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July 18, 2012 / That.Gruden.Guy

New Twist on an Old Game: Divisional Fantasy Football

So after winning my league Super Bowl following the 2006 season, I quit playing Fantasy Football these last few seasons. Honestly, I must say I have NOT missed it. It’s nice to enjoy football for what it is, and not end up screaming at the TV and ruining a Sunday over something stupid like “Damn, why did Brady throw it to Welker? I started Gronk!!!” That said, I’m still an idea man… and I’ve got a great idea to breathe new life into Fantasy Football for anyone getting bored or looking for a new twist:  Divisional Fantasy Football.

A new way to play might spice things up.

Each of the 8 players gets one NFL Division and can field his team from any players in that division. So the person with the NFC East could choose from Eli Manning, RGIII, Michael Vick, and Romo at QB. Meanwhile the guy with the NFC West could pencil in the San Francisco defense and Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald every week. Whoever drafts the AFC West would have to choose between new Denver QB Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers of the Chargers. You get the idea.

It would sort of take the fun out of the draft, since there’d only be one round, but the guy with the first pick still has to strategize… does he take the NFC North so he’ll have Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Lions WR Calvin Johnson? Or take the AFC North just to get Ravens RB Ray Rice and pair him with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, Bengals WR A.J. Green, Browns RB Trent Richardson and the Pittsburgh Defense? And of course you’d still have week to week strategy of who to start/play.

Besides semi-killing the draft element, another stumbling block is the bye week. Usually the NFL schedule has most or all teams from one division on a bye at the same time. If one division does NOT have several teams on bye the same week, then that team would have an advantage. BUT, what if you had an active/inactive roster, so you could keep most of your top players active, but still leave plenty of “free agents” for other divisions to use one-time only when their division is on bye? Maybe you’d have to leave X number of QB’s available…. Maybe each week you could move players to/from inactive list.

So I have the NFC South, and they’re all on bye except New Orleans. Maybe I start the best of the Saints players and then fill in with the unprotected players from the other divisions. Maybe force everyone to leave 1-2 QB’s from their division on an unprotected inactive list so the talent pool was decent….

Not sure if this format would work in head-to-head style of play, or more suitable to a “rotisserie” format where you don’t play against anyone, just accumulate points each week. Maybe it could be done either way.

Not sure how this idea could make money. Unless you could have a website where people would play for $10 and just spread the word around until it’s really popular. Perhaps I could copyright the concept so I could cash in if ESPN and Yahoo wanted to start offering this. Probably not, who knows. But consider this date/time-stamped blog entry as my official claim on the idea; feel free to contact me with big-money offers.

This article is an updated reprint of my original idea previously published in 2008.

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