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Best format for ten-year-old's first-ever fantasy league?


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Near the end of last season, my oldest son started displaying some interest in football for the first time in his life (actually, fantasy much more than actual football). So I set up a little playoff DFS pool with a few cousins/friends, which he seemed to enjoy. I think we're going to try to do a full-season league this year (assuming there is a season).

Any recommendations for the best way to structure the league? I want to keep things super simple. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Eight teams
  • Snake draft
  • Basic positions:  QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, flex, DST, 5 bench
  • Full PPR (I'm thinking it will be more fun if it's high scoring)
  • Open waivers

Questions I'm still pondering: 

  • Do we have kickers? On the one had, it introduces a level of randomness, which will probably drive him crazy. On the other hand, with unskilled players maybe it makes sense to be more random?
  • How big should the playoffs be? I'm inclined to let all eight teams in and have the regular season be for seeding. I want everyone to be able to play as much as possible. Though I suppose we could accomplish the same thing with a consolation bracket for 5-8. Kid's gotta learn about winning and losing at some point, right?

Anything else I'm missing? Any other tips for keeping it fun and interesting?

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Sounds like a good, easy game. Although I don't want them in my leagues, I would include kickers because that ties it more closley to football and adds lots of scoring opportunities. I wouldn't do PPR because that is a whole separate concept manipuating the game to make better fitting numbers - harder for kids to understand and less like real football. You also can't, with PPR, show him how to calculate the weekly scores from a box score. I don't think it is bad to have the worst teams not make the playoffs. I would probably have 6 teams in the playoffs with byes for the top 2. As you say, he needs to learn that losing has consequences. Best luck. 

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Super!

I like what you've suggested so far, and I'd go with the consolation bracket over everyone making playoffs - to your point.

No kickers.  Add in some sort of weekly high scorer prize - can be small/goofy or more meaningful.  Might not fit with super simple but that way each team at least has a chance to win a week.

I guess best ball would probably also be an easy intro for kids this age, though I've never played myself i know others here have.

Cool topic - should be some fun ideas coming.

Good luck - and great Dad!

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10 minutes ago, nittanylion said:

2021

You get him into it this year, it might turn him off, forever.

I went with the Like emoji because I literally couldn't choose between laughing and crying.

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You're a tremendous Dad for trying to get this off the ground. Maybe the tactic for 2020 is to have him 'shadow' you, and how you go about playing in your Leagues?

Then maybe he'd be useful in helping you recruit his buddies/relatives into a 2021 League, based on his experience.

If you're going to move forward with a basic, learning format, for 2020, in addition to Team Defense/Special Teams, you might want to go with Team QB and Team PK, to cut down on the headaches?

Edited by nittanylion
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19 minutes ago, Catbird said:

Sounds like a good, easy game. Although I don't want them in my leagues, I would include kickers because that ties it more closley to football and adds lots of scoring opportunities. I wouldn't do PPR because that is a whole separate concept manipuating the game to make better fitting numbers - harder for kids to understand and less like real football. You also can't, with PPR, show him how to calculate the weekly scores from a box score. I don't think it is bad to have the worst teams not make the playoffs. I would probably have 6 teams in the playoffs with byes for the top 2. As you say, he needs to learn that losing has consequences. Best luck. 

You know what's funny? I've been playing fantasy for 16 years and have never been in a league with byes. I've always said that, if I were playing in a truly high-stakes league, I would want byes because they maximize my chance of winning (assuming I have a good team, which, c'mon!) But in lower-stakes leagues, my feeling is that the reason I play fantasy football is to play fantasy football. In other words, I would rather play than have to sit out a week during the playoffs, even if it puts my season at risk.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I agree with you on kickers, and I think on the consolation bracket as well. Still pondering the PPR question.

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I started a father/son league when my son was 10.  The kids drafted their own teams and the father's did the same.  It was awesome and we have continued it on for the last 4 years.   The draft was a snake draft and it was really low key.  We would let everyone know if they tried to draft an injured guy and would throw out suggestions if they were stuck but by and large each of the kids drafted their own teams and did decent.  We did an in person live draft and I think that is key to get everyone involved and hooked.  You can then be flexible with the time to pick and if someone tries to take someone already off the board.  Everyone loved it and has hooked them all. 

