As the commissioner of your fantasy football league, it’s your job to make sure people play the game fairly and competitively, while having fun doing it. There are a couple of scenarios that really get to me when I do fantasy and can leave me bitter at the end of the season. First of all, I can’t stand it when people forget, or simply refuse, to log in every week and set up their headlines. Easy wins are easy and for me there is no gratification in that. Another thing that bothers me as a commissioner, mostly from the heart, is seeing people who really focus, do their research, make great moves on the waiver wire, and fall short on end-of-season pay.

Over the years I have tried to make my leagues as fun as possible for a couple of reasons; to attract new and interested players, and to maintain focus from week to week. I’ve compiled a short list of things I do to help keep people engaged, which will ultimately keep them connected week to week.

1. King of the Hill (KoTH) – Side games are a great way to keep focus for players in your league. KoTH is a fun game where players in the league pick a single game and then predict the winner of that game. As long as the player has chosen correctly, he will move on. The problem is that each player can only choose one team to win a game during the season. If the Patriots play the Broncos, and I pick the Patriots to win that game, I can’t pick the Patriots again for the entire season.

two. weekly challenge – This can be a wide range of topics or scenarios, it really depends on your creativity as a commissioner. I like to set up challenges that are simple, but have payouts every week. A challenge idea can be as basic as “Which kicker will get the highest fantasy points this week?” or narrow it down a bit and make it “Which kicker will kick the most field goals?”

3. pick them up – Another idea for a side game is a Pick ’em forum, where players submit their prediction for the outcome of each game throughout the season. Each victory can be worth 1 point and have a running total until the end of the season. He could even choose to do a separate one for the play-offs as well.

Four. generosity – A great way to keep people focused and having fun is to encourage people to keep track of rewards. A bounty is a select set of instances that can pay money or be just for fun. A reward can be “QB with the longest touchdown pass” or “TE with the most touchdowns scored”. This is different from the weekly challenges because they run for the entire season, not just for one week.

5. Credits/Debits – This is for the more aggressive fantasy leagues. It’s a method I like to use in higher paying leagues, to really keep my members’ attention. A credit can be if someone has a great login streak, perhaps adding a point or two to their weekend score or, in my case, adding money to payouts. A debit will be when someone doesn’t log in for a week and lose points or money for not doing so. In case you were wondering, most websites have a way to log in when people log into their fantasy team. I like to give everyone a $5 starting pot and add or subtract as needed. This really encourages everyone to pay attention and stay focused!

These are just a few ideas that I like to use, and each one can be expanded to suit your league’s style of play. “But Nate, I don’t like football and I only play Fantasy Baseball!” That’s fine, I say. You can mold these ideas to fit any other style of fantasy game. For baseball, you can do King of the Mound and maybe pick a series winner each week. For basketball you can do a Hoops Pick ‘Em. The concepts could go on and on.

If you think it may be difficult to get your league members to pay these additional fees, please coordinate your league’s entry fee to include money that can go into separate pools for these ideas (i.e. $50 entry will include a $50 entry fee). $5 Pick ‘Em, $5 weekly challenge fee, and $40 for league winners). One thing to keep in mind is that while I was using money as an example, it doesn’t have to be about money. Everything I mentioned can have a “for fun” aspect and there is no reason to feel compelled to pay to play this incredibly awesome game.

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