In my previous article, I wrote about the basics of contract and salary leagues. I outlined a couple of websites and the formats that they use for contract and salary fantasy football leagues. What I did not go into to detail about were the contract and salary options available to make each league unique.
A website that hosts contract and salary leagues is Reality Sports Online. I have been using this platform since 2015 and it has been a fantasy football experience like no other. Last article, I mentioned that Reality Sports Online mimics the NFL in terms of salary cap and when contract terms are decided. However, I did not reference the amount of customization that is available in this format. I will now present some of the options available on Reality Sports Online (to be referred to as RSO for the remained of the article).
No two fantasy football leagues are exactly the same. Whether it’s the scoring settings, the number of teams or different roster requirements, customization is part of any fantasy football platform. RSO is no different as the site allows for a variety of scoring and roster settings. The platform is capable of having up 54 players on rosters and up to 32 fantasy teams. Other options include the date of the trade deadline, the number of injured reserve spots and how many teams make the playoffs.
Rookie Contract length
In the NFL, rookie contracts have a standard length of 4 years, with the cap hit increasing every year. RSO has a similar salary spike each year of the rookie contract, but the term is not as rigid. In RSO, the league commissioner is allowed to set the rookie contract length to either 3 or 4 years. I have played with both amounts and there is not one option that is better than the other. Simply, that is up to each league to decide what rookie contract length works best.
The free agent auction is how players (aside from rookies) are acquired. It is during that point where contract amounts for players are decided, as well as the lengths of those contracts. Most of the contracts at a manager’s disposal are 1-year deals as there are usually fixed amounts of multi-year contracts available. The RSO standards is three 2-year deals, two 3-year contracts and one 4-year deal. However, any of those amounts can range between zero and nine contracts. Personally, I have never deviated from the standard amounts. That is because increasing the number of multi-year contracts could eventually dry up the free agency pool.
In the NFL, the Franchise Tag is a 1-year fully guaranteed contract that teams can place on one player just before they are about to become a free agent. Teams can only use this once per offseason.
In RSO, the franchise tag amount is calculated in the same manner as it is in the NFL. Either the average of the top 5 players at that position or 120% of the player’s during the previous season.
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I will use a couple of examples from one of my leagues to demonstrate how the franchise tag works. Entering the 2019 offseason, the 5 most expensive RB salaries in 2019 were Le’Veon Bell ($23.21 Million), Todd Gurley ($18.72M), Jerick McKinnon ($17.83M), Doug Martin ($15.61M) and Ezekiel Elliott ($15.18M). The average of those 5 was $18.11M. Therefore, players on 1-year deals close to the league minimum, like Phillip Lindsay and Damien Williams, were tagged at that value.
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On the contrary, in this league, Melvin Gordon had a 2018 salary of $20.542M. Because of that amount being higher than the franchise tag, Gordon’s tag value became 120% of that number ($24.65M).
Managers have until 3 days before the free agent auction to finalize their franchise tags. The franchise tag is an option that can be turned off in RSO if the commissioner wishes to do so.
The contract extension feature on RSO is only available to be used between week 5 and week 13 of the NFL season. However, unlike the real thing, there is no negotiation with the players in fantasy football. Instead, an amount is calculated based off of an algorithm that uses that particular league’s scoring and roster settings as well as the other contracts that have been signed. The extension term will be between 2 and 4 years. Similarly to the salary, that term cannot be negotiated. However, those amounts will fluctuate throughout the season, based off of that player’s performance.
Once you choose to extend that player, the extension cannot be revoked and the amount will no longer change due to production. At that point, you are locked in for the remained of that contract (unless you cut or trade the player).
RSO allows between 0 and 9 extensions per season. In my experience, 1 is my preferred amount as I want to have as many players as possible in the auction year in and year out.
There is another type of extension that, like in the NFL, is only reserved for former 1st-round rookie picks. Just like in the NFL, a 5th-year option in RSO is valued at the average of the 10 highest salaries at the position. The 5th-year option must be exercised one year before a player will become a free agent. For example, with 4-year rookie contracts, Michael Thomas is set to become a free agent after this upcoming season. If a manager with Thomas on their team wants to put the option on him, then they have to do that during this offseason. The time period for the option is the same as the franchise tag (3 days before the free agent auction).
Thank you for reading. I hope that I sucessfully conveyed the customization potential available in contract and salary leagues. For more great fantasy football information, be sure to check out Full Press Coverage.