 

Having the fathers (and some mothers wanted to play) also have teams was a very good thing.  It helped to have the family involved and helped keep the kids involved.  I would recommend doing that.  Your kid may be all in but some of his friends may not.  Having adults also part of the league helps keep things moving in the right direction until they get hooked. 

 

I made it super simple and it has worked great.  For the lineup I even went easier and had only 1 RB spot and 2 Flex spots.  We did have a kicker and a team defense.  Everything else was the same as yours.  I did have one IR spot also.  We did FAAB dollars for waivers (Wednesday night) and then it was first come first serve after waivers (you still had to bid but could bid $0)  It was a default ESPN setting.  Nobody had any issue with this and the dad's helped out for the first few weeks to explain how it worked.  They all picked it up quickly. 

 

For scoring we used some of the basic settings.  Nothing too difficult.  We did not do PPR but I don't really think that would matter one way or another. 

 

We made it so everyone made the playoffs.  The first year we had 12 teams and since then it has gone down to 10 teams because someone moved away.  I think this is really important to keep interest because if a team loses it's first few games and doesn't have a chance at playoffs they are likely to tune out.  Make it fun and have everyone make the playoffs.  The playoff brackets we reseeded every round so the top seed remaining always played the bottom seed remaining.  For some reason ESPN doesn't set it up (or allow you to automatically do this) so I had to reset the matchups every week.  It's simple to do.  I did it that way because it's my preference but it doesn't really matter as long as you let everyone know upfront.  The bottom line is to let everyone make the playoffs. 

 

We did a small fee ($20 per team) and paid 30% to the regular season champ and 70% to the Super Bowl Champ.  I cannot say enough about how fun it was and how everyone had a great time.  It was great talking football with all the kids whenever you saw them and Sunday's became an event as people got together to watch games. 

 

Good Luck.

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2 hours ago, Catbird said:

Sounds like a good, easy game. Although I don't want them in my leagues, I would include kickers because that ties it more closley to football and adds lots of scoring opportunities. I wouldn't do PPR because that is a whole separate concept manipuating the game to make better fitting numbers - harder for kids to understand and less like real football. You also can't, with PPR, show him how to calculate the weekly scores from a box score. I don't think it is bad to have the worst teams not make the playoffs. I would probably have 6 teams in the playoffs with byes for the top 2. As you say, he needs to learn that losing has consequences. Best luck. 

Why not?  They have receptions listed in the box score. 

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3 hours ago, zftcg said:
  • How big should the playoffs be? I'm inclined to let all eight teams in and have the regular season be for seeding. I want everyone to be able to play as much as possible. Though I suppose we could accomplish the same thing with a consolation bracket for 5-8. Kid's gotta learn about winning and losing at some point, right?

 

3 hours ago, Catbird said:

 I don't think it is bad to have the worst teams not make the playoffs. I would probably have 6 teams in the playoffs with byes for the top 2. As you say, he needs to learn that losing has consequences. Best luck. 

 

I think it is bad to not have everyone make the playoffs.  You are trying to show them how fun playing is.  Part of that is being in the playoffs.  It's hard enough getting seasoned players to stay tuned in for the whole year when they get eliminated from the playoffs let alone kids that are just trying to figure it out.  

 

Giving them the chance to win the Super Bowl and showing them how to keep trying to better their team the entire year is a good thing.  You aren't going to payout for everyone....just the champ so they will learn about winning and losing that way, but at least they stay tuned in for the whole season (hopefully). 

 

I would highly recommend everyone makes the playoffs. 

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Team QB and PK.....best ball so they don't have to make weekly lineup decisions....no more than half the teams should make the playoffs....(they need to learn not everybody gets a ribbon).....they get that from society now pretty much every minute of every day....you can do a toilet bowl/consolation.....

 

Edited by Stinkin Ref
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if you recruit buddies have their dads (or moms might be a better idea since they never really get to play) participate with them but kid is head GM.....could be good bonding /discussion thing with mom and get them interested too....

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7 minutes ago, Stinkin Ref said:

Team QB and PK.....best ball so they don't have to make weekly lineup decisions....no more than half the teams should make the playoffs....(they need to learn not everybody gets a ribbon).....they get that from society now pretty much every minute of every day....you can do a toilet bowl/consolation.....

 

The most fun of playing is getting to make those decisions.  Why do you want to take that away from them?  Keep it simple but they should still be allowed to make lineup decisions and manage their team. 

