If you’re like me, you know how frustrating a league can be when middling, and bottom-dwelling teams give up on the season before Week 10. One way to combat the epidemic of fantasy apathy is to instill an inspiring Last Place Punishment. Not only does it force teams to continue to compete throughout the entirety of the season, even when they have no chance of getting first place, but it also drives mediocre managers to try harder from one year to the next. The fear of last place can be even more powerful than the desire to finish first.
Before I dive into the Top-5 Last Place Punishments, I’d like to give a nod to some last place punishments that fall just shy of the Top-5 list.
This punishment is exactly as it sounds: the league loser has to get a tattoo to commemorate their pathetic season. However, it’s mostly fun in theory. I’ve been in leagues where the last-place finisher refuses to get the tattoo and then refuses to speak to anyone again. It’s all fun and games until the bill comes due.
“The Public Apology”
With this punishment, the league loser must record a public apology video that they post online. Something to the effect of, “I apologize for having the worst fantasy football team, and I promise to do better.” While this kind of punishment is easy to get your league-mates to agree to, I’ve always felt that it comes up short on the humiliation scale. We can do better.
“The Name Change”
This is the punishment I’ve employed in most of my fantasy leagues, but it’s usually coupled with an additional, far grander punishment. The league winner chooses the league loser’s team name for the next season. Unlike “The Tattoo,” nobody puts up a fight about this punishment. It’s a 1/10 on the humiliation scale, but it keeps things interesting.
THE TOP-5 LAST PLACE PUNISHMENTS:
5. “Guy Fieri’s Flavor Hell.”
There’s a time-honored tradition where the league loser has to host the draft party the next season. This particular punishment ensures that the loser doesn’t phone it in. The league loser must dress up as Guy Fieri and host the draft party with as much fervor as they can muster. If you’re blanking on who Guy Fieri is, just google him. He’s the guy who says, “Flavor Town,” and has the crazy blonde-tipped hair and flame shirts. In this punishment, the league loser (dressed as Guy Fieri) can either go to Flavor Town or Flavor Hell. If the party and food are satisfying, then that’s all the further the punishment gets. That’s the Flavor Town situation. However, if the party is not satisfying and the food is lackluster, the league loser must go to Flavor Hell. They have to put hot sauce (selected by the reigning league champion) on everything. Hot sauce on food, hot sauce in drinks, even hot sauce in water.
4. “Brown Bag Season’s Greetings.”
I love Season’s Greetings cards. I also love last place punishments. The two work surprisingly well together. Whether the league loser is single, in a relationship, or has too many children to count, creating a Season’s Greetings card is not difficult. There are many online sites that make the process easy and inexpensive. The only catch is that the league loser must use a photo of them wearing a brown bag over their head. Everyone else in the photo can do what they want, but the league loser MUST be shrouded in that shameful brown bag. The card must be sent to everyone in the league.
3. “The Kids Book.”
This punishment can range from cheap to expensive, but everyone in the league must get a copy. The league loser has to create a kid’s book to commemorate their losing season. The way I’ve done it in the past is that the loser either photocopies 10 drawings from their own children and uses those as the template on which they write the story, or they can make their own ridiculous drawings. But the book MUST contain outlandish and colorful drawings. This is the story my league losers have used before: “Once upon a time… There was a brave little fantasy football manager… Their name was (name of loser)… They tried so hard to win in (year)… But they couldn’t… So they moved into the sewers… And everyone called them “Loser”… Because that’s what they were… The biggest loser of them all… Lower than dirt. The End!”
2. “My Name Is Garbage.”
One of the challenges of last place punishments is making sure everyone is involved. The premise for this punishment is very simple, but it can be expanded as your league sees fit. The league loser, for the entire next year, must be called “Garbage.” In everyone’s phone contacts, their name must be changed to Garbage. Their team name the next year is Garbage. When you all go out to the bar together, they must tell the bartender to call them Garbage. In one league, we even made a shirt that the loser had to wear at the next draft party and all season long. That shirt read, “My name is Garbage.” Full disclosure, this is the only last-place punishment I’ve had to endure. My first three picks all went down to injury, and the year spiraled from there. To anyone who thinks “The Tattoo” isn’t that intense, this punishment is like a tattoo on one’s soul. Anyway, my name is Garbage.
It’s not just a trophy. It’s a sacred relic passed from one league loser to the next, covered in shame and weighted by indignity. My favorite place to get fantasy football goodies is Trophy Smack. What they offer is pretty unparalleled, including perpetual trophies that can have new names added to the trophy each year. With customizable options, you can create the last place trophy of your nightmares. Having a perpetual Last Place trophy that must be displayed all year is a great way to remind the entire league that last place legends never die. It’s also one of the easiest punishments to get your league-mates excited about. Check out Trophy Smack’s other last-place punishment prizes HERE. And when you use the code FANTASYPROS, you get a free Ring, Loser Ribbons, Loser Mirror, or Loser Tattoos with the purchase of any belt or trophy. For perfect prizes to get for your league winners, check out this ranking of prizes.
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.