Fantasy football is all about having fun. Sure, we may take it seriously, but “fantasy” is right there in the name. Drafting the perfect team and making the right trades and waiver wire pickups is hard work, but this is a competition that’s really all about having fun with your friends (while beating them, of course).
That’s why the perfect fantasy football league doesn’t just need dedicated team owners and a good fantasy football app – it also needs a hefty dose of good old-fashioned fun. Here’s how to inject a little more joy into your fantasy football league.
Have an in-person draft
When fantasy football first got started, it was done on pen and paper and drafts were held face-to-face. Things got a whole lot more convenient when Yahoo, ESPN, and other companies developed websites and apps to help with drafts – but that also led to too many of us drafting alone in front of our computers, instead of with our friends and a whole lot of beer.
That’s no fun, so go old-school with your draft by having an in-person event. It’s a great excuse to get together with friends (or to meet the people in your league who you’re not friends with yet). You can buy big draft boards with players’ names printed on colorful stickers to really complete the event. Or you could split the difference and draft on the app while hanging out in person (or over Skype).
Raise the stakes
It’s never a bad idea to have a little bit of an incentive to win. Stakes keep team owners interested and make the league more competitive. We’d never suggest gambling (and high stakes can make a league more serious than fun), but no league is complete without a reward for the winner. The solution is a fantasy football trophy, of course.
Buy a new trophy every year, or pass a championship belt between winners each season. If an over-the-top trophy isn’t your style, you can give out something classier, like a nice acrylic print of a league group photo or an engraved paperweight. The point is to give the winner a nice memento to remember his or her glorious season at the top.
Create a great league culture
Of course, a fantasy football league can only be as fun as the folks who are in it. We can all get a little obnoxious when we’re being competitive, though, which is why you should be proactive about managing your fantasy football league’s culture.
Set good rules, and follow them. Encourage laid-back fun on trash talk boards and group messaging apps, and be forgiving if folks show up late to the draft (a league vote will allow everyone to get in on the act of loosening up a bit). Encourage in-person game viewings and get-togethers, because a league that watches together stays together (and we tend to be nicer to people we’ve seen in real life than we are to internet strangers). And, of course, an in-person draft and a goofy championship trophy will do a lot to define your league’s culture. Fantasy football should be laid back and fun, so make sure that your league makes you happy every week – even if your team doesn’t!