This is a story about football, family and fun. There are many things to write about so let’s start at the beginning.
It’s easy for many people to say they are in the best fantasy league ever but are they really? The simple answer is NO, YOU’RE NOT. Do I have your attention yet? We can provide a blueprint to make your league great but it’s up to you to bring it to new heights.
What separates the good leagues from the great ones? Is it money, bragging rights, tradition, something else? Money is printed every day and is easy to obtain. Trash talk can be done by anyone. Traditions can add flavor to the league so we seem to be getting warmer. What keeps the league alive and owners salivating for the new season to begin? The answer is Family and Brotherhood. When your league considers itself family or a brotherhood it tends to be more fun. Not in a dysfunctional sort of way like the Kardashians or Real Housewives. Those bitches be crazy. Think more along the lines of a brotherhood where you have been in the trenches together with heartbreaking losses, Championships, injuries, funny moments and great memories shared. Future parts of this blog will explain some of the above more in depth.
Part 1- Origins
The Best Freaking Fantasy League Period (BFFLP) was established in 2000 by Chris Koss aka Chaos back when fantasy sports were just starting to be available online. The league was started with 8 teams and not too much fantasy football experience. In year 1 we had team names such as Mother Teresa Cornholers, Barbie Swallows, Porn Stars and Guh (The sound one makes when he busts a nut). A few of us had played prior to 2000 using the website www.sandbox.com and that was stone-age compared to what fantasy football is now. Fast forward to 2017 and we are entering our 18th year of league existence and 4 of us have been there since the beginning and most of the rest for 15 years. More on that later.
What started as something to pass the time between school, work and life, has evolved over the years into more than just a league. We all played sports growing up as kids and punk teens while some of us even played in college or went the route of weekend warrior, Madden or rec leagues. We would even watch our beloved sports teams win titles, become the league laughing stock or somewhere in between. We would talk about what if we owned the team? What moves we would make to better the team, not charging the real fans prices they cannot afford and make the teams we loved great. And there was part of the appeal that attracted us to fantasy football. We have control over who we choose to draft, add, drop and trade. The good owners get rewarded and the shit owners get made fun of or booted. And believe me we gave owners the boot if they were perennial losers or didn’t put enough effort into the league. Cleveland Browns fans should be able to relate to this.
We also had the ability to make the league fun since we don’t have any corporate sponsors or public backlash to worry about. We were able to say what we wanted and with the chill group of friends we knew it was all in the name of fun. And there is the initial appeal. The ability to be your own boss and run a “fake” sports franchise the way you want. Now that we have given you why we created our league and our motivation behind it I will discuss how great leadership and membership made the league improve every year. Enjoy Part 2
Part 2- Evolution
Our league started in 2000 with 8 members and we increased to 10 members in 2002 and finally to 12 members in 2004. Here is a list of the members, nicknames and years in the league:
Chris K. aka Chaos and commish 18 years Indianapolis, IN
Alex G. aka Pickpocket 18 years Denver, CO
Kris P. aka Pro Athlete 18 years Los Angeles, CA
Nick P. aka Bionic Man 18 years Los Angeles, CA
Steve E. aka the Pilot 17 years Washington DC
Joe N. aka Old Man 17 years Lancaster, CA
Bill E. aka Fingerblasted 16 years Indianapolis, IN
Greg B. aka Gov 15 years Green Bay, WI
Joey B. aka DaSmoka 14 years Los Angeles, CA
Kris T. aka Canada 11 years Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Chris T. aka Not so Tan 7 years Upland, CA aka the 909
Mike R. aka Slapped 4 years Los Angeles, CA
Mike C. aka Hollywood 1 year Chicago, IL
As you can see all but two members and one co-owner in our league have double digits. How can we be the best league if we have turnover. The answer is quite simple. If you perennially suck or miss showing up to the draft 3 consecutive years you get run and replaced. We have a wait list to enter our league and some people have waited 3+ years to get the call to the big show. We have one team that has co-owners shared by Gov and Hollywood. From beginning to end here is our league setup:
August 1 is draft order selection day. Most leagues have the lame auto draft order or worst to first goes picks 1-12. We threw in a twist and made the draft order based on standings. Last-6th place get slots 1-6 and the playoffs determine slots 7-12. The worst team gets to choose where they draft. They can select any spot between 1-12. Then the second worst team gets their choice of any slot still available to them. There have been years where the first choice is not the number 1 pick. The league Champ gets last choice of where their draft slot is, and that usually falls between picks 7-9. So right off the bat we make the draft order fun. If we have a new member to the league they get last choice of draft spots and everyone else gets moved up a slot in selection.
