It’s Saturday (at least I’m writing this on a Saturday), I’m casually knocking back a few beers, and I’m thinking about the 2020 fantasy football season… already.

The majority of the leagues I partake in are great. We have live drafts, we talk shit to each other during the season, the winner gets a nice amount of cash at the end of the year; but the alcohol I’ve consumed today has made me think about other leagues that may not be quite as fortunate.

Maybe you find yourself in a league where people autodraft. Or in a league where people forget to set their lineups each week and end up using players on bye weeks. Hell, you may even be in a league with a person you forget is even alive until draft day arrives and he finally makes his presence known via a shitty comment in the online draft chat box.

If what I described resonates with you, or if you find yourself in a similar situation where you feel changes to your fantasy league may be necessary, well I’ve had just enough Busch Light to help steer you in the right direction.

Implement however many of these ideas you find necessary to bring excitement back to your fantasy league, because at the end of the day, a world without fantasy football is more frightening than Tyreek Hill visiting your child’s daycare.

The Actual Draft

Do whatever you can to get everyone together for a live draft. Sure, not everyone lives in the same area, and some people have families to deal with, but your yearly fantasy draft is the perfect excuse to disappear from real life for a little while and get together with this group of idiots you’ve assembled. Pack your cooler full of beer and ice, assemble all of your player rankings (which you can conveniently find at come fantasy season), and strap in for a night of drafting and drinking. You’re going to have to return to real life the next day, which is going to be a rough one given the hangover you’ve earned, but as time goes on and traditions are made, your yearly fantasy draft is going to be a top moment of each year.

During the Season

This may be a little more challenging based on how spread out your league members are, but try to get together for Monday night football either weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, whatever fits into your schedules. Make some great food that’s super shitty for you, have a few beers, maybe get a poker game going, but try to get as many people from your league at the same location for when the fantasy week comes to an end. It seems like each week has fantasy matchups that come down to an 11-yard catch with :30 seconds left to go in the Monday night game, so why not be right next to your opponent as Cameron Brate just barely tops six fantasy points and you steal that much needed victory.

Side note: if several people in your league are married and/or have kids, rotate this around to different houses each week. We don’t need Becky all pissed off each Tuesday because your boy Eric can’t hold his liquor and keeps feeding the dog nachos.

Last-Place Punishment

My favorite component to fantasy football that I wish we did in more of the leagues I’m in – the last-place punishment. You can Google search tons of great ideas for this type of punishment, but here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • Tattoo (can be an agreed upon image/wording or something as simple as a tally mark that keeps track of how many times you’ve finished last)
  • WNBA Game (loser has to buy a ticket to a WNBA game and go by him/herself. Also, must send the group a picture of the scoreboard every quarter and at the end of the game to prove they stayed the entire time)
  • Beer Bitch (loser has to get each person in the league a beer every single time they need one at next year’s fantasy draft. My advice here – put your cooler right next to you, but still make the person come to you and get it for you)

Championship Matchup Party

I’ve been in leagues in the past where once I’m knocked out, I don’t even pay attention to what’s happening for the remainder of the league’s playoffs. How do you keep everyone engaged? Have one final party where you watch all of Week 16’s (the week your fantasy league should end) games as the top-two teams in your league square off for the cash prize and bragging rights. Have a buddy with NFL Sunday Ticket? Bang, party is at his house. If not, find a sports bar and get a couple of Ubers lined up for later in the night.

Draft Order

Now it’s time to redraft again, and rather than automatically giving the person who finished in last place the first-overall pick the following year, it’s time to get creative. If you’re in a standard redraft league, last year’s results have nothing to do with the upcoming fantasy season, so get out of the habit of drafting in reverse order of where everyone finished. Decide your draft order based on the results of a beer-chugging contest. Base it on the results of a Madden tournament between you and your league mates. Hell, go with the NFL Draft theme and incorporate a Wonderlic Test and have your draft order based on those results. I’m sure you and your buddies can come up with something creative to determine your draft order, but I’m begging you, please don’t base it off last year’s results!

Ben Morgan is a co-host and blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast. Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook