Fantasy Football Schedules
Fantasy Football Schedule Considerations
Fantasy football schedules are used in head-to-head fantasy football leagues to pit one team against another. Typically, your team will play every team in the league once in your fantasy football schedule, while playing all your division opponents twice. This is only the most common approach, though, because there are all kinds of variations leagues can choose when filling out their fantasy football schedules.
13-Week Fantasy Football Schedules
Most leagues use the 13-week fantasy football schedule. This allows the league to schedule their playoffs for Week 14 through 16 of the NFL regular season, so games are through by Week 17, when some of the best fantasy football players are resting for the NFL playoffs. If you play in the standard 12-team league, 13 weeks is a pretty nice sized schedule. You can divide your league into 3 four-team divisions and schedule division rivals to play twice (for 6 weeks) and 7 of your 8 non-division league members once.
Some leagues don't like the fact that you won't play one league member every year in this format. These leagues either extend their regular season by a week, cut out one of the 2nd meetings of division rivals or have one double-header week. Doubleheaders can be controversial, because one week of the season counts twice in the standings. This increases the luck factor of who gets in the playoffs, since one really good score on doubleheader week can vault you into the playoffs, while one really bad week is like having two really bad weeks at once - and can often cost a team a playoff shot.
If you choose to place a double-header week in your fantasy football schedules, here are a few suggestions to make them more fair. Do not schedule a double-header during Weeks 4 through 10, because these are the NFL bye weeks. It's inherently unfair to force some teams to play twice on the week that their best players are off on bye. For instance, if you chose Week 9 as your bye week this year, the team who drafted Adrian Peterson would be penalized by your choice, because the Vikings are on bye. Essentially, your fantasy football schedule arbitrarily would assign two bye weeks to Adrian Peterson, where most other star players would have one.
Choosing any other bye week would affect other star players similarly, so it's best to avoid that and choose weeks where there are no byes. That means you can have a bye on NFL Weeks 1 through 3 or NFL Weeks 11 through 13, before or after the byes. I would suggest having a game after the bye weeks. That's because league members are still trying to figure out who the best starting options on their rosters are in the first few weeks of the season, and pushing a bye week on them that early in the season means some teams won't be starting their best teams. By the last three weeks of the fantasy season, teams should have a pretty good idea who their best players are. There might be a few more injuries by then, but teams will have had time to patch holes in their roster.
Also, have a late doubleheader keeps the suspense in the league. When scheduling a doubleheader, I prefer to schedule it on the last week of the regular season. The later the doubleheader, the more teams are likely to remain in the playoff chance. That keeps more teams interested and might help eliminate the collusion of stacking trades. With a final week doubleheader, if you're within two games of the person ahead of you in the playoff chase, you have a chance for the miracle comeback.
Fantasy Football Playoff Schedules
Setting up a playoff schedule is pretty easy: all you have to do is decide how many teams will make your playoff, how many get byes and then set up a seeding system. Deciding how many playoff teams you'll have is synonymous with how many byes you'll have. If you want 3 bye week teams (usually the 3 division winners), have a 5-team playoff. If you wnat 2 byes, have a 6-team playoff. If you want 1 bye team that goes to the #1 seed, have 7 playoff teams. If you don't want anyone to have a bye week in the playoffs, then have either a 4-team or 8-team playoff bracket.
While having more teams in the playoffs waters down the regular season and can be a little cheesy, I prefer it, because it keeps more teams engaged and interested. Ultimately, fantasy football is there for the entertainment, so the more teams that are entertained, the better.