Bringing Change to Fantasy Sports

len laberCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2009

As the founder of, I’m often asked what makes this website and fantasy games so special and different than anything that the big boys offer. 

To do so, I’ll need to tell you a tale about the dark ages of fantasy sports, what will eventually happen to you and your buddies if you’re currently in high school or college and then how will change and make it easier for everyone to continue to enjoy fantasy sports.

I first started playing fantasy football back in high school so we’re talking the mid-1990s. The internet and online fantasy sports was still relatively new back then. Instead of live scoring, you would have to check the box scores in the newspaper the next day and hand calculate stats. Oh, how people have it easy these days.

With the explosion of online fantasy sports, in the early 2000s, everything from online drafts and customized stats, to automated free agent pickups and live scoring, was made easier.

In college and as a young professional, you could spend weeks or even months doing the offseason researching and building your strategy in anticipation of the draft.

However, times change as you and your friends get older. Some guys work 60+ hours a week, get married, buy a house, and start a family.  They no longer have all time in the world to read every player news that comes out and the importance of playing fantasy sports drops from a top priority in your life. 

As your life evolves and becomes busier, unfortunately fantasy sports still requires the same time commitment.

The following items were identified as the sources of the complexity.  This is how brings change to fantasy games to keep you and your friends playing fantasy sports for many years to come.

1) The season is too long: The biggest turnoff for people is the time commitment needed during the regular season.  Every day you need to stay on top of the latest player news to make pickups and agonize over your lineup for more than four months, depending on the sport.

You truly have to enjoy fantasy sports be stay involved or else you end being the lame duck owner that everyone promises to kick out of the league next year yet he ends up returning since someone couldn’t make the draft.

Solution: Skip the regular season and focus on the playoffs.  The playoffs are the most exiting part of a sport, yet fantasy sports seasons end when the regular season do. Not any more.

You just need to pay attention for about a month and there’s more strategy involved in the postseason since you want to choose players that will put up stats and whose team will continue to play in the next round.

2) Need for a draft: The most critical start of your fantasy season is of course the draft. Back in the day, it was easy to get everyone together in someone’s basement or dorm room.

Now it’s the biggest hassle to coordinate over a conference call or online program. Finally when you do agree on a date or time, there’s always someone that’s running late or just plain forgets to show up.   Ask any commissioner of a league now and he’ll tell you the draft is the biggest pain of his job.

Solution: Eliminate need for a draft in the fantasy games altogether.  Instead, each owner is given a choice of any players available in the postseason he wishes for his team. All he has to do set his own lineup anytime before the start of a player’s game.

No more need for hundreds of emails to talk about when the draft will be, now its just one reminder over the message board to set your lineup on time.

3) Rules are too complicated: Setting waiver bids, making free agent pickups, and having obscure stat categories makes fantasy games more complicated then they need to be. You’d rather just focus on watching your players play in their games than worrying about the other aspects.

Solution: Keep the rules simple. No waiver, no free agent pickup, and no trades. You choose your own lineup of players and that’s that. All you have to worry about is setting your roster before a player’s game starts. Only the major stat categories are used but you still have option to customize the point values for each.

4) Limited number of teams in a league: How many people do you know that are in three or more fantasy football leagues? Ask them if they enjoy having a player on their team in one league and then knowing their opponent has the same player against them in another league?

It sucks and leaves you torn whether to cheer for him. The reason people are in so many leagues is because no more than 12 owners usually can be in it. If your friends and then co-workers set up leagues, you must play in each one.

Solution: Allow an unlimited number of teams in a league. Finally, everyone you know can play against each other.  You now know that the players you have on your team are the only guys you root for. Use the Invite Friends function on the website to tell everyone you know to join your league and finally the league winner can officially be given the title of King Cojones.

My friends, we can continue to enjoy fantasy sports now and in the future. The time for change is NOW!