My fantasy league has thrived for 17 seasons. The managers all agree that our rules, debated and tweaked each season, are one of the most important reasons why. We have eliminated most of the causes of arguments and broken relationships. Now we can just compete! Feel free to use these as a template for your league.
A. Terms – League, hereafter, shall refer to the [Insert league name]. Manager shall be the person who operates a team in the League. Defensive team will include special teams, except for the kicker. Flex player is any RB or WR. All times are Eastern.
B. Purpose – The purpose of the League is to build friendships through a fun, fantasy football competition.
C. Fees – A team fee is due by Draft Day. The fee will cover the cost of software, draft board, trophy inscribing, and the end-of-season party. The fee is $25 per team, until expected costs exceed this amount. There are no other fees or transaction costs. Fees for Managers that drop before the draft are only refunded by special exception by the Commissioner. Excess fees are retained by the League.
D. Teams/Managers – The league is designed for exactly 10 teams. Every attempt will be made to keep an even number of teams and each Manager will field only one team. There can only be one team per household. Preference in granting teams shall be given to those who played the previous season. Previous managers must notify the Commissioner that they intend to play by August 1. After the August 1 deadline, the Rules Committee will notify Managers if more teams need to be added. Interested potential managers must notify the Commissioner that they want to play by August 8 at 8 pm. Extra teams will be granted by random drawing held by the Commissioner. Managers are expected to participate fully, be courteous, and be available for discussion. Managers must have e-mail and web access. Each year the Rules Committee will evaluate Managers on these criteria. Managers who do not participate or are contentious or unavailable will not be asked to be in the league the next season. Teams will be randomly divided into divisions or conferences based on the number of teams. Traditionally, this is done at the same time as the random determination of draft order – at the off-season Rules Committee meeting.
E. Officers – The League shall have three officers to perform the official functions of the League: Commissioner, Stats Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers may delegate some of their duties if they are busy and need help.
1. Commissioner – The Commissioner is the head of the league and holds a position of great trust. The Commissioner is responsible for staying in contact with all Managers and for leading all meetings. The Commissioner is responsible for holding elections for the other officers and Rules Committee. The Commissioner is not elected by the league and retains his/her position until resignation, death or being voted out by 3/4 of the active Managers. The Commissioner may choose his/her successor, who then must be approved by the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee may select a Commissioner if the current Commissioner is unable or unwilling to choose someone. The Commissioner has the power to veto any trade or player move in order to maintain the competitive balance of the League (the Commissioner may consult the Rules Committee before a veto, but the decision of the Commissioner is final). The Commissioner has “Commissioner ability” on the web site and can approve any player transaction, except those involving his/her team. He/she also serves as the tie-breaking vote on the Rules Committee. The Commissioner is responsible for handling waivers, which includes preparing a weekly waiver report with current waiver positions. The Commissioner is responsible for planning the post-season party, although that task may be delegated. The Commissioner can be a Manager.
2. Stats Secretary – The Stats Secretary is responsible for compiling the scores and game outcomes and reporting them to the League on a timely basis. The stats are currently done with a web-based computer program from First Place Software, who also supplies the stats. The Stats Secretary is encouraged to create game commentaries and previews for the league’s entertainment. The Stats Secretary is also responsible for obtaining the Draft Kit and creating the League schedule to submit to the Rules Committee before the draft. The Stats Secretary keeps and updates the official copy of these Rules. The Stats Secretary has “Commissioner ability” on the web site and can approve all player moves except trades. The Stats Secretary is elected each season by the League at the post-season party and can be a Manager.
3. Treasurer – The Treasurer is responsible for collecting and distributing funds for the League. The Treasurer will prepare financial reports for the Draft and the Post Season Party. The reports will show receipts of fees, expenses paid, and any funds retained . The Treasurer is elected each season by the League at the post-season party and can be a Manager.
