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DataForce Fantasy Football Rulebook

Please become familiar with the rules before entering any of our contests.

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Overview

Overview of Recent Changes

  • Dropped players are not locked after week 13 for dynasty or legacy leagues (1-19-17)
  • Added live auction disclaimer. Enter live auctions aware of the risk (1-15-17)
  • Players on I.R. may now be picked up as free agents (1-12-17)
  • Added skinny leagues and IDP leagues (4-5-17)
  • Kicker scoring has changed to award more points for field goals over 39 yards (5-19-17)
  • Contender league playoffs are head-to-head, not total points (5-19-17)

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Rules-at-a-Glance

  • Offensive scoring:
    • Passing touchdown: 4 points
    • Rushing or Receiving touchdown: 6 points
    • Thrown interception: -1 point
    • Offensive fumble lost: -1 point
    • Reception: 1 point
    • Rushing or receiving yard gained: .1 points (1 point for 10 yards)
    • Passing yard gained: .05 points (1 point for 20 yards)
    • Passing, rushing or receiving 2-point conversion: 2 points
    • Extra point kicked: 1 point
    • Field goal kicked: 3 points plus .1 points per yard over 39
  • Defense/Special Teams scoring:
    • Defensive or Special Teams touchdown: 6 points
    • Turnover: 2 points
    • Sack: 1 point
    • Safety: 2 points
    • Each point scored by the opposing team: -.3 points
    • Defense begins each game with 10 points, and goes downward as often as upward in points
  • See Scoring Rules below for IDP league scoring
  • Four roster plans are available for regular-season leagues:
    • Standard: 1QB/2RB/3WR/1TE/1flex/1PK/1DE/8bench
    • Flex: 1QB/1RB/2WR/1TE/2flex/1PK/1DE/9bench
    • Deep: 2QB/2RB/3WR/2flex/2TE/2PK/2DE/11bench.
    • Super-flex: 1QB/1RB/2WR/1TE/2flex/1super/1PK/1DE/8bench (a "super" roster spot may hold QB/RB/WR/TE)
    • Multi-year leagues have additional roster space plus an Injured Reserve.
  • Drafts may be live serpentine, email serpentine, live auction, or email auction.
  • All waivers are by blind bidding, $500 season balance, with free agency each week of the regular season after waivers are processed.
  • Unless specifically excluded, trades are allowed in all leagues except Draftmaster, Contender and Playoff leagues.
  • Playoffs are from weeks 14-16. In typical leagues, six teams are seeded into the playoffs: The first two by divisional standing, The next two by regular season points scored, and last two by win-loss record.
  • The prize return is HUGE.
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Game of Skill

Fantasy Football is a game of skill. You will join a league with other owners, form a team of real-life players, and use your knowledge of football and the NFL to earn fantasy points and win weekly games against your opponents throughout the NFL season. The real-life performance of the NFL players that you choose to start each week will determine your weekly game score. The most successful teams at the end of the season will be awarded prize money.

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Weekly Schedule

Here is the weekly schedule for all leagues who participate in these activities (all times central):

  1. Tuesday morning: Standings are updated and leagues are open for trading and to accept blind bids.
  2. Tuesday midnight: Rosters may be adjusted automatically by DataForce to prevent incomplete lineups.
  3. Wednesday 9pm: Blind bidding is closed and players are awarded.
  4. Wednesday 9:15pm: Free Agency begins.
  5. Thursday mid-day: NFL's official game statistics are recorded. It's possible that live stats may be corrected, changing league standings.
  6. Saturday 9pm: trading is closed.
  7. As each NFL game begins: Players for that game are locked. They may not be moved in or out of lineups and may not be picked up from free agency.
  8. As the final game begins Monday night: All remaining players (including free agents) are locked.

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Expert Level Players

DataForce categorizes contestants who have reached "expert" status according to various state laws, so that beginners can be warned when entering contests with experts. You can note the expert symbol in the lobby when selecting leagues to join, and again on your standings page for leagues you are currently competing in. Experts are denoted by the symbol of a crown. Expert player

Expert designations differ from state to state, and the state you live in determined which opponents will appear to you as experts. For a description of expert qualifications in each state, please see the Expert Levels page.

MyFantasyLeague Exceptions - PLEASE READ

Many of DataForce's leagues are hosted on MyFantasyLeague.com. These games require certain exceptions to the following rules, as the software does not make provision for all of the DataForce rule set. Please be aware of these rule changes when playing on MyFantasyLeague:

  1. Email auctions on MyFantasyLeague software are considerably different from DataForce email auctions. On MFL, the deadline for auction bids extends each time a bid is placed, so one player may remain on auction for several days, and many players can be bid on simultaneously. Money management becomes a critical part of the strategy.
  2. In DataForce-run leagues, if someone picks up a free agent and drops him in the same week, he is available for pick up by another team. MyFantasyLeague software does not accomodate this. However, if you discover such a player and wish to pick him up, our rules DO allow this, so just contact us and we will make him available as a free agent.
  3. In DataForce-run leagues, traded players are locked on the team until the trade is reviewed by the commissioner. This is not possible in MyFantasyLeague-run games.
  4. MyFantasyLeague does not allow trading of auction dollars.
  5. On DataForce, a player may be dropped from your roster even after his game starts, so long as he was not in your starting lineup. This is not possible from MyFantasyLeague.
  6. While the rules for trade protests remain the same, the protest process is a little more cumbersome on MyFantasyLeague. Trades are protested by going to the DataForce software and lodging the protest there, on the Team Management hub.
  7. Defenses and kickers dropped after week 12 on MyFantasyLeague will not be available for waivers or free agency.

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Drafting a Team

General Concept

As soon as your league is filled, you'll be assigned a random draft position, whether you are in a draft or auction league. For example, if you are in a 12-team league, you will pick (or select a player for auction) somewhere between 1st and 12th. If you are in an auction league, your "draft position" indicates the order in which you nominate the next player to go up for bid.

League owners take turns drafting or buying real-life NFL players with play money for their fantasy team to begin each season. No player may reside on more than one team. The draft concludes when all roster spots on all teams are filled.

Drafts and auctions may be facilitated by either MyFantasyLeague.com or by DataForce Fantasy Football, at DataForce's discretion. There will be differences between the two sites, and software may differ from year to year. Plan to familiarize yourself with the draft software before your draft begins.

After the draft concludes, all remaining players go on waivers and remain there until either the season begins or they are picked up by a team. Players dropped during the preseason also go on waivers, and as such are not immediately available for picking up. More about waivers and free agency below.

The fantasy season begins with the first NFL game for the year.

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Live Draft

All live drafts are serpentine drafts. In odd rounds, the draft order is reversed. For example, if you pick 1st in round 1, then you'll pick first in rounds 3, 5, 7 and so on. You'll pick last in even rounds: 2, 4, 6, 8 etc.

The draft will take place in a shared internet Draft Room. League owners are required to have a reliable internet connection.

You will have 75 seconds to make each pick. If the clock expires before you pick, your selection will be made from the top of your pre-draft selection list. If your pre-draft selection list is empty, your selection is made from your custom ranking, and if you've prepared no rankings, your selection is made from our list, which is ordered by Average Draft Position. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep a few pre-draft selections queued up in case of problems. (Note that the software may not necessarily draft the very top player on either list, since it does try to filling your starting lineup of skill players first, and also makes sure you don't get too many players at the same position.)

In live drafts (and only in live events) you are required to draft a legal roster. That means that each of your starting positions must be filled before the draft concludes. The lineup requirements of your league depends on the type of league you have joined, but the most common format (a standard league) requires you to play one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one flex position (which may be a running back, wide receiver or tight end), one kicker, and one defense. You may fill your bench with players of any position.

DataForce will monitor every live draft to insure that it runs smoothly. In the interest of fair play, we may occasionally interrupt a draft to answer questions, to help new owners, and to recover from technical difficulties on the part of the software or any owner. We may even undo or correct draft picks to resolve problems and errors. The commissioner's goal is a friendly draft where all parties receive the picks they wish.

