Contract Leagues

(AKA Salary Cap Leagues)

How to Play

Drafts

All new leagues start with an Auction Draft. You won’t have a Rookie Draft until your league’s 2nd year, so all players (including all rookies) are in the Auction Draft pool. After your first year, the Auction Draft pool will include all player’s that are no longer under contract and any rookies not taken in the Rookie Draft.

If you have done auction drafts in the past then you already know how this works. If you are coming from a snake draft format then you are in for a treat. Instead of each team taking turns drafting a player, each team takes turns nominating a player to be bid on. This means that every team has the ability to get any player regardless of draft order. Want the best player in the draft? He’s yours if you’re willing to bid higher than everybody else.

Auction Drafts are important for Contract/Salary Cap formats because the winning bid becomes the player’s salary. All players drafted in the Auction Draft will have the option of being signed to a long term contract after the draft (see Contracts section below). Any player taken in the Auction Draft that is not given a long term contract will automatically be on a 1-year contract and will be available in next year’s Auction Draft. The only exception is if a Franchise Tag is used on the player after the season.

Related Settings

  • Salary Cap: Default is $300 – The total amount of money you can spend on contracts.
  • Reserved Cap (for in season acquisitions): Default is $100 – The portion of your Salary Cap that can’t be used during the Auction Draft.
    • Example: Salary Cap: $300 Reserved Cap: $100
      • Managers will be able to spend up to $200 during the Auction Draft and will have at least $100 left over for Free Agent Blind Bidding during the season.
  • Draft Date – The date and time that your draft starts
  • Nomination time limit seconds: Default is 30 – The time limit that a team has to nominate a player before the highest available player is auto-nominated. This can be changed through the course of the draft to speed up or slow down the draft.
  • Initial bidding time limit seconds: Default is 30 – The amount of time someone has to bid after a player is nominated. This can be changed through the course of the draft to speed up or slow down the draft.
  • Bid reset seconds: Default is 10 – The number of seconds that the auction clock resets to when someone bids. This can be changed through the course of the draft to speed up or slow down the draft.
  • Draft Order – Order in which teams will nominate players to be bid on. The commish can adjust the draft order before the draft begins.

Optionally, you can choose to replace your standard Auction Draft with a Slow Auction Draft. The salary and contract implications are the same.

Slow Auction Drafts are a great alternative for leagues that have a hard time getting everyone together for the draft. Also, there are a lot of leagues that just think that Slow Auction Drafts are more fun. Let’s look at how these drafts are different from standard drafts.

Obviously the main difference is that these drafts are slower, and so the nomination and bidding time for a player can be hours or days. Another major difference is that there will be multiple players up for bid at the same time. These drafts typically take 2-3 weeks, but there are several variables such as draft settings, roster size, and draft etiquette of your league mates that will ultimately determine how long your draft takes.

Nominating
You will nominate a player based on the draft order, the same as you would in a standard auction draft. The difference is that you don’t wait for that player to be won before the next team nominates. So you will have many players nominated at the same time. When the max number of active nominations is reached (default is 20), nominations will be paused until a player is won which will free up a nomination spot.
When you nominate a player you will put in a max bid, but the player will start off at $1. Learn more about Proxy Bidding under Bidding.
NOTE – If you are on the clock then you MUST nominate a player before you are allowed to bid again. This provides several benefits like keeping the draft moving along and preventing the nominating team from gaming certain situations, which leads to them sitting on the clock until the last minute.

Bidding
When you bid on a player you will put in the max bid you are willing to pay. No one will be able to see your max bid, only the current high bid. The system will then automatically increase your bid up to your max bid as other teams try to outbid you. This type of bidding is known as “Proxy Bidding” which you might be familiar with if you’ve used eBay.
Example: Team1 currently has a high bid on PlayerA for $5 and a max bid of $40. Team2 puts in a max bid of $25. Team1 is still the high bidder and the high bid is now $25. Team3 puts in a max bid of $45. Team3 is the new high bidder and the high bid is now $41.

Adjusting Your Max Bid
Your max bid is not set in stone. You can increase or decrease your existing max bid on a player at anytime. You can decrease your max bid down to the current high bid.

Bid Timer Reset
When there is a new high bidder for a player then the bidding clock will reset (default is 24 hours). However, if your bid is not high enough to make you the new high bidder, then the clock will NOT reset.
Example
: Team1 currently has a high bid on PlayerA for $10 and a max bid of $20. Team2 puts in a max bid of $15. Team1 is still the high bidder and the high bid is now $15. This will not reset the bidding clock as the winning team didn’t change. A team would have to put in a max bid of $21 or higher to become the new high bidder and reset the bid timer.