F. Rules Committee
1. Composition – The Rules Committee is made up of four elected Managers and the Commissioner. The Committee Members shall be elected by the Managers in attendance at the post-season party of the prior season. They shall serve one year terms. The committee members should be able to meet during the off-season and have a keen interest in the finer points of the League.
2. Duties – The Rules Committee will refine the rules, if needed, during the off-season and then present them to the League for a vote at the draft. The Rules Committee is responsible for deciding on the position of any multi-position player (Kordell Stewart rule). The position will be decided before the draft or at the request of any Manager. The position is fixed for the duration of the season. During the season the Rules Committee will review any challenges or inadequacies in the rules. The vote of the Rules Committee shall be final. The Rules Committee also oversees the Commissioner’s trades and may veto one that is not in the competitive interest of the League.
G. Meetings – The two official meetings of the League are the draft and the post-season party. Both dates are set by the Rules Committee. The post-season party date should be set by draft date. Rules and other items are discussed and voted on at both meetings. It is the responsibility of each Manager to be present if he/she wants to present ideas and vote. To be considered “present,” the Manager must be able to hear and participate in all the rules discussion. Managers cannot delegate or assign their vote to anyone else. The Commissioner may call a special meeting (by notifying all Managers) if needed.
H. Rules – Official rules discussions and votes require over 1/2 the league or an official Rules Committee meeting. Any rules changes voted on at the post-season party will be distributed during the month of February to any current Managers not present at the party. The Commissioner can allow further discussion. The Rules Committee may re-work rules voted on at the post-season party, if further discussion warrants. The Rules are voted on, in whole, at the draft. The Commissioner, however, may allow discussion and voting at the draft for any changes which are significant or vary from the post-season party voting.
II. Rules of Play
1. Composition – The roster shall be made up of a combination of 14 NFL offensive skill players (QB, RB, TE, WR, K) and/or defensive teams. Each NFL player or defensive team can only be on one League team. Roster limits of 3 QB, 6 RB, 6 WR, 3 TE, 3 K, 3 D/ST apply after the trading deadline. Any team violating the roster limits after this time will be penalized by forfeiting all points from any position over the limit. For example, the Lightning amasses a stable of 7 RBs and does not trim it back by the deadline. In any game in which the Lightning still violate this limit, it will earn no points from either RB position. Transactions after the deadline will not be allowed to violate the roster limits. At the end of the season all players revert back to the free-agent pool for the next season. (Chris Carter Clause: To be on a League team, the player must be on the regular roster of an NFL team. Players signed or otherwise activated in-season are available the week after activation, beginning with waivers. Activation means being placed on the active roster on the team’s official website. Obviously, if a newly activated player plays on Sunday (but wasn’t listed on the roster earlier), he is available the following week beginning with waivers.)
2. Initial Draft – The initial rosters will be chosen by Managers at the Initial Draft. The draft will be held a week or two prior to the first regular season NFL game. Draft order will be randomly determined at least one week prior to the draft. The Commissioner will call a special meeting to determine draft order. At the same time, divisions can be randomly selected. (With consistent league membership, the division and draft orders are usually done at the post-season party of the preceding season.)
The draft order will reverse each round. Each Manager will have 1 minute for each pick in the first 2 rounds and 1.5 minutes for each round following. If a Manager does not make a pick in the allotted time, the pick must be made after all rounds are complete. These picks will be in original draft order. Managers may trade draft picks as outlined in section II.D.1.a (Mel Kuiper Rule). If a Manager cannot attend the draft, a written list must be sent. The written list will be followed exactly as it is written, so it should be very detailed. The Commissioner or his designee will draft players for those Managers sending written lists. Managers who are late to the draft can pick players from the free agent pool after the draft (in draft fashion, if more than one Manager is late).
