There's nothing more exciting than fantasy baseball playoffs. Seeing your hard work, your key pickups and those last-second trades finally pay off is very rewarding.
But there are ways to make your league's playoffs even better, especially for teams who are not in the championship bracket.
Write Previews For the Upcoming Match Ups
This is something that I do in my 14-team keeper league on a weekly basis. We started it two years ago and we have had great success with it. Each week, someone is assigned to write a preview/prediction on all of the match ups.
You do some research and add a few funny lines and it's golden. It's become so important to my league, that if you miss your scheduled slot to write previews, then you get fined $20.
Here's an example of a preview written in my league by someone out of the playoffs.
"Semifinal matchup of a once-upon-a-time champion and everyone's favorite poet. Unger is coming off on one of the more bizarre fantasy playoff victories we have seen, in which he won by tying steals and saves on the last day. He will need to pick up the slack this week playing the number one seed Matula ... I think Unger makes drastic attempts to try to win holds, but comes up short. Matchup finishes at 6-6. Tiebreaker puts Matula in finals."
The actual preview was much longer, going into depth with pitching and hitting match ups, but hopefully you get the idea. Using the message board, especially writing predictions, is an incredible way to keeping the league interesting and exciting.
Give Everyone Something to Play For
Obviously, as the fantasy season winds down, teams will get eliminated with several weeks of regular MLB play still to occur. There are ways to keep everyone involved, including those who may be relegated to the consolation bracket.
For keeper leagues, give these folks something to play for. Whether it is the first overall pick in next years draft or an extra keeper for the ensuing year, this will keep more members of the league focused for a longer period of time.
In a season-to-season league, there is one option that really appeals: play the consolation bracket for cash. Some leagues have a small portion of the overall pot for the consolation bracket winner (10% or so). Doing this will also keep the excitement level up for as many members of the league as possible.
Give Extra Incentive for Top Performance
Say you're in a league with two divisions and both division winners receive the same prize for their finish in the regular season. Let's say both of these division winners are running away from those chasing them, leaving little doubt as to who will get byes in the postseason and/or ultimately come out on top.
These teams are likely to lose some excitement over the final regular season weeks. What if, however, there was extra incentive for finishing first overall, such as a higher payout? This would add fuel to the competition for the number one overall seed, when before there was no difference between the two.
In September, Major League clubs can expand their rosters. So, why can't fantasy rosters expand at the end of the season as well? Increased roster size may lead to increased focus and excitement and anytime that a fantasy league can work in conjunction with the real league is always a positive.
Plus, if you're in a dynasty league, this will keep the weaker teams paying attention. Yes, they might be out of contention to winning a championship, but now they can add potential keepers for the next year. With expanded rosters, the lower-tier teams can add prospects Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Wil Myers or Zack Wheeler and still play all their regular players to stay somewhat competitive. Now, when next year begins, they'll have the option of keeping a top-five prospect instead of a mediocre outfielder.
Make Sure the Champion Gets a Prize
If you're not playing in a cash league, then make sure the champion has something to receive at the end of the season, preferably a trophy. In my keeper league, we award the champion with a cash prize along with a trophy, that we call the Kaster Cup (named after one of our college baseball coaches). Each year, the winner's name will go on a plaque on the side of the trophy.
Aside from prizes, give the winner some responsibility for next year. For example, if you have an offline, in-person draft, have the winner pick the location of the draft. My league held its draft in a suite at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City this year. It was incredible. The draft experience enhances everything. Adding this little bonus incentive can make the end of the year and offseason way more exciting.
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