Preventing Collusion & Throwing Games in Your Fantasy Football League

It’s hard to approach the subject of “throwing games” or collusion, even in your league’s rulebook. While a blanket statement such as “Collusion and Throwing Games will not be tolerated and is subject to penalty of [insert your penalty here”] is good to have in your rules, a better path to take is to simply incentivize owners not to do these things. This can be done by including rules and processes in your league that motivate everyone to stay involved all year, and thus distract owners from even considering negative courses of action.

  1. Set the Next Year’s Draft Order by Standings & Include a Loser Bracket
    It’s all about incentive. If you incentivize the bad teams with a motivation to keep trying, it will keep them actively positive. A great method of this is to include having a losers bracket at the end of the season, for all of the teams who didn’t make the playoffs.
    In my league, we throw all of the teams into a bracket, and whomever wins gets the next year’s first pick,. Then the remaining teams get the next best picks based on their respective performances in the bracket.

  2. Double-Headers during the last two weeks
    Some league management platforms allow you to have double-headers. This means that two games take place in a single week. Our league stacks two double-headers at the end of the season. Having four games take place in the last two weeks massively limits the teams that are completely out of playoff contention deep into the season. The more teams that have even the slightest of chances, the more owners you will have continuing to put in effort for the longest timeframe.

  3. Early Trade Deadlines
    There are some league’s out there that foolishly allow trading into the last week, and sometimes even into the playoffs. Instead, set your trade deadline somewhere between weeks 8-10. This will disallow any consideration of owners who are out of it at the end of season to collude.

  4. Deposit for Future Seasons
    This is an especially good idea for keeper leagues. Nobody wants some chump joining your dynasty league, only to give up at the end of the season and quit because they don’t see a short term future for their team. Having owners invest into the future will incentivize them to not throw in the towel so easily. With that said, it’s not necessary a good idea to just have owners constantly paying the money forward, otherwise that money will never be accessible to them again in the future. So you have to consider a method of investing that deposit into the league. A few methods to do this are:
    - Have owners pay a 50% deposit on their next season. This will at least secure them for coming back for year two.
    - Use the money for a “Big Money Super Bowl”, where every 5 years all of the collected dues are used for a special payout in a SUPER Super Bowl.
    - Invest the deposit into a league trophy, or as league dues that will be contributed for snacks and alcohol at the next year’s draft.

  5. Weekly Prizes
    Sometimes even the smallest of prizes is incentive enough to put in effort on a weekly basis. Something as simple as “$5 for the weekly high scorer” will be enough reason for the last place team to continue turning in a solid lineup.