Big League Football
August 19, 2012 8:15 AM   Subscribe

How do I create a fantasy football league with 20 or more participants?

I'm wondering if there's a way to have a large number of participants, but not completely water down the level of competition. Two weird solutions have come to mind - let each player get drafted twice, or somehow merge two leagues/divisions at the end of the season for the playoffs or final rankings.

Anyone else found an elegant solution for letting a large number of people play fantasy football together?
posted by jtajta to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming "football" means NFL football, you could just throw all 20 teams into a single league. I don't necessarily see this as "watered down" competition, but you will need to have a lot more knowledge about the players than your random fantasy football friends might. This is where you will find more casual players refusing to update their teams throughout the season. My most hated job as commissioner is having to yell at people to participate.

I have done a 20 team league in the past where we simply had two "divisions" of 10 teams each. It was was really two leagues, with no interleague play during the season. We ran the playoffs by starting a week earlier than normal. The winners in each of the divisions then squared off in week 16 for our "fantasy super bowl". We didn't care that some players were shared by the teams in this crazy game, that just made it more exciting (they both had Drew Brees as starting QB in 2009, if I recall).

I am highly opposed to having each player drafted twice; I would not play in a league where the top 5 QBs were on 10 teams, and here I am piddling around with Tony Romo.
posted by King Bee at 8:35 AM on August 19, 2012

Maybe a survivor pick league? Or there's a format where every owner chooses a different line-up every week, but Im blanking on what it's called.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:36 AM on August 19, 2012

@KingBee what you describe - two divisions, with no interleague play and then playoffs - is exactly what I'm trying to do. But is there an online system - espn, Yahoo- that lets you set that up? How can you merge two leagues at the end of the year for the playoffs?
posted by jtajta at 8:40 AM on August 19, 2012

I'm in a 20-team league, withOUT duplicate players. We have evolved several rules and settings over the years to cope with the large number of particpants:

- 4 divisions
- smaller teams (fewer starting positions - we have QB, RB, 2WR, 2 FLEX, D/ST, and K)
- more flexible offensive player slots (see 2 FLEX slots)
- limiting bench size (we have a 5 player bench) and max # bench slots allowed for certain positions
- injury rule that if your starting QB or RB gets injured you get first dibs on his backup no matter your waiver position
- D/ST can only be picked up from the FA pool during a week they are scheduled to play (because with such a tight league teams might have to drop their D/ST during a bye and this gives them a chance to recover them)
- it's a keeper league - you can keep one player from the previous season if you haven't already kept him.

This seems to work well. It is still really competitive and challenging to play in; for sure you're looking at 3rd string WRs that also run back kickoffs in a way that you wouldn't be in smaller leagues. Point totals are way low compared to some leagues I've played in.

This is all done via ESPN. Some of the special rules (injury rule and maybe the D/ST rule) have to be processed manually by our league commissioner.
posted by misskaz at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I recall, we used Yahoo's fantasy sports. We never merged anything (I think they will still show you the stats even after the league is finished). Think of it as pre-super bowl era football, where the AFL sent their champion up against the the champion from the NFL.

For the "super bowl" game, our commissioner sent us the week 16 statistics from both champions to show us who won, since the players in the one league couldn't see the teams in the other.

On preview, I like misskaz's idea a lot (smaller teams, injury/backup priority, etc).
posted by King Bee at 9:00 AM on August 19, 2012

Myfantasyleague will handle a split league. I think they call it a deluxe league.
posted by Tallguy at 9:58 AM on August 19, 2012

I'm actually in kaz's league, and I was going to talk about awesome ours is, but she did that.

I will add the caveat that we (almost) all know each other and aren't so competitive that friendships may be broken when someone picks up an unknown who busts out a three-TD game. Also, our special rules have evolved over the last several years, and we're all friendly enough that no one argued about them being ex post facto -- in particular, the "injury rule" was a reaction to Tom Brady going down in 2008 and someone swooping in to grab Matt Cassel (I believe that was done before halftime in that game). We all decided over the course of the week that doing so was uncool, the injury rule was instituted, and whoever had glommed Cassel gracefully gave him up to the player who had Tom Brady. Who then went on to win the league that year.
posted by Etrigan at 10:02 AM on August 19, 2012

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