Last Week’s Question:
How Many Leagues that Play for Bragging
Rights Only (no purse) Are Still Going Strong?
A Mac belongs to a league that plays for bragging rights only.
There is no purse. The winner gets a trophy, and the loser has
to serve as commissioner for the following season. No money has
changed hands in the 16 years of his league’s existence—and
he asked me to try to find out if many other “no purse”
leagues are still going strong.
The answer is a definite yes. Jason wrote in to explain how the
MFL (Mondo Football League) has been chugging along for a decade
and a half:
I’m in a league that’s been around
for about 15 years now. We are all friends or family connected
to the high school that I went to. There is no purse, just a lot
of bragging rights... and a trophy. Whoever wins in any particular
year gets their name put on a placard that is attached to our
highly coveted trophy. Adding the placard (which costs around
$5 - $10 at a local trophy store) is the responsibility of the
previous year’s winner. Supposedly there is a Toilet Bowl
trophy for last place – but I’ve never seen it.
In the beginning we would generally have to go looking for 1-2
friends to fill in for [former participants] who dropped out,
but now we have the same 10 guys who play every year (and it’s
been the same 10 for the last 8 years or so). Not only do we all
play in the same fantasy football league, but we also play a college
fantasy football pickem (just for bragging rights) and college
basketball NCAA tournament pickem (another coveted trophy with
We have one official league commissioner and statistician who
keeps track of a variety of stats: wins, losses, highest score
of all time, largest margin of victory, average pick in the draft
(I’m at the bottom with an average pick position of 7 over
the last 12 years – no I’m not bitter, why do you
ask?), etc. We also have two unofficial league rankers who try
to determine who among us is the best owner of all time using
their own formulas to boost their positions within the rank.
I no longer live in the same state as most of the other players
and am not able to make it to most of our “events”
in person. But our events include draft day (I and a few others
use IM-based voice conferencing) and a pizza party. As well, there
is a league holiday/Christmas dinner where the participants each
bring (or make) a meal for everyone with the wives voting on the
It’s really a great league to be in and keeps me in contact
with friends that I would have otherwise lost touch with.
It’s refreshing to know that “no purse”
leagues are still appreciated by people like Jason, but he was
the only reader who provided any vivid details about a league
of people who play for bragging rights that has had genuine longevity.
Responses from people like Frank and Tina suggest that “no
purse” leagues are becoming less common than they used to
be. In Frank’s case:
Our league is heading into its 9th season
with entry fees. Before that, most of the people currently in
the league played against each other for bragging rights. It was
fun, but we all decided it would be more fun to throw $50 each
into the kitty at the beginning of the season. I haven’t
heard anyone say they want to go back to playing for just bragging
Tina moved from a “bragging rights” league
to a league with cash stakes, but she still plays in the league
with no purse:
I started playing FF with friends from work
for bragging rights. After a couple of years, some of us wanted
to play for cash. Our boss didn’t like the idea of gambling
at the workplace, so three of us joined a league run by a friend
of mine with real stakes. Since then, I think almost everyone
else in the office league has ended up playing in various FF money
leagues. We still all play in the office league for bragging rights,
but nobody brags very much. I honestly don’t even remember
who won last year. I think we only pay attention to the office
league at all to have a practice draft and get ideas about trades
and waiver wire moves in our money leagues.
This Week’s Question:
What website does the best job of hosting
fantasy leagues during the NFL playoffs?
This week’s question comes from Jeremy, who writes:
I've got a question that our league has been
searching for an answer to for years. For the past ten years or
so, about half of our league participates in a redraft for the
NFL Playoffs. We draft a starting lineup only with no adds or
drops, so obviously part of the draft strategy is to decide who
will be playing in the most games. Our draft is conducted in a
chat room, and then I score the four weeks of NFL Playoffs manually
on a spreadsheet. What we'd love to find is a site that hosts
fantasy football for the NFL Playoffs including having drafting
capabilities (we'd love to try an auction draft for the playoffs
Do you know of any such sites?
Jeremy’s question is specific to the format his
league has adopted. I have participated in playoff fantasy leagues
such as the one he describes. They can be a lot of fun. There
is a little bit of strategy to covering your bases in such leagues.
The NFL teams with byes for the first week of the playoffs are
the ones most likely to make it all the way to the championship,
but picking players strictly from those teams makes it impossible
to field a team in the first week of the playoffs.
I would particularly like
to hear from readers who have a good answer for Jeremy’s
very specific question. However, since there are all sorts of
different ways to organize fantasy leagues in the NFL postseason,
I will be happy to include recommendations from readers about
websites that may utilize other formats for postseason fantasy
Last Man Standing Picks (Courtesy of
Mark Den Adel)
1) Tampa Bay over Seattle
It’s hard to overlook the biorhythmic difficulties that
Seahawk players seem to have when traveling from the Pacific to
the Atlantic. The Seahawks have lost their last 6 games when traveling
east with an early start time. Tampa’s passing defense is
ranked 11th, which is more than the struggling Matt Hasselbeck
will want to contend with after throwing 2 interceptions and finishing
with a QB rating of 28.9 (not to mention being benched). Seattle
is 29th in passing defense, so expect a nice day from Josh Freeman
and the Tampa receivers.
2) Jacksonville over Washington
Washington is playing to see who its quarterback might be next
year. Jacksonville is playing for the playoffs in case the Colts
stumble against Oakland or Tennessee. Jacksonville’s rushing
offense is 3rd against Washington’s 27th ranked rush defense,
so the advantage here goes to Mojo by miles and miles. Pass defense
is weak for both, so expect a high-scoring game that will be decided
by a field goal. I’ll take Jacksonville at home to win.
3) Philadelphia over Minnesota
All I should have to say here is Joe Webb is quarterbacking the
Vikings. Minnesota has long been done, and Philly needs to keep
winning to win the division. Minnesota couldn’t contain
the Bears 26th-rated passing offense, so how are they going to
be able to contain the Eagles 6th-rated passing offense? Chris
Kluwe kept punting the ball out of bounds, but I heard the Vikings
fans booing that stratagem. Then he kicked to Hester on the sideline
and Hester ran for a TD. Will the Vikings kick to DeSean Jackson
or kick it out of bounds as they will surely be punting many times
on Sunday? Also, did I mention that the Vikings plan to start
rookie Joe Webb?
Upset of the week – Detroit over
Detroit keeps breaking long losing streaks by beating Green Bay
to end the losing streak in the division and then winning at Tampa
Bay to end their road-losing streak. Miami has played surprisingly
poorly at home this year. The Dolphins lost to the lowly Bills
last week and are a miserable 1-6 at home so far this season.
Miami does have a great defense, so this will be a low-scoring
game, but my crystal ball shows me Calvin Johnson catching a TD
pass late for the win.
For responses to this week's fantasy
question please email me.