There will be no trading during a live draft.

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Email Draft

Email drafts are identical in format to live drafts. All email drafts are serpentine drafts. In odd rounds, the draft order is reversed. For example, if you pick 1st in round 1, then you'll pick first in rounds 3, 5, 7 and so on. You'll pick last in even rounds: 2, 4, 6, 8 etc.

League owners are required to have an internet connection in order to make draft picks. The draft timer is eight hours, and it is paused between the hours of 12am to 6am Central Time. If you do not make a selection before your time expires, the pick will be made for you from your custom ranking, and if no rankings were prepared, the pick will be made from our list, which is ordered by Average Draft Position. (Note that the software may not necessarily draft the very top player on either list, since it does try to filling your starting lineup of skill players first, and also makes sure you don't get too many players at the same position.)

After the 3rd preseason weekend, an accelerated period begins in order to make sure the draft finishes before the season starts. The draft timer goes to six hours per pick, and offering trades to a team on the clock is disallowed. (Note: when drafting playoff leagues at the end of the season, the timer begins at six hours per pick rather than eight.)

You will receive an email and/or text message when it is your turn to pick. You will also receive an email confirming any automated pick, whether pre-draft or due to the timer expiring. You may optionally set your preferences on your Owner->Preferences page so that you receive email notifications of picks made by other teams as well, and you may set your preferences to notify you one hour before your turn expires to prevent missed picks. DataForce reserves the right to place any team on autopick (where the pick is made for you automatically when your turn comes) if you appear to be purposefully slowing down the draft, or have timed out on consecutive picks.

Pre-draft picks are allowed in email drafts, but they are handled differently than live drafts. Pre-draft picks in email drafts are not for the purpose of selecting a player when your timer expires but rather to draft a player immediately when your turn comes. In the interest of expediency, pre-draft picks are highly recommended and much appreciated.

Trading of picks and players is allowed during an email draft, but it is discouraged when it is your turn, as this causes delays. Instead, all owners are expected to cooperate in facilitating a speedy draft.

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Live Auction

In live auctions, owners take turns nominating players to be bid on. This selection order is not serpentine. If you pick first in round 1, you will pick first in every round.

The auction will take place in a shared internet Auction Room. League owners are required to have a reliable internet connection.

When your turn comes, you will have 20 seconds to nominate a player for bidding. If the clock expires before you pick, your selection will be made from the top of your pre-draft selection list. If your pre-draft selection list is empty, your selection is made from your custom ranking, and if no ranking has been prepared, your selection is made from our list, which is ordered by Average Draft Position.

The bidding timer then begins at 15 seconds. Once it gets below 8 seconds, each additional bid will increase the timer back to 8 seconds. The auction ends when the timer reaches zero.

Each owner receives $200 in bidding money before the auction begins. As each player is put up for bid, owners may bid as they wish in $1 increments. However, you must be able to fill your roster, so the auction software will prevent you from overbidding. Your available money for bidding must leave at least $1 for each empty roster spot. The Auction Room will show each owner's available maximum bid.

In live auctions (and only in live events) you are required to draft a legal roster. In other words, you must fill every position in your starting lineup.

Once your roster is filled, both starting and bench players, you may not bid on further players. The auction is over for you.

DataForce will monitor every live auction to insure that it runs smoothly. In the interest of fair play, we may occasionally interrupt an auction to answer questions, to help new owners, and to recover from technical difficulties on the part of the software or any owner. We may even undo or correct auction picks and bidding winners to resolve problems and errors. The commissioner's goal is a friendly auction where all parties are able to bid as they wish for each player.

There will be no trading during a live auction.

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Live Auction Disclaimer

Live auctions are intense, fast-moving online events. You should have a fast internet connection, adaquate memory available, and an easy-to-use pointing device. Tablets and smart phones are not recommended.

Because auctions are fast-paced, internet lag can cause frustrations, and we cannot be not responsible for missed nominations or bids due to lag or to a malfunction on your end. We may back up an auction in the event of a clear user error (such as an accidental bid of way too much) and for clear software malfunctions on our end, but we will not back up so that you may place a bid that was missed due to internet lag.

Enter online auctions aware of the risk. If your auction timer doesn't appear to fully start over after an opponent's bid or nomination, you are almost certainly experiencing lag. You may decrease the effect by turning off drag/drop and by refreshing your page on a periodic basis to update the player queue.

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Email Auction

If your email auction is hosted by DataForce Fantasy Football it will be considerably different from those hosted by MyFantasyLeague.com! This section describes the rules for a DataForce auction. If you are placed in a MyFantasyLeague.com auction, please skip to the next section.

DataForce email auctions are meant to emulate live auctions, with the exception that several players are open for bidding simultaneously. In a DataForce auction, exactly 12 players will be nominated for bidding each day, in one hour intervals, so in a 12-team league each owner nominates one player every day. Nominations begin at 10am Central Time (due by 11am) and continue through the day with the final nomination due by 10pm Central Time.

Each player auction lasts 24 hours. An auction that begins with a nomination between 11am and noon will end at noon the following day. This means that you will be bidding on 12 players at a time.

You do not have to be online to make your scheduled nomination. Just as you can use a pre-draft list in an email draft, you can use a pre-nomination list in an auction, so that the software will nominate your player for you when the time comes. If no player is on your list when it is your turn to nominate, then the software will nominate a player for you, selecting the best player available according to your custom ranking. If you've prepared no rankings, the player will be selected according to Average Draft Position. A nomination carries with it an assumed opening bid of $1, and you may not decrease your bid to less than $1 on a player you nominate.

As mentioned, each player remains in the bidding for exactly 24 hours after the nomination deadline. The first 23 hours are for you to enter sealed maximum bids. Anytime during this 23-hour period, you may set your maximum bid for the player. This maximum may be raised or lowered as often as you want and there is no limit to how much you can bid. (Don't bother bidding more money than you have available, though, that won't do any good.) Leave the bid at zero if you are not interested in the player. You really only need to check in once a day to set your bids for the auctions ending in the next 24 hours.

The fun begins in the 24th hour of each auction. During the final hour the sealed bids become a live auction and you can see which owner is winning. The software will bid for you, ebay-style, up to your maximum bid. Of course, you may change your maximum at any time during the live bidding as well. However--and this is very important--you do not have to be present for the final hour of the auction! In fact, you'll usually find it better to set your maximum bid for each player as soon as possible, and then not touch that bid again. The reason for this relates to how tie bids are handled.

If two players bid the same amount for a player, then the owner who bids first will be awarded the bid. It may seem obvious, but you must bid more than the prior owner in order to move ahead in the auction. Suppose your opponent, "Fred," sets a maximum of $20 for a player, and is the current high bidder at $14. You don't know what his maximum bid is--it's hidden from you--so you increase your maximum to $16. What will happen is that the software will increase Fred's bid to $16, matching yours, and he'll remain the high bidder on the auction. Until you actually increase your bid to more than Fred's $20 maximum, you cannot become the high bidder.

Consider now what happens if Fred changes his bid, because this can get confusing. He has set a $20 maximum, and owns the high bid at $16, because he placed his bid before you and your $16 maximum. If Fred raises or lowers his maximum, he changes the time on his bid, so that your bid comes chronologically ahead of his. Thus he cannot remain the high bidder at only $16, so the software will increase his bid to $17. He is effectively bidding against himself, by changing his bid. He cannot lower his bid to less than $17, because that would allow him to slip out of the auction.

At the conclusion of the final (live) bidding hour, the player is awarded to the highest bidder and the next nominated player moves up into the live bidding window.

When your roster is full, the auction ends for you. For the rest of the teams, the software will continue requiring the same 12 nominations per day, so some owners will make multiple nominations in the same day.

Given there are no delays, your auction will last about one day for each spot on your roster. For a normal 18-player roster with 12 owners, the auction will end sometime on the 19th day after it starts.