 

ETA:  I generally agree with the participation ribbon stuff however just making the playoffs isn't a participation ribbon.  If you only pay out to the champ then that is the trophy.  Just getting to the playoffs isn't.  Plus it helps keep everyone involved for the whole year rather than abandoning the team and ruining things for the entire league. 

Edited by Gally
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Just now, Gally said:

The most fun of playing is getting to make those decisions.  Why do you want to take that away from them?  Keep it simple but they should still be allowed to make lineup decisions and manage their team. 

team QB/PK just takes the suckiness out of an injury there.....for first timers, best ball still allows them to get the concepts without putting in a ton of time deciding between player A and player B....they can still see "oh I probably would have started player A instead of B if I had to decide....but I would have lost"....etc....also makes sure that teams that start to quit paying attention or forget to put in a lineup don't have a negative affect on the league with cheap wins for teams that played against injured guys or guys on bye, etc....(which could be heightened this year)....then after they get their feet wet for a year....maybe go to setting lineups....lots of adults play in best ball leagues.....good place for newbies to start.....

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30 minutes ago, Stinkin Ref said:

team QB/PK just takes the suckiness out of an injury there.....for first timers, best ball still allows them to get the concepts without putting in a ton of time deciding between player A and player B....they can still see "oh I probably would have started player A instead of B if I had to decide....but I would have lost"....etc....also makes sure that teams that start to quit paying attention or forget to put in a lineup don't have a negative affect on the league with cheap wins for teams that played against injured guys or guys on bye, etc....(which could be heightened this year)....then after they get their feet wet for a year....maybe go to setting lineups....lots of adults play in best ball leagues.....good place for newbies to start.....

This was something as the Commish for that father/son league I started that I was very cognizant of and made sure I contacted the kids to let them know when they had injured players or bye players in lineups.  It was also a benefit for having a parent also in the league so that they can stay on top of it as well and make sure everyone is paying attention.  It takes some work but it is well worth it for sure. 

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39 minutes ago, Gally said:

This was something as the Commish for that father/son league I started that I was very cognizant of and made sure I contacted the kids to let them know when they had injured players or bye players in lineups.  It was also a benefit for having a parent also in the league so that they can stay on top of it as well and make sure everyone is paying attention.  It takes some work but it is well worth it for sure. 

sorry...but once again the weakness of the way we do things nowadays in our society....somebody playing helicopter commish....you might as well tell them who to start too....the commish should not be managing anybody's team.....best ball takes this off your plate to a certain extent (although there could still be issues if bye weeks and injuries coincide terribly at a position).....I think its somewhat hypocritical in a way to say its the "most fun part of the game" but to then be a helicopter and hold their hand through the process.....again this is just IMO.....

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2 minutes ago, Stinkin Ref said:

sorry...but once again the weakness of the way we do things nowadays in our society....somebody playing helicopter commish....you might as well tell them who to start too....the commish should not be managing anybody's team.....best ball takes this off your plate to a certain extent (although there could still be issues if bye weeks and injuries coincide terribly at a position).....I think its somewhat hypocritical in a way to say its the "most fun part of the game" but to then be a helicopter and hold their hand through the process.....again this is just IMO.....

It's a matter of teaching them what to do......not playing helicopter commish.  If it's a league where the point is to teach them what it's about so they can develop a love of the game and get hooked there is some of this needed.  I didn't do it much....mostly at the beginning until they started to figure out some things.  It really wasn't that big of a deal and was a teaching tool more than anything. 

 

You could just leave them and not teach them anything so then they give up and don't have fun and never play again.  That kind of defeats the purpose also. 

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2 minutes ago, Gally said:

It's a matter of teaching them what to do......not playing helicopter commish.  If it's a league where the point is to teach them what it's about so they can develop a love of the game and get hooked there is some of this needed.  I didn't do it much....mostly at the beginning until they started to figure out some things.  It really wasn't that big of a deal and was a teaching tool more than anything. 

 

You could just leave them and not teach them anything so then they give up and don't have fun and never play again.  That kind of defeats the purpose also. 

again....kind of why best ball helps during the training wheel period IMO...starting with best ball allows them to put their best team out their each week, players they did have to draft or acquire through FA...best ball has great initial benefits to newbies....especially 10 year old ones..(not sure if you tried it and found something wrong with it)....but I guess I'm not saying it the right way, so we will agree to disagree and I will defer and bow out.....