Related Settings

  • Active nominations allowed at a time: Default is 20 – Nominations will be put on hold when there are this many players being actively auctioned.
  • Nomination time limit: Default is 24 hours – The time a team has to nominate a player before a player is auto-nominated
  • Initial bidding time: Default is 24 hours The initial bidding clock when a player is nominated.
  • Bid reset time: Default is 24 hours – The time that the clock resets to when there is a new high bidding team for a player.

Rookie Drafts begin in year 2 of your league. In your league’s first season all players, including rookies, are auctioned off in the Auction Draft. A Rookie Draft in your first season would give the teams at the start of the draft order an unfair dynasty advantage.

The Rookie Draft is a linear selection draft (not auction and not snake). Salaries are assigned to players based on their draft spot using a Rookie Pay Scale. All players taken in the Rookie Draft are automatically given a 3-year (length is configurable in the settings) contract.

Draft Order: The draft order is determined by how teams finish the previous season. There are two options in the settings for how the draft order is determined.

  1. Lottery(Default) – Non-playoff teams are given a number of balls based on their finish in the regular season standings. Playoff teams are added to the draft order in the inverse order of playoff finish(Champion picks last). There is a ceremony on April 1st, when the new league season begins, that unveils the lottery results.
    • Here are number of balls which are based on regular season finish (the number of teams getting balls is equal to the number of non-playoff teams in your league)
      1. 100 (Worst Record)
      2. 80
      3. 60
      4. 45
      5. 30
      6. 15
      7. 13
      8. 11
      9. 9
      10. 7
      11. 6
      12. 5
      13. 4
      14. 3
      15. 2
      16. 1
  2. Standings – Non-playoff teams pick first in the inverse order of the regular season standings. Playoff teams are added to the draft order in the inverse order of playoff results(Champion picks last).

(The draft order for playoff teams is the same in both draft order options)

The Rookie Draft takes place before your annual Auction Draft. You can do the rookie draft back to back on the same date as the Auction Draft or have the Rookie Draft by itself at an earlier date.

*Note – All Rookie Picks are guaranteed. You don’t need cap space or roster space to make your rookie pick (although you will have to address it in order to make trades or to get players off the wire).

Related Settings

  • Rookie Draft Rounds: Default is 3 – The number of rounds your Rookie Draft has each season.
  • Rookie Draft Contract Years: Default is 3 – All players taken in the Rookie Draft automatically get signed to a contract of the same length.

Players taken in the Rookie Draft do not have their salary determined by a winning bid amount because they are not auctioned off. Instead, the Rookie Draft is a linear draft and a player’s salary is determined by the Rookie Pay Scale. The Rookie Pay Scale assigns higher salaries to higher draft picks and lower salaries to lower draft picks. See below for a full break down of the cost of a player at a given draft position.

Related Settings

  • Rookie Pay Scale Start %: Default is 4.5% The percentage set for the rookie pay scale will be assigned to the first overall pick in the rookie draft. Values will be rounded up.
    • Example: Salary Cap: $300 Rookie Pay Scale: 4.5%
      • The first pick in the rookie draft is assigned a salary of $14.
      • Here are the full values for a league with the default settings:
        • 1.1 – $14
        • 1.2 – $12
        • 1.3 – $12
        • 1.4 – $10
        • 1.5 – $10
        • 1.6 – $10
        • 1.7 – $8
        • 1.8 – $8
        • 1.9 – $8
        • 1.10 – $6
        • 1.11 – $6
        • 1.12 – $6
        • Remaining 1st round picks – $5
        • 2nd Round Picks – $4
        • 3rd Round Picks – $2
        • If your league has added 4th and 5th rounds then players drafted in those rounds are all $1

Contracts

Contracts allow you to keep a player for multiple seasons. After your Auction Draft you will have the option of signing player’s that you just drafted to a 2-year, 3-year, or 4-year contract (or leaving them as a default 1-year contract).

This is similar to a keeper, but there are some extra characteristics of a contract that make things more interesting.

