What is suck league fantasy football?

Suck league is first and foremost about NFL satire. There is a ton of NFL satire here and it’s all meant in good fun. If you are averse to either fun or satire, please don’t visit. Because, really it’s full of NFL satire.

Secondly, Suck league fantasy football is a concept a colleague of mine (* note transition to a colleague-less format in late 2012 *) and I developed some years back and have been refining as the years go on. Simply put, instead of trying to score the highest amount of points each week, you try to pick fantasy players who will do the complete opposite. We found this to be infinitely more challenging and satisfying than traditional, positive fantasy football play. Why? Well it doesn’t take a genius to know Peyton Manning will probably throw 2 or 3 touchdowns this week, Adrian Peterson will have a big day, and Pittsburg’s defense will hold the Cardinals to just a few points (Congratulations if you made these calls, you’re a great fantasy football player). However, are you able to tell who’s going to suit up, throw multiple picks, and get benched before halftime? Or even better, lose a few fumbles on top of it? Can you determine which defense will fold like a house of cards and give up a fifty burger? This is the arena, son (?). This is where men figure out what makes a man (And the ladies of course, the manish crap just sounded footballish).

So jump in. It’s time you grew a pair and formed a suck league.  Pay attention, the path to greatness can be summed up in 4 words as well as a few periods following the last word: Man up. Focus. Choke….

How should I structure a suck league?

Excellent question. We’ve tried quite a few different methods over the years, and I’ll share the results of what seems like countless experiments we’ve performed in our attempt to figure out how to make negative fantasy football so much fun. The general rule of thumb, though it may seem odd at first, is less = more. Here at Suckleague homebase, we don’t play with a full complement of offensive players, though you are certainly welcome to do so if you have that much vision (and masochism). The first year or two, the original adversary and myself played full offensive teams, and we found it simply became unmanageable and frankly less fun to try to figure out who’ll do horrendously at say, tight end. After a few seasons, we found ourselves focusing just about all our efforts on identifying the worst QB situation for the week, as well as the worst defensive situation. We’d then typically fill out the remaining positions with guys who we were pretty certain would simply not play, that is, injured or backup players at the position in question. As the seasons past, here are the rules we eventually settled on:

1)      You must play a starting quarterback for that week, and he must be the named starter. Trying to play QBs who won’t play that week may seem tempting and while it’s true they won’t generate positive points, the goal, and frankly the fun, of suck league is to generate negative points. MANY negative points.

2)      Similarly, you must play a defense that isn’t on a bye week for the same reason.

And that is literally it. You might be thinking, wait a minute, my fantasy team is 2 slots, that’s it? Yes, a decade worth of trial and error has demonstrated the most enjoyable way to play negative fantasy football. Now, that being said, if you want to use a full complement of offensive or defensive players, by all means go for it.  However, the above guidelines, over time, have provided the best balance of fun vs. not fun, i.e., spending 80 hours a week doing research at every position.

Oh and no open roster spots. Seriously?Yep, seriously. Each week you get to pick one QB and one Defense then your roster is full. Next week you choose to continue with that QB or take another. Likewise, keep your defense or take another. Each week in negative fantasy football is about as fair as it can get and that’s another major reason this ruleset is so fun. Bye weeks you might ask? We’ve set up a rule that has worked pretty over time. Since you have no open roster slots for bye weeks and you obviously need a starting QB and a starting defense each week, if your QB or defense is coming up on a bye week, you can safely drop him. You then have until Tuesday at noon to reclaim him. It’s a reasonable rule, however it makes things interesting if you’re stuck in meetings all Tuesday morning. And yes, you sneak out the meeting and reclaim your guy. Or get a smart phone and do it in the meeting. Don’t lose priority here.

It’s not unusual to have a different QB and defense most weeks in suck league. Colt Mccoy may be a great (terrible) play vs. the Steelers, but what if they play Raiders? Still want Colt Mccoy?

How many people should be in a league ?