Early August is usually when we create the schedule. With 12 teams and 13 weeks in the regular season you play two teams twice and all other teams once. Rivalries are typical for week 1 and 2 matchups. We send out a text asking which owners want specific week 1 matchups and if we can accommodate week 2 we do that as well.
The Draft is broken into two parts and Part one starts the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Part one is a slow live draft and usually takes 3-4 days to complete. Once a pick is made the next man up has unlimited time to draft but we give them shit if they take too long such as 4 hours plus. Once the pick is made the entire league is notified who was taken and next man up drafts. We stop after 4 rounds then resume Part two of the draft on the Saturday before the week 1 games begin. Ever since we switched to the two part draft format we have seen more parity and less shitty teams. The past three seasons every owner has had something to play for in the last week of the regular season. We feel this is due to owners having time to analyze their team after round 4 and they get another few days to prep for the rest of the draft. We all know the draft is won in round 5-10.
Part two consists of Rounds 5-17. Some of you might say how can you not have your draft completed before opening night Thursday game? We do this because ever since 2005 or 2006 we have held our draft in Las Vegas. This is the 1 time a year most of us get together to hang out. As you saw above we all live in different parts of the country, even Canada. For the most part its guys only and we have a ton of fun. We figured that most of the players worth a damn will have already been drafted by the end of the 4th round. And if a team wants to burn a 5th round pick on a scrub that blows up for 1 game then go ahead and do it. It has happened before and the owner regretted it. Also, if you draft a guy in round 10, who had a career game you might not be able to start him. A “Rule on the fly” was created just for this purpose. An owner had used a really late pick to add the Colts D since they scored two defensive TD’s opening night and the rule was made if you didn’t draft them to be a starter then you cannot start them week 1. That was the owners 2nd defense so he drafted them to be a backup and therefore could not start them week 1.
The season begins and we play 13 weeks of a regular season. We have no divisions so the top 6 teams make the playoffs. The top 2 teams get a first round bye. Then it’s seed 3 v 6 and seed 4 v 5. Playoffs are re-seeded each round. The Super Bowl is in week 16. For the non-playoff teams we match them up for any grudge matches or requests.
The most important thing our group did to make this league great was to make the draft in Las Vegas. Since we are spread throughout the country and even Canada it’s a great way to catch up at least once a year. It puts a face to a name. Many funny moments have occurred in Vegas, some of which I will share in Part 4.
Roster size = 17
Starting lineups are 1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 Def/Special Teams (DST) and 1 Flex (either a RB or WR).
Scoring is the following:
0.04 points per passing yard
0.1 points per rushing/receiving yard
-3 points per interception
-2 points per fumble lost
2 points for a passing, rushing or receiving 2-point conversion
6 points for a passing, rushing or receiving TD. A TD is a TD so why the fuck would we value a passing TD at only 4 points? Some leagues do this and it makes no sense.
3 points for every FG made
-3 for every FG missed
1 point per extra point made
-1 point per missed extra point.
