I normally publish a waiver wire article on Tuesdays. At this point in the season though, with the fantasy playoffs underway, a waiver article doesn’t have much use. There aren’t enough guys still available in over half of leagues worth putting into your lineup over the last few weeks to warrant writing one. Instead, I think we need to start talking about your fantasy football punishment.
The punishment is a crucial part of any fantasy football league. You can’t have people forgetting to set their lineups each week. You need to give incentive for everyone, even people not in the playoffs, to stay engaged. More importantly, it gives you a good reason to really fuck with someone. If your league hasn’t decided on a punishment yet, here are some options, organized from the weakest to the most bat-shit crazy.
The Mild Fantasy Football Punishment
“I Suck at Fantasy Football” Sign
This is as lame and unoriginal as it gets. This is the one that’ll get a big laugh out of Matthew Berry on The Fantasy Show. The one for middle schoolers and guys who are too worried about what their wives would say if they did a real punishment. Oh, you’re wearing a dress and standing on a street corner for the next hour? How brutal.
Look at all the people in those pictures. They’re smiling. It isn’t a punishment when the person who has to do it is enjoying themselves. It goes against the very core of what you want to do: shame and torture whoever is the worst at fantasy football.
I get that some people don’t treat fantasy football as a lifestyle and that they want to keep things fun and casual, but making a sign? Are you one of the Impractical Jokers? A pre-school arts-and-crafts teacher? It’s fantasy football. Go ahead and get mean with it.
Instagram Live Apology
This isn’t a common one, but I thought I would list it here because it’s one that I recently had to do.
Some background: I came in last in my dynasty league last season, but it took a full calendar year to settle on a punishment. Eventually, the group decided to make me write, and give, a speech on Instagram Live on why I came in last and how I planned to do better.
It’s such a weak “punishment,” I couldn’t even respect it. At the very least make me rent an instrument I’ve never played and perform on a busy avenue until I make a certain amount of money. Moreover, I was supposed to talk about last season’s team. Well, I made the playoffs this season, and I was not about to talk about what happened in 2019. That was a whole different world.
If you do either of these or something equally as soft, step your league up. Get serious about this fantasy football shit, and do one of these punishments instead.
The Not-So-Fun Fantasy Football Punishment
First off, you want to set a target score for them to hit and make them take the exam until they get it. Otherwise, they can just circle random bubbles and be done with it. And losing a few hours of your life sitting in a classroom on a weekend morning isn’t nearly painful enough.
No no, you need to make them buy the prep books, spend hours studying, take practice tests, maybe even hire a tutor. That’s the whole purpose and beauty of this punishment—it’s a slow burn. You’re going to be sitting on your couch one day, and all of a sudden, you’ll realize that at that very moment, your friend is struggling to remember the quadratic formula while he tries to figure out how to work his newly bought graphing calculator. It’s exactly what a fantasy football punishment should be: You don’t want to ruin their life with it, you just want to make them miserable for a long time in a way that’s hilarious for everyone else in the league.
The SAT is a mental challenge. But if you want more of a physical test, consider making them run 26.2 consecutive miles instead.
The premise of the marathon is similar to that of the standardized test. You need to make them hit a certain time to have them fulfill the punishment—no walking or light jogging allowed. And just like the standardized test, the marathon itself isn’t the bad part, it’s all the work that has to go into doing it. Check out this training guide for beginner marathon runners. The program is 18 weeks long. You’re running hundreds of miles just to get ready to run the 26.2. If you get this punishment, you’re going on morning runs while everyone’s still sleeping, evening runs while your friends and co-workers are at happy hour, weekend runs past all the people having brunch, you probably even need to do holiday fun runs. Basically, your whole life revolves around running for the next four months.
These two punishments are really shitty to do, but you can get through them and go on with your life afterward. But what if you have a group of really twisted motherfuckers and you want to affect the loser’s life forever? Well here, let me help you with that.
The Hardcore Fantasy Football Punishment
Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about the permanence of ink etched into your skin that I’m just not about. That’s my two cents on tattoos in general. So, when you get one because you didn’t do well in fantasy football? I think that’s crazy. And when you get a tattoo that looks like THIS…
…all because of some internet game?? You’re a fucking lunatic.
I will say though, I like the creative element in this punishment. There are endless possibilities. You could make it a portrait of an ex, a beloved Disney character, or anything else that’ll ruin your buddy’s body until his skin decomposes. You could even have the league winner be the one to give it. If you’re in one of these leagues, I say lean into insanity and go all out with it.
I want nothing to do with a tattoo league. But if someone wants to invite me in as a creative consultant on designing the tattoo, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
This idea comes courtesy of Smitty over at Barstool Sports. He tweeted this out over two years ago and I’ve never forgotten about it. It keeps me up some nights thinking that this was even put on the table.
Maybe everyone in your league has already decided that kids aren’t for them, so it wouldn’t be that over-the-top. That’s the only defense I have for this idea. Quite frankly, if you’re even proposing this as a fantasy football punishment, you have no business procreating.
I want you to try and imagine it. You’re a college kid and think this punishment for fantasy football is the way to go. You want the most intense league possible. Fast forward 10 years and you’re in a serious relationship and thinking of proposing. But before you can, you have to drop this bomb on her that you’re infertile. All because you took Saquon with the first overall pick.
Does normal fantasy football bore you that much? Does it really take the threat of never giving your parents grandchildren to get you to put your waiver claims in on time? If you lose, the blood of your ancestors—a lineage that might have included kings, geniuses, and heroic warriors—is gone.
I don’t condone this kind of action, but for anyone who has done it, or wants to, I respect the hell out of you. At least with the vasectomy fantasy football punishment (or tying your tubes, fantasy football is for the ladies, too), you can get the ol’ snip-snip in mid-March. That way, you get the whole weekend to sit at Buffalo Wild Wings with an ice pack on your dead gonads watching the NCAA tournament. Almost makes the whole thing worth it.