Fantasy Football For Money VS Fantasy Football For Free

What’s the Difference in a Fantasy Football Money League and Free League

I’ve talked to fantasy football players before who can’t imagine being in a free fantasy football league. For them, the gambling aspect to fantasy football is what makes the game interesting. Winning money from friends or strangers makes football games interesting to them, and these fantasy football owners often equate fantasy football money leagues to laying a point spread bet on a college football game.

Why watch if there’s no money on the line?

Fantasy Football For Free

At the same time, I’ve been in fantasy football free leagues where the players get just as heated, the rivalries are just as intense and the arguments are just as nasty as if a thousand dollars was one the line. If you have the right (or wrong) personalities, the difference in the amount of passion you’ll find in a fantasy football money leagues and a lot fantasy football free leagues are, I have to say, not that big of a difference.

For these fantasy football players, they get the same enjoyment beating the snot out of their friends and taking the coveted fantasy football trophy or plaque as they would taking hundreds or thousands of dollars from their friends. In their mind, it’s all about bragging rights and showing you’re smarter than your buddies when it comes to football – or at least fantasy football. In fact, these ff players are happy to show they know more than friends, family or even complete strangers.

And they’re happy to plot and connive, accuse and insinuate in their free leagues as much as they would a paid league.

So what is the difference in fantasy football for money VS fantasy football for free leagues?

Fantasy Football For Money

I’ve noticed that people are about as quick to get offended in one kind of fantasy league as another, but they stay offended longer in a money league. I have friends who have lost lifelong friends over fantasy football leagues. Let me give an example.

Fantasy Football Money League Horror Story

Way back circa 1991, a friend of mine (let’s call him “Kirk”) was Commissioner of a fantasy football for money league. This was in the days before the Internet and before cellphones. Because my friend didn’t want to be tied to his phone all weekend, lineup deadlines were Friday night at 7pm. People had to get their lineups in or go with the previous week’s lineup.

Kirk recruited a childhood friend into this league. Eventually, the childhood friend brought his brother and girlfriend into the league with their own teams. The first week, this friend didn’t call his lineup to “Kirk” by Friday. On Saturday, he calls Kirk and wants to give his lineup. Kirk tells him, “You’re calling in after the deadline. I can’t be near my phone all day Saturday every week, so you have to call in by Friday night.” (He could have called in all week.)

The guy gave an excuse and Kirk accepted the lineup (first mistake). Kirk told the man that he would not accept a late lineup again. The guy said this would be the only time.

The next week, sure enough, the friend called Kirk on Saturday, wanting to give a late lineup. When Kirk told him that he wasn’t going to accept it, the friend told Kirk that he accepted it the week before. He also gave another excuse. Kirk took a stand and refused to accept the lineup.

Estrangement Over the Fantasy Football For Money League

When Kirk’s reticence finally sank in, the friend said to dissolve not only his team, but his brother’s team and his girlfriend’s team. They were leaving the league. Kirk says this friend and he never made up after this incident. They see one another and are polite, but 18 years later, and Kirk and his childhood friend still aren’t friendly or warm. There’s still a tension.

Now, you can blame one or the other. You could say that Kirk should have taken the late lineup, if he so happened to be home and available when the call came in. Or you could say he should never have accepted a late lineup in the first place. The fact of the matter is, a money fantasy football league got in the way of Kirk’s relationship with this man and his family.

This reminds me of another thing about fantasy football for money vs fantasy football for free leagues.

Fantasy Football For Money – Always Collect Money at the Draft

Kirk’s friend, his girlfriend and his brother didn’t pay their money (I think $100) at the draft. So when the three of them left the league, the winners were short $300 of their prize money. The teams weren’t frozen, but league-run, so that didn’t cause a problem. But not enough money in the fantasy football money league always creates a problem.

Always collect the money for your fantasy football league at the draft. Never make one exception in this case. Never assume people “are good for it” or will pay up after the season, once they’ve lost. Don’t let anyone draft who hasn’t paid.

If you trust that people are going to pay off their fantasy football debts, you’re crazy. Some people are less likely to pay their fantasy football entry fee even after the draft happens – after they see the team they drafted. Heck, some people are less likely to pay up after they see which draft pick they drew. Imagine how much less likely they are to pay a fantasy football for money league once they’ve already lost the bet.

In fact, I would say that with each week that passes in a fantasy football league for money, league owners are less likely to pay their entry fee. The only teams likely to pay a fantasy football entry fee are ones who have a really good chance of winning the league. Otherwise, you’re going to either be short on the prize money, or pay for their failed teams.

Don’t let this become an issue. Make them pay up front, when everyone’s happy and everyone thinks they have an equal chance to win.

Fantasy Football For Money VS Fantasy Football For Free

In a free fantasy football league, the fantasy draft is simpler. You may get people to chip in $5 for the league site ($10 for CBSSportsline) or for the pizza. Otherwise, no money exchanges hands. The fantasy football draft is therefore simpler for the league commissioner, because he has one less worry on his mind.

Fantasy Football For Money Buddy Trades

Another way a free league is much different than a money fantasy football league is the buddy trades. While I’ve seen one buddy who’s out of the playoffs give a “buddy trade” to his best friend who’s a contender in a fantasy football league for free, it’s a lot more likely to happen in a fantasy football league for money. That’s because the contender can pay his also-ran conspirator part of the fantasy football prize pool to collude with him to stack a team.

So when you play in a fantasy football for money vs fantasy football for free leagues, you need to keep a much closer eye on the trades in that league – especially as the season gets older or the trade deadline nears. Buddy trades to stack one fantasy football team can leave particularly hard feelings in a money league, because the players who suspect foul play feel like two of the players are conspiring to steal money from them – which is exactly what’s happening.

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