If you play in a fantasy football league for money, there’s a good chance that the payout structure is something like: Champion gets 60-70% of the pot, Runner-Up gets 20-30%, and Third Place gets 10% (or their money back). While a standard payout structure can be just fine, we’re looking for ways to make our fantasy leagues more than fine. The more payouts the better, even if that means lowering the winnings for the top finishers. Increase the chances of different league members taking home some money with these fun payout ideas for your fantasy league.
And as always, if you have a fantasy league that does play for money, consider using Fantrax Treasurer to collect your league fees.
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Fun Payout Ideas For Your Fantasy Football League
Simple and Easy
One very simple way to increase the chances of winning money in your league is awarding a prize to the weekly high score. This really only works in a points-based league, but there are some options if you play in a Roto or Categories league. If you have a way to track weekly Roto points, you can award a prize to the weekly high Roto score, and achieve the same effect. Even if a team is eliminated from postseason contention, they can still win this weekly prize, which keeps the competition in play for everyone. This prize should be smaller, something like $10 per week for a league with a $100 buy-in.
If you play in a league with multiple divisions, add a prize for each division winner. In most cases, the division winners are the two or three best teams in the league, so they have a higher likelihood of taking home the grand prize. However, in those cases where they do not make it far enough in the postseason, a reward for their excellent regular season can be a small consolation prize. I’d recommend something around $25-$40 per division winner for a league with a $100 buy-in.
Season long bonuses are another fun and outside the box way for teams to win money. As a commissioner, you can get really creative with these. Some should definitely be performance based, while others can be a little more fun. In one of my fantasy football leagues, I used this as an opportunity to shed light on some unfortunate events that happened during the fantasy season. Here are some examples:
-Most players originally drafted ending up on IR
-Highest score in a loss
-Highest drafted player to get dropped
-Team that left the most points on their bench in a week
Each one of these bonuses had a deadline as the final week of the fantasy regular season. Otherwise, a team could just drop a player or purposely leave all their points on the bench to snag a bonus at the end of the season. I would recommend a prize amount slightly higher than the weekly high score, for these bonuses.
Probably my favorite idea for a fun payout is with a Fantasy League Survivor Pool. Many of us have participated in an NFL Survivor Pool, but in case you haven’t here’s a quick explanation. Each week you pick a team to win. Seems simple enough, however you cannot pick the same team twice during the season. So there is definitely strategy involved as you can’t just pick the best team in the league against a weak opponent each game.
Now, apply this to your fantasy league. Pick a team in your league each week to win their matchup. If that team loses, you’re out. If that team wins, you survive to pick again next week. Not only is this a fun competition, but it forces teams to be aware of other matchups and teams in the league.
I have done this few times in my league, and the challenge was over by Week 8 twice. One other time, it lasted all the way to Week 16. If, by chance, your Fantasy League Survivor Pool outlasts the number of teams in your league, you can simply allow the teams still competing to choose from all the teams in the league again.
My recommendation for this prize would be the largest bonus/prize you award that is not based on the league results.
Winner Takes All
This last idea goes against my proclamation of the more payouts the better, yet it could add quite a bit of competition (or it could go completely the other way as well). In most leagues, we have a sort of “cushion” of winning money if we make it to the championship game, or the third place game. Imagine a league where only one team wins the entire prize. In theory, competition should increase because there is no cushion that exists. In a Roto league, everyone would be going all out until the end to finish at the top of the standings.
I also recognize that teams could also come to the decision that they have no chance of finishing first midway through the season and simply give up. Since there is no additional way to win a prize, there is no motivation to continue. Use this payout idea at your own risk.