Daily Fantasy Sports Sites
Until a site earns it, they will not be listed here. Play at the DFS sites below in confidence, they are the best in the business. We’ve been tracking them since 2013 and helping thousands of new DFS players find the right site for them.
Top 10 Daily Fantasy Sports Web Sites List
There are not 10 viable daily fantasy sports sites to choose from, even now in 2018. We do not have a top 10 list complete, and do be honest it is doubtful that we ever will.
There are more than ten one-day fantasy sports sites available, however I can not recommend most of them.
I play at the sites I list. The ones I list are the best in the business in 2018. These are the sites that I play at and where I recommend you play at as well.
I will be reviewing new fantasy sites, and as time moves on some new sites will be added to our list as their reputation grows and the market changes. If you know of a fantasy sports site that you feel deserves to be on our list, please let us know by filling out this quick google form.
DailyFantasySports101.com’s Best Websites to Play
Does Biggest = The Best When It Comes To Fantasy Sites
Yes and no. In general, we like playing at the larger fantasy sites for many reasons. First they always have big tournaments. I am talking the $1 to $5 buy-in tournaments with $x,xxx in prize money for top finishes. Win and you’ll be a thousandaire. Come on! Second they are proven to be reputable. They got large for a reason. Third, they offer the safest and easiest fantasy sports experience online.
The Top 2 Largest Daily Fantasy Sites
- #1. FanDuel The largest overall.
- #2. DraftKings – The second most market share. Offers many more sports (like MMA and NASCAR) that are not found at Fanduel *edit Fanduel adds golf (3/14/17).
These are the two market leaders, with valuations at over $1 billion (with a “b”) dollars. Each (at least during NFL this past season, this could change w/ the new legal landscape shaping up with more regulation (good!).
I’ve recently updated my reviews featuring new screenshots of the lobby’s and features at both of these sites. If you have yet to play, now is the time.
FanDuel was just bought out by the gambling conglomerate, Paddy Power / Betfair. It looks that federal legal sports betting is coming to the USA and FanDuel (and Draftkings) want a huge piece of it. FD and DK have been rivals for the overall market lead since 2013. In terms of number of players overall Fanduel appears to have the edge.
DraftKings is in a very healthy second place. These two fantasy sports giants control the vast majority of the daily fantasy sports action. The smaller sites are considerably smaller in terms of size of players, guarantees and contests. To be fair, FantasyDraft is one of the few smaller to medium sized sites that has been able to stick around and compete.
They have both recently updated their lobby to be responsive and mobile friendly.
Check out reviews linked above for latest screen shots.
Current Trends and Updates 2018
8/6/2018 – New DK NFL formats explained and compared here.
7/24/2018 – Draftkings continues to try and help the newbies and recreational players avoid the professionals. They have introduced filters that do not allow the high volume grinders to play in their lower buy-in events. They have also lowered the maximize number of contests that the pro’s can multi-enter.
5/24/2018 – Fanduel bought by Betfair / Paddy Power sports betting site.
4/17/2018 – Published article on Draftkings new golf formats. You can now play one day fantasy golf (showdown mode) and weekend fantasy golf where you just compete for rounds 3 and 4. No more trying to pick players who make the cut in this format.
3/21/2018 – Draftkings offers a new golf scoring format for the match play contests.
11/30/2017 – DK tries to target the casual sports players more, with gif’s.
8/7/2017 – Readying for DraftKings Fanduel NFL 2017. Both sites will remain competitors as the companies abruptly called off merger talks back in July.
7/13/2017 – NYtimes reports that the FD/DK merger is called off. Also hints that Draftkings is in a strong position than FanDuel. We shall see.
3/14/2017 – Fanduel adds golf to all areas except New York for legality reasons – PGA contests are now live at FanDuel.
2/23/2017 – FantasyDraft (we like FD!) has pledged to work with FantasyAces player base to help get players made whole.
2/1/2017 – Mid/small sized site, FantasyAces (never promoted here) has gone bankrupt. Players funds are unlikely to be recovered.
Strong rumors circulating of a merger between DraftKings and FanDuel – They are trying to make this happen.
The NFL 2017/2018 season has shown a much subdued and much matured DFS industry.
There have been a few minor issues up to this point but they learned from 2015 and 2016 I believe. There has been way less advertising, less drama (although there was some) and to be honest, more difficult games to win.
They calmed down on the advertising and they are trying to make sure the industry operates as a real living ecosystem. Both major sites and a few smaller ones have now added player identification tags (letting you know if the player is a strong player in general or not) as well as limiting the number of H2H matches any one person can scoop up against you.
2016 proved to be pivotal for daily fantasy sports. Either the two big sites will get their collective acts together and build a sustainable long term business or it will crash and burn (positive news update). That’s my prediction anyway. Today it looks like they are getting their acts together.
Back in 2015 we saw the first emergence of a couple of other players with big backing. Notably Yahoo! daily fantasy sports and recently Sportsline. While many argue they are too late to get in on the action, they feel otherwise. The short answer is there are a growing number of DFS sites available but I highly recommend you stick to the sites that have built a reputation already that you can trust. There are thousands thousands of different leagues and contests up for grabs every day. Especially every weekend during football season you will find tens of thousands of unique players take part in contests every weekend.
The traditional fantasy sites like Yahoo! (now with a daily product as well), NFL, CBS, ESPN and the like are still offering the season long style fantasy games and are by far larger than all of these in volume.
