It’s here folks. The most wonderful time of the year. Fantasy football Christmas. The Scott Fish Bowl.

You might think I’m exaggerating here but the legendary Scott Fish is about as close to Santa Claus as they make em. Here he is using the money generated by this fantasy football tournament to buy thousands of dollars worth of presents for needy kids to donate to Toys For Tots. And this was only one of MANY of these shopping trips that they were able to do.

That’s the power of this tournament. And it’s why Scott FIsh has won numerous awards like the FSGA’s Humanitarian of the Year and The Athletic’s Person of the Year. And it’s why we are taking a moment here to say thanks to him, explain a bit about the tournament, and then give you some tips if you do get in.

What Is The Scott Fish Bowl?

The Scott Fish Bowl itself is a massive fantasy football tournament bringing professionals and amateurs together to raise money for charity and compete for prizes and respect. It started as a small tournament primarily of industry professionals at Scott’s site FFOasis and has since grown into a tournament with upwards of 3,000 teams. 

How Do I Get In The Scott Fish Bowl?

As far as I know, there are three ways to get in:

  • Sign Up - Scott himself is heavily involved in handpicking the tournament players but that’s not the only way to get in. No matter what, the first thing you should do is sign up over here. Scott keeps track of how many years you have signed up and it increases your odds of getting in. Once this year’s is closed he will open next year’s so make sure you sign up for that ASAP.
  • Win A Giveaway - The easiest way to make sure you see these is to follow Scott Fish on Twitter and make sure you have notifications turned on. Also regularly search for #SFB12. Scott himself will give away spots and he also lets a number of sites and podcasts give them away (our podcast Lightning Round gave away a spot to a lucky winner this year!)
  • Win An SFB13 Satellite - Updated - It was recently announced that this year's satellite will be held on Underdog via a charity tournament. It's a $5 buy in with the money going to the JJ Watt Foundation and the top 278 players will automatically get into the 13th Scott Fish Bowl! If you aren't signed up for Underdog, you can sign up here using promo code ALARM and they will match up to $100 bonus credit with your first deposit. The entry link to the contest is on the very first page of Underdog's site and looks like this. Good luck!

How Does The Scott Fish Bowl Work?

Everyone in the tournament is divided into leagues of 12 teams. You draft and play vs. those 12 teams for the regular season which lasts 11 weeks. After 11 weeks, half of the field makes the playoffs. Any teams with 13 or more wins are automatically in and the remainder of the teams are in based on points. The playoffs are then done on a weekly basis starting week 12. Your score is your week 12 score plus your season average. In weeks 12, 13, and 14, the bottom 10% of the field is eliminated each week. In weeks 15 and 16 a whopping 34% of the field is dropped leaving us with only the top 2% of the field remaining. The winner of week 17 wins the tournament.

The full scoring rules are located here are the website along with the format and other important information. We aren’t going to break down the full rules here when they are broken down there but we will give you some important wrinkles that may differ from your standard hometown league.

  • Completion Percentage - Quarterback accuracy matters as you have .5 points per completion and -1 poins per incompletion. That means if your QB throws for under 66.6% completion percentage in a game you actually lose points.
  • Superflex - This league has multiple flex spots (you start 11 total players) but there is one special flex spot, the “superflex” spot, where you can start a quarterback. That means you can start multiple quarterbacks. 
  • Tight End Premium - in an attempt to make tight ends more relevant, it’s half-point per reception and first down for wide receivers and running backs but you get a full point per reception and for first down for tight ends.
  • First Downs - You get half a point for rushing or receiving first downs (not for ones thrown by the quarterback)
  • Kicking - There are two interesting kicker caveats. One is that the platform you play on determines whether a kicker is mandatory or not. Sleeper requires it while MFL does not. So, when you pick your platform, keep that in mind. The other caveat is that there are no negative points for kickers if they miss field goals or extra points, making them potentially viable options.
  • Third Round Reversal - After the second round, instead of it starting back off with draft slot number one again, it actually goes back and starts with spot 12. This is to combat the advantage that you get when drafting from spot 1 in a normal league.

Advice For First-Timers

This might sound crazy to you but I firmly believe that winning isn’t the most important thing in this tournament. Yes, of course it would be nice to win but it’s a charity tournament where you are going up against 3,000 of the best fantasy football players in the world. We are going to talk about some tips to give yourself a better chance to succeed in the next section but my advice would be to simply enjoy the experience. Here are some tips to help with that.

