Punishments for Finishing in Last Place in Your Leagues (2021 Fantasy Football)

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Fantasy football is always more fun when there’s something on the line. Sure, winning your league and the bragging rights that accompany it is fun. But, further, in leagues with buy-ins, winning stone-cold cash is excellent as well.

However, why limit the excitement to only winning teams? In leagues with family, friends, co-workers, and frienemies, adding the wrinkle of punishment for finishing in the basement can have uproariously funny consequences. Additionally, competitive-balance incentives/disincentives can be utilized to add some spice to fantasy football leagues, too.

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Pick Punishment

Whether you’re in re-draft leagues, keeper formats, or dynasty leagues, incorporating draft pick rules is a great way to keep gamers active. However, it’s important to avoid going overboard. For instance, punishing the last-place team by saddling them with the last pick in the following year’s draft can have competitive balance implications that drive people out of the league.

Instead, I suggest capping the punishment to the non-playoff teams. For instance, if six teams make the fantasy playoffs in your league and the other six compete in a consolation bracket, sticking the last-place finisher in the consolation bracket with the sixth pick in the following year’s draft motivates them to keep trying to win without punishing them too harshly.

Food and/or Beverage Punishment

By now, many of you are likely familiar with the Waffle House punishment one league’s last-place finisher endured. But, if you’re not familiar, you can read the specifics here.

While that league’s punishment garnered national attention, food or beverage punishments aren’t unheard of in fantasy football circles. For example, in one of my leagues with friends, Playing for Bounties, the last-place finisher has to consume a 22oz Smirnoff Ice — purchased by the league’s runner-up — at the league’s next draft. Additionally, we’ve purchased a Smirnoff pop-out chair each annual basement dweller’s required to sign and sit in for the duration of the live draft.

Also, while it’s not a last-place-finish punishment, we have another beverage-related punishment that fits the spirit of this article. Gamers who make the amateur-hour gaffe of attempting to select a player who’s been picked already are required to drink a punishment beer of the choosing of the gamer rostering the previously-selected player in question. Sadly, I have the dubious distinction of drunkenly trying to select Breshad Perriman during last year’s draft one round after already selecting him, resulting in me selecting my own punishment beer for consumption. Whoops.

Obviously, I don’t suggest alcohol-related punishment in leagues with folks who abstain from drinking or those including minors. However, non-alcoholic bizarre food or beverage options can be used as punishment. Further, with spicy novelty foods seemingly on the rise, they make for an intriguing option for last-place punishment — as long as all parties involved are in agreement.

Team Naming

There’s nothing preventing leagues from dishing out more than one punishment for finishing in the basement. In fact, Playing for Bounties also has a team-naming punishment for the last-place finisher that dovetails with winning the league.

The league champion in Playing for Bounties is rewarded with the ability to name the last-place finisher’s team. Since initially implementing this particular rule, we’ve enhanced it. Last-place finishers are required to finish above .500 before they’re allowed to rename themselves. However, if they finish in the basement a second consecutive year, the league champion can change their name at their discretion.

Additional Ideas

Have fun with punishing your league’s last-place finisher. If you have live drafts, consider making them the designated beverage-runner. Also, consider purchasing a hilarious clothing accessory they’re required to wear at the live draft.

Heck, purchase a novelty last-place-finisher trophy to commemorate the occasion and properly track it. Think outside the box. Fantasy football is meant to be fun, and a little good ol’ fashion ribbing can make leagues all the more enjoyable.

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If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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