B. Game-day lineup – The game-day lineup will consist of, at most, 1 QB, 1 2 RB, 12 WR , 1 TE, 2 Flex players , 1 K and 1 Defensive team. Lineups should be entered on the web site before the deadline (The deadline for each player decision is the player’s game’s kickoff time as handled by the website. Lineups are locked, by player, after kick-off). If no lineup is entered on the website, the lineup from the prior week will be used, even if players are not playing. If a player was in the lineup for the previous week and is in an early game for the current week, the Manager must remove the player from the starting lineup before the early game’s kickoff if he/she does NOT want the player in the lineup. If the Manager does not remove the player, the player is in the lineup. If the Manager loses web access, he/she may call in a lineup to the Commissioner or Stats Secretary. This should be before 9 pm on Saturday to avoid family disruptions. Each Manager must enter his/her own lineup, unless the Commissioner grants an exception. Exceptions are limited to a specified time period for known absences. If a Manager does not enter a first week lineup, the lineup will default to the first player(s) drafted at each position regardless of the player’s playing status. The default flex players will be the highest-drafted remaining players that fit the definition.
- Any TD – 6
- Any 2 pt conversion – 2
- 10 Rushing yds – 1
- 10 Receiving yds – 1
- 25 Passing yds – 1
- Int thrown – (-2)
- Int by defense – 2
- Extra point made – 1
- Field goal made – 3
- Sack by defense – 1
- Fumble recovery by defense – 2
- Fumble lost by offensive player – (-2)
- Safety by defense – 2
- Points allowed by defense 0 – 10
- Points allowed by defense 2-9 – 6
- Points allowed by defense 10-19 – 3
- Points allowed by defense 20-29 – 0
- Points allowed by defense 30-39 – (-3)
- Points allowed by defense 40-49 – (-6)
- Points allowed by defense >=50 – (-10)
- Blocked FG, punt, or extra point by defense – 2
Defensive Points Allowed includes all points scored by the opposing team, regardless of how they were scored.
Winners of the head-to-head games are the teams that accumulate the most points for their starters. Regular season ties are allowed.
Clean Gene Clause: Official statistics are often changed after the website computes the final score. However, scores are official and cannot be changed after Wednesdays at 8 pm of the following week. It is a Manager’s responsibility to alert the Stats Secretary of any stat change that would affect his/her game. The stats secretary will use the official game stats at www.nfl.com to determine if a change is required. The score and results will be recalculated, if necessary.
D. Player moves – a) Each manager is limited to four complete transactions per week. b) The Trade Deadline is 11 pm on the Saturday before the 11th week (weeks start on Sunday) of the NFL season. No trades can occur after the deadline (11/20/2010). If the draft is held more than a week before the regular season begins, transaction weeks, including waivers, begin the Tuesday after the draft. Trades and free agent moves begin at 10 pm on Tuesday of each week (after waivers). (Pre-season, free-trade exception: equal-numbered player trades may occur anytime after the draft and before the transaction weeks begin)
1. Trades – Trades can be made between any Managers by consent of all parties. Trades can involve any number of players, but each team must end up with 14 players at the end of the transaction (by dropping or adding via free agent pick-up). The entire transaction must be entered on the web site and approved by all Managers involved. No cash, future draft picks, unnamed players, waiver positions, or other considerations can be part of a trade package. There is no limit on trades completed by Wednesday before the first game.
a . Trading Draft Picks (Mel Kuiper Rule) Managers may trade draft picks for the current season’s draft only. Draft picks can only be traded for draft picks. Each Manager may make 1 draft pick transaction per season that includes a maximum of 3 draft picks. Each team in a draft pick transaction must receive an equal number of draft picks. This assures that every team only gets 14 picks and no team can violate the Roster Composition Rule. Draft trades must be announced before the first pick of the round in which the highest traded pick would occur. The commissioner may allow up to 2 minutes between rounds for trade discussions to occur.