Defense starts with 22 points and deductions are made for points and yards allowed in the following increments:
0 points allowed 10 points 0-99 yards allowed 12 points
1-6 points allowed 9 points 100-199 yards allowed 8 points
7-13 points allowed 8 points 200-299 yards allowed 6 points
14-17 points allowed 6 points 300-349 yards allowed 4 points
18-21 points allowed 5 points 350-399 yards allowed 2 points
22-27 points allowed 4 points 400-449 yards allowed -2 points
28-34 points allowed 0 points 450-499 yards allowed -4 points
35-45 points allowed -2 points 500-549 yards allowed -5 points
46+ points allowed -4 points 550+ yards allowed -6 points
6 points for a defensive or special teams TD
1 point for every sack
2 points for every Interceptions, fumble recovery, blocked punts or field goals
Our defense scores more than most leagues but this has led to balance as more studs are available for each team.
Super Bowl champ gets to rename the team that finished in last place for the entire year of the following season.
League fees for each owner are $65.00. We give away prizes for regular season champ and second place as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the playoffs. Each weekly top scorer wins $10 and all adds after week 1 cost $1. This about sums up our league rules. From season 1 to about 6 we constantly tweaked rules to upgrade our scoring system.
Part 3- It’s not football, its family
This league is more than just friends. We have become a family. The best thing we ever did was decide to make the draft in Las Vegas. Making the league a destination draft has brought all league mates closer and given us some great moments and memories. We were able to meet and interact with each other rather than just another guy on a computer. This gave us a brotherhood and some great stories which will be shared in Part 4. When we first started drafting in Vegas our Agenda was the following:
Friday Arrive and gamble, bullshit and hit the strip club and bar/club
Saturday Draft and gamble
Sunday Watch football and leave
Our draft has evolved to the following
Friday Arrive and gamble, League dinner
Saturday Draft, gamble, pool, cruising the strip
Sunday Watch football, grab dinner with league mates still present
Monday At least half the league stays until Monday which gives us one extra day to catch up, shoot the shit and make fun of teams that got crushed week 1.
As you can see some activities have changed over the years but we still hang out as a group together. We have gone to gun ranges to fire machine guns, pool parties, all you can drink bars, poker tournaments, clubs, shows, meeting Pete Rose, even a bachelor party during draft weekend.
We also have our own superstition. No Vegas = No Rings. Ever since we have started making Vegas our draft destination no team has won the championship that missed Vegas that year. One year when the economy took a dump and only two owners made the Vegas trip, those two owners faced each other in our Super Bowl. Even the universe agrees with us having a destination draft.
Some great friendships have evolved from this league. Guys who meet one time every 1-3 years have such a close bond. We have been there for each other during times of joy, need, loss, etc. Some moments include:
League mates donating to an owners bike ride charity
A league mate’s mother passed away and some owners showed up to the funeral for support
A league mate’s sister passed away and the rest of the league pitched in and got a football jersey for the grieving owner to cheer him up.
We have celebrated a bachelor party at the draft one year
We celebrated two 40 year old birthdays in the same year
Some league mates take time out of their schedules to hang out with other league mates when they are visiting the area they live for work or vacation.
We even have a group thread using the Line app to stay in constant communication with each other, even the Canadian.
Bottom line is we have all put in time and effort to make this league the best it can be. We have developed relationships, had fun, and each owner has a sense of involvement and ownership. Everyone is constantly bouncing ideas or tweaks in our group thread, draft day ideas, activities to do in Vegas and it has paid off. This is by far the best league I have ever been involved in.
Part 4- Funny Moments
This is what has made the league so fun. The stories and moments we reminisce about year after year. Some of the golden moments that have happened are as follows:
The $8 Fiji Water incident– One year we went to a steakhouse for our league dinner and we had our own private section in the restaurant. The alcohol was flowing and the food was good and it ended up being my favorite league dinner ever. We have some characters so it might not read as funny but trust me, it was funny.
As we are placing our order the Canadian is up and starts asking questions about his steak. He asks if the mushrooms are organic, what size are they, how many come on the steak, where does the steak come from, what’s the optimal cooking temperature for the steak. All bullshit questions. Order the fucking steak, tell the waiter medium rare, end of fucking story. But this cat spent 10 minutes placing his order.
