Don’t join every fantasy league you see. Otherwise you’re getting your money in bad.
When you join a fantasy league, look at your total buy-in cost (fees and everything included) and then calculate the total league payout for however many places in your league.
When you get your total buy-in, multiply that by the number of teams in the league.
So let’s say your league entry fee is $100 total and there are 12 teams in the league.
$100 entry x 12 teams = $1200 Total purse.
Next, find out the total price pool for the league. Let’s say 1st place gets $500, 2nd place gets $200, and 3rd place gets $100.
$500 + $200 + $100 = $800 total payout
If there are any grand prizes or extras for high finishers who go on to another playoff tournament round after winning the championship for your league, ignore them as it’s unlikely you will win them.
In our hypothetical, we’re only getting 66% payout.
We an accept not getting 100% because it costs money to host and run the leagues but 66% payout is pretty skimpy.
So far this year I’ve found two fantasy leagues that are offering high payouts.
First, Yahoo Pro leagues appear to payout 90% whether you buy in for $20, $100, or $500. They field leagues of 10 teams. Awesome deal.
At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any leagues to sign up in but here’s a link to their payout structure.
2015 Update: PhenomsFF.com did have great payouts but they are finished. Phenoms filed for bankruptcy and a lot of players didn’t get paid. I have left keywords in place so this post can continue to show in Google and I will add other great leagues as I found them.
The payouts at Phenoms work the same whether the leagues are 10 teams, 12, or 14. The entry fees are as follows:
$50 buy-in = 80%
$100 buy-in = 85%
$200 buy-in = 90%
$500 buy-in = $93%
They also have higher stakes leagues for $1,000 and $2,500.
Here’s how I’d work it:
If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward league, definitely play at Yahoo. Same if you want to play for less money.
For more complex leagues or something custom tailored to your preferences, Phenoms is going to be your best bet. They have auction, dynasty, keeper, pretty much everything. I’m not sure how many options Yahoo offers.
Of course, if you want to play for high stakes money, Phenoms wins.
I think this is the first year Yahoo’s rolled out real money leagues so they’re a little in beta mode but you got to think they’re such a huge operation they’ll have it mostly figured out. Real cash does put a twist on things but they have been great at running free leagues for years.
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