All fantasy football leagues celebrate winners. Some fantasy leagues dole out punishments for losers — specifically, last-place teams. Across the fantasy football landscape, these sanctions vary widely and create further intrigue as the season draws to a close.
As you look ahead to 2023 and the embarrassing penalties you want to heap onto your buddy for finishing last, here are some of our favorite concepts. Creativity is encouraged, so feel free to use these as a starting point for creating something unique for your league.
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The Best Fantasy Football Punishments
No one wants to finish last in their fantasy football league. But in many leagues, some managers with bad records simply stop caring midway through the season, and we can’t have that! That’s why it can be helpful to establish consequences for bad performances — by making people engage in an even worse performance.
The Waffle House
The last-place manager is required to stay in a Waffle House for 24 hours, and each waffle consumed decreases the penalty by an hour. Do you try to down 10-12 waffles in the first few hours and get out of there by sundown? Go for 20-22 and deal with the consequences later?
The best part of this is usually the documentation and watching someone slowly spiral down after each waffle. Everyone has a plan until their stomach begins to fill. You’re league-mate will hate it, but his cardiologist will love the extra business.
Play in a U.S. Open Qualifier
Heading to the links for a quick 18 (or nine for those of us who are less adept with a club in our hands) is always fun. What is less fun is being unprepared and playing on the hardest course of your life against a bunch of amateur and professional golfers trying to qualify for the U.S. Open.
The beauty of open events is you don’t need a sponsor exemption to get in. Show up, post a score, and if good enough, you could end up competing for the Wanamaker Trophy.
But let’s be serious. We both know that’s not how this will play out. Not only will the loser of your league have to hear about that until the next draft, but they will spend five-plus hours being mentally and physically attacked by a beautiful golf course. To top it off, the league can watch it all unfold from the gallery.
Oh, and let’s not forget the embarrassment that comes with being out of place. While the rest of the field is grinding to further their career and chase an all-time moment, you’re proud when you go through an entire hole with the same ball. You are very much at risk of irritating those around you, and that’s just not a comfortable position to be in for an extended period of time.
Take the SAT/ACT
Imagine the feeling of walking into a room full of stressed-out teenagers to take a four-hour standardized test all because you were “too busy and forgot” to set your lineup a couple of times.
Outside of the wasted time, this is a very light-hearted punishment, outside of the embarrassment that comes. While the grade doesn’t matter, whether or not the league-mate has to try is up to the league. The only main stipulation is, unlike back in high school, there is no cutting out of class early.
The redeeming part of this punishment is that a positive outcome isn’t impossible like it was earlier. Maybe you struggle to win fantasy matchups, but posting a big number on a standardized test could serve as a future argument-ender. Of course, struggle on this exam, and that’s something you’re not living down, no matter how well future fantasy seasons go!
Few things would be worse than singing karaoke in front of all of your league members. That is until you’re forced on stage at karaoke night at your local bar in front of everyone with no control over the song you’re about to perform.
Will your opponents shun you for your painfully poor rendition of Shaggy and RikRok’s “It Wasn’t Me”? Are you sure you want a recording of you blaring out Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield” on YouTube? Maybe you’ll think twice about ignoring waivers in Weeks 9-13.
Stand-up comedy is already hit or miss, and that’s by people who are actually good at it — not those who call themselves comedians but can’t get a chuckle out of an online meeting or at the office Christmas Party.
It’s even worse when that person on stage is being forced into this because they came in last in their fantasy football league and are paying the punishment. Just be sure to apologize to all the people in the crowd who thought this would be a great date-night idea as you walk out of the building after a performance no one will forget.
This one is tough logistically, but it can be an impactful one. This summer, Kevin Pulsifer of ESPN was tasked with a travel agenda that makes even the adventurous of us second-guess things. And guess what? It was all for a great cause. When you can marry punishing your league loser with supporting a solid foundation, everyone wins!
My fantasy football punishment starts NOW! #SkyPulse
I'm flying from Hartford to Baltimore to Orlando to Dallas to LA to Vegas to Denver to Hartford in 36 hours.
I'm ALSO raising money for charity! 100% of your donations go to Fantasy Cares/V Foundation! https://t.co/hAymCqf32L
— Kevin Pulsifer #SkyPulse (@imPULSEivity) August 1, 2023
When it’s a child doing this, it’s cute. Even though you know not a single lemon was squeezed, you will buy that overpriced solo cup full of artificial flavors and sweeteners.
But it’s far less adorable when it’s being run by a fully grown adult who is hating their very existence at the moment. Place your stand at a busy intersection, sit back, take a sip, and enjoy the next several hours of confused looks and entertainment.
This punishment is most often accompanied by a sign that explains just how bad you are at fantasy. So yes, serving lemonade isn’t a great look … but having all of your neighbors be fully aware of your rough year makes for some less-than-entertaining small-talk conversations in the coming months.
Solo Date Night
Everyone likes being wined and dined. Throw on something a little nice and hit the town for a nice dinner and drinks. For couples, it’s a much-needed reprieve from the grind of being an adult. However, do you ever get hungry and don’t want to go out because it looks weird just eating alone?
Well, wonder no more because coming in last just landed you at the front of the line for reservations and a dinner out on the town. But don’t you worry; you won’t be alone.
You’ll have a giant stuffed animal or inflatable doll with you to keep you company. For the icing on the cake — and to league-mates who showed up to eat and watch — make sure to tell the servers it’s their birthday to draw maximum attention.
Other Fantasy Football Punishments for Last-Place Teams
Like Cousin Eddie said,” That’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year round.” That it is Eddie, that it is.
You need to have a dedicated league to pull this one off. I do this for a living, and there’s a 0% chance I play in this league, but they do exist. My buddy went down this route:
Almost 8 hours of getting my ribs blasted… totally worth it. 🤘🏼
— Daniel Dopp (@DanielDopp) December 28, 2018
The tattoo punishment for the last-place manager is about as rough as it gets since that reminder is going nowhere anytime soon. In several cases, the winner of the league is allowed to design the tattoo, meaning they can make it as rough as they want. Spoiler alert, they won’t take it easy.
Similar to the tattoo punishment, only less permanent. I mean, we receive shiny trophies for winning, shouldn’t the loser also get something shiny for their placement? The winner is allowed to pick the piercing, and if the league is generous, the loser is allowed to pick the placement.
If not, well, have you ever wondered what it would look like if you had your belly button pierced? I guess there’s no need to wonder anymore.
License Plate Frame
In this scenario, you’d have to drive around for a year with a license plate frame that prominently tells all close drivers you finished last in your fantasy football league. Add some pizzazz and spray paint “League Loser” on top of your trunk or your back window. If this approach is good enough for “Just Married” couples, then it’s good enough for last-place fantasy managers.
Social Media Profile Changes
You must have the phrase “Fantasy Football Loser” exhibited in all of your social media profiles. Given the world we live in, this is becoming an increasingly severe punishment and one worth fighting until the bitter end to avoid.
This would include X, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Looking for a new job? Should have thought of that before drafting a kicker in the fifth round.
This can also be coupled with the eyebrow punishment, where whoever comes in last must shave their eyebrows. Side note: Humans look really weird without eyebrows.
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