  • Make Friends - Join the group chat for your draft spot (if you are having trouble finding yours, DM me on Twitter and I’ll put you in touch with the right person). And join the group chat for your league as well. Do the live draft if you can. Some of my best friends have come from this tournament. I even have a podcast I do called the Fantasy Besties that is all people that I met in my very first Scott Fish Bowl. It’s worth it!
  • Give Back - This is the entire spirit of the tournament so make sure you get involved. Besides simply donating to Fantasy Cares, there are a couple fun ways to give back and also get something for yourself. One is buying SFB shirts from RotoWear with money going to charity. The other is to buy a custom avatar from the SFB Avi Makers which also donates money to charity.
  • Be Respectful - This one is huge and people take notice, especially Scott. The number one thing is to not time out in your draft or use too much unnecessary time on the clock. Yes it is a slow draft but the idea is so that you can make your pick as soon as you are free, not to sit on the clock and think about it. If you do start timing out, it says right in the rules that you could be replaced. Luckily on both MFL and Sleeper, you can set up text and email alerts for when you are on deck and on the clock so that you can stay on top of it. Also, fantasy football discussions in any capacity, such as the group chats, have a tendency to get heated. It’s the nature of the game. So do your best to remember that it’s a charity tournament and arguing over little things is not worth it.

Advice For Actually Winning The Scott Fish Bowl

Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, here is some advice for trying to win this thing

  • There Are Two Drafts - In Superflex leagues there are basically two drafts. There is the actual draft and then there is the smaller “Quarterback draft” inside of the draft. At a certain point, well before the draft is over, there will be no more starting quarterbacks available. Given the importance of the position in this format, you really need to keep an eye on them and make sure you get two (or possibly three). Also, remember that accuracy is a quarterback stat in this format. So guys like Joe Burrow, Derek Carr, even Mac Jones end up being better in this format than they are in some of the others.
  • Use Tight End Premium (TEP) To Your Advantage - In most formats, the number 1 overall FLEX player is almost always a running back or a wide receiver. In tight end premium, now tight end is on the table. Guys like Travis Kelce or Kyle Pitts have that in their range of outcomes. Not to mention, later in the draft, you can use uncertainty in your favor. Let’s consider an offense like the Jacksonville Jaguars. We really don’t know how the targets will be divided among guys like Marvin Jones, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, Laviska Shenault, Travis Ettienne etc. But one thing we do know is this - if the targets are split fairly evenly amongst all of those guys, the targets for Evan Engram are worth double. There are a lot of teams in the league where we don’t know for sure how it will shake out.
  • Balance Safety and Upside - This is the number one mistake I’ve seen people make and I’ve made it myself. In the first year playing, I thought to myself “I need to do something crazy if I’m going to win this so I need to take shots on upside”. What I forgot was that you start ELEVEN players every week. That means it gets pretty painful once bye weeks and injuries come around. Twelve teams starting eleven players means 132 guys are going in lineups each week. So even a guy like Cole Beasley last year was someone who was a viable starter. You obviously want to go for some upside but you need to make sure you have enough players to field a team. It would be cool if Gronk comes back but he also just might stay retired. 
  • Regular Season Matters - This goes hand in hand with the tip before. In this format, your playoff scores are your weekly score PLUS your average regular season score. In some leagues, all that matters is making the playoffs and having a good team at that point - not true here. You need to score as many points as possible and you only have 11 weeks to do it. Because of that, I’m avoiding some guys that we know will miss multiple weeks early on like DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Godwin, and Michael Gallup. You can’t afford to be putting up duds for six weeks.
  • Kickers - We talked about how kickers may or may not be mandatory based on which platform you choose. Well, on either platform, kickers are going to be a factor. Our friend Linda over on Twitter did the math on it and the new scoring for kickers, without the negative points, is a game-changer. The short and sweet is that no kicker finished with double-digit points per game in SFB11 scoring while 13 did base on SFB12 scoring. So kickers are absolutely a viable pick later in drafts. 

Good Luck and Have Fun!

From there you are on your own my friends - as with any fantasy league, there are a lot of ways to get it done. Gary Haddow, a founder and friend of the Lightning Round Podcast, won by waiting on tight end and draft four back to back to back, hitting on Darren Waller. The guy who literally invented Zero RB, Shawn Siegele, didn’t draft his first running back until the 11th round in my division one year and he finished second in the division, making the playoffs. As long as you are having fun, being respectful, and helping raise money for a good cause, there’s really no wrong way to play things. And I’m sure that’s how the great Scott Fish intended it to be.

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