Meanwhile on the other side of the table Alex and Joe, aka Nappi, are having a heated discussion regarding who has a better team, blah blah blah. Alex asks Nappi how many title have you won? Nappi responds with zero. Alex, who has 1 title, then proceeds to state “I can’t hear what you’re saying. This is a champs only convo so in order for me to hear you, you need a title.” This goes on for a few minutes with some expletives which is great entertainment then after about 20 minutes I step in and say “Hey Alex how many titles do you have?” He states 1 then I follow it by stating “I can’t hear you. Talk to me when you have as many titles as me.” Shuts him right up and the entire table laughs because we have just created a new league moment.
During all of this and throughout dinner the wait staff doesn’t let any water cup get below half empty. They are on point with keeping our glasses full. And they are not filling up glasses using pitchers. They open up bottles of Fiji water and pour into our cups. When the bill comes we see a charge of $64 for 8 bottles of Fiji Water. We were unaware they were charging us, especially when the waiters opened bottles like we were in the desert. So we proceed to have a profanity filled convo amongst the group. Hollywood is leading the charge because of his hate for Fiji water. This hate stems from him always seeing Carmelo Anthony drink it at games and he thinks Carmelo is a piece of shit. Even at dinner we somehow manage to make it super entertaining and memorable.
The Pickpocket– One year while at the Ghost Bar on top of the Palms we are having a good time as $100 gets us front of the line, admission and all you can drink vodka and mixers at our own private bar. I had left after the deal was over but a few guys remained. It’s 4am and I get a phone call from Alex stating I needed to come to the elevators so they can let me up. I tell him thanks for waking me up and use your key. He tells me he lost it. As I’m walking downstairs thinking how thrilled I am to be awake I relax and say there has to be a story to this. Alex and I get back to the room and he tells me the guys met some chicks and were dancing with them all night. On the elevator ride down to the casino one of them shows everyone their tits. When they get to the casino the flasher goes to the bathroom to freshen up and states she will return. That is when Alex notices his wallet is missing. He calls security and the chick is long gone. Luckily most of Alex’s money was in our safe. The problem was he had no ID to get on his flight home so he had to get his wife to fax a picture of his passport to get through airport security.
The ATM– One year our boy Bill was on a budget. He was a tad inebriated (shitfaced) and he burned through his gambling money. He withdrew $100 from the ATM and within minutes his wife called and ripped him a new one. The closest bank is about a 10 minute car ride so he had to take a cab to a bank and deposit the $100 back into the account. A $30 cab ride later dude ended up losing money without even gambling.
The Cabana– One year Greg and I fronted a lot of our winnings to pay for a poolside cabana and the rest of the fees were covered by the guys at $20 a pop. As we are starting the draft Canada leaves and states he forgot his glasses. The draft was delayed for 20 minutes and he returns saying that security had no items in lost and found. The guy was bitching about his $200 Ray Bans and I quote “There are nothing but a bunch of thieves and crooks at this pool.” As the draft goes on we realize in theory the cabana was great but in reality it sucked. There was one ceiling fan that didn’t work too well and its 100 degrees and we are frying our balls off. During the entire draft Canada keeps whining about his $200, then $300 and finally $400 Ray Bans. His brother in law finally tells him to shut the fuck up about his glasses that cost $150 max and are mysteriously now worth $400.
The Lezbo’s– One year it was a Sunday night and Greg, Alex, Koss, Hollywood and I are playing Pai Gow. We are drinking shots, mixed drinks, getting drunk and mainly pushing at the table but we’re having a good time bullshitting. We are sharing the table with two chicks who we start chatting up and find out they are lezbo’s. The girls were totally into us and they call in sick and decide to stay another night. We make plans to meet up later but blow them off and laugh our asses off about it. This kinda shit only happens in Vegas
The Sports Book– We used to watch Sunday football at the sports book in Planet Hollywood. Good seats and Earl of Sandwich was 20 feet away. $6 food with little wait while watching football was great. One year we printed our own reserved seat signs with the planet Hollywood logo to save seats for the guys that needed beauty sleep. They worked so well it even fooled the Planet Hollywood employees as we never reserved any seats.