Plus with the large player pools, a huge portion of the field is made up of recreational fantasy players. Not to mention that the largest sites are US based companies meaning someone you can really reach out to if you must. To learn more about these sites click through to our reviews below to find the right fit for you.
Middle Sized & Smaller
Let’s look at the middle and small fantasy sites. I’m only going to recommend two smaller sites right now because I am extremely selective on who I am willing to recommend to you.
- FantasyDraft – I am starting to play here for the NFL 2016 season. I am looking for a site that has smaller sized tournament in terms of numbers of entries and FantasyDraft fits the bill. Until now, I haven’t played much ere but some friends do and say they enjoy the site.
- StarsDraft *formerly Victiv (review) – Now owned by the same company that owns PokerStars. They bought out site Victiv and re-branded to ‘StarsDraft’. I have somewhat of a less than great fondness for the new owner, however they seem to have kept most of the product the same. They only accept players from Kansas, Maryland, Massacusetts, and New Jersey.
The middle and small sized sites sometimes offer value you will not find at the larger sites. You can sometimes find overlay (extra money) in some of their tournaments or special bonuses or freerolls you can take advantage of for joining the site. In addition you can find tournaments with solid prizes with less overall competition. Read through the fantasy site review by clicking the site above to see learn more and get details on the signup bonuses. If you are ready to play, check out our latest site news and promos section for up to date promotions.
Fantasy Betting Sites Compared By Sport – Find The Best Site For Each Sport
You can play the ‘big 3 sports’ (football, baseball, basketball) at all of the fantasy sports sites we list as they are the ‘bread and butter’ of the fantasy industry. The less popular sports are only available at select sites.
- Football – (all sites) See our football comparison chart.
- Baseball (compare fantasy MLB)
- Basketball (all sites, compare FanDuel vs Draftkings NBA)
- Hockey (all sites)
- Golf (DraftKings, FanDuel (new 2017) DraftDay and FantasyDraft)
- NASCAR (DraftKings)
- Tennis (Draftkings just added July 23, 2018)
- MMA (DraftKings)
- Soccer (DraftKings, FanDuel)
- eSports – League of legends (LoL) DraftKings, eSports are huge, fantasy is trying to get on board.
These are the current sports you can play. We have new player guides based on the different sports here. As our content is ready in these lists we will link them accordingly above.
About The Top 10 Daily Fantasy Sites and DailyFantasySports101.com
Only the absolute best fantasy sports website hosts make it on my Top 10 list. Part of being the best is being big. You will quickly see that my the “Official Daily Fantasy Sports 101 Top 10 List” is incomplete. Why? Because we only select the top rated fantasy betting sites in the industry. We are extremely careful on who we are willing to list and recommend to our visitors. We work hard to create a list of sites that you can trust and offer the best bang for your fantasy buck in the industry. People use this list every day when choosing where to deposit their hard earned money and play, so we have a commitment to list only list the best in class fantasy sports sites.
We work very closely with these sites. Since they know that new players are coming from this website they want your business. New players joining is a major goal of their marketing. That means they offer our visitors the absolute best promotions, signup incentives and bonuses on the internet.
You can sign up with these sites in confidence knowing that you are maximizing your account when you use DailyFantasySports101.com’s links.
Are The Fantasy Sites Legal? (Yes – But Laws Vary By State!)
The legality and regulation of daily fantasy sports sites is a fluid one. Especially since October of 2015 when an employee from DraftKings won a major prize on FanDuel and leaked internal sensitive DraftKings data early. Anyway the short answer is that yes it is legal but it depends on where you live. Check out our ‘is it legal?‘ page for a list of references and links to confirmations but yes it is legal in most states. There are a few exceptions where states have laws against playing but unless you happen to live in a very few number of states it is 100% completely legal. You can deposit and withdraw with Paypal, Visa and Mastercard. It is quick, seamless and easy to get in the game right now.
Find the best real money daily fantasy sports websites with my top 10 list. Only play at legal and legit fantasy sports sites. Updated for new players in 2018.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf – Our Top 5 Sites
Fantasy golf sites seem to be popping up quicker than you can say Lodewicus Theodorus “Louis” Oosthuizen—OK, maybe even faster than that. So with all these new places to play, how do you choose where to invest your time (and occasionally your money) playing fantasy golf?
To find out, we tested just about every fantasy golf site we could find to narrow down a few of our top picks. So if you find yourself asking “where should I play fantasy golf,” here’s your answer.
#1 DraftKings – 5 out of 5 Stars
When it comes to fantasy golf DraftKings is the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room. Since gobbling up a few of its competitors—most notably DraftStreet in 2014—DraftKings has rapidly become the biggest and best place to play weekly fantasy golf. Other weekly fantasy golf sites such VICTIV and FantasyFeud also offer weekly cash prizes but we’ve found that their PGA league options and payouts are no where near the scale of which you can find on DraftKings. So at least until FanDuel decides to get into the fantasy golf game, DraftKings looks like it will continue to be the leader in fantasy golf.
With thousands of weekly players, DraftKings PGA leagues have a tenancy to grow huge, and that’s a good thing if you’re looking to play fantasy golf for some big time cash. In fact, some of their leagues have even past the $1 million mark (something we covered extensively here).
The good news is that you can enter leagues for as little as $0.25 or even play for free in one of their “free roll events.” As a bonus, DraftKings offers the ability to create private leagues with your buddies and the prizes are all handled by the DraftKings system without any direct exchange of money between friends (no more bar fights!).
