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Salary Cap League. Hey Mikey, he likes it!

Fantasy football has always had the goal to be as similar as possible to real football. Franchise quarterbacks and stud running backs usually produce winning seasons. Injuries can devastate a team’s chance of winning. Financial restrictions limit what free agents can be signed. The objective of a salary cap league is to put every team on an even playing field, just as in the NFL.

First, like any other newly formed league, you must establish some rules and frameworks. What type of league will this be; keeper or seasonal? If you have a dedicated group of owners I would recommend using a keeper league. It makes having the most cost effective team even sweeter when you carry over a player at a bargain price.

Second, how many owners will the league consist of? The saying goes “the more the merrier” but I disagree in this case. Eight to ten teams is ideal. The idea being the more attractive free agents available the more transactions taking place throughout the season. This leads to a bigger payout to you when you take home the trophy!

Third, what is the actual salary cap number? What are the lineup requirements? What scoring method will be used? What will the final calculated player values be? This might be the most important step. I suggest using $100 salary cap and using CBS Sportsline player rankings for the valuation guide. It’s best to pick a day as late as possible because these values change throughout the season. For example, the regular season starts September 6th. Use the player rankings page for Sunday, September 2nd for the season long player values.

Fourth, what kind of draft will be used? I suggest using the commonly found snake style draft; at least for the first year. Keep in mind, THIS IS NOT AN AUCTION DRAFT. Once the draft order is determined, teams will make their selections as they would any other draft. The difference here, however, is each player has a price tag. For example, let’s assume we are using the current CBS Sporstline player ranking page. There are 8 teams in the league and team 8 selects Brian Westbrook and then Joseph Addai. Each player costs $29 so team 8 has used $58 dollars on two starting running backs. That means he only has $42 left to fill the rest of his roster. I also suggest you make it a rule that every team must have a completely filled roster. This avoids an owner from spending all their salary on a starting lineup only.

If you decide to try this style of fantasy football let’s discuss startegies for success. The best thing you can do to start on the right foot is know how much each owner has spent during the draft. I repeat, keep a running total of each owner’s salary cap situation. Your league commissioner may offer to do this as the draft unfolds, but you should vote against this. Why should you lose your advantage if other owner’s don’t want to do the leg work? The absolute best feeling in the world is watching another owner’s face when you tell him he has to fill the remaining 10 roster spots with $1 dollar players because he spent all his money in the first 3 rounds!

That brings me to my next suggestion. LaDainian Tomlinson is a fantasy football god. Is he really worth $39 and 39% of your payroll though? Finding the right balance is what makes this style so intriguing. I prefer to have a solid lineup rather than having 1 or 2 superstars to try and carry me through the season.  I suggest a beginning framework of spending should be 12% for quarterbacks, 50% for running backs, 30% for wide receivers, 6% for tight ends, 1% for kickers, and 1% for a defense.

Finally, stay active looking for ways to bolster your lineup through free agents. The league is small enough that there will be loads of talent available year round!

Salary cap leagues are a fantastic way to add realism to fantasy football. Any hardcore fantasy football player will tell you it is a new and fun way to approach the game. If you’ve played in one before then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.


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