Again, time has shown less is more.  Ideally, 2 competitors. Yep, I said 2. Perhaps 3, and I would say in no way more than 4. Remember, yet another something that sets off suck league and makes it more fun is the weekly outcome is almost never produced by luck of the draft as in traditional leagues. You will want to go into every week with the sense that no matter who your opponent(s) pick, you can find the guy that will do worse. If your league has 3 or 4 or 5 teams, you risk the best (worst) players being taken each week, and that’s rarely fun. You’ve played enough fantasy football to know, how many times have you lost all interest in a “normal” fantasy football season due to a bad draft? There is none of that in suck league.  I ALWAYS start each week knowing I can find the worst guy no matter who my opponent has selected. He may have Mark Sanchez, but will Matt Flynn do worse? Will Jay Cutler have one of his signature games and throw 4 or 5 picks? Or screw up in reverse and throw 4 touchdowns. Will good Eli show up or bad Eli? And how is Tony Romo going to do when the Cowboys are playing from behind? God, he’s marvelous (terrible) when they play from behind. Are you starting to see why this is not only challenging, but a complete blast?

How should we score it?

Suck league is always about total points, there is no head to head play. However, that’s how we do it, if you want to have head to head and 4 teams, by all means man up. Again, I can only convey to you our best findings — 2 people, head to head, low score wins.

Man the f**k up. (Woman up as well)

As far as what to set your scoring at, here’s what Suckleague central uses. We also use Yahoo typically and their defaults are provided so you can contrast:

Offense League Value Yahoo! Default Value
Completions .2 0
Passing Yards 50 yards per point 25 yards per point
Passing Touchdowns 7 4
Interceptions -4 -1
Sacks -1 0
Rushing Yards 10 yards per point; 3 points at 100 yards
Rushing Touchdowns 7 6
Receptions 1 0
Reception Yards 25 yards per point 10 yards per point
Reception Touchdowns 7 6
Return Touchdowns 7 6
2-Point Conversions 2
Fumbles -1 0
Fumbles Lost -3 -2
Offensive Fumble Return TD 7 6
Defense/Special Teams League Value Yahoo! Default Value
Sack 1
Interception 3 2
Fumble Recovery 3 2
Touchdown 7 6
Safety 3 2
Block Kick 3 2
Points Allowed 0 points 10
Points Allowed 1-6 points 7
Points Allowed 7-13 points 4
Points Allowed 14-20 points 1
Points Allowed 21-27 points -1 0
Points Allowed 28-34 points -7 -1
Points Allowed 35+ points -14 -4

Poor play is scored in a manner in which poor play matters. Needless to say, you’ll want to find a defense that gives up at least 35. On the offensive end, nothing but interceptions and lost fumbles. Consistently find those attributes and you’ll break suck league records. And we want to hear about them.

Do you draft?

Yes, but it’s only a coin flip or some other random event (one year we each tried to guess what Google’s stock was at and whoever got closest picked first). However picking first is not as crucial as it is in a traditional fantasy league, i.e., if you pick QB second, you pick defense first. You might choose to go back and forth each week, alternating who picks first. However, we don’t even bother with that. There’s so much opportunity each week with just 2 teams to find suck excellence, we just pick when we want to. Some kind of alternating pick schedule isn’t a bad thing – sometimes a week will have a standout that would be hard to match (but I’ve never found that to be absolute).

Is there a suck league hall of fame?

Yes, we have one, and you should too. Our hall of fame inductions are defined not only by a player, but a player in a particular year. Alex Smith 2005 is perhaps the mightiest example. Alex Smith is currently a pretty darn good NFL quarterback. However 2005 was different story. No team to speak of, no coaching, no anything, his rookie outing was beyond horrific. His perseverance and evolution is all about what we’re all about, and I hope someday when Suckleague is huge, we can honor him with a proper induction, congratulate him on the 2 superbowl rings he won 2015-2020, and no doubt he’ll be a good sport about it. It is all about fun. Heck, if you’re going to have a terrible week as an NFL player, at least know you’ll be honored here. See if those idiots in the press box treat you well after throwing 6 picks.

How do I name my team?

Do as we do, change your team name each year. Or each week. Aspire to something truly terrible. For example, anyone who owned a General Motors product in the 1990’s is aware of the mail straps they used in the driver and passenger front visors. This was the cheapest and most unreliable fabric known to man. I’m convinced they tested materials to determine which one would fail quickest. If you were unfortunate enough to put letters or pens or stamps or something really light in your mail straps, very soon after you would have this unrepairable drooping piece of fabric that you’d have to loop around the visor or cut off. I captured the condition of mine, a prime example from a 1996 Pontiac, prior to selling it:

GM terrible mail strap

My team name this year? The GM Mail Straps.