Here’s a quick walk through of how a typical DraftKings league works:
Play Here: DraftKings.com
- Huge prize opportunities.
- Ability to play competitively against your friends in a private league.
- Can play week-to-week, or sit out and not miss anything (no season-long commitments).
- Other major fantasy sports also available.
- Mobile apps available for easy team selection and tracking.
- We haven’t found one yet…
#2 Golf Channel Fantasy Golf – 4 Out of 5 Stars
Golf Channel offers private group style leagues that allows you to play against your friends in a similar fashion to Yahoo!—but with prizes! Overall, the interface is not much different than what you’ll find on Yahoo! but it is a bit more visually appealing.
Although the quality of their games are weaker than DraftKings, it is completely free to play, easy to navigate, and you can earn some nice cash and equipment prizes (see their full list of prizes here) but the payout is nowhere near what you would see on DraftKings either.
For a little extra fun and bragging rights you can play against some of the Golf Channel personalities like Lauren Thompson (who made our Top 15 Hottest List) through their Fantasy Challenge. In those leagues the Top 18 on the leaderboard win a 40 inch TV while the Grand Prize Winner will get a trip for two to the PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass and the PGA Championship.
Play Here: Fantasy.GolfChannel.com
- Free to play.
- Can play competitively against your friends in a private league.
- Real time golf news and highlights.
- Great prizes for top finishers.
- Cluttered site with lots of ads.
- You must compete in other TOURs which can get confusing if you don’t follow them (LPGA, European).
#3 Yahoo! Fantasy Golf – 3.5 Out of 5 Stars
As one of the most popular (and oldest) sites for Fantasy Football and Baseball, Yahoo! has been trying to break through on the Fantasy Golf front. In a format similar to football and baseball, this site allows you to set up a private league to play among friends and all season long. The site itself does not offer any prizes so you’ll have to raise the stakes on the side or simply play for bragging rights.
Although nothing flashy, overall the Yahoo! leagues are easy to operate and adequate stats are kept throughout the season.
Play Here: Golf.FantasySports.Yahoo.com/Golf
- Free to play.
- Can play competitively against your friends in a private league.
- Real time golf news and highlights.
- Sometimes confusing to navigate.
- Not as easy as straight pick’em leagues.
- No house prizes.
#4 GolfZING – 3 Out of 5 Stars
GolfZING offers a huge pick’em league that runs throughout the entire season. At no cost to enter, this league is a free and easy way to play week-to-week fantasy golf with the chance to earn some nice (non-cash) prizes.
The way it works is simple: each player picks any seven players in the field and the person who earns the most fantasy cash based on their player’s earnings, wins the week. Weekly prizes include “ZING Points” which players can redeem for free rounds of golf at courses scattered throughout the country. Winning majors can also earn you golf gear and winning the whole thing earns you a Golf Getaway Vacation valued at $2,000. But it’s worth mentioning that with thousands of yearly players, winning the grand prize is no easy feat, so if you’re going to go after it you might want to check out our weekly Premium Picks service.
Play Here: GolfZING.com/Fantasy-Golf
- Free to play.
- Simple to use, and accessible via mobile app.
- Offers access to private clubs.
- Redeeming Zing Points is sometimes difficult with the limited number of courses they are associated with.
- Newsfeed is a bit outdated.
#5 PGATOUR.com – 2.5 Out of 5 Stars
We’ve all seen the commercial…
But have you tried their new fantasy golf yet?
The newly revamped PGATOUR website runs an annual pick’em fantasy golf league that is free to join. The object of this league is to pick any four players in the field, but the rub is that you can only use the same player ten times during the season.
Prizes are nothing fancy: the weekly winner earns a dozen Bridgestone Golf balls and the grand prize winner takes home a Bridgestone J40 Driver. Overall we’re not currently very impressed with the game, but we’re sure PGA TOUR will continue to enhance the platform in the future.
Play Here: Fantasy.PGATOUR.com
- Free to play
- Accessible and easy to use on iPad/Tablets.
- Poor prizes (especially given the backing of the PGA TOUR)
We hope this list of our top 5 places to play fantasy golf gives you plenty of options to stay busy all season long.
If there are any other sites you think should have made the list make sure to let us know in your comments below. Now get out there and win some leagues!
If you find yourself asking "where should I play fantasy golf," here's your answer. We count down our top 5 sites free and pay places to play fantasy golf.
42 Fantastic New Fantasy Football League Ideas
Great Fantasy Football league ideas have come across my desk over the past 27 years of play, and many of them, I have personally instituted in some of my leagues.
Back in my day, we had to wait until Saturday to watch cartoons. (It was inhumane!) And we’d get detention for passing notes because texting didn’t exist. And my Fantasy league was Basic TD-only scoring. The Fantasy Football league ideas were few and far between back then!
Basic scoring! That’s right. Barry Sanders averaged seven touchdowns over a 3-year stretch, making him a fleet-footed RB2 in Fantasy Football, averaging 42 points a season. Can you imagine. He would have been a top-10 player overall in leagues today.
But everything evolves, including Fantasy Football over the past 20 years. From adding points for yardage, to adding a third wide receiver, to adding a flex position, to drafting IDPs, to auctions, to survivor leagues, to two-QB leagues, to DFS — a Fantasy Football league is always being modified every five years or so.
There are a ton of Fantasy Football league ideas that are for much bolder people than I! That certainly doesn’t keep me from sharing them with you!
As a matter of fact, I want you to drop some comments on the bottom of the page, and share your great Fantasy Football league ideas with everyone else!
