How to Punish the Last Place Team

What’s up football unicorns?! Today we’re going to go over how to punish the last place team appropriately for your fantasy football league. I want to start by thanking this Reddit user for the suggestion! Check out the post here and please leave a comment if you have another suggestion!

Your league does not need a “Sacko” punishment to be a fun, well-run league. However, I think it’s undeniable that a last-place punishment spices things up while keeping everyone interested throughout the entire season. There are many things you can do to punish, embarrass, or just rub a little salt in the wound of your league’s worst manager.

The Loser’s Fee

This one is simple – loser of the league pays an additional specified amount to the pot which either goes directly to the league champion or is dispersed between the winners. I would consider the price of this penalty to be between 25-50% of the league entry fee. E.g. if your league has a $100 buy-in, make the loser pay $25-$50 extra.

Loss of Draft Pick, Draft Cash, or Keeper(s)

This one is risky for leagues that don’t have camaraderie, chemistry, or plan to stick together for years. If you’re fortunate enough to run a league with friends, family, co-workers, or a group of guys & gals who have been together for a while, this section is for you!

Losing a draft pick: choose a draft pick that isn’t going to cripple this loser the following year, but make it meaningful enough for those bottom-dwellers to fight over. I’d suggest something between the 6-10 range for most drafts. This of course depends on league size, roster depth, etc. Something simple you could do would be to look at the top 250 rankings and figure out where the guaranteed talent drops off in your draft. This is typically in the 80-100 range in my opinion. For a 10 team league, this would be rounds 8-10.

Losing draft cash: this one is for auction draft leagues but could also be taken out of FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) if your league uses that. I would keep this penalty minimal and similar to the loss of a draft pick. If you’re losing a top 80-100 player, they typically go for $10 in a $200 budget league. This equates to 5% of your total budget. I wouldn’t go any higher than 10%, but it’s your league, commish!

Losing keepers: there are too many keeper leagues out there with different settings to make general recommendations here, but I wanted to throw out the idea regardless. Think about a similar magnitude of penalty based on your keeper rules. Maybe the losing team must now keep players +2 rounds ahead of their drafting position instead of +1. Maybe the team can only keep 2 players instead of the league norm of 3. Toss out some ideas to your league and put them to a vote!

Personal Punishments (Steak Dinner, Trophy Shipment, Apparel Shopping)

These suggestions would likely only be for those who are in leagues with friends from different facets of life (high school, college, co-workers, etc.). Feel free to try them out otherwise, but be warned that they likely aren’t for your run-of-the-mill leagues.

Steak Dinner: no, it doesn’t have to be steak! Have the last place manager take the league champion out for a dinner of their choice. Depending on the pockets of your league, you may want to put a cap on this at the beginning of the year. Throw the idea out to the league and see if anyone has objections with it. You can even use the 25-50% rule of thumb here based on the entry fee.

Trophy Shipment: this one implies that there is a trophy, obviously. In my General Management league, I used the 1st year league fees to buy a trophy for the league. The last place team pays for shipping and the new engraving each year. I take care of the costs as the commissioner and get reimbursed by the losing manager.

Apparel Shopping: the last place manager must buy some team apparel for the league winner. This is best used when your league is full of true football fans who have a favorite team. It works either way though! Again, set a limit on how much the loser will have to spend so the winner isn’t requesting a $300 authentic autographed Tom Brady jersey for a $10 league.

fantasy football

Don’t be this guy!

What other punishments have you seen? Leave a comment if you have a good one! I’d love to incorporate more of these into my leagues. As always, feel free to hit me up on Twitter with any suggestions, feedback, or nonsensical tweets you’d like me to respond to!


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