2. Free agent pick-up – Managers can pick-up free-agent players any time between Tuesday at 10 pm and 11 pm the night before their game. One player must be dropped for each player that is picked up. Free agent pick-ups are completed on a first-come, first-served, based on the time recorded by the web site. A Manager may call the Commissioner to report a pick-up or trade. The Commissioner will resolve any time conflicts with web-based transactions with a coin flip. The Commissioner can call the Stats Secretary to report his moves . A dropped player cannot be picked up until the following week, so that all Managers may have an equal chance to pick him up.
3. Waiver pick-up (Priest Holmes Rule) – Waiver pick-ups are used to give teams a fair chance at free-agent talent. Every team has a unique waiver position from 1 to the number of teams. Lower waiver numbers have highest priority. Initial waiver order is in the reverse order of the draft’s first round. A complete waiver claim includes the free agent player desired and a conditional player move (usually a drop) needed to maintain all roster limits. Incomplete waiver claims will be ignored. To claim a player with a waiver, the Manager must either call the Commissioner (or designee and so throughout this section) between 7-8 pm on Tuesday or send an e-mail before 8 pm. At 8 pm, the Commissioner will process waiver claims, starting with the team having the #1 waiver pick. If the player wanted is still available, the Manager who claimed him will get him and the conditional player move will be executed. That team will immediately drop to the last waiver position, and all other teams will move up one slot. If the desired player is not available or the Manager does not make a claim, the team retains its waiver position and no conditional player move is executed. The Commissioner will notify Managers who make successful waiver claims between 8-9 pm Tuesday. A Manager can only make one waiver claim (successful or unsuccessful) per week. A successful waiver claim and player move counts as one full transaction. To eliminate the Commissioner’s advantage of knowing the waiver claims, the Commissioner must report his/her waiver claims to the Stats Secretary before 7 pm on Tuesday.
4.Playoff moves – Surviving playoff teams in the winner’s bracket are given three unrestricted player moves per week (beginning the Tuesday night after the last regular season games). These moves include waiver picks (subject to rule 3) and injury, bye week, or performance replacements. Teams out of the playoffs cannot make any player moves (even for the Pro Bowl).
1. Regular season – The regular season schedule will be based on the division alignment for the League. If there are more than two divisions, each team will play the other teams in the division twice, and a random selection of the other divisions’ teams. The schedule will be compiled by the Stats Secretary and approved by the Rules Committee, preferably before the draft. The schedule should promote divisional rivalry by starting and ending the season with divisional games. With 10 teams, this is a 13 week schedule. Every team will play each other at least once.
2. Playoffs – The playoffs are three weeks, and feature the League Super Bowl during the 16th week of the NFL season. Six teams will make the playoffs, seeded 1-6. Division winners will receive the top seeds followed by at large Wild Card teams The top two division winners (determined by overall record and/or tie-breakers) will receive the #1 and #2 seeds and also receive a bye during the first week of the playoffs. The #3 seed plays the #6 seed and #4 plays #5. Winners advance. The #1 seeded team plays the lowest seeded survivor. The tie-breakers for determining Division winners and Wild Card teams are, in order:
- Win/Loss record (by winning percentage)
- Head-to-head record (by winning percentage)
- (for division winner) Division record
- Total points
- Division record (any tie)
- Coin toss (by Commissioner)
If there are 3 or more teams tied for multiple playoff positions, the tie-breakers will be applied to determine the top team. After the top team is removed, the tie-breakers are reapplied to the remaining teams.
If there is a tie in a playoff game, bench points will be used to determine the winner. If the game is still a tie, the Commissioner will toss a coin to decide the winner.
a. Loser’s Bracket Playoffs — If all non-playoff Manager’s agree, they can participate in a bracketed playoff of their own. With 10 teams, this will be the bottom four teams. They will play during the first two weeks of the playoffs. Loser’s Bracket teams cannot make any player moves except for changing their starting lineups.
3. Pro Bowl – During the last week of the NFL season, every team will submit a lineup to compete against every other team. The team with the highest point total for the week will win the Pro Bowl. If a team does not submit a lineup, its last used lineup will be used.