That’s the thing about this hobby of ours – everyone can make little adjustments or customizations in their own leagues, and report back to the rest of us to see what was a success or a failure. In many cases, these successes only work because of the types of people in their league, and their failures might be because of the people in the league are duds!
Either way, the Fantasy Football commissioner is usually the player most interested in making the league experience that absolute best, and they often bring up some of these new Fantasy Football league ideas – only to get shot down by grumpy owners.
If you find yourself wanting to try out some of these crazy ideas, but you don’t have people to do it with, jump on Reddit’s Find A League and recruit!
Make no mistake, these new Fantasy ideas will take some work by the commissioner, and you might need to iron out the kinks over the course of a couple seasons. Also, you’ll need to find a league draft service that can accommodate any customizations you want to make. In many cases, MyFantasyLeague.com will allow for a ton of customized scoring, draft and lineup setups, which makes them much more commissioner-friendly than CBS, ESPN or Yahoo!.
New Fantasy Football League Ideas
These new Fantasy Football league ideas are mostly for yearly or keeper leagues, but some refer to other types of leagues, including dynasty and IDP (Individual Defensive Player) leagues. Also, the assumption is that you already play in a standard Fantasy Football league, and you’re looking to make some improvements or try some new things out. If you are just looking for regular, traditional Fantasy Football rules, this is not that. But you can learn about those basic rules here at NFL.com.
New Fantasy Scheduling Ideas
These new ideas are basically just based around the different ways the Fantasy Football schedules can be set up.
- Set Up Double-Headers Twice During the Regular Season
With a 13-week regular season for most Fantasy Football leagues, it’s really tough to gauge who the six best teams are, especially when you consider how many times a good team loses to a bad team, just because they had stars on byes that week. So one way you can fix that is by making more regular season games! Luckily, you don’t have to worry about wearing your players out by making them play two games in one week! Brilliant!
The commissioner will set up two double-headers – bookending the bye weeks – so that Fantasy teams will have full rosters to go up against two teams each before and after the bye weeks. (In 2017, that means your double-headers might be Weeks 4 and 12.) Ideally, these double-headers will be scheduled against division rivals!
Just think about the excitement surrounding that Week 12 set of double-headers, when everyone has their players back off byes, and playoff spots are starting
- Add Rivalry Weeks to Your Fantasy Schedule
During your Fantasy Draft Day, figure out a rivalry for each owner. So if you have 12 teams, figure out which six rivalry matchups you could create. These rivalries could consist of matchups between:
- Brother vs. Brother
- Father vs. Son
- Husband vs. Wife
- Neighbor vs. Neighbor
- Worker vs. Boss
- Husband vs. Wife’s Former Boyfriend!
Basically, you just want to make each game to take on a little special meaning. The winner of these rivalry weeks gets to do something to the loser. Obviously, you don’t want to make it too painful, but it could be something like the winner renaming the loser’s team, or changing their team logo for one week.
Those new Fantasy team names could change to something like:
- David is a WAAAAAY Better Fantasy Player Than Me!
- My Wife Picks Losers, Just Like Me
- Loserville — Population: Me
- All vs. One and One vs. All Scheduling
Part of the problem with Fantasy Football is that scheduling can sometimes lead to bad teams finding their way into the playoffs, and good teams get bounced because they had a terribly difficult schedule. What if you set up your 12-team league so that every single week, each team plays against each of the 11 other teams. Then schedule the same thing for the next week, and so on. This means the best teams would win more than they lose, and the other way around. Obviously, once the playoffs start, it has to go back to one-on-one Head-to-Head play.
- Remove Luck By Awarding Extra Wins
Similar to the All-vs.-One scheduling model, each team ends up being judged each week against the other 11 teams in the league. In this way, though, there’s regular Head-to-Head play, like we’re all used to, but the top six scoring teams get an extra win added to their standings, and the bottom six scoring teams get a loss added. This helps good teams facing great teams still get out of the week with a 1-1 schedule, and it prevents bad teams from getting undue higher rankings in the standings.
- Schedule Double-Headers Every Week
Once again, in an effort to remove the good luck from bad teams and the bad luck from good teams, scheduling double-headers every single week will make the cream rise to the top.
- Schedule Fantasy Double-Headers Twice Per Season
Rather than make a huge change in the scheduling with some of the aforementioned new Fantasy Football league ideas, maybe tweak the schedule just a little by adding a couple double-headers. Think ahead, though, and add them during the weeks when no NFL teams have bye weeks. Wouldn’t that suck if you had a double-header to play and your first-round pick was resting on a bye?
- Turn Week 17 Into an Awesome Daily Fantasy Pro Bowl Week!
Considering we have been taught to avoid Week 17 in our Fantasy Playoffs because stars sometimes get benched for rest and there are too many uncertainties to make that week the Fantasy Football Championship week. So let’s make it a week where every owner picks a team on FanDuel or Draft Kings and they all play against each other in a DFS Pro Bowl! Now, those backups that are seeing more snaps become cheap superstars! You could even make it so that each Fantasy owner is allowed to “lock in” one player from their real Fantasy team that no one else is allowed to use.
New Fantasy Commissioner Ideas
Commissioners are usually the linchpins to the entire league, so it stands to reason that if they get some new ideas, they can be the stimulus to get the rest of the league to join.
- Give Your Fantasy Football League a Theme
I wrote a piece on 15 Great Fantasy Football Themes you should check out. Whether you use Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Simpsons or a dozen other solid options, your fellow leaguemates will have a lot of fun coming up with creative Fantasy Football team names related to that theme. Help your league stand out from the others! Have your league vote on what theme you should use!