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Email Auctions at MyFantasyLeague.com

If your auction is hosted at MyFantasyLeague it will operate differently than a DataForce auction. You will still have $200 to spend on players, the minimum opening bid is still $1, and bidding is still in increments of $1. It's still proxy bidding, meaning that you may place your sealed maximum bid and the software will bid for you, up to your maximum. You are still bidding on multiple players simultaneously. But there the similarities end.

You are expected to nominate exactly two players per day. This cannot be not enforced by the software, but will be enforced by the commissioner if a violation is reported. MFL auctions are self-regulated, so if there's no complaint, there's no violation. Your two nominations may be at any time during the day.

Dropping players in the middle of an email auction is against the rules. In past years if was allowed to drop a player you did not want and bid on a new player. This is no longer legal, even though the software permits it. Again, MFL auctions are self-regulated, so if you notice an owner dropping players during an auction, please notify us and we will restore the player to his or her roster.

Each player auction has a 24-hour clock. You may bid on multiple players simultaneously. Each time the high bidder on a player changes, the 24-hour clock resets for that player. Note that merely increasing your maximum bid, if you are already the high bidder, does not restart the clock.

You must fill your roster during the auction, so as you bid, you must preserve at least $1 for each remaining roster spot. You may not place a bid on a player if it might result in overspending your budget. This limit will be enforced by the software. In other words, the sum of your active bids, plus money already spent on players, plus $1 set aside to fill each remaining roster spot, can never exceed $200. Therefore, you must choose which players to bid on and allocate your money appropriately, so that your bids are at all times legal.

The auction ends when all rosters are full.

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Roster Requirements

What is a Roster?

A roster is the collection of players on your team. Some will be in starting positions, which will contribute points toward winning your games, and some will be on the bench. You can move players between the starting line-up and your bench as you wish, though no changes are allowed between the time a player's NFL game starts and the end of the final NFL game for the week. (He is locked down as soon as his game starts).

In DataForce leagues, there are no defensive players drafted. Instead, you draft teams into your Defense positions (which actually incorporates both defense and special teams). You score points on how well that team defense performs.

Draftmaster leagues allow six more players drafted to your bench. The typical draftmaster league will have not 18 players but 24 per team (deep leagues will have 32 per team).

Multi-year leagues may keep four additional players on Injured Reserve. These four players must be on season-ending IR in the NFL.

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Standard Rosters

A standard roster has 18 players, 10 of which are in the starting lineup each week:

  • 1 Quarterback
  • 2 Running Backs
  • 3 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Tight End
  • 1 Flex Position, which may be a running back, wide receiver, or tight end
  • 1 Place Kicker
  • 1 Defense / Special Teams
  • 8 Bench Players

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Flex Rosters

A flex roster presents more flexible line-up options. It has 18 players, 9 of which are in the starting lineup each week:

  • 1 Quarterback
  • 1 Running Back
  • 2 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Tight End
  • 2 Flex Positions, which may be running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends
  • 1 Place Kicker
  • 1 Defense / Special Teams
  • 9 Bench Players

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Deep Rosters

Deep rosters allow far more players on your team. Because of the limited number of legitimate starters available in the NFL, deep leagues contain only 10 teams instead of the usual 12. Deep rosters have 26 players, 15 of which are in the starting lineup each week:

  • 2 Quarterbacks
  • 2 Running Backs
  • 3 Wide Receivers
  • 2 Tight Ends
  • 2 Flex Positions, which may be running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends
  • 2 Place Kickers
  • 2 Defenses / Special Teams
  • 11 Bench Players

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Super-Flex Rosters

A super-flex roster adds the dimension of allowing a quarterback as a flex option. It has 18 players, 10 of which are in the starting lineup each week:

  • 1 Quarterback
  • 1 Running Back
  • 2 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Tight End
  • 2 Flex Positions, which may be running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends
  • 1 Super-Flex Position, which may be a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or tight end
  • 1 Place Kicker
  • 1 Defense / Special Teams
  • 8 Bench Players

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Skinny-league Rosters

A skinny league is simply a smaller roster size, with only 8 players in the starting lineup and 6 bench spots:

  • 1 Quarterback
  • 1 Running Back
  • 2 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Tight End
  • 1 Flex Positions, which may be running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends
  • 1 Place Kicker
  • 1 Defense / Special Teams
  • 6 Bench Players

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IDP Rosters

In an Individual Defensive Player league, there is no team defense. Instead, defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs are drafted individually. The roster becomes quite large, with 16 starters and 12 bench players:

  • 1 Quarterback
  • 2 Running Backs
  • 3 Wide Receivers
  • 1 Tight End
  • 1 Place Kicker
  • 2 Defensive Linemen
  • 3 Linebackers
  • 3 Defensive Backs
  • 12 Bench Players

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Playoff Rosters

Playoff rosters are only used during the NFL playoffs, and are a completely separate contest from regular season leagues. In these leagues, there are only 12 eligible NFL teams. This is the number of teams seeded into the NFL playoffs. Playoff rosters are "deep," allowing 2 of most positions, and thus the number of owners is limited to six per league. Playoff rosters all have exactly the same positions on each team, and every player plays every week. If an NFL player's team is eliminated from the NFL playoffs, he no longer contributes points to your score.

  • 2 Quarterbacks
  • 2 Running Backs
  • 4 Wide Receivers
  • 2 Tight Ends
  • 2 Place Kicker
  • 2 Defense / Special Teams
  • No Bench Players

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Multi-Year Leagues

Multi-year leagues have additional roster spots. Keeper and Contract leagues have 2 more bench spots, and Dynasty and leagues have 4 more. All formats have 4 Injured Reserve spots, which will be discussed below.

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Playing the Game

The Playing Schedule

With the exception of Tin Baby, Playoff and Draftmaster leagues, all leagues will be divided into two divisions: East and West. In Tin Baby, Playoff and Draftmaster leagues, there are no divisions, because there are no head-to-head games.

In head-to-head leagues, the regular fantasy season lasts 13 weeks, and the fantasy playoffs last 3 weeks (exception: See Contender leagues). The fantasy season ends after week 16 of the NFL season (no games count during week 17).

In 10-team head-to-head leagues, you will play the 4 teams in your division twice and the other 5 teams once. In 12-team leagues, you will play 3 of the 4 teams in your division twice, and the remaining 7 teams once.

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Player Transactions Described

A player transaction by definition is any action, whether initiated directly via the website or requested by email, that could result in a change to your roster. Along with more obvious transactions this includes placing waiver bids, moving players around in your lineup, offering trades, and choosing prepicks or prenominations during the draft.

Player transactions are final when submitted. DataForce cannot reverse an action except under the following circumstances, and only if we are notified immediately:

  1. The resulting transaction was caused by a software malfunction on our end, or
  2. The transaction is user error, immediately reported (perhaps you accidentally clicked "accept" rather than "decline" to a trade offer), or
  3. The transaction strongly suggests a misunderstanding of the rules (perhaps you bid $50 for a player during waivers in a Salary Cap league).

Do not bother requesting a reversal of any transaction merely because you changed your mind, or because you were unaware of recent news of the player. And above all, I cannot stress enough that legitimate reversal requests be submitted immediately.

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Setting a Weekly Lineup

The deadline for submitting a starting lineup is the scheduled kickoff time of each player's game. After gametime arrives (even if the game doesn't start at the scheduled time), his place in your starting lineup or your bench is locked.

If no lineup is submitted, it will result in the same lineup as the prior week. Missed lineups in week 1 will be set by the commissioner based on best-play pre-game projections.

Intentionally submitting a less than optimal lineup in order to purposefully lose may result in the commissioner revising the lineup and may cause the owner to lose his rights to manage his team.

Beginning in 2016, on DataForce software only, your roster may be adjusted late Tuesday night to bench players that are out with injury or on bye. If you have available players on your bench who are active, the computer will attempt to form a valid lineup for you. This is to mitigate the negative affect of abandoned teams. Of course, it also helps detect cheating: if these non-playing players are then reinserted by you into the lineup, collusion becomes quite obvious.

