I really hate it when fantasy team owners stop managing their teams. It means that you’ll be competing against loaded championship contenders or total ghostships during the last half of the season.
Luckily, we can easily solve this problem with a humiliating fantasy football punishment. This type of deterrent helps ensure that, at the very least, teams will continue to manage the rosters (or pay the ultimate price).
Here are our most devious ideas for fantasy football punishments for 2023 leagues.
The Best Fantasy Football Punishments for 2023
The best fantasy football punishments pair well with a visual aid – a video and some form of social media. You’ll want to record these moments for posterity as would be just plain selfish to keep them to yourself.
Loser Caters the Party
Fantasy sports are better with friends – hot take, I know.
One way to encourage owner participation is with an end-of-season party or meet-up. It’s a great chance to debrief, toast the winner, and commiserate with the also-rans.
It’s also nice to have someone handle all food arrangements (and ideally, the beer). So make the last-place team provide the food for the next league draft or championship house party.
In some fantasy football leagues, the loser has to buy a round for the rest of the league at a local watering hole. But this can get a little pricey.
Limiting the cost to a pizza (or 12-pack) means that the loser isn’t paying too much, just enough to keep owners honest. Just don’t let the stripper answer the door when the pizza man arrives.
The Cover Performance
The Cover Performance encourages your league’s worst to tap into their creative side. For this idea, the team in last place has to record themselves performing a cover version of a song of the league champion’s choosing.
The loser must also post the performance to all of their social media accounts. Alternatively, you could force them to perform the cover live at a local karaoke night.
If you really want to kick it up a notch, make them do a remake of a full music video.
The Physical Challenge
In the classic TV show Double Dare, teams that couldn’t answer a question had to take The Physical Challenge. Failure meant they had to play ridiculous (and generally messy) games like Clown Shoe Golf or Musical Eggs.
Your loser – or losers – must do something embarrassing, demeaning, or both. The challenge can be as mild as doing pushups in public or as complicated as recreating a Double Dare challenge.
One benefit of physical challenges is they tend to be cheap. And they also make entertaining Internet fodder.
The drawback is that everyone has their own level of physical ability. One man’s daily exercise routine is a form of medieval torture to another.
Remember, you’re trying to humiliate here, not send anyone to the hospital.
Name That Team
An elegant but simple idea that doesn’t cost a dime is permitting the Champion to name the cellar-dwellers team the following season. Awarding team naming rights accomplishes a few different things:
- It is yet another way to recognize the league champ.
- It saddles the league loser with humiliation they’ll have to confront every time they check their team.
- If the punished team manages to win the league the next year, that’s the name that goes on their trophy.
- It denies the last-placed team one of life’s great pleasures: getting to name your own fantasy team.
For a truly epic list of offensive ideas, check out our master list of dirty fantasy team names for 2023.
Joke’s on You
Joke’s on You is sure to motivate your fantasy league slackers. For this idea, the last place finisher has to perform at a stand-up comedy open mic night.
The stipulations are that they have to write and rehearse original material. But they also must take up all of the stage time allowed.
If they haven’t done stand-up before, they’ll experience how psychologically punishing it is to bomb in front of a room of people. If they have done stand-up before, the league might just have to write their material for them.
Eat Me, Loser
Humans have been coercing each other to consume disgusting food since the beginning of time. Ok, maybe that has only been a thing since Joe Rogan hosted Fear Factor.
But look at how well that turned out for him!
With Eat Me, Loser, you’ll force the loser to eat some particularly nasty (though non-toxic) food item. Spicy, slimy, still living – the world is full of hundreds of disgusting foods that some people actually eat.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
For leagues with live fantasy draft parties, prepare this feast as a sideshow of sorts. It’s sure to entertain.
You Got Served
You Got Served is another cheap deterrent that just about any league can implement. In You Got Served, the league loser has to be the server at the league’s next draft party (especially for redraft leagues).
They don’t necessarily have to buy all the food and drinks, although you can add this twist if your league approves. But they absolutely have to bring them to the other players when summoned.