For instance, I’m in a Seinfeld league, where all the divisions, teams and even the championship game (The Festivus Bowl!) has names related to Seinfeld! My team used to be “Scandals and Animals,” named after my favorite episode with The Merv Griffin Show set, but I’ve recently changed my team name to “These Pretzels are Making Me Thirsty!” It’s dumb. And awesome, all at once!
- Reward the Regular Season Scoring Champion, Too!
Everyone understands that the Fantasy playoffs have an awful lot of luck involved, and the team that scores the most Fantasy points during the regular season is the best team of the year. You should still reward the winner of the playoffs with the biggest payout, but don’t forget to reward the team with the most Fantasy points (not the best record!) in the regular season, too.
- Get the League to Vote on End-of-Season Awards
The end of the Fantasy Football season is usually sluggish and slow, as most of the league is already eliminated and everyone’s dealing with the holidays and visiting family, while getting ready for the new year ahead. But when January rolls around, get the league involved again by asking everyone to vote on some Fantasy league awards (they’re not allowed to vote for their own teams!):
- Fantasy MVP
- Fantasy Bust of the Year
- Fantasy Sleeper Pick of the Year
- Owner of the Year
- Free-Agent Pickup of the Year
- Fantasy Rookie of the Year
- Fantasy Team Name of the Year
- Best Keeper Pick of the Year
You can also have some fun and vote on:
- Worst Fantasy Owner of the Year
- Worst Luck of the Year
- Worst Fantasy Trade of the Year
- Worst Drop of the Year
- Worst Fantasy Team Name of the Year
- Worst Keeper Decision of the Year
In many of these cases, the commish should go back and list off some nominations for each of the awards, so people don’t have to do a ton of research. It’s nice to get everyone involved again, and reward some Fantasy owners that didn’t make the playoffs.
Commissioners! Buy a customized Fantasy Football Draft Board with your league’s name on it, with team name stickers and everything! Buy it here!
- Use a Three-Headed Commissioner
If one person doesn’t want to step up to be the commissioner, separate the duties among three different people for a Commissioner Committee! Try to choose owners that are already really involved and excited about making the league better.
Plus, with three commissioners, they can vote on trades and rules, and do what they can to make the league better. If one or two of the commissioners are involved in a trade, then bring in alternates for the voting.)
My suggestion for separation of duties:
- Logistics: Let this person handle the website duties, from league setup to roster cleanup to rules and scoring settings. He’s the numbers guy!
- Treasurer: This person collects the league fees and harasses people until they pay – then he also pays out at the end of the season. He’s the accountant you all better trust!
- Media: This guy is the one that sends out the fun emails to the league to get them pumped about the draft, and maybe he announces the Fantasy MVP each week, etc. He’s fun dad!
- Last Year’s Champion Gets Penalized For This Year
This could be for a keeper league or a redraft league, and it really just punctuates how much everyone hates a winner! In order to keep a Fantasy dynasty from forming, make last year’s champion draft at the end of Round 1. If it’s a keeper league, make them lose one of their keeper slots! So while everyone else is holding over three players, they only get to hold over two.
- Use Relegation To Move Owners In & Out of Your League
Are you running a really successful Fantasy league already? Do you have a waiting list of six or seven owners hoping to get in, waiting for a spot to open up? Make your league elite! Start a second league for the “waiting list” guys, and have the top two teams in that six- or eight-team league (the league champ and the league’s scoring champ) join the big league the next season. They would replace the two bottom teams from the main league.
This is called, “Relegation,” and it happens in European soccer leagues all the time. The best clubs move up and the worst clubs move down. Then the next year, it starts all over again, and the “minor” league will battle to get back into the majors!
Make the smaller league’s entry fees about one-quarter of what the fees are for the big league, helping keep that league stocked with potential.
Ideally, you’d have both of these Fantasy drafts happen at the same time, with all of the owners together at the same location. The big league would get the big table, and the smaller, minor league would have to do their draft at the “kiddie table.” Humiliation can be a great motivator! YAY.
- Every 4 Years – It’s the Fantasy Football World Cup!
This is for leagues that have been around for a decade or so, preferably keeper or dynasty leagues. Have teams pay an extra 25-percent of the league fees every season, while keeping the payouts at the same amount. Then every fourth year, have a Fantasy Football World Cup season, where the winner of that year gets TWICE the payout amount! So if you have a $100 league entry fee each season, that number goes up to $125, and the payout goes from $1,200 in that fourth year to $2,400! This is also great for owner retention.
- Commissioners Should Start Keeping Owner Records
Some league services, like CBSSports.com, has league histories, which includes stuff like the standings every year, the draft results, the owner records versus other owners, and assorted other records, like highest points scored in a season, etc. I wish it would also have records like average first-round draft position, best average finish, most Fantasy League MVPs on your team, most Busts, etc. These are great to refer to during the season – and especially just before the season to build excitement.
- Allow For Public Trade Counteroffers During a Veto Window
I used to work with numberFire’s Matt Musico at FanDuel, and I completely stole this idea from him – props! It’s definitely one of the best new Fantasy Football league ideas I’ve seen in a while.
One of the most annoying things that happens with Fantasy Football trades is that people always say, “What a horrible trade – I would’ve given you a much better deal for that player! You got robbed!” This idea solves that.