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If You Cannot Set Your Lineup

If for any reason, including malfunction of the host software, you are unable to set a starting lineup, you must send your lineup to us by email. Do not call us; we must have a dated audit trail of your lineup request, so we can only accept email changes. The email must be sent (timestamped) before the start of the game for every player listed. Under no circumstances will any owner ever be allowed to move a player into or out of the starting lineup once his game has started. You may send multiple emails, changing your lineup as necessary, but any player change requested after that player's game begins will be discarded.

Your email must either contain a full starting lineup or it must indicate each player you wish to remove from the starting lineup and each player you wish to add. Invalid roster moves or lineups cannot be processed, so please be careful.

Changes to your lineup requested by email will be processed by us after the game starts.

IMPORTANT: If you send us a starting lineup email, then every player listed in your email will override any changes you make via the software. In other words, if you tell us to start player x and later decide not to, you must send a supplemental email overriding your prior choice.

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Bestball Leagues

In Bestball leagues you do not set lineups. After the week's games are over, the computer selects your optimal lineup for the week, and that is who goes into your starting lineup. You still play head-to-head, still have fantasy playoffs, and still perform all other weekly owner functions, including trades, waiver bids, and free agent pickups.

Note: DataForce also offers a Bestball variant in Tin Baby leagues, which have an interesting tweak: You may only pick up one new player per week, whether by free agency or waiver bidding.

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Draftmaster Leagues

In Draftmaster leagues, owner involvement ends after the draft. They are bestball leagues, meaning that the software selects your most optimal lineup each week after the NFL games are played. There are no head-to-head games, no playoffs, no waivers, no free agents, no trades. Prizes are awarded based strictly on total points scored.

Because no player movement is allowed after the draft, draftmaster leagues allow many more players on your roster. You will draft six more players than other leagues of the same format. Thus, most leagues will have 24 players per team rather than 18, and deep leagues will have 32 players per team rather than 26.

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Tin Babies

Tin baby leagues are inexpensive ($20) low-maintenance leagues designed for year-long NFL groupies who just can't wait for the fantasy draft season to begin. We begin offering these leagues as soon as the NFL playoffs are over, and continue to offer them through the off-season until early Summer.

Tin babies make excellent draft practice opportunities or early-season drafts. They share the following characteristics:

  • They are run only on DataForce software (not MyFantasyLeague)
  • Email drafts only
  • No head-to-head matchups (prizes awarded by total points only)
  • No setting lineups
  • No trading
  • Little or no roster changes throughout the year

Tin babies come in two formats:

  1. Draftmaster leagues, with the usual 24 players per team
  2. Bestball leagues, with 18 players per team, but with a twist: Only one player may be added to your team each week, whether by blind bidding or by free agency.

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Playoff Leagues

Playoff leagues are special leagues played during the NFL playoffs. They are entirely separate from regular season leagues. Only six teams are placed in each league, and like Draftmaster leagues, owner involvement ends after the draft.

Playoff leagues last four weeks, matching the four weeks of the NFL playoff schedule. (There is one inactive week before the Superbowl.)

There are no flex positions on Playoff league rosters, and no bench positions. Every player is in your starting lineup every week. It is to your benefit to draft players from NFL teams that you believe will go deep into the playoffs, because once a player's team is eliminated from the NFL playoffs, he no longer contributes points to your team.

In an email draft for playoff leagues, the timer begins at six hours per pick rather than eight. Because of the short time available for drafting, the commissioner may need to step up the timer during the draft process if it appears to be moving too slowly.

Playoff leagues have no head-to-head contests. Prizes are awarded based strictly on total points scored.

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Scoring

Player scoring in all leagues is identical.

Offensive Scoring:

  • Passing touchdown: 4 points
  • Rushing or Receiving touchdown: 6 points
  • Thrown interception: -1 point
  • Offensive fumble lost: -1 point
  • Reception: 1 point
  • Rushing or receiving yard gained: .1 points (1 point for 10 yards)
  • Passing yard gained: .05 points (1 point for 20 yards)
  • Passing, rushing or receiving 2-point conversion: 2 points
  • Extra point kicked: 1 point
  • Field goal kicked: 3 points plus .1 points per yard over 39

Defensive Team Scoring (for your Defense roster spot):

  • Defensive or Special Teams touchdown: 6 points
  • Turnover: 2 points
  • Sack: 1 point
  • Safety: 2 points
  • Each point scored by the opposing team: -.3 points
  • Defense begins each game with 10 points, and goes downward as often as upward in points

Defensive Player Scoring (For IDP leagues only):

  • Tackle: 1.5 points
  • Assist: .5 points
  • Sack: 4.5 points
  • Forced fumble: 2 points
  • Fumble Recovery (from opponent): 2 points
  • Interception: 6 points
  • Pass Defensed: 1 point
  • Defensive Touchdown: 6 points
  • Safety: 2 points

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Managing Your Team

Waivers & Blind Bidding

Players who are dropped from a team usually go on waivers and are not available to be picked up by another team until the next waiver process. All undrafted players also begin the season on waivers. The first waiver process occurs on the first Wednesday after your draft concludes, at 9pm Central Time, and they continue on a weekly basis every Wednesday throughout the season at 9pm.

Except for dynasty and legacy leagues, players dropped after week 13 begins (immediately following week 12's games) do not go on waivers. They will not be available for bidding or as free agent pickups for the remainder of the year. This excludes kickers and defenses for games hosted on DataForce software. (MyFantasyLeague cannot treat kickers or defenses differently than other positions, so these players will remain locked for the year.)

Players are obtained from waivers by Blind Bidding. At the start of the year, each team is awarded $500 to use for bidding on waivers throughout the season. Each week, prior to the 9pm Wednesday deadline, you may submit bids for players. You may bid as much as you wish, in $1 increments, though when bids are processed the software will not allow you to overspend your annual budget.

Blind bidding on the DataForce site is simplified but sufficient. Simply create a list of the players you want, assigning a bid to each (higher bids will always be processed first), and then create a list of the players you are willing to drop, in the order you want to drop them. Unless you have empty roster spots already, you will never be awarded more players from waivers than the number of players you select to be dropped. Likewise, the waiver process will never drop more players than it needs to in order to award you the players you win.

DataForce software allows you to specify which player you wish to replace with each purchase. You can, for example, specify that you wish to drop your kicker only if you win the bid on another kicker. Other than this simple option, however, conditional bids and targeted drops are not facilitated, as most owners find such processes time consuming and more confusing than helpful.

In the event two teams bid the same amount for a player, the player is awarded to the team with the worst season record (worst-to-first) using the same tie-breakers as are used for playoff contention. The final tiebreak is initial draft position; if all other things are equal, the team that was awarded the later draft position in the preseason draft wins the tiebreak.

In the preseason, tiebreaks are instead determined by the date and time the bids were placed. The team to bid first is awarded the player in the event of a tie. Making a change to any one bid in your waiver list changes the date on all of your bids for the week.

Note: For leagues hosted on MyFantasyLeague.com, conditional bidding has been enabled and blind bidding becomes more complex. Please study MFL's operating instructions here carefully.

Special Waiver Rules for Salary Cap Leagues

If you are playing in a salary cap league, remember that the amount you bid becomes the player's salary once he lands on your roster. You are not only bidding against your opponents, you are indicating the salary you are willing to pay the player.

Since there exists a $200 salary cap in these leagues, the software will not award you a player during the waiver process unless you drop enough players, with high enough salaries, to make room under the cap for your new player(s). It will, however, award as many players as possible, even if this means dropping more players than are added. Select your adds and drops carefully with this in mind during the blind bidding process.

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Free Agency

Free agents are players that anyone can pick up and put on their team. After waivers are processed at 9:15 CST each week, the unchosen players become free agents. Players who are dropped from teams during the week usually go on waivers, and do not become free agents until after the next Wednesday's waiver process. (The exception is players who are picked up and dropped in the same week; they go directly to free agency, except in salary cap leagues. This rule is to prevent churning, the tactic of picking up and then dropping multiple players simply to keep other teams from obtaining them.) The point of the waivers process is to allow each team an equal chance to obtain unowned players.