The Slap Bets– Every year about 4-6 league mates get in on the annual slap bet. The rule is whoever finishes best out of the group gets to slap the team that finishes worst for the year. The winner has always been decided by whoever goes furthest in the playoffs. The loser is determined at the end of week 13. The winner gets to slap the shit outta the loser at the following year’s draft. It’s a great tradition and I think every league should incorporate this. Bill and I even have a slap bet with the winner being whoever wins a title between the two of us gets to slap the loser. Neither of us have won the title since making the bet a few years ago but both of us have come close.
Re-naming Teams– Every year the league champ gets to re-name the league chump for the following season. We have even had in season bets. Here are some of the re-names:
Midnight Meat Train
Putin My Ass
2 inch Ditka
Odds and Ends:
- One year we had an owner draft a fullback in round 12 followed by a kicker in round 13
- One year we had an owner draft 4 kickers in rounds 14-17 for trade bait
- Year two we had a guy on autodraft back when you got next best player based on the previous year scoring and the draft robot was not that smart. Dude ended up with 6 kickers on his roster
- One year there was a team dominating and in 1st place. Both their Defenses had a bye on the same week. League members added all remaining defenses so the first place team had to start a defense on a bye.
- League winners use their winnings to pay for the upcoming season and usually pay for the food during the draft. We don’t care about money. It’s all about trophies and memories.
Part 5- What’s next?
I hope this thread has given you a glimpse of what a great fantasy league can be and inspires your league to improve. Our system might not work for you but as long as you makes changes with respect as to what’s best for your league you will find it’s a little more fun each year. Our league is pretty set on members for the foreseeable future but we are constantly trying to think of new ideas to make our league better.
The 2015 Super Bowl featured Kris P. v Alex. It was a close game and in fact Kris won by less than a point. Later in the week there was the dreaded stat correction. The problem was nfl.com and espn had scored Todd Gurley Rush yards as 85 and Yahoo and CBS (site we used) scored Gurley with 88 rush yards. Which was correct? Both teams had a case. If you were to factor in the stat change manually then you would need to take into account that Darren McFadden had negative receiving yards for Alex and if you corrected his scoring then Alex would have lost a full point giving Kris the win. We discussed this as a league and Kris and Alex agreed to play week 17 to decide the champ. A day before the Sunday games began Alex conceded making Kris the Champ. Lucky for Kris as Alex would have smoked Kris week 17.
That off season we researched alternative websites to use as we got sick of how crappy CBS had become. They still have the best Live Scoring component but the site has gotten worse every year for the past 6 years. The non-stat corrections was the final straw and we decided to change hosts, knowing we would lose all our league history on the site. Luckily we kept some on our own excel sheets. We decided to go with ESPN and so far they have been solid. They even changed their defense scoring to not count a pick 6 as points against your D anymore.
Part 6- This week’s entertainment…
Our league writes numerous articles throughout the season and about every other week I will write one that usually has a section called “this week’s entertainment is if you were a blank what would you be?” The premise is each league owner gets named as an object based on their personality. Here is an example of one:
This week’s entertainment is if you were an NFL Franchise which would you be?
Kris P. Denver Broncos as he has 3 titles and won back to back
Canada Buffalo Bills as he has lost 3 super bowls and Buffalo is close to Canada.
Bill Miami Dolphins as he has two titles and hasn’t done shit lately
Joey Baltimore Ravens. Always a solid squad with few playoff misses and 2 rings
Nick Pittsburgh Steelers as both have the most championship in their respective leagues
Chris T. Oakland Raiders as he was a perennial doormat and finally turned in a playoff season
Joe N. Detroit Lions. All bark but no hardware
Alex KC Chiefs as he has 1 title and lives near KC
Chris K Dallas Cowboys as he has some hardware and has had ups and downs since
Steve Minnesota Vikings as he is 0 for 3 in the Super Bowl and has not done much lately
Greg/Hwood Tampa Bay Bucs. One title, some good and some bad years
Mike R. NY Jets as he has 1 title but hasn’t done shit since