Ok, I get the basics, but explain to me again why this is challenging and fun?

As stated, it doesn’t take a rocket scientiogropher to figure out Drew Brees will throw a bunch of touchdowns vs. Carolina, or Tom Brady will be good for 2 or 3 touchdowns each week. However, can you predict who will play flat out awful, but NOT get benched too quickly (always a danger in suck league) and NOT throw a bunch of touchdowns in garbage time? Oh garbage time, I hate you. Defenses should have to play their starters even if they are up by 45. But that’s another tangent.


-          Opening weekend, 2007. Time for men to be made. I spy potential Suckleague superstar Charlie Frye is set to start against typically the baddest (and I mean good) defense in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers. I naturally pull the trigger on that one. Charlie then proceeds to play just under 1 quarter of football, throws 1 interception, then is subsequently benched and immediately traded to another team (Go look it up, I’m not joking). This is an epic suck league moment, one for the ages. However you can imagine my reaction as he had 3 more quarters of terrible left in him. Situations like these just come with the territory, but made for a heck of a frustratingly fun time. I did not win the day. But the adversary of the time said of Charlie’s brief but historical performance, “We caught lightning in a bottle”. Indeed.

-          Week 7, 2010. Buffalo has fallen apart (shocking).  The mighty Ivy Leaguer Ryan Fitzpatrick is slated to start against Baltimore’s defense. I also notice that America’s offense (New Orleans) is facing the Cleveland Browns defense (Which I’d say had fallen apart, but wasn’t ever together that I’m aware of). I’m a lock. I’ll hit new highs in low. How does this turn out? Well Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 4 touchdowns and almost 400 yards. Really? Yep, really. And Cleveland ‘s defense intercepted Drew Brees 4 times and held the Saints to 17 points. At the end of the day, (what a dark day), I posted almost 64 points, a performance that would be envied in any normal positive league. But nothing about Suckleague is normal. This is where men (and women) play, men (and women) win big, and men (and women) fall down hard. I fell down hard, and it was immensely enjoyable.

I invite you to try the opposite of what you’ve been doing for years. In addition to the multiple fantasy football leagues you likely participate in, do a Suckleague, even just one week. Find an adversary, and for 1 week do your worst. Like us, you’ll be hooked for the remainder of your life.

Isn’t this kind of weird?

I mean, aren’t I hoping somebody does bad? Reality check: NFL football players are paid an enormous amount of money to entertain the population through sport. Regardless, some of them are going to play flat out terrible football each week. That’s a fact that is real as gravity and you or I can’t change it. Suckleague is simply about being able to make the call as to who that will ultimately be. Brett Favre is a hall of fame quarterback and easily one of the best quarterbacks of all time. I would shake his hand and tell him that to his face. That said, my goodness, did he win me some Suckleague games over the years with that gun slinger mentality of his.

If we can celebrate greatness, why not a terrible outing?  I’ve had many a success, as well as many a major screw up in my own profession. It’s my choice, I can get angry, resent, lament, pout, etc.., or get over it and laugh at my own humanity. I’ve always chosen the latter.

Let’s celebrate our inherent human worth, i.e., being full aware that an epically bad performance is just that, a performance. Do we not tell our children: go out, do your best, and whether you win, lose, excel, or lay an epic egg, I will still love you unconditionally. I feel the same way about every player in Suckleague. I hope you all are the next Peyton Manning, just take your time getting there.

Now, do you have the eye of the tiger (wounded kitten)? Prove it. Get out there and create your own Suckleague. And get involved at We’ll be contributing lots of useful information and stories that we can all laugh at and I expect you all to do the same: Leave comments that I don’t have to flag as spam, like us on Facebook, or just tell your significant other that you put a dent in the universe.

Man up. Focus. Choke….

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rex Ryan says:

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

    • SLAdmin says:

      You are correct, the RSS tab was not displaying. I’ve corrected the problem, RSS now shows as a tab in the website header. If you’re still having problems you can use this link:

      Good luck with your Suckleague and let us know how it goes for you!

  2. jason says:

    Just play tony romo and the cowboys

  3. I started a Suck League Suck League. You don’t draft football players, but instead you draft different fantasy games and concepts and do as bad as you possibly can. I drafted you guys, so needless to say I’m in first!

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