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Guillotine Leagues

Guillotine Leagues

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What is a Guillotine League? Eighteen people enter, but only one will be left standing in the end. You play from Week 1, when all 18 people are still “alive”, to week 17, when the final 2 people duke it out for all the glory in the championship.

In guillotine leagues, there are no head-to-head matchups. You simply play against all your other league mates. Whoever has the lowest score on any given week is cut from the league. The player’s roster who was cut from the league then goes to the waiver wire for everyone to scoop up using their FAAB.

(FAAB is an acronym for Free Agent Acquisition/Auction Budget. Unlike traditional waiver wires, FAAB is a set budget you’re given at the start of the season. It’s great because it gives everyone a chance to blindly bid for players on the waiver and you’ve got a shot to get your guy. This is my favorite part about guillotine leagues because once you use your FAAB dollars, unless you trade someone for more, you’re stuck with what you got.)

As you could imagine, since a whole team is getting cut each week, the waiver wire starts to slowly build up with a ton of talent. This brings a bunch of different strategies to the table and the challenge is how you want to strategize while knowing each week could be your last. There are many different types of guillotine leagues, each coming with a different preferred game plan to make it to the end.

Why play in a Guillotine League?

The rush and craziness of knowing that every single week you could be eliminated is like no other. The stakes are high since every week feels as if you’re in the fantasy playoffs. In a normal redraft league, the top 40-50 percent make it to the playoffs. Making it far in a guillotine league is earned, not given. Taking down a whole guillotine league is a feat. Drafting the right team, perfectly managing your FAAB, and making important start/sit decisions are difficult enough. There are countless strategies and ways to play, but it’s my job to minimize that risk and help you get to the championship.

Where can I play in a Guillotine League?

Whether you’re new to guillotine or a veteran of the league type, is the best place to host your league. One thing I look for with a fantasy sports platform is a state-of-the-art mobile app, and has just that. They’ve got private leagues for you and friends with tons of customizations. If you can’t fill out the full league or want other competition besides your friends, they’ve got public leagues too!

If you want to test your skills even further, you’ve got to check out’s high-stakes guillotine league tournament, Super Chop. Super Chop plays just like a normal guillotine league, for the most part. It is 12 leagues, each with 12 teams. If you win your league, you draft a new team before week 12 with the other 11 winners from the 11 other leagues.

Fantasy Index is running a league on and you’re invited to play! Entry is free and developments in the league will be used as talking points in this column. Whether you’re new to the Guillotine format or an old hand, it’ll be a lot of fun and you stand to win a $50 gift card for use in the Fantasy Index store. If interested in playing in this league, post in the comments below.

--Colt Williams

Williams has been playing fantasy football since 2012. A United States Air Force veteran and a full-time college student studying economics and statistics, he and his wife live in California. To stay up to date with his latest work and all things fantasy, follow him on Twitter @_ColtWilliams


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