Fantasy Football Championship Primer


I’ve brought so much weekly content to the table this season for DFF. I’ve had streamers, divisional nuggets, risers and fallers, one week ahead, and storylines, among other pieces. Now, we’ve reached Week 16, fantasy championship week for almost all leagues. As a side note, if your league plays into Week 17, stop that. Many NFL teams play their backups in the last week of the season, and you don’t want your title decided by backups.

With that PSA out of the way, let’s move into why I’m writing this column. I want to discuss the meaning of fantasy football. If you’re playing for a championship this week, I’m curious what motivates you to go out and win the title. Is it money, pride, or something else?

My Experience

It’s hard for me to assume what motivates other people, but I can offer some anecdotes from personal history. I have generally found that the money rarely, if ever, is my primary motivator for playing fantasy football. Even though I might seem extremely friendly and helpful on Twitter in my question threads, I hope my readers know that I’m competitive as hell in my leagues. I love winning, and I never want to lose.

On that note, I’ve had almost universally negative experiences with any fantasy football league with anything other than a modest buy-in. I usually find $50 per owner to be that sweet spot. It keeps everyone involved, but it’s not a stressful amount for most people.

I’ve played in a few free leagues over the years, and I find that there’s a motivation problem. Sometimes, people don’t even bother to check the league, destroying competitive integrity. I feel that having some money on the line helps the league become more serious. A relatively small buy-in acts as a barrier to entry that keeps out people who aren’t fully committed to the league. Think about playing poker for nothing; it just doesn’t make sense.

However, if the buy-in is too large, the whole league starts to become primarily about money. Fantasy football should be an inherently enjoyable activity. When the potential winnings overshadow the title, it seems to have a nasty effect on league dynamics. Recently, there have been some Twitter arguments surrounding etiquette about leaving in high buy-in dynasty leagues. While I don’t know for sure, I suspect that these arguments would not happen if the league buy-in were a lower amount.

My Advice

Moving into championship week, I want to emphasize that we should all focus on fun. I’ve recorded some video content on Twitter around this topic, but I’ll reiterate it here. Fantasy football is supposed to be fun. Of course, you want to win titles because that’s why we play the game. But, don’t lose sight of enjoyment.

I don’t have too much else to say on the topic. I know that I’ve struggled with fun myself throughout this season, especially with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fantasy season. I happen to be in two title games, but even so, it’s been a rough year. 

Overall, I’m thankful and grateful for the Twitter community, as I might have walked away from the fantasy football world without them. It’s a positive and amazing place, and I know how much they all support me. I also want to emphasize that I don’t care about how many championships you’ve made. Yes, accountability is important, but results aren’t everything. There’s more to content than winning leagues, and I love to hear different views and thought processes, even if they didn’t pan out in 2020.

If you’re a good human, and I enjoy interacting with you, I will do my best to consume your work. Just keep all of that advice in mind, and I wish all of you the best of luck in Week 16!

Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.


Columbia SPS Sports Management graduate.

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