Jul 22, 2007
by Jim Coventry, Guest Blogger
My ten-team dynasty league has been around since 1994 and although we have gotten many things right, we had growing pains along the way, but we have not had a major rules change in over five years or since we went to the ‘Luck is Outlawed’ motto. Like many other leagues, we had allowed six teams to make the playoffs, and that sixty percent is obviously higher than the NFL, which allows twelve out of thirty-two, or thirty-eight percent, to enter the postseason. At least in the NFL, most of the poor teams that squeak into the playoffs are quickly cast aside by the big boys in road games, but not so in fantasy football. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the fifth and sixth seeds, neither had an over .500 season, went to the title game. Our challenge was simple- keep the season relevant for as many teams as possible for as many weeks of the season as we could and more importantly, to crown a team worthy of the league title. Knowing that most leagues reward the playoff champion with the greatest prize, why make the regular season almost useless? Here is what I came up with:
The regular season: We play eleven weeks of doubleheaders for a twenty-two game season. Each (five-team) division plays divisional opponents three times and out-of-division rivals twice. The season covers all the bye weeks, and less than half of the weeks have all NFL teams playing, which tests the depth and strength of each team.
We reduced the playoff qualifiers to four teams (right on par with the NFL percentage). The two division winners along with two wild cards qualify, but all teams still have life as we enter…
The playoffs: Two great things happen in the playoff season: Playoff series and a round-robin tournament. The playoffs start in week twelve with two-out-of-three series (#1 vs. # 4 and # 2 vs. # 3). Since we score in tenths of a point, the home field advantage is a one-tenth of a point tiebreaker. If both series are sweeps, the title series begins in week fourteen. The losers play in a consolation series. There are prizes for all four playoff teams. The remaining six teams play in a round robin tournament for a prize. During weeks twelve through sixteen each team plays each other once. In week seventeen, the top two teams play for the round robin title. The only drawback is that teams play in week seventeen, but we have decided that since we have twenty-five man rosters, we are responsible to carry the depth needed to handle adversity. Also, if a team was so good, they should be able to sweep without needing week 17.
How has it worked out? All teams have relevant games for at least fifteen weeks and at least six teams have them through week 16. More importantly, the best team has not won every year (actually the best team has won about half the time), which is a good thing, but one better thing has happened- we have never had one team complain about having luck steal a title from them. If a team beats you two-out-of-three, they deserve to win. In the past, we usually had a team win due to luck- and that was no way to crown a champ every year!