One exception to these rules is during the preseason. There will be no free agents until after the final waivers period of the preseason.

The second exception is after week 12. Except for dynasty and legacy leagues, players dropped from teams once week 13 begins will not go on waivers or free agency. They will not be available for bidding or for pickup for the remainder of the year. (This does not include kickers and defenses; these positions will remain available for pickup, except in games hosted on MyFantasyLeague.)

Free agents are available for pick up on a first-come-first-served basis. However, you cannot have more than the maximum number of players allowed on your team, so free agent pickups usually must be accompanied by a player drop.

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Locked Players

Players that are dropped from your team, whether through waivers or free agency, are locked on the waiver list and may not be picked up by another team until the following week's blind bidding. Exception: Any player that was picked up by you as a free agent, and then dropped in the same week, will not be locked, except in salary cap leagues. This is to prevent free agent churning in order to lock players from other teams.

There are, therefore, three situations in which players become locked in place on waivers or in your starting lineup:

  1. Dropped players, as described here, are locked until the following week's waivers are processed.
  2. Traded players are locked until the trade is reviewed by the commissioner (see below).
  3. As each NFL game begins, all players in that game are locked until the final NFL game of the week is played. Note that players are locked at the scheduled time for games to begin, not necessarily as the kickoff occurs. Free agents and players on bye are locked at the beginning of the Monday night game.

Note: Players locked on your bench may be dropped after their games begin in order to acquire other players.

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Trading

Trading between owners is an important part of the Fantasy Football experience, and unless excluded by your league rules, trading is allowed in all leagues except Tin Baby, Draftmaster, Playoff, and Contender leagues. You may trade players, auction money (for auction leagues), blind bidding money, and draft picks (for draft leagues). In multi-year leagues, you may even trade draft picks in future years!

Trades may be proposed by any owner to any other, and may be revoked at any time. Trade offers received from any owner may be accepted or declined.

All owners in the league are notified by email of each trade as it is accepted. It is your responsibility to review each trade in your league to make sure it is valid (doesn't appear to be collusion between the traders). If you suspect collusion in any trade, please see the Trade Review process below.

When using DataForce game software, players received in trade are locked on your team until the trade is approved by the commissioner. You cannot drop or trade locked players. Note that trading of draft picks, while each trade is reviewed by the commissioner, does not slow down the draft. Only in the most egregious circumstances will the commissioner back up a draft to prevent collusion. Nevertheless, it is considered poor taste to trade for a pick and then immediately use the pick, giving your opponents no time to protest. A 30-minute wait before using the new pick is appropriate.

The trade window closes between Saturday 9pm CST and Monday at midnight of the regular season. Players who play earlier in the week may not be traded after their game starts until the following Tuesday. For example, players who play on Thursday night cannot be traded Thursday night (after the start of the game), Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

In the interest of expediency, during the accelerated period of any email draft (which begins after the 3rd preseason weekend) trading is discouraged when it is your turn to draft. In email drafts run by DataForce software, you will not be able to make or receive trade offers during the accelerated period when it is your turn to pick. You may, however, accept offers which were already on the table.

The trade deadline is week 12 of the NFL season. No trades may be offered or accepted after this week has completed, until the NFL playoffs are over.

In multi-year leagues, once the NFL playoffs finish, trading will open up again. Off-season trading is allowed for you as soon as you renew your team for the upcoming year. You may renew your team shortly after the NFL playoffs finish, and DataForce opens up the next fantasy year.

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Trading Levels

DataForce leagues offer three different levels of trading: Full, limited, and none.

  • Full Trading: Intended for experienced owners, these leagues can feature aggressive trading tactics, particularly in dynasty leagues. Find a good trade calculator before joining.
  • Limited Trading: Rules prevent the more complex and confusing trades, and drafts generally run smoother. Nobody is likely to run away with the league by taking advantage of a newbie here.
  • No Trading: Generally reserved for high-money leagues or contender leagues, but you may request that any new league be a no-trading league. Just use the Request-a-league button at the bottom of the lobby.

These levels have different meanings depending on whether the league is one-year league or a multi-year league. In general, more trading is expected in multi-year leagues, so more trading options are allowed, even under limited-trading rules.

Note that in multi-year leagues, the limited-trading option prevents trading future-year picks until the initial (first-year) draft is complete. However, in all future years, draft picks may be traded before and during the draft.

The following chart lays out which types of trades are allowed:

FunctionOne-Year LeaguesMulti-Year Leagues
Trade OptionsFullLimitedNoneFullLimitedNone
May trade playersYesYesNoYesYesNo
Blind bidding dollarsYesNoNoYesNoNo
Auction dollarsYesNoNoYesYesNo
This-year draft picksYesNoNoYesYesNo
Next-year draft picksn/an/an/aYesYes*No
2nd-year draft picksn/an/an/aYes**NoNo
Trade in offseasonn/an/an/aYesYesNo

* Next-year draft picks may be traded once the first-year draft completes.
** Dynasty and legacy leagues only

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Trade Reviews

Trades are processed immediately upon acceptance, but may be subject to reversal if they appear to break the fairplay rules. There is a 24-hour trade review period after each trade.

All accepted trades are looked at by the commissioner. There are no exceptions. However, the commissioner will usually only consider overturning a trade if someone else in the league protests it. If you suspect collusion in a trade, you may lodge a protest by clicking on the provided link in the trade notification email. (Leagues hosted on MyFantasyLeague are protested in a different manner--please see the next section.) This will put the trade up for review. You have twelve (12) hours after a trade is accepted to lodge a protest, and the sooner you protest, the more time will remain in the 24-hour review period for voting results to be collected. Your identity as the protestor will remain anonymous.

Remember, it is not your job to block stupid trades. It is your job to recognize potential collusion, or to call attention to trades that are extremely imbalanced. Pay special attention to trades that do not seem to offer benefits to both sides.

The traders are also welcome to protest their own trade, but only in the event that offering or accepting the trade was accidental. It does happen, and the commissioner is sympathetic, but do be sure to accompany your protest with a convincing explanation of what happened.

If a protest is lodged, several emails are sent out:

  • The trading partners are notified that their trade is under protest.
  • All other members of the league are requested to provide their input on the trade with a simple yes or no vote. When voting "no," you're asked which side is favored.
  • A random jury of ten peers from similar leagues are also emailed, requesting their vote as well.

The voting process lasts up to 24 hours after the trade is accepted. The commissioner will make a decision on the trade review as soon as he feels enough votes have been collected (close votes will naturally take longer to officiate). As you vote, remember again that it's not your job to determine whether the trade is fair. Nobody bothers to offer or accept trades that they think won't better their team. Your job in voting is to determine if it is so imbalanced that it reeks of collusion, or threatens the integrity of the league.

You may also reply to the notification email explaining your voting decision. The original traders are encouraged to reply to the protest notification as well, giving their arguments for why they each accepted the trade.

The commissioner will then make a decision shortly after the 24-hour review period expires, or sooner if vote trending becomes clear ahead of time or if Sunday games are about to begin. The commissioner reserves the right to veto any trade for any reason, but the decision to veto usually means all of the following requirements are met:

  • Are there at least three votes against the trade within the league (including the protestor)?
  • Do the "no" votes exceed the "yes" votes within the league, and do they agree that the same side wins the trade?
  • Do the "no" votes exceed the "yes" votes from the impartial trade jury, and do they agree that the same side wins the trade?
  • The commissioner also uses a trade calculator to evaluate each trade. Does the calculator agree with the "no" votes?

If the trade is overturned, players, picks and money are restored to their original teams immediately. If not, the traded players are unlocked so they can be dropped or traded to other teams.

DataForce allows trading during the draft, and this feature requires a little more cooperation from owners. It is considered in poor taste to trade for a pick and then immediately use the pick, as this leaves no time for protest or for commissioner review. Backing up the draft to accomodate a reversed trade is seldom appreciated. A 30-minute wait after trading for the pick is appropriate, and if your trade is protested, it is appropriate to wait until the protest is resolved. If your pick comes due while under protest, it will be corrected by the commissioner once resolved.