This job encompasses fetching beer, folding napkins, and bussing empties – everything a server at a fine dining restaurant would handle. You could even have them assume the sticker bitch role, placing stickers onto the draft board.
And hey, if they do a good job, maybe they can earn themselves a nice little tip.
Like “Try harder next year!”
The IHOP Challenge
This idea is based on the best fantasy football punishment of 2023. And I must admit, whoever came up with it is a genius.
If your league adopts the IHOP Challenge, the last place finisher has to spend twenty-four consecutive hours in an IHOP. But there is one caveat.
The loser can shorten their time in pancake purgatory by one hour for every pancake they eat. This retribution gives new meaning to the phrase: pick your poison.
What do they value more? Their time or their health?
Either way, it’ll probably cost them their love of IHOP.
The Round Trip
The Round Trip is similar to the IHOP Challenge but without the amenities, haggard waitresses, and pancakes. The loser must take a bus ride to a city of the league’s choice, then immediately return home.
If you don’t think this is a sufficient deterrent for tanking your team, then you’ve clearly never taken a Greyhound bus trip before.
If you wanted to expand on this hellscape, you might make them Uber to a famous city landmark and take a picture as proof. And instead of allowing them to enjoy the finest cuisine in the city, make them eat at the local Pizza Hut before returning.
Also, did you know that in 2023 you can buy a bus ticket for as low as $5? Granted, the cheaper the ticket, the worse the bus conditions and departure times.
But that’s the point.
The Post Route
The Post Route permits the league champion to take over the last-placed team’s social media accounts for twenty-four hours. During this period, they have free reign to post (just about) anything their black hearts desire.
This idea does require some level of restraint. While you want to embarrass your league mate, you don’t necessarily want to destroy their career or relationships.
Or do you?
A Questionable Transaction
This idea is one of my all-time favorites. Here the league loser has to go to the local grocery store (preferably during a busy weekend) and purchase an embarrassing collection of products.
While on their own, these particular products would trigger no intrigue at all. But together, they’re sure to raise some eyebrows.
In the most popular form, your league would require the loser to purchase the following:
- The most enormous cucumber in the store
- The large tub of petroleum jelly in the store
- A pack of condoms (Magnum size).
Make the loser go to the checkout lane with the pretty girl cashier for bonus points. Also, feel free to adjust these rules and include any products that you think would maximize the horror.
The Funniest Punishments for League Losers
These funny fantasy football league punishments come with a dose of wisdom: Don’t impose a penalty you wouldn’t be willing to ensure yourself.
Remember Robespierre? You could be on the receiving end of whatever punishment you suggest to your league-mates.
Injuries, unfortunate matchups, and other acts of fate can happen to anyone. And you never want to be the kind of welcher that ducks out of taking your just deserts.
Adding Insult to Injury
If you’re in a fantasy league with a tight budget and shy owners, this may be the best punishment for your league. It’s free, and you can lay the groundwork before the season starts.
For this one, the punishee has to submit a picture of themselves to Reddit’s Roast Me community. This subreddit (i.e., online discussion forum) is dedicated entirely to eviscerating willing participants.
The community members are brutal in assessing a person’s appearance, demeanor, surroundings, and any other fault they can highlight.
Wise commissioners should collect pictures from each league member at the draft house party. This way, no one can back out, and there will be no delay in doling out the reprisal.
Although this deterrent costs nothing, the damage to the cellar-dweller’s self-esteem will be immeasurable. Seriously – those people are brutal.
Tat’s All, Folks
Tat’s All, Folks is an oldie but goodie. And it’s only for the most hardcore leagues.
The league loser has to get a real tattoo. And while the tattoo can be small and located somewhere discreet, the fantasy league owners get to choose the artwork.
Admittedly, a tattoo is one of the most extreme options on this list (in terms of price and lasting impact). But I can guarantee your owners will no longer abandon their teams, even during the last week of the season.
Pro tip: For leagues with expensive punishments, integrate the cost into your seasonal fantasy football fees. This ensures you have enough funding and makes things easier on the league commissioner.
Crash Test Dummy
There’s nothing worse than sitting through the hours it takes to complete a standardized test. And that makes this a hilarious fantasy football idea.