Basically, once a trade is agreed upon between two teams, the commissioner then opens up a 24-hour window where other teams can now try to beat the trade offer for either side. Once a counteroffer is accepted, THAT trade goes up for more counteroffers! You’ll never ever have a trade get vetoed again!
- Discounts & Penalties: Collect League Fees Faster Than Ever!
Collecting league fees is always a pain every season. Maybe make it so that the first six teams to pay their fees get a 10-percent discount and the last three teams have to pay a 20-percent penalty? That would make it a race for owners to pay you!
New Fantasy Football Scoring Rules
When people are considering new Fantasy Football league ideas, new scoring rules ranks among the most popular changes they’re willing to make.
- Award Fantasy Points For First Downs Gained
I stole borrowed this idea from DynastyLeagueFootball.com, where Dan Meylor mentioned it in his column. By adding single points for any first downs made by a running back, wide receiver or a tight end, you even out the scoring between RBs and WRs a little bit more. Use this rule instead of points per reception or else you’ll over-reward WRs again. This new Fantasy scoring rule also eliminates a running back or wide receiver getting a point for catching a screen pass and losing two yards. It does, however, award a running back that can plunge forward with some extra effort for that third-and-short conversion.
- Award a Bonus Touchdown For Fantasy Team With Best Backups
Doesn’t it suck if a backup player has a huge game and you’re unable to benefit from it? Make it so that whichever team in a Head-to-Head matchup has the set of reserves that scores more points gets six more points added to their Fantasy score. A bonus TD! NFL teams use their backup players, right? So why can’t you? This should also initiate some interesting lineup strategies as people forego sleepers at running back and wide receiver in favor of a backup quarterback or two.
- Award Half-Points to Backup Quarterbacks
The quarterbacks position is one of the most important in the NFL, as he’s often the leader on the field and in the clubhouse, and he makes the offense go. But in Fantasy Football, quarterbacks have been neutralized because you only start one, and the top 12 are generally all very good, with little separation.
By awarding half-points for every point a Fantasy backup quarterback scores, you make the position more important, and you keep from having to go to a full Two-QB league, which changes everything.
- Choose Team Captains For a Turbo Boost to Their Scoring
Let’s face it, Fantasy Football and video games go together pretty easily, so why not combine the two? Each Fantasy owner names a “team captain” and that player gets a 50-percent boost in their Fantasy points that week. The team captain can be changed throughout the season, as owners try to take advantage of some great matchups! You can also make it so that a team can’t name a captain more than twice in a season.
For example, if Odell Beckham Jr. is your team captain, and he scores 32 points against the Eagles this week, you’ll get an additional 16 points added to your final Fantasy score! But you have to yell, “Turrrbo BOOST!”
New Fantasy Lineup & Waiver Ideas
Through the years, the major changes to Fantasy Football leagues come to the lineups (flex positions, WR3s, QB2, super-flex, etc.).
- Make Offensive Lines a Fantasy Position In Your League
Pretty much every NFL position can score you points in Fantasy Football, outside of offensive lines and punters. While we don’t have plans to change anything for the punters, we can make the offensive line position more interesting from a Fantasy perspective. Let owners draft “Team Offensive Lines,” sort of like how people draft “Team Defenses.” Then award five Fantasy points if that offensive line’s NFL team rushes for over 150 yards, passes for over 300 yards or doesn’t allow any sacks! This could be a great way to stack if you own Ezekiel Elliott and are smart enough to also draft the Cowboys offensive line! Or it’s a way to negate another team, but starting their star running back’s offensive line.
- No Free Agent Pickups Until the Week 3 Supplemental Draft!
When I first started in Fantasy Football, back in 1989, we drafted large teams, so we had plenty of backups, but we wouldn’t allow for waiver pickups in the traditional sense. We had in-season supplemental drafts at different points. By not allowing owners to make free-agent pickups after the draft, forcing them to wait until after the first two weeks of the season are over, then the worst teams in the league suddenly get a chance to add a superstar to their teams.
In the past 20 years, players like Kurt Warner (1999), Alfred Morris (2012), Justin Forsett (2014) and Dak Prescott (2016) all ended up being great waiver-wire pickups at the beginning of their seasons. Let those players build up for a couple weeks and have a Week 3 Supplemental Draft!
- Make Tight Ends More Important In a 2-TE Lineup
Tight ends, like quarterbacks, have plenty of talent, but just one lineup slot on Fantasy teams. Rather than having a tight end mix into your flex position (what a waste!), make each team start two tight ends, along with two running backs, three wide receivers and a flex position! Now, that second tier of tight ends really mean something, and sleeper tight ends can start being drafted. Rookie tight ends can finally see a starting Fantasy lineup!
- It Might Be Time to Give Kickers the Boot!
Hey, I’m an old school Fantasy player, so kickers hold a special place in my old decrepit heart (I once drafted Donald Igwebuike, for goodness’ sake!). But I played in the FLEX Leagues, run by Jake Ciely, and he has eliminated the kicker position from those leagues. At first, I protested. But then, as you play, and you realize just how nice it is not to have to maneuver your lineup around to accommodate kickers on byes or kickers coming off byes or an injured kicker, etc., the idea sounds pretty awesome.
- Speaking of Kicking, Let’s Punt Flex Positions, Too
One of the original goals of creating the flex position was to help make wide receivers more important, and trying to equalize the importance of running backs. So teams could choose to start a third (or fourth) wide receiver instead of a third running back. How about having four wide receivers and no flex, then you can add a third running back slot, too. To me, the flex is a copout, and this forces owners to make decisions.