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Protesting a MyFantasyLeague trade

If your league is hosted on MyFantasyLeague, then there is a different procedure for protesting a trade. You must go to the
Trades->ProtestMFLtrade page on DataForce in order to lodge a protest. There, you must fill in the details of the trade and click the PROTEST TRADE button. You may cut-and-paste the details of the trade from your notification email, but be sure to provide the details carefully, because as soon as you lodge the protest, emails will be sent to league members and to peers to ask for votes.

You are still subject to the 12 hour deadline after trade acceptance, but the software is unable to enforce this limit. It does not know when the trade was actually accepted on MyFantasyLeague. Therefore, the commissioner may overrule the protest if it comes in too late.

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Fantasy Playoffs

Season Schedule

With the exception of Tin Babies, Draftmaster and Playoff leagues, all leagues will have a fantasy playoff season. The prize winners will be determined by their playoff success.

Contender leagues have a special playoff format as described below, but follow the same rules for qualification and tie breakers. For other leagues, the regular season ends after NFL week 13 and the playoff season runs for 3 weeks, from week 14 to 16.

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Qualification

Six teams in each league qualify for the playoffs, and two of the six teams will receive a bye for the first playoff week. The qualifying teams are seeded for playoff berths as such:

  1. The highest ranked division winner (according to win-loss record) is seeded #1 and will receive a first-round playoff bye
  2. The winner of the other division is seeded #2 and will receive a first-round playoff bye
  3. The remaining team who scored the most points during the season is seeded #3
  4. The remaining team who scored the next most points during the season is seeded #4
  5. The remaining team with the highest win-loss record is seeded #5
  6. The remaining team with the next highest win-loss record is seeded #6

Thus, the top four teams in the standings (with at least one in each division) are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, and the top two scoring teams are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

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Tie-Breakers

All ties for playoff berths are decided by the following tie breakers:

  1. Most points scored
  2. Win-loss record
  3. Most points against
  4. Initial draft position. If tie break is still necessary, the team who was awarded the later draft position in the preseason draft will get the nod.

Tie breakers in playoff games are decided by the highest scoring bench player, then the next highest scoring bench player, and so on until the tie is broken.

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Playoff Brackets

The fantasy playoffs last three weeks, as follows:

Week 1:
  • Seed #1 and seed #2 receive byes.
  • Game 1: Seed #3 plays seed #6.
  • Game 2: Seed #4 plays seed #5.
Week 2:
  • The losers of week 1 games are moved to the Toilet Bowl.
  • Seed #1 plays the winner of week 1 game #2.
  • Seed #2 plays the winner of week 1 game #1.
Week 3:
  • The two winners of week 2 play each other in the Super Bowl.
  • The two losers of week 2 play each other for 3rd place.

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The Toilet Bowl

All teams which are not in playoff games may participate in the Toilet Bowl. In addition, teams which lose in the first round of the playoffs are automatically moved to the Toilet Bowl, and points they scored in the first week of playoffs count toward winning the Toilet Bowl.

Toilet bowl contenders do not play face-to-face. Rather, the fantasy points scored for the three weeks of the playoff period are summed to determine first and second place.

Toilet bowl winners do not win real money. They receive only DataForce Bonus Money, which may be applied toward the commissioner fee of future leagues. Bonus money expires and will be removed from your account if you do not join any leagues for two years in a row.

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Contender Leagues

A contender league is a special contest in which 4 leagues of 12 teams (48 owners total) compete together for overall prizes. It works like this:

  1. As soon as we have four similar contender leagues paid for and drafted, they will be put into quads. Each quad contains four leagues. It does not matter how each league was originally drafted, whether email, live, or auction.
  2. You may only have one team per league, but you can actually have multiple teams in the same quad. You could in fact have four teams in the same quad; one from each league. It's the luck of the draw; DataForce will not try to form quads of your choosing, but will simply group each four contender leagues together as they finish drafting.
  3. Each team plays every other team in their own league during the first 11 weeks of the season.
  4. Each league now enters the playoffs on its own. As usual, six teams receive seeds #1 through #6 for the league playoffs. League playoffs last only one week (week 12), and are just like the first week of normal playoffs. Seeds #1 and #2 receive byes, seed #3 plays #6, seed #4 plays seed #5.
  5. Now the four leagues of each quad join for the final four weeks of the season. Playoff winners and byes advance into the Contender Bowl, and losing teams join the Toilet Bowl. There will thus be 16 teams in the Contender Bowl and 32 teams in the Toilet Bowl.
  6. All teams in the Contender Bowl now play head-to-head elimination rounds for weeks 13-16 (four weeks) and compete for top prizes. (Exception: if a contender contest is formed of less than four leagues, so there are not enough playoff teams for head-to-head games, playoff winners are determined by total points over the four week period.) Toilet Bowl winners play for total points for weeks 13-16 to receive Toilet Bowl prizes.

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Unfilled Contender Quads

As the season begins, what happens to any leftover contender leagues that cannot form a final quad? The answer is, they make smaller groups. For example, if there are only three contender leagues when it's time to stop drafting, they'll form a final 36-team "quad". The prize payout will naturally be less, but we'll throw in a little something extra to make up for it.

We understand that you join contenders wanting to play in 48-team quads. So, to cover the disappointment of playing in a smaller format, we will contribute $96 in bonus money to your unfilled quad as additional prizes. It doesn't matter how many leagues are in your miniature quad; you'll still get nearly $100 bonus money added into the prize fund. Helluva deal.

Here are the modified prize payouts for contenders of all sizes. All prizes are presented in percentages of prize money collected, plus bonus money (Prize money is your entry fee for the league minus our $12 commissioner fee).


Contender League Payouts
12 Teams (4 in playoffs)
1st Place:70%
2nd Place:30%
Toilet 1st (Bonus):$24
Toilet 2nd (Bonus):$12
Addl Bonus: 1st-4th$24
 
 
24 Teams (8 in playoffs)
1st Place:42%
2nd Place:28%
3rd Place:18%
4th Place:12%
Toilet 1st-2nd (Bonus):$24
Toilet 3rd-4th (Bonus):$12
Addl Bonus: 1st-4th$24
36 Teams (12 in playoffs)
1st Place:30%
2nd Place:21%
3rd Place:15%
4th-6th Place:6%
Toilet 1st-3rd (Bonus):$24
Toilet 4th-6th (Bonus):$12
Addl Bonus: 1st-4th$24
48 Teams
1st Place:30%
2nd Place:21%
3rd Place:15%
4th Place:10%
5th-8th Place:6%
Toilet 1st-4th (Bonus):$24
Toilet 5th-8th (Bonus):$12

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Multi-Year Leagues

How Multi-Year Leagues Work

Any type of league (except Playoff leagues) may be drafted initially as a multi-year league. This means that the league remains intact from year to year. At the time you purchase your entry into a multi-year league, you must pay a partially-refundable deposit. The deposit will be equal to the entry fee, and ensures that the league will have every opportunity of continuing from year to year.

In multi-year leagues, you decide which players to keep after the year is over, and which to discard. A new draft (called a "rookie/freeagent draft") will take place each year to replenish your roster, as described below.

Each year, owners who wish to remain in the league must renew their team by paying a new-year entry fee. If the renewal is not paid before the assigned deadline, the team goes up for auction to the highest bidder.

Please be aware that multi-year leagues often contain heavy trading, and trades in these leagues are difficult to evaluate for fairness, because of the many options available. DataForce will typically be more lenient than usual in approving trades, though if it is clear that one team is strongly favored, then for the continued good of the league, it may be overturned regardless of attempted collusion. If you are not a fan of trading, many multi-year leagues will not be to your liking. Be sure to join only a non-trading league.

