Fantasy Football: Improve Your Draft (Redshirt Rule To Vulture System)

Gene ZarnickCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2010

Welcome to Waiver Wire Wednesday.

Each Wednesday will be designated for fantasy football to help you achieve not only the best team, but the best league as well.

To really get the most out of your league year in and year out, you have to keep trying to make improvements and keep everyone engaged.

So what could be annoying about fantasy football?

Isn't fantasy the greatest game to flourish since Pogs came and went? It's almost up to RPS (Rock Paper Scissors) status for appeal around the masses.

Now there are always going to be little problems in everyone's fantasy league: people not paying up, not having their cheat sheets in hand, or in my case finding out that one of your players has to miss the draft on Sunday because he was just put on house arrest. I kid you not!

Even with all these minor distractions comes a game that every sports enthusiast loves to play. It's a way to root for someone in almost every game and gamble on every game as well.

Now the best part about fantasy is always the draft, but the draft can be better.

Yes, the draft can be better.

No, I'm not talking about having an auction draft like every fantasy guru out there who makes it sound like auction leagues are life and death to them now. I am talking about adding little changes to the draft each year to keep it fresh and make it interesting for all.

So below I am presenting to you different draft ideas for auction leagues, keeper leagues, or standard draft leagues that will keep things fresh every single year.


The Redshirt Rule

If you draft any rookie player during your draft, you may keep them the next year for no loss of pick or for $1 in auction leagues as long as you do not start them a single time throughout the season. This rule forces the owner to decide if a rookie will help their team or if he should just lose the bench spot all year for their potential next year.

The only stipulation is if you have IR spots and the player gets injured, they cannot be moved to the IR. This rule can be used in all draft types.

The Specific Round

Your league will designate a specific round in the draft that everyone MUST keep the player they drafted in that round on their team next year. This rule makes everyone strategize, as some people may reach on picks in this round for the potential next year, and some people may grab someone like J.P. Losman who won't get you any points unless you count the UFL stats. This rule can be used in all draft types.

The Random Round

The random round is the same as the specific round rule except that you will randomly choose which round will be your keeper. The rule is more exciting if you randomly pick the round after the draft is over. This rule can be used in all draft types.

The Survivor Rule

This isn't so much a rule as it is a stipulation. If you have a highly competitive league and other people want in, then you can add a stipulation that will allow someone in the current draft to be removed from the league and a new person will be allowed in.

The way the person is removed is by a group vote, where the person with the most votes gets removed from the league. The winner of the league will have immunity. This rule can be used in all draft types.

The Winner Eliminator Rule

This rule is similar to the survivor rule except that the winner of the league gets to pick who will be eliminated from the league from the remaining owners. This really puts the pressure on the owner to decide to remove someone based on skill level or based on personal friendship. This rule can be used in all draft types.

The Loser Eliminator Rule

The Loser Eliminator Rule is the same as the survivor rule except that the loser of the league will automatically be removed from the league. This will make the losers' bracket very competitive during the playoff season. This rule can be used in all draft types.

Draft Lottery Rule

This rule is similar to the NBA Draft lottery, where the loser of the league will get the most chances to get the top pick and the winner will get only one chance. The loser's chances should be the sum of the total players in the league and then continue with each owner based on finishing position. This will add some excitement and allow everyone a chance at the first pick. This rule should not be used for keeper leagues.


The Half and Half System

The half and half system really is the best of both worlds. In this system you use an auction draft and standard draft. You start out with an auction draft for the first five to eight picks, and then the remaining picks in your draft will be standard drafted in a snake format.

This allows league members to enjoy the auction format and the ability to pay more for players they really want on their team, while also sticking to your roots and creating an actual draft where sleepers can be scooped up in the later rounds.


The Vulture System

The vulture system seems kind of complex, but it's a pretty simple way to make the draft interesting, deceitful, and most importantly, entertaining. The vulture system should be used in keeper leagues where if you keep a player, then you lose your first round pick.

The vulture system will allow the first pick in the draft (usually the last place person in keeper leagues) to A. Keep a player on their current roster and lose their first round pick; B. Keep no one on their roster and have a first round pick; or C. Use the vulture system to steal any player they would like off the last pick in the draft (usually the champion) and use that player as their first round pick.

This will continue on to the corresponding teams, so second pick can steal from second to the last and so forth. Once you get to the middle, the teams who had a chance to get a player stolen from them have their turn to reciprocate the favor. They cannot steal their player back though.

This rule uses the utmost strategy because you have to look at who you have on your roster and if they're worth your first round pick, who the other team has and if they're worth it, and who you have on your roster that the other team may steal. It's also a good way to make enemies quickly!

So now that you have some new ways to improve your draft, incorporate one of them and force the owners to try it. They'll love it once they do!

Check back next Wednesday for a new Waiver Wire Wednesday column.