The Regular Season and Playoff Settings page allows the league creator to customize the regular season and playoff settings of the league.
To view your league's playoff settings go to the "League Settings" page. These settings were established by the league creator during the pre-season and describe the basis for how your playoffs will work.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When customizing your Playoff Brackets, certain options will automatically be set based on your selections. The numbers below represent the Minimums and Maximums available for each category. Therefore, when creating your Playoff Brackets, you need to pay close attention to the options below when you make any changes. Any adjustment may impact the final results.
For most leagues the number listed is equivalent to the number of teams the system will award automatic playoff berths to.
REGULAR SEASON LENGTH (9-16 Weeks)
In ESPN Custom and LM leagues, the playoffs can start after week 9 and run through week 17.
PLAYOFF DURATION (0-4 Weeks)
Playoff Weeks (0-8): This is the total number of weeks your league's playoffs will last. If you add Regular Season Weeks and Playoff Weeks together it will equal either 16 or 17. If 16, then your league does not play the final week of the NFL season (Week 17).
PLAYOFF TEAMS (2-16)
This number represents the number of teams the system places in the Winner's Bracket. All remaining teams are placed in the Consolation Ladder.
PLAYOFF ROUNDS (1-4)
This number represents the number of games which will need to be won in the Playoff Bracket in order to win the League Championship.
NOTE: Taking this number and dividing it by the "Playoff Weeks" will give you the length - in weeks - of each playoff matchup. The number will either be 1 or 2 weeks.
FIRST ROUND BYES (0-4)
The number of teams which have BYEs in the first-round in the Playoff Bracket.
CONVERSION TO PLAYOFF MODE (LM Leagues)
At this time the system looks at the Regular Season results, determines the league's playoff seeds (breaking ties if necessary) and generates all the first-round playoffs matchups. When a league converts into playoff mode these two pages become available:
1 - View Playoffs: Available from League Office this is the main Playoff page. It displays each round's matchup (and results) in both the Winner's Bracket and Consolation Ladder.
2 - Edit Playoffs (League Managers only) Available from LM Tools this page allows your league manager to manually edit any matchup (and results) during the playoffs.
IMPORTANT NOTE : This page is the master page for ALL edits to playoff matchups/results. ANY manual scoring adjustments (either before or during the playoffs) will NOT change where each team is placed in the playoffs. To this point, you should use the page if you want to set your own seeds or playoff game tiebreaker rules.
The playoffs work with the same general League Rules and Scoring Settings used during the Regular Season.
If your League Manager edits any league settings after the league converts into playoff mode, the changes will work retroactively for all previous weeks, including the Regular Season. During the playoffs, once your matchup ends, the scoring is final and no scoring corrections will be applied unless otherwise determined by your League Manager.
Only LMs (League Managers) in LM leagues are able to edit the playoff brackets -- Available from the LM Tools page; this page allows your league manager to manually edit any matchup (and results) during the regular season and playoffs to change schedules and eliminate byes (where possible). Also, in order to implement a schedule where you would play divisional foes twice and all other teams in the league once, you would need to fall under one of the following categories:
12 Teams, 2 Divisions in a 16-week season
10 Teams, 2 Divisions in a 13-week season
8 Teams, 2 Divisions in a 10-week season
Note: If you have an unequal division size in your league, the schedule will not have a preference toward in-divisional play.
All teams continue to compete throughout the duration of the playoffs. The playoffs are split into two parts: The Winner's Bracket and The Consolation Ladder.
NOTE: These parts are exclusive from each other. After each playoff round the system will not move a team from the Winner's Bracket into the Consolation Ladder (and vice-versa). However, as mentioned above, your League Manager has the option to manually place teams where ever they wish, so you could see a #5 seed in a four team winner's bracket (and the #4 seed in the Consolation Ladder).
The number of teams in the Winner's Bracket corresponds to the "Playoff Teams" setting. In most leagues the Division Winners will gain automatic entry into the Winner's Bracket. Any remaining Winner's Bracket slots are filled by Wild Card teams based on their seed (see below). Teams in the Winner's Bracket play head-to-head for either one or two weeks, with each matchup's winner advancing to the next round until a League Champion is determined. The losers of games in the Winner's Bracket play other losers of games in the Winner's Bracket until the end of the season.