The player’s salary for year 1 (the current year) will be the amount that you paid for him in the Auction Draft. Each year when the season rolls over to a new year, players that you have under contract go up by 15% (configurable in league settings). If you drop a player that is under contract you will incur some dead money depending on how many years remain on their contract – learn more about this in the Dropping Players – Dead Money section. These factors make for a strategic risk/reward system. It is certainly risky to give a player a 4-year contract, but if that player ends up breaking out then you got a steal!

*Note – By default, there are a limited number of contracts a team can hand out each year. Your team’s “Available Contracts Remaining” will reset when the new league year starts (April 1st). An owner who used all of their contracts and an owner who used none of their contracts, will have the same amount of available contracts when the new league year starts. Contracts are “use it or lose it.”

  • Example Scenario – You draft a player and don’t sign them to a contract.
    • They are automatically on a 1-year deal.
    • End of the fantasy season (week 17) they are eligible to be Franchise Tagged.
    • If you choose not to use your Franchise Tag on them – New league year rolls over (April 1st), contract length is reduced to 0-years and they are dropped from your roster. They will be available in the upcoming Auction Draft.
    • If you choose to Franchise Tag them – New League year rolls over (April 1st), contract length is set to 1-year. The following year they will be reduced to 0-years and dropped from your roster.
  • Example Scenario – You draft a player and after the draft you sign them to a 2-Year contract.
    • You complete your first season and on April 1st the new league year begins. This player’s contract is reduced a year and now has 1-year remaining.
    • Player is eligible for a contract extension from April 1st until the first game of NFL Week 1 kicks off.
    • If you choose not to use your Extension on them – At the end of the season they will be Franchise Tag eligible.
    • If you choose not to use your Franchise Tag on them – New league year rolls over (April 1st), contract length is reduced to 0-years and they are dropped from your roster. They will be available in the upcoming Auction Draft.

*Note – This means that players who are on a 1-year contract will never be eligible for a contract extension. You must give them a 2-year, 3-year, 4-year contract if you wish to give them a contract extension in the future. Players taken in the rookie draft get an automatic 3-year contract, which will allow them to be extended as well.

Related Settings

  • Player Salary Increase Per Year: Default is 15% – The Player Salary Increase percentage is multiplied by the players salary each time a new league year starts.
    • Example: 15% Player Salary Increase. A player is drafted for $20 and signed to a 4-year contract.
      • Year 1: $20
      • Year 2: $20 x 15% = $23
      • Year 3: $23 x 15% = $27
      • Year 4: $27 x 15% = $32
  • 2-Year Contracts: Default is 3 – Number of contracts each team has available to use each season.
  • 3-Year Contracts: Default is 2 – Number of contracts each team has available to use each season.
  • 4-Year Contracts: Default is 1 – Number of contracts each team has available to use each season.

*Note – Some leagues will set Available Contracts to 99 each (unlimited contracts of each type), which also works fine. This works because there is a risk/reward with signing longer contracts. Just because you CAN sign everyone to a 4-year deal, doesn’t mean you should. The compounded salary increases of a 4-year contract and the dead money penalties provide a built in constraint. We don’t recommend this approach for new leagues.

Players are eligible for an extension if they are going into the final year of their contract & the player hasn’t already been extended.
*Note – This means that players who are on a 1-year contract will never be eligible for a contract extension. You must give them a 2-year, 3-year, 4-year contract if you wish to give them a contract extension in the future. Player’s taken in the rookie draft get an automatic 3-year contract, which will allow them to be extended as well.

You can only use an extension on a player one time.

Using an extension on a player allows you to sign them to a new 2, 3, or 4-year contract.

Related Settings

  • Extension Contracts: Default is 1 – The number of Extensions that a team can use each season.
A player is eligible to be tagged if they just completed the final year of their contract and haven’t been tagged before. Tagging will be available in the app after NFL Week 17, when the fantasy season completes. The deadline to tag a player is April 1st, when these players will be dropped if they aren’t tagged.

The cost to tag a player is an average of the top 5 players at the position OR the player’s existing salary + 15%(annual salary increase setting), whichever is greater. Don’t worry, we display the tag amount for your tag eligible players on the Contracts screen for your team.

Related Settings

  • Franchise Tags: Default is 1 – The number of Franchise Tags that a team can use each season.

Salaries

Everything in your dynasty revolves around the Salary Cap. During the Auction Draft you will bid on players and the winning bid will have that dollar amount subtracted from their team’s cap space. During the season you will bid on free agents through Free Agent Blind Bidding and the winning bid will have that dollar amount subtracted from their team’s cap space. During trades, you will need to have available cap space to take on the contracts you are receiving (if you are sending a $30 contract and receiving a $40 contract then you will need $10 of cap space available to make the trade).

