Alternative Fantasy Football Leagues

There is no right way to play fantasy football, so while most leagues use the same standard settings, there is plenty of fun in mixing things up as well. And by mix it up, I mean far beyond the realm of PPR or 2-QB.

The following list includes a number of games I have collected from all over the internet, and I encourage you to adjust and adapt them to your liking. Most will still work with standard, half-PPR, or PPR scoring unless otherwise noted.

Combination Head-to-Head and Rotisserie

Description: This league’s standings are determined by awarding a team for winning their head-to-head matchup, but also for finishing with a higher number of points relative to the whole league.

Each head-to-head win earns one point for the winning team, a loss is worth no points, ties are worth .5 points. In addition, each team finishing in the top half (top five for 10-team league, etc) each week by overall points is also awarded one point.

Format: Works for any number of teams, preferably even

Poacher League

Description: Each week, the winner of each head-to-head matchup can select a player on the team he has just defeated to join his team. He must trade a player of the same position to his opponent (must have been on his roster during the matchup, cannot make a FA pickup). This trade is mandatory for all matchups and must be accepted.

Format: Head-to-head

Keeping competitive balance: As one might suspect, teams who start the season 0-3 will not only be behind in the stands, but also presumably have lost their top three players. There are multiple methods to helping keep teams from being out of it early.

  1. Few or no bench spots. This will keep the free agent list stocked with stronger players.
  2. Allow each losing team to “protect” a certain number of players on their roster. This could be based on the number of their losses or the winning team’s number of wins.
  3. See the Reverse Poacher League

Reverse Poacher League

Description: Similar to the Poacher League describe above, only the losing team in each matchup gets to choose the players for the trade, thus keeping things more balanced throughout the season. In the (optional) playoffs, there would be no poaches or the winner would choose the trade.

Format: Head-to-head

Elimination League

Description: The team with the lowest score at the end of each week is eliminated from the league. The eliminated team’s players become free agents.

Waiver order: Weekly waiver pickups will be a huge part of this league and you can go two routes. First, the team that scored the most points is rewarded by getting the first pick up, and so on down the line. Alternatively, the waiver order is set in reverse order of the number of points scored that week. This would make the ideal spot to be in is to have the second-lowest number of points… for those who like to live on the edge.

Format: Rotisserie, Any number of teams will work

Predictions-Only League

Description: The draft is a major part of most leagues, but this league puts your prediction skills to the test by forcing you to keep the team you pick for the whole season. Rosters are standard, but there is no bench. Rosters are locked for the whole season.

Format: Head-to-head or Rotisserie

Lots of Starters League

Description: If you can only find a few friends interested in another league, that’s no reason to allow a bunch of players to sit unused. Each team has six QBs, RBs, WRs, FLEX, and Defenses. There is no bench.

Format: With so many players per team, four teams is the optimal size or make it four of each position for a six-team league.

Scoring-Only League

Description: Everyone knows the most exciting part of the game is the touchdowns, so why not dedicate a league to them? This scoring system only considers scoring plays. Kickers and defenses are optional.

Format: Head-to-head or Rotisserie

Scoring:

  • TD: 6 pts (rushing, receiving, or return)
  • TD pass: 3 pts
  • 2-point conv pass: 1
  • 2-point conv: 2
  • FGs: 3
  • Extra points: 1
  • Defense TD allowed: -6
  • Defense return for TD: 6

Yards-Only League

Description: Ever had your running back rush the ball all the way down the field only to have the fullback fall over into the end zone for a one-yard, TD run and steal all your points? This league allows you to eliminate the vultures.

Format: Head-to-head or Rotisserie

Scoring: Standard, half-PPR, or PPR, just remove all points for rushing, receiving, and passing TDs

Alternate Points League

Reddit user twolves knows a lot about stats, he used that knowledge to put together a new system that looks pretty awesome if you aren’t afraid of numbers. He includes reasons behind everything in his post, so rather than copy and paste it all here, I’ll just link it up.

EPA Points League

The guys over at Regressing introduced a system based on expected points added, which is how many points a given play contributes compared to the average play in such a situation. Think football sabermetrics. You can find that one here.

Punter’s League

Description: This league was founded for humor and something absurd to root for on fourth down, which is the most boring down as far as fantasy goes.

Format: Each team consists only of two punters, head-to-head

Scoring: Keep in mind there is no “fair” way to score this league as there are multiple factors beyond the punter’s control that will affect his output. The humor aspect of the league has been taken into account with some of the scoring categories.

  • Punt yards: 0.5 pt/yd
  • Punts inside the 20: 10 (also counts for punts inside the 10)
  • Punts inside the 10: 10
  • Punt return yards: -0.4
  • Fair catches: 4
  • Blocked punts: -5
  • Touchbacks: -4
  • Solo tackles: 20
  • Fumble: -15
  • Fumble recovery: 10
  • Fumble recovery for TD: 200
  • Passing yards: 5/yd
  • TD Pass: 200
  • Rushing yards: 10/yd
  • TD Rush: 200
  • Reception: 20
  • TD Reception: 20
  • Interception return for TD: 1000

IDP-Only League

Description: While they receive much less attention than the guys on offense, defenders are just as big of a part of the game.

Scoring:

  • Solo tackle: 1 point
  • Assisted tackle: .5
  • Sack: 4
  • Tackles for a loss: 3
  • Pass defended: 1
  • Interception: 6
  • Forced fumble: 4
  • Fumble recovery: 2
  • Touchdown: 6
  • Safety: 10
  • Blocked kick: 6

Quick Twists, otherwise standard leagues with one (or many) of the following caveats:

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