Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 8/16/12

It’s that time of year again.

The time when football fans put on their general manager caps and start making the big time decisions.

It’s fantasy football time!

After participating in several different leagues over the past couple years, I’ve found that there are several characteristics that make a league great, as well as several qualities that can make fantasy football unappealing.

Now that I’ve separated the good and the bad, I have compiled a list of the essential traits of the best fantasy football leagues to help you create the perfect fantasy football league for the 2012 season.

1. Live Draft

There is nothing more exciting and entertaining than starting your fantasy football season with a live draft that includes all of your best friends.

This is an absolute must for a great fantasy football league, as it allows everyone to criticize every single pick in the draft.

There’s nothing better than drafting Aaron Rodgers with the first overall pick only to hear “Are you serious?! What a great pick…if you plan on losing!”

You really want THIS guy leading your fantasy team? Ha!

2. Clever Team Names

It’s nearly impossible to enjoy the fantasy football year when you are playing in a league composed of team names as weak and uncreative as “Team Smith” or “Joe’s AZ Cardinals.”

A great fantasy league will involve some deep, creative thinking for those team names that get a laugh every time they are seen.

“Cruz-in to Victory,” or “Cry me a Rivers” are two perfectly acceptable names for good fantasy leagues.

Using your own name in a creative way is also highly encouraged (i.e. my team name for the 2012 season is the Schu-Topians).

3. 10-Team League Maximum

Several of you that participate in fantasy football like to play in competitive 16-team leagues that require serious research into filling your depth chart.

While I commend you for accepting this challenging task, it simply is too much for the perfect fantasy league.

When you play in an 8- or 10-team league, it allows a competitive atmosphere, yet nearly every player you select in your draft is a star or well-known contributor. Plus, there are still good players out on the waiver wire to provide ample opportunity for transactions and plucking potential sleepers.

If I played in a 16-team league, for example, there would be no way I could grab three fantastic receivers like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Greg Jennings without giving up my entire roster in trades.

Stick to the 10-team maximum. It’s more fun that way.

4. No Slouches

When you are inviting your buddies to join your perfect league, remember to leave out those guys who constantly forget to make changes to their roster on a weekly basis.

It takes about 20 minutes per week for the average fantasy football enthusiast to make adjustments to their roster. If they’re too lazy to make changes, you don’t want them in your league.

While it’s always fun beating up on someone 95-12, it doesn’t make for a very competitive league.

5. Trash Talk

Don’t break out the actual player statistics to start bad-mouthing your opponent. It’s much more entertaining for everyone when you deliver ridiculous arguments that make little, if any, sense to anyone.

For example, a good (and fun) argument for fantasy football would go something like this:

Guy A: “I am going to smash you this week, dude.”

Guy B: “No way, my rabbits are coming out of the garage hot today.”

Guy A: “????”

Guy B: “That’s right. You can’t handle this.”

Of course this just an example, but you get the idea.

6. League Trophy

The final and most crucial aspect of forming the perfect fantasy football league?

A trophy for the league champion.

The guys in The League do it right.

It’s always nice to have a prize involved when you are engaged in some friendly competition with some of your friends.

Not everyone has the cash (or the concern) to go the distance in getting the Lombardi Trophy replicated as a reward for the league winner on an annual basis, but finding some sort of trophy from around the home is perfectly fine.

A foam football, miniature helmet, or decorated beer bottle would be a perfect award for the season’s end champion. Something with sentimental value or a great story behind it perhaps.

Or, if you’re really into it, you could always get one professionally made to use a traveling trophy to present to the winner on an annual basis.

The possibilities are endless.

*****

Now that you’ve got all of the necessary requirements to form the most fun and entertaining fantasy league for the upcoming season, it’s time to invite nine of your closest friends, start brainstorming for a great team name, and work towards that coveted league trophy.

In other words, it’s time to have the perfect fantasy football season.

What other elements do you think make a fantasy football league great?


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