The amount of Cap Space that you have available after the Auction Draft is the amount that you have available to use on free agents during the season. There are not separate budgets for the draft and for in season acquisitions. If you spend your whole salary cap during the draft then your dynasty will have no money to sign free agents during the season.

Use the “Reserved Cap” setting to make sure managers set aside a portion of the salary cap for in-season free agents.

Related Settings

  • Salary Cap: Default is $300 – The amount to increase a player’s salary by each time a new league year starts.
    • Example: Player Salary Increase set to 15%
      • $20 Player is signed to a 4-year contract.
      • Year 1: $20
      • Year 2: $20 x 15% = $23
      • Year 3: $23 x 15% = $27
      • Year 4: $27 x 15% = $32
  • Reserved Cap (for in season acquisitions): Default is $100
    • Example: Salary Cap: $300 Reserved Cap: $100
      • Managers will be able to spend up to $200 during the draft and will have at least $100 left over for free agent blind bidding during the season.

The salary of a player taken in the Auction Draft is the winning bid amount for the player.

The salary of a player taken in Free Agent Blind Bidding is the winning bid amount for the player.

The salary of a player taken in the Rookie Draft is determined by the Rookie Pay Scale based on when the player was drafted.

A player’s salary increases 15% (by default, configurable in league setting) each year when the new league season starts.

Related Settings

  • Player Salary Increase Per Year: Default is 15% – The amount to increase a player’s salary by each time a new league year starts.
    • Example: Player Salary Increase set to 15%
      • $20 Player is signed to a 4-year contract.
      • Year 1: $20
      • Year 2: $20 x 15% = $23
      • Year 3: $23 x 15% = $27
      • Year 4: $27 x 15% = $32
  • Rookie Pay Scale Start %: Default is 4.5% – The percentage set for the rookie pay scale will be assigned to the first overall pick in the rookie draft.
    • Example:
      • Rookie Pay Scale is 4.5%
      • Salary Cap is $300
      • The first pick in the rookie draft is assigned a salary of $14. Each pick becomes cheaper than the previous with larger drops at the start of each round.

When you drop a player two things happen, 1.) That player’s salary becomes dead money for the current season (you don’t get a refund). In addition, 2.) You pay a dead money penalty next season depending on how many years are remaining on the player’s contract. The default penalty setting is 25% per additional year remaining.

1 Year Remaining – 0% of player’s salary is dead money the following season
2 Years Remaining – 25% of player’s salary is dead money the following season
3 Years Remaining – 50% of player’s salary is dead money the following season
4 Years Remaining – 75% of player’s salary is dead money the following season

There are no additional cap hits after the following season.

*Note – Players that are dropped from salary reduced slots (PS or IR) are dropped for their full salary, not the reduced salary of the slot.

Related Settings

  • Dead money penalty per year remaining: Default is 25% – The percentage of a player’s salary that is dead money in year 2 based on the remaining length on the contract.
    • Example: You drop a player that has a contract of 4 years @ $20. The $20 remains on your books for the current season as dead money, and next year you will have a dead money penalty of $15.
    • Example: You drop a player that has a contract of 1 year @ $20. The $20 remains on your books for
      the current season as dead money, and there is no dead money penalty the following year.

Free Agent Blind Bidding (Waivers)

Free Agent Blind Bidding (also known as FAAB – Free Agent Auction Bidding) is how you pick up free agents through the course of the season. Your available budget is simply your available cap space. With a salary cap of $300 – If you spend $200 during the draft then you will have $100 left over for picking up free agents.

This is a blind bidding auction. You put in a bid for a player that no one in your league will be able to see. The next morning (depending on your league settings) the auction will process and whoever put in the highest bid for each player will have that player added to their roster.

When two teams bid the same amount for a player, the tie breaking priority goes:

1. Record
2. Total Points For
3. Total Points Against
4. If all criteria are tied (close to impossible during the season) then it will be a coin flip.

All players picked up during the season through the FAAB will automatically be assigned a 1-year contract with a salary matching the winning bid. This means that they will be released at the end of the season and available in the following draft. The only exception is if a Franchise Tag is used on the player after the season.

Trading

When a player is traded, their contract and salary goes with them and remains the same.

