasy players you can recruit. This will be what I cover today.
- Standard Scoring – This is your bread and butter scoring format. 1 point for every 10 rushing or receiving yards. 1 point for every 25 passing yards. Rushing and receiving TDs are 6 points, passing TDs are 4 points. I won’t get into every little detail but you get the idea. Simple, easy to manage, straightforward player valuation. On top of this, the most easily accessible fantasy advice is usually for standard scoring, so getting Phil at work who likes football but doesn’t play fantasy to join the office league will be a bit easier.
- PPR Scoring – If standard is our bread and butter, PPR (Point Per Reception) is throwing a little cheese between those pieces and tossing it on the stove. Almost everything remains the same as standard scoring but with the added bonus of 1 point for each reception. High volume WRs and pass catching RBs are provided an extra boost with this system. I enjoy this format as a base to start with since it more accurately represents how the NFL, and its fans value players.
- “Premium” Scoring – Here’s one I haven’t made up my mind on. The premium here refers to TEs, typically being set up as 1.5 points per reception for TEs. This provides them with extra value as TEs outside of Gronk are oft ignored by most owners. I lean towards not being a fan of this as I believe if we adjust scoring so everyone matters, nobody matters. I know some people want to react to this by calling me a moron and explaining that this just adjusts the game so TEs aren’t so underappreciated. I respond by saying LOOK AT ALL THESE CAPS, then moving on to…
- Milestone Bonus Scoring – The same base scoring as the three preceding formats with the bonus being applied to solid and great games put up by players. Cross the 100 yard mark rushing or receiving and get an extra 2 points, 150 for 3, 200 for 5 and so on. Added points if a player can tie or break an NFL record. This addition to scoring is great and properly awards stupendous performances. I think this is really necessary in an real league.
- Yardage Bonus Scoring – I’m in a keeper league that’s been going on for about 6 or so years that uses a yardage bonus scoring system. The picture at the top of my Twitter page where Antonio Brown scored 100+ points is from that league. Scores that are 40, 50, 60, and 80 yards long receive additional point bonuses. This scoring cuts both ways, it provides extra incentive to draft gamebreaking talents like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and the like. But it also allows for some fluky games where guys are receiving crazy point bonuses because a broken coverage led to a 75 yard catch and run by Torrey Smith. It’s a double edge sword, but double edge swords are cool as hell and look badass. I wouldn’t recommend this for every league but if you’re playing with a group of people who each have 2 or 3 other leagues this is a fun way to change up the game and keep everyone on their toes.
- Negative Scoring “Bonuses” – I’m all for this in some cases like INTs and Fumbles. But some leagues penalize guys for drops and sacks taken, which to me are subjective. No no, I know a sack is a sack and a drop is a drop but Sacks aren’t always the QBs fault, and drops happen when players are trying to make plays. I’m not a fan of a scoring system where a guy desperately trying to make a catch and help his team loses points. And if a starting LT is out why is it the QBs fault if the defense gets by the backup a little quicker.
So this covers a majority of the spectrum when it comes to selecting scoring formats for your fantasy football league. This next week I’ll dive into things like number of teams, divisions, win tallies, commissioner powers, and anything else I can come up with.
If you have any questions or any unique scoring bonuses your league uses that you like, throw them in the comments below. Same goes for any topics about starting up a league that you want covered. In the meantime enjoy the new podcast episodes and get pumped for the NFL Draft!