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For this season I would do a Total Points league, so that the league can finish even if the NFL season stops partway through. Scoring the most points during the 3 weeks of NFL play is not that different than scoring the most points during the 16 weeks of NFL play, so it can feel like a real fantasy season if there is even a little NFL football.

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6 hours ago, zftcg said:

Near the end of last season, my oldest son started displaying some interest in football for the first time in his life (actually, fantasy much more than actual football). So I set up a little playoff DFS pool with a few cousins/friends, which he seemed to enjoy. I think we're going to try to do a full-season league this year (assuming there is a season).

Any recommendations for the best way to structure the league? I want to keep things super simple. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • Eight teams
  • Snake draft
  • Basic positions:  QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, flex, DST, 5 bench
  • Full PPR (I'm thinking it will be more fun if it's high scoring)
  • Open waivers

Questions I'm still pondering: 

  • Do we have kickers? On the one had, it introduces a level of randomness, which will probably drive him crazy. On the other hand, with unskilled players maybe it makes sense to be more random?
  • How big should the playoffs be? I'm inclined to let all eight teams in and have the regular season be for seeding. I want everyone to be able to play as much as possible. Though I suppose we could accomplish the same thing with a consolation bracket for 5-8. Kid's gotta learn about winning and losing at some point, right?

Anything else I'm missing? Any other tips for keeping it fun and interesting?

This looks reasonable. My coworker set up something identical with kids of a similar age. They were saying the kids were super reactive, where there were 50 trades a week. First round pick has a bad week, cut em! Random WR3 gets 200 yards and 2 TDs? Trade half your team for him. I would still have 4 teams make the play-offs. 10 year olds could have been playing sports for 6 years by that point, it will not be the first loss they take and it means you can potentially play up the suspense of the last week if it is close. 

Edited by huthut
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Thanks to all for your input (especially those who complimented my parenting skills). I had this moment a couple years ago when we were visiting some friends of ours, and their son was super into football. I was sitting with him watching one of those SB highlight shows (Broncos-Packers) on NFL Network, telling him how great Terrell Davis was, and how that was Christian McCaffrey's dad, and he was eating it all up. It was a nice moment, but it was also kind of a bummer because that was such a big part of my relationship with my dad growing up, and it made me realize that I didn't have that with my son. So I was thrilled when he started expressing an interest, and I want to do everything I can to encourage it, even if it means making him miserable every fall when his fantasy team falls short. :lmao:

Lots of great suggestions here, although my main takeaway from it all was that ultimately, the format isn't going to be what makes or breaks the league, so probably not worth sweating any of it too much. I've never done best ball myself, so don't think I want to introduce it for this league. Also, my experience has been that, due to inertia, whatever rules a league comes up with for its first year tend to stick around, so I'm probably not going to do any one-year experiments.

As for the playoffs, I see the wisdom in both approaches, but the more I think about it, the more I lean toward the @Gally view of letting every team be in the playoffs. It's not about "everyone gets a ribbon", since there will ultimately be winners and losers. It's about keeping it exciting for as long as possible and keeping the kids engaged.

Also, I was definitely planning on having parent-kid co-managers, although now that I think of it, I might manage a team with my son and then get my wife to have her own team (she participated in my family league years ago, won three games -- one against me -- and then announced her retirement). I think my son would really enjoy stoking up that intra-family rivalry. I would also try to get my dad involved, because he's one of the most hapless fantasy players I've ever seen, and it'd be hilarious to see him lose to a bunch of kids he would really enjoy the opportunity to bond with his grandson.                    

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49 minutes ago, huthut said:

This looks reasonable. My coworker set up something identical with kids of a similar age. They were saying the kids were super reactive, where there were 50 trades a week. First round pick has a bad week, cut em! Random WR3 gets 200 yards and 2 TDs? Trade half your team for him.

LOL. That's totally going to be my son. When he went through his Pokemon phase, he would finally get some card he had been waiting on forever, then two days later he would trade it away. I think he just loves the action (I also think some of the kids he was trading with were total sharks who would manipulate him).

I can also pretty much guarantee that he's going to be "1st quarter freakout" guy. You know the type: "Saquon put up 5-14 in the first quarter. What a bum! Should never have started him over Jordan Howard!" I guess the saving grace is that he won't have a Twitter account where he can go and tag Barkley with those sentiments. :D

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