So, when making trades you should consider how much is the contract? How long is the contract? Are they eligible for an extension? Can you franchise tag the player? As you can imagine, trades are a lot of fun in salary cap leagues.

Trading is allowed year-round, except from the trade deadline through the final week of the season.

Trading future rookie draft picks is allowed and encouraged! You will see the option in the trade window to add in rookie draft picks to spice up any trade offer. You can trade rookie draft picks two years in advance.

There are two options for approving trades in your league settings.

  1. Commish approve/veto trades. There is no league vote, commish determines if a trade should go through.
  2. League vote – you set a number of vetos required by the league and if enough members vote to veto then the trade is rejected.

Playoffs

There are several playoff configurations that can be chosen in the league settings. One thing that is the same for all options is that we never play during the final week of the NFL season. This historically has been Week 17, but they recently added another week to the season and so it is now Week 18. The reason that you always want to exclude the final week of the NFL from fantasy is because NFL teams will rest their starters if the game doesn’t effect their playoff standings. The final week of the fantasy football playoffs is the most important game of your season and you wouldn’t want it to fall on the week that a bunch of starters aren’t playing.

Ties are pretty uncommon due to fractional points, but if there is a tie during the playoffs then the higher seed will move on to the next round. Seed is determined by the regular season standings, and so the effect is that the team that performed better during the regular season will get the advantage in playoff ties.

Practice Squad & Injury Reserve

Practice Squad slots (Taxi Squad) are a powerful type of roster slot for your team. They are designed to give a salary cap advantage and additional roster space for players taken in the Rookie Draft that you don’t want to start right away. Only 25% of a player’s salary counts against your cap space when they are in a PS slot.

PS Eligibility

  • Only player’s taken in the Rookie Draft can be placed in a PS slot. Rookies taken in the Auction Draft are not eligible.
  • Once a player has been moved into the starting lineup, they are no longer eligible to be placed in a PS slot (there is a warning when a PS eligible player is put into the starting lineup for the first time).
  • A player can be moved back and forth freely between the Bench and PS slots without losing eligibility.
  • A player can be put on the Practice Squad for the whole duration of his contract as long as he has never been moved into the starting lineup.

*Note – Player’s that are dropped from salary reduced slots (PS or IR) are dropped for their full salary, not the reduced salary of the slot.

IR slots operate differently in Contract/Salary Cap leagues then you might be used to in standard formats. The IR slot is a special slot designed to provide cap space in exchange for not being able to use that player.

You can put ANY player in the IR slot regardless of their injury status and only 50% of that player’s salary counts against your cap space. The trade off is that the player must remain on the IR for the rest of the season, so you won’t be able to use that player again until the following season. This allows teams to use this slot strategically, instead of it just being an extra roster slot for hurt players.

*Note – Player’s that are dropped from salary reduced slots (PS or IR) are dropped for their full salary, not the reduced salary of the slot.

FAQ

If you are using the default settings then you have a $300 salary cap and a $100 reserve cap.  The reserve cap is a portion of the total cap that you can’t use during the draft.  This means that your available cap during a draft is $300 – $100 = $200.

So what happens if a team signed expensive contracts and next season they enter the draft with $210 used and only $90 available?

The team will have to fill their empty rosters spots during the draft with $1 players.  This means they only get players which they nominate and no one else bids on.

Often players don’t “officially retire” and so the official data for them won’t reflect that they are retired.  Some of the names in the active list haven’t played in the NFL for a while and everyone knows they are retired.  And of course you have guys like Gronkowski and Tebow who everyone assumes are retired, yet here we are.

So, we leave this up for the commish to manage how they see fit.  Most commonly, leagues will let the team out of the retired contract with no penalty.  You can do this by modifying the player in the Commish Tools and removing the player from their team.  This will give that team back the salary space from that player and they won’t pay any dead money.  If that player pulls a Gronk and comes back after a couple of years, then he is up for grabs in the draft.

There are a number of league settings that you can adjust to customize your league. In addition to the settings there is a group of Commish Tools. If you have something unique or want to handle a situation differently then the way League Tycoon is setup, you are in luck! The commish can use these tools to manually manage and adjust the league.

Commish Tools can:
Add/Remove players from teams
Change the remaining years on a players contract
Modify the salary of a player.
Make a player eligible for the practice squad.
Adjust dead money for teams
Adjust lineup for a team – including moving any player on/off the IR and PS
Adjust contracts available for a team
Edit the schedule matchups

Timeline