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Injured Reserve

Multi-year leagues also have a 4-person Injured Reserve available to each team. If one of your players is placed on IR by his NFL team, he may be moved to Injured Reserve on your roster, so as to make room for additional starters and bench players. Any player with an (I) following his name is eligible for Injured Reserve.

Unowned players on IR may not be picked up as free agents. They may, however, be purchased during the waivers period.

If the NFL activates the player from IR, he must be activated on your team as well.

All players on your Injured Reserve must be moved to the regular roster in the offseason, before your annual rookie/freeagent draft. Your Injured Reserve will always be empty at the start of the draft.

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Annual Rookie/Freeagent Draft

  • Keeper leagues: You are allowed to keep a maximum of five players from last season's roster.
  • Dynasty leagues: You may keep as many players from last season's roster as you wish, after emptying your injured reserve.
  • Contract & Salary Cap leagues: Please see the special rules in the next two sections.

By early August of each year, an annual rookie/freeagent draft will be held to replenish your team. As you renew your league, you can vote on when you would like the draft to begin. Any leagues designated as live drafts (these are keeper leagues only, all other mult-year leagues will draft by email) will require a consensus for the draft date, or it will revert to an email draft.

The draft will consist of enough rounds to fill each team's roster.

You must pare down your roster by the keeper selection deadline. Five days before the draft, the players you choose to discard will be dropped from your team. An email will notify each owner of all dropped players. If you fail to select keepers in a keeper, contract, or salary cap league league, the commissioner will make selections for you. In a dynasty or legacy league, all players on your team will be retained. This may mean that you won't participate in the draft, because you cannot drop players after the keeper selection deadline, including during the draft. You must have room on your team in order to draft new players.

All unowned players are available for drafting. This is not just a rookie draft.

The draft order will be determined as follows: The eight teams playing in the previous year's Toilet Bowl will draft in reverse order to their potential points (see below) scored during the 13-week regular season. This is determined by summing the possible points each week for the most optimal lineup you could have set. The final four teams in the playoffs will draft last, in reverse order to their playoff finish. Thus, the Super Bowl winner will always draft last.

Rookie/freeagent drafts are not serpentine! The team with the #1 pick will pick first in each round.

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Potential Points Calculation

In multi-year leagues, the bottom 8 teams are seeded for the draft in each year based on how they perform the year before. Performance is based on potential points for the 13 weeks of the regular season, where the lower your score, the earlier your draft position in the rookie/freeagent draft. The potential points calculation is an effort to fairly determine how many points a team is capable of scoring each week. Using potential points rather than actual wins and losses discourages teams from tanking games in an effort to gain an advantageous draft position in the following year.

It's important to understand that potential points has no bearing whatsoever on winning or losing games. This calculation is used only for determining the pick order in the following year's draft.

Potential points are calculated by selecting the optimal lineup for each week's game, with one very important exception: If you score zero potential points at any position, your total for the week will be increased:

  • QB: If all quarterbacks on your team score zero (such that this position has a zero potential score), your potential points is increased by 20.
  • RB: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 15.
  • WR: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 15.
  • TE: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 10.
  • PK: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 10.
  • DE: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 10.
  • Flex: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 15.
  • Super-flex: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 20.
  • Individual defensive players: If you score zero, your potential points is increased by 15.

Therefore, there is little or no advantage to rostering an ineffective lineup. For example, it will backfire if you roster no quarterback, or only quarterbacks on bye, or only quarterbacks that are expected to play very little, since you won't get a zero at that position; you'll get a 20.

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Keeper Leagues

Keeper leagues allow two additional bench players. A typical league will have not 18 but 20 players on each roster. Keeper leagues also allow four players on injured reserve.

Keeper leagues allow you to keep up to five players from from last year's roster. During the rookie/freeagent draft, you'll draft only as many players as necessary to fill your roster after selecting which players you want to retain from last year.

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Dynasty Leagues

Dynasty leagues allow four additional bench players. A typical league will have not 18 but 22 players on each roster. Dynasty leagues also allow four players on injured reserve.

Dynasty leagues allow you to keep as many players as you wish from last year's roster. During the rookie/freeagent draft, you draft only as many players as necessary to fill your roster after selecting which players you want to retain from last year.

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Salary Cap Leagues

Salary Cap leagues allow no additional bench players, but do allow a four-player injured reserve.

Every player in a salary cap league has a salary. The year begins with an email or live auction, which sets the initial salary for each rostered player. You are required at all times to keep the sum of the salaries on your roster at or under $200.

Player salaries can change with each of the following activities:

  1. All unrostered players begin the year with a salary of $1.
  2. When purchased at the annual auction, that price sets the salary. If you pay $15 for a player, his salary becomes $15.
  3. When purchased during waivers, the winning bid sets the salary. If you win a player in blind bidding for $8, his salary becomes $8.
  4. When dropped, the salary reverts to $1. If you pick up a player from free agency (as opposed to bidding on him during waiver processing), his salary will be only $1.
  5. Players on IR count toward your salary cap, but at half rate, rounded up. A player with a $15 salary will count as $8 toward your cap if you place him on IR.
  6. In the offseason, all rostered player salaries increase by $5 plus 10%, rounded to the nearest dollar. For example, if you own a player with a $17 salary, his salary will escalate to $24 in the offseason.

The $200 cap is a hard cap. You cannot acquire players by auction, waivers, or free agency if it causes you to exceed $200 for your team. You may offer or accept a trade which causes you to exceed the salary cap (just as a trade can temporarily allow more rostered players than the limit), but you will be required to quickly bring your roster within the $200 cap.

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Contract Leagues

Ready for the ultimate head coaching challenge? Try our signature format: a DataForce contract league. In these leagues, your players carry contracts from year to year. But read the instructions to the very end to avoid any surprises.

Contract leagues allow two additional bench players. A typical league will have not 18 but 20 players on each roster. Contract leagues also allow four players on injured reserve.

All contract leagues begin with an email or live auction. As with regular auctions, you have $200 to bid on your players. The prices you pay for your players are then recorded as salaries, which may be considered potential contracts, enabling you to retain your players from year to year.

During the off-season, you have a choice to make for each player on your team who is not yet under contract. Do you want to offer him a contract and retain him for future years? If so, the contract will be the amount you initially bid for him, subject to a minimum cost. The contract term can be from 1 to 5 additional years, and the minimum is determined by this chart:


1 year$4 every year
2 years$6 every year
3 years$8 every year
4 years$10 every year
5 years$12 every year

It's important to grasp the difference between a player's salary and his contract. There is both a salary cap and a contract cap in contract leagues. His contract is an obligation to keep paying a given salary over the course of up to five years in the future. His salary is at first set by how much was bid for him in the off-season auction, subject to a minimum of $4. If later put on contract, the salary becomes the contract amount. Every player has a salary, and contrary to a salary cap league, in a contract league salaries never change during the year, even if they are dropped from their teams and become free agents. They change only in the offseason, when the annual auction occurs.

If a player is traded, the contract term and amount follow the player to the new team. So does his salary--see below for a discussion of the salary cap. If a player is dropped, his contract for future years is negated, but his salary remains the same and follows to the new team if he is picked up.

Players that began the year as a free agent may also be placed on contract in the off-season. Unlike a salary cap league, the contract is not the amount of your waiver bid. The contract amount in this case is the minimum determined by the length of contract, according to the chart above.

The decision to retain players is always made just before the annual auction. The amount you then have available for the auction is $200 minus the cost of your contracts. You cannot retain a player on contract in the off-season if it would cause you to exceed the $200 annual limit.

Contracts are binding. There are only three ways that a contracted player may be removed from your team:

  • When each player's contract expires, he is automatically dropped from your team. You may, of course, bid to own him again.
  • If you drop a contracted player at any time before his contract expires, whether during the season or the off-season, you pay a one-time penalty. 75% of his salary, rounded down, will be deducted from your auction money in the next auction. For example, if you drop a player that you have under contract for $11, you'll have $8 less in the next auction. The player's contract is then voided, and he goes on waivers for owners to bid on in the next waiver period, as an uncontracted player. Remember: his salary will remain the same, if picked up from waivers.
  • If a contracted player becomes an NFL free agent or leaves the NFL, you may waive the player without penalty. Be sure to do so before he finds a new team, or his contract will become valid again.