For this idea, the loser has to register for and take the SATs again. Anyone can sign up to take the SATs in 2023, not just high schoolers, and they take hours to complete.
The real penance comes from realizing how their scores have plummeted since school. Well, that and them being forced to post their scores online for friends and family to enjoy.
For a Good Cause
This punishment is both embarrassing and time-consuming. The league loser must hand out stacks of pamphlets for various dubious causes.
To keep things interesting, you should allow each league member to provide fifty pamphlets for whatever campaigns they find amusing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The loser can hand them out on any street corner or anywhere with large crowds but must hand each one to an individual person. To take things up a notch, force the loser to get a least one person to sign-up for each cause (providing their email address).
The Calendar Model
This punishment is more involved than the others, but the end result is hilarious! Each owner gets doll-up the league loser to model for professional photos.
Then, those photos will be used to design a custom calendar for all league owners. Feel free to get as creative as you want, maybe consider a themed poster such as “lingerie” or “BDSM.”
But remember to include each important league date (like the league draft) so that the calendar also has some legit utility.
There are twelve teams in your fantasy league and twelve months in a year. It’s almost too perfect.
Twelve is typically the best number of teams in fantasy football. If your team has more than twelve teams, then even better, you can afford a bigger tattoo!
A Hairy Situation
For this punishment, the league loser can’t get a haircut from the last week of the season until the opening day of the next season. For those of you keeping count, that’s nine full months!
Bear in mind this idea is contingent upon the willingness of your league mates. You may want to get buy-in from the entire league before you institute this rule.
If any of your league owners already have long hair, you could have a corresponding punishment clause. For instance, you could modify this penalty so that the owner has to instead grow facial hair for the same period of time.
The Binge punishment forces the league loser to watch an entire season of a TV show of the champ’s choosing. They then must summarize the experience in a manner of the league’s choosing, such as a PowerPoint presentation or freestyle rap at the next drat party.
The Combine is a great punishment for a fantasy football league of ex-jocks. And the farther they are from their glory days, the better.
For this punishment, the last-place owner must perform the entire NFL combine, including the Wonderlic test (and post their scores). Nothing drives home just how much you’re not NFL material like cold, hard data.
The Wheel of Misfortune
If you like a few of our punishments and can’t choose, I suggest letting fate make a choice for you. If we’re going for entertainment value, you might as well turn this into a game, right?
Put your favorite options on a wheel or randomizer of your choice, and make the loser give it a spin.
Randomization also allows you to put some particularly devious options in play without feeling too guilty. If the wheel lands on the worst ones, it wasn’t your fault; it was meant to be.
If you hired a stripper for the party, maybe she could play the role of Vanna White?
This last one is more like capital punishment than a dare between friends. In this scenario, the last-placed team gets booted out of the league.
You’re fired may not be an ideal punishment for a league of close friends. But if you’re in a semi-public league where you don’t know everyone, it could be a good tool for keeping owners engaged.
If you’re facing an owner shortage, you can always let these teams rejoin the following season when someone else gets the ax. Hopefully, by then, they’ve learned their lesson: don’t suck at fantasy football.
Determining Your League’s Last Place Team
How do you technically determine the “last-placed team”? This is an important consideration and should be defined clearly in your fantasy football bylaws.
Some fantasy best ball leagues use their fantasy football point system as the basis, designating the team with the fewest points at the end of the season as the worst. This isn’t a bad system, but I think there is a better solution.
I suggest running a loser playoff bracket (to run in parallel with your championship bracket). Then, a team that finishes last in this bracket would be stuck with the league punishment.
This is another way to encourage league participation late in the season, as the worst teams will also be vying for position in the loser bracket (which I call The Chumpionship).
If you’re unfortunate enough to end up in your league’s loser bracket, all is not lost. Consider separate fantasy football pay leagues as a way to counter your poor performance. Late in the season, you can still join a fantasy football playoff league and start with a clean slate.
More Funny Fantasy Football League Punishment Ideas?
Do you have a funny idea for a fantasy football punishment in 2023? Tell me about it in the comments below. I’ll integrate the funniest ones into this list.