Fantasy football leagues and similar contests have been a passion of mine for more than three decades, ever since I founded my Sunday Sofa Sloths league in 1992. I’m especially fond of offbeat twists on standard leagues, which is why the new vampire format not only drew me in as a player but inspired me to write about it, given that it’s so interesting and still relatively unknown.
I’ve been chosen as the vampire, and I will chronicle the season to give readers an idea of how one of these leagues plays out.
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What Is a Fantasy Football Vampire League?
The league preselects one owner as the vampire, either by volunteer or random draw. The vampire does not participate in the draft and has to build his roster from all the leftovers after the other teams have drafted.
Obviously, that alone would make it nearly impossible to win any games, let alone compete for the playoffs. So where it gets interesting is that only the vampire is allowed to use the waiver wire. There is an exception for when standard teams lose a player to IR, but even then, they have to wait until after the vampire has made its waiver claims for the week.
In addition to improving the team through waivers, the vampire can steal players from other teams every time the vampire wins a game. It’s actually more of a swap than a steal. For example, the first time I win a game, I can steal one player from my opponent’s starting lineup and return one of my starters at that same position.
This creates an added layer of strategy for the regular owners, who might feel comfortable resting some of their better players against a weak vampire lineup in order to prevent having a Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase pilfered.
The ideal vampire league features 12 teams. Ours is only 10, so I feel good about my chances of making a run at the playoffs. We held our draft Aug. 29, and I watched nine teams load up with talent waiting to see what would be left for me.
I know nobody cares about other people’s fantasy teams, but this is such a new concept that I thought people might enjoy seeing how the draft played out and how my Nosferatu’s Coffin Corner team fares this season.
To get an idea of what I was left with to build my initial roster, I’m listing the options that were available, as ranked by the Sleeper site that is hosting our league, along with the choices I made in building my 16-man roster.
- Russell Wilson
- Jared Goff
- Brock Purdy
- Jordan Love
- Bryce Young
- Matthew Stafford
- Derek Carr
- Kenny Pickett
I went with Goff and Purdy. I like the idea of a Week 1 shootout in Kansas City for Goff, and he could actually be my yearlong starter as any steals I earn likely will be running backs and wide receivers.
- Damien Harris
- Raheem Mostert
- Tyson Allgeier
- Devin Singletary
- D’Onta Foreman
- Chuba Hubbard
- Tank Bigsby
- Jeff Wilson
- Deon Jackson
- Kenneth Gainwell
I went with the top four of Harris, Mostert, Allgeier, and Singletary. Points are going to be really hard to come by at this position, but every year, there is an early waiver star at running back, and I’ll be able to grab him. It could be Jackson with Jonathan Taylor out for at least the first four games.
I like Singletary as a checkdown machine with a rookie quarterback, and Mostert is always capable of an explosive play that can put him on par with starter-level points. I just need one upset win to majorly upgrade this position.
- Treylon Burks
- Elijah Moore
- Jakobi Meyers
- Jameson Williams
- Rashod Bateman
- Adam Thielen
- Rondale Moore
- Skyy Moore
- Darnell Mooney
- Zay Jones
I almost went right down the line again, only skipping over the suspended Williams. Burks went in the 11th round of a standard 12-team league draft I participated in over the weekend, and Moore was the first pick in the 10th round.
- Chigoziem Okonkwo
- Greg Dulcich
- Tyler Higbee
- Gerald Everett
- Michael Mayer
- Dalton Knox
- Irv Smith Jr.
- Hayden Hurst
There were three Cincinnati-centric options with Smith, Hurst, and Mayer, but I can’t go wrong in loading up with Ryan Tannehill targets, right? I took Okonkwo and Higbee. With any steals I earn likely focused elsewhere, I can see this being a revolving door on the waiver wire looking for the best weekly matchup.
- Riley Patterson
- Graham Gano
- Matt Gay
- Chris Boswell
- Jason Myers
- Greg Zuerlein
I went with Meyers in what basically was drawing names out of a hat.
I was surprised to see the Steelers available. I might end up owning them all season. I also took the Packers, who might end up with the most points of the available group by the end of the year.
I will post weekly updates on my waiver and, hopefully, steal decisions. That way, if you feel like giving a vampire league a try next season, you’ll have a better idea of whether you want to volunteer to be the vampire.
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