Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Fantasy League Suicide Pool

There are moments in a man's life, or at least so we all hope, when a truth so bright and crystalline enters your mind with such force that you can hardly wait to share it with the world. Einstein had his theory of relativity. Draco had his concept of law and punishment. Mary Ellis-Bunim and Jonathan Murry had The Real World. Moments ago I had my own eureka moment. I invented (at least I think I did, although it's very possible someone else beat me to it) the Fantasy League Suicide Pool.

The concept is simple. Just like most brilliant inventions. Like the paper clip. Or the grenade. Once you and your cohorts have held your fantasy football draft you then take your competition to the next level. You gamble on your gambling. You combine the two most social non-substance (and, yes, chicken wings are a substance) abuses associated with the NFL. You combine fantasy football with the suicide pool. Which, like peanut butter and chocolate, taste great together.

Each member of your fantasy league chooses a single fantasy team from the league each week to win its head-to-head matchup, just the same way standard suicide pools ask entrants to choose an NFL team each week that will win its game. Everyone in the fantasy league throws in another agreed upon amount of money on top of, but separate from, the initial fee that everyone paid to enter. You stay alive in the Fantasy League Suicide Pool as long as your fantasy-team picks continue to win. The monies are paid to the fellow (or lady) who stays alive the longest.

Not only does this strengthen the bond between fantasy leaguers and their league but it also gives them a reason to get to know their opponents teams as well. This is ideal for the person who can't give away cash fast enough this time of year and who needs just one more stimulant as they watch Kurt Warner and P.T. Barnum O'Sullivan battle it out late on a Sunday afternoon.

Now, go. Go out and spread the gospel of the Fantasy League Suicide Pool. Every non-anonymous, non-public fantasy football league out there (in other words, the real ones) can have this up and running by the start of Week 2. Which is plenty of time considering that there are necessarily fewer teams in most fantasy leagues than there are in the National Football League.

This numbers difference brings us to the sole way in which the Fantasy Football Suicide Pool could divert from the Real Football Suicide Pool that we all know and love. Since there are 10 or 12 teams in most fantasy football leagues you either have to allow for the possibility to select a team twice (but only after you've gone through the entire league once already), award each entrant a bye week (or two) that can be used at their own discretion during the season to avoid picking a team twice, or you calculate the relevant numbers (how many teams in your fantasy league and how many weeks of playoffs in your league) to arrange it so that there are no byes or duplicate picks needed.

For example, if you have a 12-team fantasy football league and that league holds playoffs in Weeks 15 and 16 then you could start your Fantasy League Suicide Pool in Week 3 and nobody would have to use a team more than once to reach the end of your fantasy-football regular season. Got it? Good. Of course, the odds are that all this number crunching will not be needed as more than one person probably won't still be alive in the pool come Week 13.

Now, if someone has already thought of this then good for them. I'm jealous that they've been doing this for years and I'm a little annoyed that they didn't tell the rest of us. If you are one of those early adapters out there who had already heard of something like this then please do drop a line and let us all know if there are any unforeseen pitfalls to this seemingly wonderful concept.

In the meantime, enjoy. You're welcome.


Anonymous said...

i think you'd have to let each team to be picked twice. in the NFL, there are 32 teams but only 17 weeks that you have to pick a team for a regular suicide pool. if you have a 12-team fantasy league, that means that one week you'd have to pick the worst team in the league, a team that may never actually win a week for the entire season. being able to pick a team twice would help eliminate this problem.

Rodibidably said...

I've done this before, where you're allowed to pick your own team up to 4 times, to avoid having to pick any other team twice. And if multiple teams are still alive on week 15 (playoffs in our league) then the people left split the pot.

We've done this two years, and both times it never got close to week 15 before somebody (me once) took the cash.