Be aware that contracts may be bought and sold. Just as you can trade future-year draft picks in other multi-year leagues, you can trade future-year auction money in contract leagues. You might, therefore, sell a player under contract to another team ... or even pay that team a price to take a contracted player off your hands! But be careful not to trade away money that you need to retain the players you want to keep!

It is possible through mismanagement that you reach the offseason with contract obligations that exceed the amount of auction money you have available. You must be able to pay all your contracts, so you must either decrease your obligations by trading or dropping contracted players, or increase your available auction money by trading. Since dropping a contracted player costs auction money, it helps little in meeting contract demands, so you'll desperately want to make trades. If no solution can be found, the commissioner reserves the right to step in with a reasonable compromise to rescue a team from total disaster.

To prevent teams from overstocking expensive players for a one-year blitz, each team is also subject to a $260 salary cap (it's less than it sounds, but more than enough). Each player's contract becomes his salary, and the salary of each uncontracted player is his potential contract--in other words, what it would cost to retain him for another year (his bid price or $4, whichever is greater). You cannot exceed this $260 salary cap as you make trades, waivers, or free agent pickups. However, you may carry an incomplete roster in order to meet this limitation. Players on IR do not count against your salary cap.

The annual auction will take place each year by early August. The exact starting date is determined by an owner vote.

Important note: Contract leagues are complex and require careful management to avoid digging yourself into a money pit. For this reason, a limited term of 10 years is placed on these leagues, after which they are over, and a double deposit is required to ensure owner participation and to increase the value of teams (and thus the likelihood of resale) if they become orphans. This deposit is really a prepayment of years 9 and 10, so no entry fee will be charged during the final two years of the 10-year league term.

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Legacy Leagues

A legacy league is just a dynasty league with the twist. It follows all rules of a dynasty league, but there are three other differences:

  1. Half of the prize fund each year is put into a purse. There will still be a first, second and third place winner each year, but they will receive only half the normal prize money. Bonus money each year will be paid in full to toilet bowl winners.
  2. The first team to win two superbowls (they do not need to be consecutive) takes the purse, along with the normal 1st-place prize that year. The league then ends.
  3. There is no deposit for legacy leagues.

Because of the potential for collusion in legacy leagues, DataForce will be keeping a closer eye on owner activity than usual. Suspension of trading at critical times may be necessary.

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Trading Future Year Compensation

Multi-year leagues allow trading future-year draft picks. However, to prevent a team owner from tanking his team's future in order to win the current year, saddling the league with a worthless team, limits are placed on allowable trades.

  1. Dynasty leagues may trade draft picks in the first five rounds of the next two years. (Limited trading leagues allow trading only one year in advance.
  2. Keeper leagues may trade trade picks in the first fifteen rounds of the following year only.
  3. Contract leagues allow you to trade players already on contract, which may extend as far as five future years, and also allow you to trade auction money for the next year.
  4. Salary Cap leagues do not allow trading of cap money, but allow trading players. The salary of a player automatically follows to the new owner.

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Selling Unwanted Teams

When an owner leaves the league, his or her team goes up for sale. The owner can set the initial sale price to anything he or she wishes. Anyone not already in the league may buy the team, in lieu of paying a deposit. However, the purchaser must also pay the usual entry fee for the upcoming year.

If the team doesn't sell by the renewal deadline, DataForce will put it up for auction. If it receives no bids in the auction, it'll be assigned a new buy-it-now price by DataForce and put up for sale again. If it still does not sell within a few days, it'll be given a buy-it-now price of just $1.

DataForce does not make money on the sale of unwanted teams, so long as they sell the year they are dropped. Any money which is received by DataForce for such a team is passed to the prior-year owner as a partial refund of their deposit. For example, if you purchase a team in a new multi-year league for $100, you pay also a $100 deposit. If you then leave the league, your team goes up for sale. Suppose it nets a price of only $40. You will receive that $40 back on your original deposit.

Teams which cannot interest any buyers will be run by a shill (see below) assigned by DataForce, and will not be eligible for playoffs or prizes. Be warned that the shill will be working hard to improve the team so that a new owner will want to buy it in the following year.

If a league has 3 or more unwanted teams at the time of its rookie/freeagent draft, and no replacement owners can be found, DataForce reserves the right to disband the league and return owner deposits and new-year entry fees.

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Shills

Under special circumstances, DataForce may assign a shill to manage a team. The shill becomes the owner of the team, paying no entry fee, and may keep or sell the team after the year is over. If you are interested in playing as a shill, please contact us, and please be prepared to take any team assigned to you. DataForce will select shills based entirely upon the trust level we have gained from watching you play on our site.

Here are the events that may lead to a shill being assigned:

  • If an unwanted team in a multi-year league cannot be sold, it will be run by a shill.
  • If a league cannot fill in the lobby before the season begins, then the commissioner may decide to assign one or more shills to remaining teams. All owners who have joined the team will be notified by email that shills will be used to fill the team, so you will have plenty of time to leave the league if the idea of playing with shills doesn't appeal to you.
  • If an owner is suspended or deactivated midseason due to violation of the Fair Play guidelines, then a shill will be assigned to that team.

Shills are subject to very strict rules:

  • Teams under the direction of a shill will be clearly marked by the team name.
  • Shills may not qualify for the playoffs, and are not eligible to win prizes.
  • Unless allowed by majority vote of the other owners, shills may not trade players with other teams.
  • Unless blind bidding is allowed by majority vote of the other owners, shills cannot bid more than $1 in waiver blind bidding.
  • Shills are required to submit a competitive line-up each week, and will be under close scrutiny of the commissioner.

When a shill is assigned to a league in the preseason, then the prize allotment for the league decreases. League prizes are adjusted downward accordingly. For example, if a 12-team league plays with a shill, then all regular prizes (not Bonus Money) will be decreased by 1/12th.

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Grandfathered Leagues

Sometimes multi-year leagues are moved to DataForce from another provider. When this happens, existing owners are grandfathered and are not required to repay deposits. Therefore, the teams in a grandfathered league do not have the inherent value that other multi-year league teams have, as they are not backed by a deposit. If the league is later disbanded, no deposits will be refunded to league owners. (Exception: When orphan teams are bought at auction in the year a new grandfathered league is acquired by DataForce, the money paid becomes a deposit on the team, because there is no prior owner to pay.)

In all other respects, grandfathered leagues operate just like regular multi-year leagues. When an owner leaves the league, his or her team is auctioned off as usual, and the money is given to him or her. Note that this highly favors owners who are grandfathered in, at the expense of purchasing owners, so you cannot expect the auction of a team in a grandfathered league to draw as much money as it would in a regular league.

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Prizes Winners

Who Wins?

Winners of each league are determined by the above rules.

To see the prizes awarded for each league, head over to the Prizes page.

Prize winners will be notified by email, and posted on the playoff page of the league website.

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Claiming Your Winnings

DataForce prize monies are held in a trust fund during the season at Fidelity.com, as detailed on our Safeguard page. On the Thursday following the final game of the season, all prize winnings will be deposited in your DataForce account, and may be withdrawn at any time or used for additional contests.

Bonus Money winnings may not be withdrawn. You may only use bonus money to pay the commissioner fee when joining DataForce leagues.

DataForce, LLC does not withhold taxes. Taxes associated with the receipt of any prize is the sole responsiblity of the winner.

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What is Bonus Money?

Bonus money is awarded by DataForce as low-end prizes (such as to Toilet Bowl winners) and for sign-up and referral incentives. It can be used during the purchase of leagues to decrease the cost by offseting the commissioner fees. That is, up to $12 dollars of your league cost ($5 when buying Tin Babies) will automatically come from any bonus money you have available. It cannot be withdrawn from your account.

Bonus money expires and will be removed from your account if you do not join any leagues for two years in a row.

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Revision date: May 19, 2017