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5 formats that are sure to spice up your fantasy football experience

Forget standard drafts and try one of these formats to add some fun to your fantasy life this season.

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Draft season is upon us and while the Fake Teams staff are working all hours to bring you the best information on who to draft in your leagues, there is a whole world of alternate league types out there to add fun and intrigue.

The build up to the 2019 season has been a revelation for me from a fantasy standpoint. Previously I’d made my way by playing mostly in standard redraft and dynasty leagues, with the only wrinkle coming from a few leagues with IDP (individual Defensive Player) rather than team defenses. With the flexibility available on fantasy platforms such as Sleeper HQ (my new favorite), Fantrax and MFL, I’ve thrown open the shutters and let the sunshine in on a whole new world of fantasy leagues. I need to give a shout out to a good friend of mine in the fantasy community who has been the catalyst in trying many of these new types of league, Neill Elliot (@NeillElliot). Neill has led the way, starting all manner of leagues with different formats, even going so far as to set up his own multiple league format, that will have promotion and relegation after the inaugural season this year.

Below are some fresh ideas on the fantasy format for you to try this year.

Vampire League

Last month I published an article on the Vampire format, but the basic premise is one player in the league is the Vampire and they only fill their roster once the rest of the league has completed a standard draft. The Vampire is at an initial disadvantage but the rub is the Vampire is the only player allowed to use the waiver wire so injuries can have serious impacts on the rest of the league. Benches are tight so the rest of the league have to be clever over how they draft as bye weeks will impact weekly lineups. The Vampire also has the ability to set their weekly schedule, so a clever Vampire will look to exploit opponents who have not taken bye weeks into account. The final benefit for the Vampire is that if they win any weekly match up, they are allowed to swap any player from their starting roster that week for the equivalent player from their opponent so the Vampire can start to build a dominant roster as the season goes on.

Defense Only Leagues

One for the fantasy connoisseur. Drafting a defensive only roster requires a next level knowledge as IDP is not for everyone, but it seems only right to have these leagues as defense is half the game. Most defense only leagues will draft position groups for the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs and then a team defense as well, though I am in one league where it goes further and into individual positions so defensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker, safety and cornerbacks. The secret here is to look for high volume players rather than the biggest names and off the ball linebackers who make 100+ tackles a season are your point generators compared to the guys you are expecting to generate sacks. When if comes to defensive backs, think strong safeties rather than shut down corners as they just don’t see as much of the ball.

Tiered PPR/Tight End Premium

0.5 or 1 point per reception have pretty much become the standard scoring method in fantasy but you can take it up a notch by adding bonuses for longer receptions to emphasise the difference makers and deep ball threats. How you set it up is up to you but generally you’ll have no bonus for receptions under 10 yards, 0.5 points between 10-19 yards, 1 point for 20-29 yards, 1.5 points for 30-39 yards and 2 points for any reception of 40 yards or more.

Tight End premium is exactly that, any reception by your tight ends will get an additional bonus of 0.5 or 1 point to bring those players more in line with receivers. Tight end premium makes those real difference makers at the position such as Travis Kelce and George Kittle potential first round draft picks.

Flexible Flex

I love the flex position, in fact I love it so much that all my teams are called ‘Flex on Fire’ and have been for the last two seasons. Adding additional flexes is becoming more common but you can go the extra mile and make all positions a flex. Mixing it up by having some Super Flex where you can start additional quarterbacks, some where its RB/WR and some RB/WR/TE just add to the fun and the strategy when drafting.

AFC/NFC Dynasty

This one was fun and I’m looking forward to see how this one shakes out. The premise is simple, a 16-man league where you draft two team defenses, one from each conference and then fill your roster with the players from those teams to take on the rest of the league, both offense and defense. I drafted fifth in my league, taking the Houston Texans from the AFC before coming back around and taking the 49ers as my NFC team. I like the Deshaun Watson/Jimmy G Quarterback duo, plus some top receiving talent in DeAndre Hopkins, George Kittle and Will Fuller. Running back lacks a top end stud but I have talent all over my defense with JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, Deforest Buckner and number 2 pick Nick Bosa to bring the heat on that side of the ball.

Have fun trying out new types of leagues, and hit me up with any other formats you enjoy playing in the comments or @PaddiCooper on Twitter.