The Winner's Bracket first-round matchups are based on the following pairing of seeds:
Two (2) team bracket: 1v2
Four (4) team bracket: 1v4, 2v3
Eight (8) team bracket: 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5
Sixteen (16) team bracket: 1v16, 2v15, 3v14, 4v13, 5v12, 6v11, 7v10, 8v9
All remaining teams not in the Winner's Bracket teams are placed in the Consolation Ladder. Games in the Consolation Ladder are played Head-to-Head but work differently than the Winner's Bracket in that each game's winner moves "up", while the loser moves "down". Competing in the Consolation Ladder is a matter of pride - no team wants to finish in Last Place!
NOTE: The "top" team in the Consolation Ladder can not move "up" after the win. Likewise, the "bottom" team and can not move "down". Head-to-Head play continues for the duration of the playoffs.
The Consolation Ladder's first-round matchups pair the seeds in descending order.
EXAMPLE: (10 team league; 4 teams in Winner's Bracket):
Consolation Ladder's First Round: 5v6, 7v8, 9v10
PLAYOFF SEEDING & TIE-BREAKERS
When your league converts into playoff mode the system automatically generates a seed for each team in the league based on the regular season results. The seeds determine where the system places each team in the playoffs. The primary factors which determine seeds are:
- Division Winner(s)
- Winning Percentage
In the event that two or more teams have the same winning percentage at the conclusion of the Regular Season, League Managers are able to select from the following options as a tie-breaking system to determine seed (the options below are also set in the default order for tie breakers):
- Head-to-Head Record*
- Overall points scored (Default setting for all leagues unless changed by League Manager)
- Division record
- Overall points-against
* When Head-to-Head record is selected as the tiebreak criteria, and in the event that three or more teams have the same winning percentage at the conclusion of the Regular Season, these teams must have played the same number of games for this criteria to be used.
NOTE: In LM Leagues only, if your league's rules do not agree with the system tiebreaker rules described above the playoff seeds can easily be changed by the League Manager. To edit the playoff seeds/bracket simply go to the Playoff Matchups page and click on the "Edit" link.
TIE-BREAKER FOR PLAYOFF GAMES
The system does not observe your league's Regular Season tiebreaker rule during the playoffs. Rather, in the event that two teams have the same number of points at the conclusion of their playoff game, the system tiebreaker awards the win to the higher seeded team.
NOTE: In LM Leagues, the League Manager has the ultimate say on which teams advance using the "Edit Playoffs" page. Each league may establish their own tiebreaker system with the League Manager advancing the team which wins it. If your league uses its own playoff tiebreakers we highly recommend pre-defining them and posting them prominently on the League Office page. As an exception, "Most Points from Bench" is an option only available for grandfathered Custom Leagues which used such a tiebreaker rule in the past season.
SEEDING TIEBREAKER EXAMPLE
Here's the default order of precedence according to the rules:
- Points For
- IntraDivision Record
- Points Against
- Coin Flip
Obviously, if an LM selects another tiebreaker to be first, that one would move to the top of the list. For example, the tiebreaker for standard leagues is "Points For", so those leagues would have this order:
- Points For
- IntraDivision Record
- Points Against
- Coin Flip
Below is an example of how tie breakers work. The main things to remember are:
- Teams must have played the same number of head to head games amongst each other
- Tiebreaker process starts over from beginning after each tie is broken for each bracket seed
- All five teams in this example have a season record of 7-5
Team A: 3rd in division 1 with 825 points. They beat teams B and E, and lost to teams C and D
Team B: 2nd in division 1 with 918 points. They beat team C, lost to teams A and E, and did not play team D
Team C: 1st in division 2 with 725 points. They beat team A, and lost to teams B, D, and E
Team D: 2nd in division 2 with 720 points. They beat teams A, C, and E, and did not play team B
Team E: 1st in Division 1 with 920 points. They beat teams B and C and lost to teams A and D
First we take the division winners. Teams E and C won their divisions. Since team E beat team C in their head to head matchup, E gets the #1 seed and C gets the #2 seed.
Now we have to figure out the #3 seed. Since teams A, B, and D all have 7-5 records, we first look at their head to head records.
- Team A beat team B and lost to team D, so they are 1-1 head to head
- Team B lost to team A, and did not play team D, so they are 0-1 head to head
- Team D beat team A, and did not play team B, so they are 1-0 head to head
Since the three teams did not play the same amount of head to head games we have to go the next tie-breaker - "Points For". This Awards the #3 seed to team B as they had 918 points.
Last we have to figure out the #4 seed.
Again, since teams A and D have identical 7-5 records we look at their head to head matchup. Since team D beat team A, D would get the 4th and final playoff seed.