Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks to the media after winning Super Bowl XLIX 28-24 against the Seattle Seahawk
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One Rule Change That Will Reinvigorate Any Season-Long Fantasy Football League

Most of you that play in season-long fantasy football leagues have drafted or will be drafting any day now. I have heard the grumblings over the last few years that season-long fantasy football leagues aren't what they used to be. All the options for daily fantasy have cut some of the former passionate season-long fantasy owners at the knees. They find it hard to stay invested. But in this moment we can turn to the wisdom of this child to find the true answer: *{why not both gif / meme here}*

I do understand that if you have a tough run of injuries early in your season-long league, or you are simply in a league where the waiver wire isn't an exciting gauntlet every single week, that there is something nice about the challenge of selecting a few (or a few dozen) new teams each week in daily fantasy.

However, make no mistake, the true test of fantasy greatness is still settled by winning a season-long league title.

Fantasy Football is Serious Business. Remember That.

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups before the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game against the Baltimore Ravens

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There are no redos in the traditional format of fantasy football. To make team 'Kyler Soze' into champions you have to draft well, make smart trades, work the waiver wire and adjust to injuries. It takes endurance and long run vision to climb to the top, like running a marathon, but doing it by tweaking your lineup after reading fantasy football articles each time you are on the john. 

One resounding complaint about full-season leagues is that it seems like each league always has that one person who either has a poor showing in the first few weeks, some tough injury luck or frankly just doesn't have the passion or time, that they run out of steam by the end of the year. No matter what we do, we can't seem to convince the manager of 'sHerbert Is Just Bad Ice Cream'  not to start an injured player or someone on a bye week. Until now.

Weekly Prizes for Winners Only

Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after scoring a touchdown during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills

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Here is the perfect adjustment that can reinvigorate your league, even for 'BringBack JohnnyFootball,' who, like the namesake, feels like they missed their moment. You throw in a prize for the Winner of The Week.  Whoever has the highest point total each week gets this prize money AND you require a video victory speech to the group chat in order for them to claim their prize. It's easy. Just collect a few more dollars from each team manager (or take some from the existing prize pool) and allocate it out for each week of the regular season.

Speech, Speech, Speech!

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell addresses the media before the start of the Detroit Lions Training Camp afternoon practice session

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I started this rule a few years ago in a league where I am the commissioner (it's on my LinkedIn, no big deal). We added the victory speech stipulation during the 2020 pandemic season and since then, it has become the most active and fun fantasy league I've ever been a part of.

The speeches have grown to become amazing roasts, with managers calling out other managers and their rosters. Some speeches have been edited to music or included player highlights. Others were three minutes long before you realized the person talking was sitting on the toilet, which, even for 'CeeDeeze Nutz,' seemed out of line. Some have been recorded live during the final minutes of "Monday Night Football" as the clock ticks down.

Last year our league champion recorded a victory speech that was a word-for-word recreation of the trailer for Tom Brady's "Man in the Arena," but instead edited with photos from her childhood and pictures of players on her team replacing those of Brady in the video.

It was an eviscerating masterpiece worthy of a title. Trust me I know, because I lost in the championship and I am a disciple of the Church of Tom.

Since we started these weekly victory prizes and speeches, we have had virtually no issues with folks setting lineups. Even a 2-7 team is incentivized to keep playing to try to get the weekly high score and an opportunity to roast the group. The league has grown more competitive. There are no late season walks because 'LambeauBeatsByDre' is 2-8 and has Deandre Hopkins who is out for the year, so the guy who plays him in week 11 has an unfair advantage that you didn't because you played him in week 3, when Lambeau was trying and his team just happened to put up a million. Now, that team is making moves on the waiver wire and trying to trade pieces for Dionte Johnson and Hunter Renfrow just to see if it can win a few weeks to round out the year, all for the thrill of the prize and the speech.

Flag on the (Worst) Play(er of the Week)

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) rolls out of the pocket as an official throws a penalty flag for holding against the Bills

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Do you need to add even more of an incentive for your season-long league to have the same excitement as your daily ones? You can create a penalty for the lowest scoring team of the week, where they have to pay some (or all) of the prize money earned by the week's high scorer.

Nothing like 'Hide and Go Zeke' having to pay up to 'Wentz, Twice, Thrice A Champ' to foster the makings of a great victory roast speech, inspiring future greatness from the loser to never get called out again.

Over the next few weeks you might hear someone who thinks they are a real "fantasy guru" say, "I don't play season-long fantasy football anymore, I just do too many daily fantasy leagues—" as though they don't have time for something they think is beneath them. 

Don't be fooled. You are listening to someone with a classic fear of commitment. They tell you they don't want to be locked into just one team. They don't want to be tied down. They aren't in a place right now to be responsible for poor decisions they made weeks earlier. They tell you that they eventually get bored with only one team, but you can see through that.

You are listening to someone who doesn't want others to have to rely on them for fear of letting them down. They think that they don't have what it takes to take that special group of someones and make them matter. Someone who isn't creative enough to keep dating that same team week after week and keep it sexy and fun, while still building the type of healthy relationship future dynasty teams can be born into. But they are enough. And like Dr. Phil, you just need to help them believe in themselves.

Get them to look in the mirror and say, "I can score the most points this week so I can tell Carl his team played poorly because his new haircut stinks and his fantasy players don't respect him."

"And if it's not this week, it's next week. Because I deserve a full season of fantasy love. I am enough. I have the heart of a champion. I'm so money and I don't even know it."

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