- Name Emergency Quarterbacks to Eliminate Injury Issues
Injuries in Fantasy Football happen just like they happen in the NFL, but NFL teams deal with it in a much different way. When a quarterback gets injured in the first quarter, they don’t play the rest of that game without a quarterback, they bring in a backup quarterback! The NFL is smart like that! But a Fantasy Football owner loses his NFL QB in the first quarter and he’s screwed for the entire weekend.
Make teams draft two quarterbacks, with the second quarterback being their emergency quarterback. If QB1 gets removed from the game, the Fantasy owner can choose to have his Fantasy backup quarterback enter his lineup instead, even if it’s after the games have happened.
Another option, if you don’t want to have to draft two quarterbacks, is to just have the points scored by the NFL backup to an injured quarterback count for your team.
- Let Waivers Be a Twitter Free-For-All
Another fun Fantasy Football league idea is to have your waivers play out on Twitter! Players can be picked up and dropped at any time — even during a game! That would definitely make Sunday dinner at the in-laws (more) stressful!
The first one to pick up a player gets him — and whomever he drops is instantly available to other owners. This reminds me of a boiler room at some finance firm on Wall Street with people yelling “Buy! Buy!” and “Sell! Sell!” and “Who ate my sandwich. ” (I honestly don’t know what goes on in those boiler rooms, but I like to think there are a lot of sandwiches being pilfered out of the breakroom fridge.)
Twitter is underutilized by many Fantasy owners. There’s a lot to be learned on there, and I’ve set up a huge list of 66 Fantasy Twitter people to follow that will help you for free.
New Fantasy Football Draft Lottery Ideas
Now that you have the scoring and lineup settings ready, it’s time to look to changing up the draft lottery! My buddy George is Australian and he loves Fantasy Football. Did you know their Fantasy drafts go in a counter-clockwise order, and the 12th pick selects first and the first pick drafts last? OK, well, sometimes I lie.
- Make the Draft Lottery Another Big Event
People don’t take advantage of how exciting the draft and the draft lottery can be. Too often, we’re all so excited to get the draft going, that we zoom through the lottery and rush our way through the draft. Take a step back and enjoy it!
Rather than just doing a quick lottery and sending out the results, consider getting as many owners as you can together for the lottery a few weeks before the actual draft! Go to a restaurant or get together at someone’s home for beers, and do the drawing! Maybe video it or do a Google Hangout so everyone can watch it if they were unable to attend.
By doing the draft lottery ahead of time, you really increase the chances of owners working out some pre-draft trades! (Make sure you can trade draft picks in your league settings.)
Bring one of our customized Fantasy Football draft boards with you to put in the stickers across the top!
- Change Your Draft Lottery Every Season
The Fantasy draft lottery is always a fun event, and commissioners should think about changing how the draft order is chosen every year.
There are a ton of different ways you can do your draft lottery, from as simple as drawing names out of a hat to holding a Skee-Ball competition at the local Family Fun Center. Some other ideas:
- Beer Pong: Write random numbers on the bottom of 12 red solo cups, fill them partially with beer, then have owners take turns shooting a ping-pong ball into them from across a table. When they make a shot, remove that cup, and they announce which pick they have!
- Pick a Racehorse: Find a horse race that’s coming up and do a drawing for the horse names in the race.
- NASCAR: Do a drawing with the different drivers’ names, and the person who drew the highest finishing driver picks first!
- Play miniature golf!
- Longest putt competition during a round of regular golf!
- Have a Hooters waitress pull names out of a hat!
Playing beer pong to decide who gets to draft when seems like an AWESOME idea. Just make sure the sober people document the results.
- Draft Your Draft Picks!
Scott Engel loves to poke fun at me for this one. I started a four-sport experts league back in 2001, and Engel was in charge of the CBSSports.com team (SportsLine back then). Anyway, the point is that owners get to pick where they want to pick in the first round. Of course, a lottery has to be done for the order in which the teams would pick their picks!
For the 2017 NFL season, here’s how I see that draft of draft picks go down:
- Pick No. 1
- Pick No. 2
- Pick No. 3
- Pick No. 4
- Pick No. 5
- Pick No. 6
- Pick No. 7
- Pick No. 12
- Pick No. 8
- Pick No. 11
- Pick No. 9
- Pick No. 10
- Use NFFC’s Third-Round Reversal Order
This would be for non-keeper drafts. The NFFC figured out that those lucky owners with the first few picks of the drafts were finishing much higher than those with later first-round picks. The reasoning was that while a late-pick owner got two of the top 15 players, as opposed to just one for the early pick owner, it was the fact that those early pick owners got three of the top 25-30 picks that made a much bigger difference.
The Third-Round Reversal rule makes it so that the third round is reversed what it normally is, and the second round order is essentially duplicated. For example, the owner with the 12th pick would now also have the 13th pick, and the 25th pick. The owner with the first overall pick would also have the 24th pick and the 36th pick, as well as the 37th pick to start off the fourth round.
- Award Sandwich Picks Last Year’s Bad Luck Owner
Is there anything worse than losing your first-round pick to a torn ACL in Week 4? I like the idea of awarding a team that had to deal with that type of loss by giving them a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of this coming year’s draft. You could also decide to do a lower sandwich pick, depending on the injury bust. For example, whoever took Keenan Allen in 2016, the biggest injury bust of the year, would get a sandwich pick between the second round and third round.
