10 Ways to Spice Up Your Fantasy Football League
Around this time of year, like a Gremlin covered in water, fantasy football starts to take on a life of its own.
From the constant, obsessive tinkering with lineups to the long hours spent researching players and matchups, this game we all love becomes second-nature.
But outside of your weekly routine, if you've been in the same fantasy league for years, you know that sometimes leagues can get stale.
That's why spicing up your fantasy league is a must, even for the most successful of leagues.
From adding new scoring systems to hosting fantasy events, it's up to the league's commissioner and fellow owners to get creative and come up with new, exciting elements to keep things fresh.
So, without further hesitation, start the slideshow below and find out 10 ways you can spice up your fantasy football league.
Live Draft Parties
No matter where you are from, one sure way to spice up your fantasy football league is by hosting a live draft party.
Instead of sitting behind a computer screen in your draws, munching on food, why not get everyone in your league together for a celebration of football?
Stock up on your favorite drinks, snacks and deli meats and make the most out of this magical occasion we call a fantasy football draft.
Aside from the food and beverages, the best part about hosting a live draft party is that as the picks come in, the draft gets even more exciting.
From your buddy delivering a Mike Tyson-style dead arm to you as you steal Larry Fitzgerald from him to potential draft day trades, the live format is a place where all owners can thrive.
So what are you waiting for? Set up each team's draft table, pump the tunes and let the live draft experience begin.
A Survivor League
The worst part about fantasy football is when your friends start losing games and decide to act like Newman from Seinfeld and mail their seasons in.
In order to make sure this doesn't happen to your league, you could try incorporating a survivor element into your fantasy football constitution.
The idea behind the survivor league goes a little something like this: At the beginning of each season everyone in your league agrees that whoever finishes in last place has to leave said league for one-full season—a terrible, gut-wrenching punishment for any true fantasy football addict.
While this might not be for everybody, if competition is the ultimate goal in your league, adding in a survival element ensures that no one quits on their team and more importantly quits on the league during the season.
With the pressure moving at a Chip Kelly-like pace all season long, the one thing that comes out of this format is that your fantasy league will undergo a major change.
Implement a Weekly Press Conference
Technology is a beautiful thing.
Now that we're living in a world that revolves around social media and a person's desire to constantly communicate, our fantasy football leagues have been given a gift.
Instead of your league's commissioner scribing a weekly write up, why not embrace this social movement and change the game?
Act like your favorite team in the NFL and start broadcasting your own series of weekly press conferences. That's right, press conferences.
Create your own segments, predict the outcomes of future games, do your very own edition of "start' em or sit' em." The goal here is to just have some fun.
Your buddies probably already spend 90% of their time pulling a Kelly Slater and surfing around the web, so why not give them something worthwhile to watch?
Create a Hybrid Scoring System
Let's face it, standard scoring systems don't excite anyone.
If your fantasy league needs a little spicing up, why not get all of the owners together and create a hybrid scoring system?
Whether that means switching over to a points-per-reception format or simply adding in your own set of rules, switching things up can excite the players in your league and provide them with a renewed sense of hope for the season.
If you're looking to find a few ways to add to your scoring system, consider awarding additional points for players who go over 100 yards rushing, receiving or throwing for over 300 yards in a single game.
Other ways to adjust your scoring system could even come down to wins and losses.
For example, every team that wins the previous week, they get to start the following week with a bonus of two points. And for every team that lost the previous week, well, they get to start the following week minus two points.
With so many possibilities, the sky really is the limit when you start infusing your league with a hybrid scoring system.
Have a Draft Lottery
Instead of allowing a computer to randomly select your draft order each season, why not make an event out of it?
Take a page out of the NBA's book and create an epic draft lottery for everyone in your league to enjoy.
Whether you use Ping-Pong balls, pull names out of a hat or utilize amazing draft websites like DraftPickLottery.com, the goal here is to create another event so owners in your league can get riled up before the season gets underway.
If you can't get all of your buddies together on the same day for the actual lottery, embrace the social media tools that were discussed earlier in this slideshow and do it online.
Computers randomly generating draft orders five minutes before your draft is boring. Getting creative and putting together your own draft lottery is not.
Give Away More Awards
Another way to boost morale and spice up your fantasy football league is by coming up with an intricate award system.
Instead of having only the top three teams at season's end receive a prize, try to mix things up and create new categories that will allow owner's to have more bragging and rights and "trophies" in their collection.
There are the fantasy classics like "Worst Team of the Year" and "Highest-Scoring Team." Then there are the more outlandish ones like "The Comeback Kid" (most wins from behind heading into a Monday night game) and "The Dream Crusher" (teams out of playoff contention who derail contender's seasons).
Adding new awards will make your league more entertaining in the long run.
Plus, if you really want another excuse to have a league get together, at season's end distribute all of these custom prizes at your annual fantasy banquet.
Manage a League Blog
Creating a home for your league outside of your main fantasy football page can be great for breathing life back into your league.
Get innovative and have everyone contribute. You could even pull a TMZ and provide your league with up-to-the-minute gossip, reports and breaking news they can salivate over.
Building a league blog is not only an awesome, free way to spice up your league this season but it also will make those outsiders just a little more jealous of this football fraternity you all are a part of.
Adjust the Waiver Wire
Playing the waiver-wire successfully is an integral part of any fantasy team's long-term success.
The process of adding breakout players to boost the depth and quality of your roster can sometimes lead you to the end of a vivid rainbow stuffed with fantasy gold.
To switch things up a bit this season, instead of waiver claims being based on a worst-to-best record basis, try coming up with new ways teams can claim their favorite players.
By either going with a first-come-first-serve approach, using a Free Agent Acquisition Budgets system or building your own system from scratch, act like Jay-Z and create the new rules this season.
*If your league has any interest in changing up the way your waiver-wire works, check out this great breakdown of the FAAB from Yahoo! Sports.
Switch Your League to an Auction Draft
Most fantasy football leagues are done through the standard drafting format.
But if you're looking for another way to keep people on their toes, why not talk to the other players in your league and switch your format to an auction draft?
In a nut-shell, an auction draft is basically a draft where each team gets a certain amount of "draft currency."
Then, a draft order is set and everyone begins to nominate and bid on each eligible player in the draft pool. At the end, when each roster is complete and the budgets are spent, you have finished things up and built your very own auction draft team.
Switching your league to an auction draft format is just another unique way to spice things up.
*For an even more detailed explanation on how this auction draft process works, check out FootballNation.com's complete guide.
Add Individual Defensive Players
This suggestion might not be the most popular, but adding individual defensive players to your fantasy football league can definitely spice things up.
While it requires a deeper knowledge of the NFL, IDPs tend to give teams a more balanced, "realistic" approach when playing fantasy.
Imagine drafting players like Richard Sherman, Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake to fill out your fantasy roster. Pretty awesome, right?
Since it's not as popular as the regular fantasy football formats, coming up with an efficient scoring system for IDPs is incredibly important.
If you're looking for a nice breakdown on how to score a league with IDPs, check out this great article from Jeff Ratcliffe over at Pro Football Focus.
So, what are some other ways your league is making things more exciting? Share your thoughts in the comment area below and let us know!