What is a Vampire Fantasy Football League?


I have played fantasy football since I was a young child, when my parents would help me sign up from the Dallas Morning news. Back then it wasn’t quite the same as it is now with the advent of the internet, but it was still a lot of fun. You can read about my journey to become Fantasy Sports Dad in my about me page.

After 30 plus years playing fantasy football, I thought I had seen it all. Then I came across somebody talking about a vampire fantasy football league. At first, I thought it was just somebody bored on the internet, which is understandable considering many people have been stuck at home a lot more than usual.

Wait, there really is such a thing?

Turns out that this is actually a real type of league, starting to gain traction in the last few years. The premise is that one team is designated the “vampire” and has the ability to take your players if they beat you in any given week.

Seems a little one-sided doesn’t it? The catch is that the vampire does not get to draft a team, instead they will build a team using the waiver wire after all of the other teams have finished drafting. Sounds a little more difficult now huh? Let’s dive a little more into how to create a vampire fantasy football league.

Start with the Draft

As always, you start with a snake draft, most leagues use 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE and 1 flex that can be a RB, WR, or TE. In addition to this, your starting line up will have 1 team defense/ special teams and 1 kicker, then your roster will have room for 5 or 6 bench spots depending on the league you are in.

We will use a 12-team league for our examples here. The only difference in this draft and a normal league, is that the first 11 teams will draft while the vampire waits til it is over for a chance to build their team from the players not drafted.

Waiver Rules

Here is where things get real interesting – the first 11 teams are not allowed to use the waiver wire! So whoever you draft is who you are playing for the entire year! Some leagues do allow for players that are placed on the NFL’s IR list to be dropped, as well as players cut from their team, but that is up to the league commissioner.

In addition, there are no trades outside of the trades involved when the vampire team beats another team. That makes things a little different when you only have 5-6 spots on your bench and need a backup QB, defense, and kicker for your players’ bye weeks. That would change most people’s draft strategy I am sure.

And the Vampire can take my players!?

Short answer is yes. If they vampire team beats you one week, they can choose ANYBODY on your starting roster. Now notice I specified starting roster – if you have Christian McCaffrey on your bench that week he is not able to be taken.

So that saves you on bye weeks if your player is not in the starting line up, but also gives you some strategy involving your best players. The vampire must select the player they intend to take by the Wednesday before the games, so your roster must be set up by that time.

If the vampire team is able to come out on top in any given week, the must trade a player from the same position back to you. This player must have been on their starting roster during your match up, so although you will probably not like the trade, at least it will be somebody who you can play in following weeks.

Who Gets to be the Vampire?

Different leagues have different ways of choosing who the vampire is going to be. Some make it random, similar to draft order done on a fantasy football app. Others choose the last place team from the previous year to be the vampire.

Either way, you want it to be fair whoever gets to be the vampire Most people will probably want to be, since in theory this is the only team that will get better as the season goes on. It will be tough for the vampire to get victories, especially early in the season, but if they can get a win or two plus some good pickups on the waiver wire throughout the season they could very well be the toughest team come playoff time.


If you are looking for a new version of a game that has been around for decades, a vampire fantasy football league may be exactly what you are looking for. You will need to have different strategies depending on whether you are the vampire or not, and strategies that you have used in previous fantasy football leagues might not work in this one.

Have you ever played in a vampire league? How did you like it? Let me know in the comments below!



  1. Thank you for sharing your article about Vampire Fantasy Football League. I went through all your article since it was very interesting and engaging. I personally do not have any experience on this game but from your article I could say that it is worth playing. I would definitely suggest it to my son to play. 

    Although, I would like to know if women could give it a try too? Or it is a bit hard for women. What is your thought on this question?

    All the best!

    • I have been a commissioner of a traditional fantasy football team for 15 years, and have had multiple women be in the league, and winning their share of the seasons! It is definitely not too hard for woman!

  2. I’ve been playing fantasy football for 30 years myself. I’ve never heard of a Vampire League either; but, it sounds interesting. I played for the first time in a Guillotine League in 2019 where the lowest-scoring team each week was eliminated until the four remaining teams competed in a “most points scored” playoff weeks 16-17. It was pretty fun. I made the playoffs; but, finished “out-of-the-money” in fourth place. I followed some “expert” advice and benched Derrick Henry in week 17 and he went off for 200+ yards and three TDs. Ouch!

    I had one question though.

    Let’s say I, as the Vampire, have built a strong team by week 8. Are there any rules stopping me from repeatedly trading the same position week after week?

    I could see just trading kickers or DSTs repeatedly unless there was an opportunity to significantly upgrade a QB/RB/WR/TE after a victory.

    • I am sure each league might have different rules, but from what I have seen there is no rules to stop that. I have heard of Guillotine leagues as well, that would be fun! Love when the “expert” advice doesn’t seem so expert 🙂 Although Derrick Henry cost me a championship this year with a poor game against Green Bay, so guess it happens sometimes even to the best of the best!

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