- Use an Auction/Draft Hybrid Setup
Have you ever done a Fantasy Football auction before? If not, you and your leaguemates are definitely missing out. With that said, you probably already have a good thing in your yearly draft setup! So consider mixing the two, and doing a combination auction/draft for your player entry system. Auction off the top 50 players in Fantasy scoring from last season, and then do a straight draft for all the remaining teams! Start with $50 per team for the auction, and players go off the board in $1 increments.
If you’re really interested in Fantasy Football auctions, here’s an extensive list I wrote about some helpful auction strategy tips.
New Fantasy Football Dynasty & Keeper League Ideas
You should be in several different leagues every year, including one dynasty league, one keeper league and one IDP league! Make your Fantasy Football life colorful!
- Keeper Leagues: Help Have-Nots and End Serpentine Order
Part of the trouble with keeper leagues is that once a team gets some studs, they’re tough to shake from the top. So one way you can help those teams that have had some bad keeper luck is to give them the higher draft picks, and stop the serpentine drafting. I am only in favor of this if there are five or more keepers, which makes it closer to a dynasty league than a keeper league.
By moving the have-nots up in the draft, they’ll have better chances at better keepers – in each round.
- Try a Limited Keeper League
Some people love the deep research that goes into dynasty leagues, but not everyone in the league wants to go that deep. Try what I like to call a “limited keeper league,” which means it’s a keeper league, but the only players that are keeper eligible are the ones drafted beyond a certain point of the draft, like after Round 9.
This keeps the first few rounds stocked with superstars, especially incoming rookie studs like Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey, since they’ll be picked well before the cutoff point (start of Round 10). But if someone does the right amount of research and locks down a good sleeper late, then they should be rewarded by getting to keep that player going forward (I like to set three-year limits on keepers, after the year they were drafted. So they can be owned for four years, essentially.)
Also, try to make the keeper round an even-numbered round, so you don’t reward whoever wins the first overall pick with the first keeper pick, too.
- Start a Devy League
What’s a Devy League, you ask? The name is short for a “Developmental” dynasty league. Think of it like Major League Baseball, where they have an entire minor-league organization that provides talent to them season after season. Owners draft college and high school football players for their Devy Leagues, along with regular NFL players. You can add devy players to your regular rookie draft, or set it up so they can be added throughout waivers in-season.
- Make College Players Eligible in Keeper Leagues
In a keeper league I ran dating back to 1989, we started allowing the two worst teams in the league (after Week 12) to pick up ONE college football player that they’d be able to hold over as one of their three keepers heading into the following season. This is different from a Devy League in that it’s just a keeper league, as opposed to a Devy dynasty league.
In the mid- to late-‘90s, we had several great college players end up on bad teams, helping improve them considerably the next year. Guys like Randy Moss, Eddie George, Ricky Williams, Peyton Manning and Tiki Barber were all college player keepers back then. (Someone also drafted Curtis Enis, HA!) What’s really fun about it is people can’t change their pick, so they have to a) guess about their draft value, and b) hope their players end up with good opportunities on NFL teams. There was also the risk of picking a player that didn’t decide to enter the NFL Draft, only to go back to school for the next season.
Guys like Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette likely would have been college keeper picks, as well as people like Amari Cooper and maybe Christian McCaffrey.
Also, you should consider setting up rules that teams can only have one college player on their team at a time, and if you pick a college player one year, you can’t pick a college player the next year.
New Fantasy Football Playoffs Ideas
The first 13 weeks of the NFL season is kind of like one season, and the Fantasy Football Playoffs are a one-and-done second season. Here are some ideas on how to make the Fantasy postseason even better.
- Award Home Field Advantage For the Playoffs
I never understood why more leagues don’t award three-to-six points for home-field advantage to the higher seeds in the Fantasy Football playoffs. What’s the use of getting a higher seed, other than the bye week? This way, the fight for playoff seeds means even more. Of course, for the Super Bowl, there’s no home field advantage, as it’s played on a neutral playing field.
- The Last Playoff Spot Goes to Highest Scoring Non-Playoff Team
Rather than do playoff seeding by record only, consider giving that final playoff spot, whether it’s sixth in a 12-team league, to the team remaining with the highest points scored. Once again, we’re trying to eliminate luck from the hobby, so a team that has a horrible Fantasy schedule (with the most points against) and the second-most points in the league, to go with a 6-7 record, gets rewarded with a playoffs spot.
- Do a Consolation Bracket For the Non-Playoff Teams
Once teams are eliminated from the Fantasy Playoffs, they often completely lose interest and pack it in. Commissioners have to harass them to set lineups sometimes in the final weeks. So if you have a “Non-Playoff Team Playoffs,” with the winner getting half their league fee back, then they’ll have something to play for!
- The Biggest Loser Buys Drinks For Next Year’s Draft!
I like the Toilet Bowl setup, personally, pitting the two worst teams of the regular season against each other, with the loser of that game being the Toilet Bowl Chump. That’s the worst spot ever! Whoever becomes Toilet Bowl Chump has to buy shots at the bar during next year’s draft, or they have to bring the beer if the draft is at someone’s house.
I like the ideas of handing out penalties, like many of the people did in Matthew Berry’s “Fantasy Life” book. One league forces their league loser to get a horrible tattoo! That might be a little much, after all. That’s like penalizing the guy’s wife and kids.
If you have some great Fantasy Football league ideas, we’re dying to hear them! Drop a comment below and let everyone know – especially me!
Don't be afraid to shake your league up with some great Fantasy Football league ideas. There's always room for improvement in every league!