Fantasy football is all about accumulating points throughout the season, but the most important competition happens before the first snap. While everyone wants to pick the most clever team name in their league, picking such a name is, much like drafting a fantasy team, a time-consuming exercise that results in something no one else cares about.
While you may be confident in your Oscar Wilde–ian ability to dress names like Le’Veon Bell or Zach Ertz in delightful wordplay, it’s probably too late to strike gold. There haven’t been any original fantasy team names since the days of Chad Ochocinco, and you’d be a fool to try and change that. Instead, I’d suggest you steer into the skid and come up with the worst possible team name you can. Or, better yet, just use one of the ones below. I’ll offer up an option in each of the seven distinct fantasy-team-name categories.
1. Sex stuff. Fantasy team owners like to work blue, as a ribald team name reminds your buddies that you have definitely had intercourse. “Cleveland Steamers” and “Multiple Scoregasms” are well-worn examples in the genre, as is “Sex Grossman” and the surprisingly durable “Lucky Pierre Garcon.”
Los Angeles Rams fans can take part in this proud tradition, as their high-powered offense also happens to be fertile ground for clunky scat humor. For your consideration: “Two Gurleys, One Kupp.”
2. Bland pun. A great pun elicits groans, while a bad one goes completely unnoticed. Behold, your 2018 fantasy team name: “Kenyan Drake.” (It’s a reference to Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake and also to the musical artist Drake.)
3. Memes that people who don’t spend their entire lives on the internet won’t understand. Doug from your work league has a busy schedule and two daughters, but he still manages to spend quality time with them after school and take them hiking and kayaking on the weekends. As a result, he doesn’t spend most of his day on Twitter, and he’ll have no idea what “Randall Corncobbed” means. Poor Doug.
4. Topical joke no one will understand come Week 5. Whatever’s dominating the headlines during your fantasy draft won’t be news later in the season, but no one said living on the cutting edge would be easy. A trenchant appraisal of the late-August news cycle is something to be proud of; show it off with your team, “Rev. Jamaal Williams’ Eulogy.” It is a play on the Packers running back as well as Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., the guy who went on for way too long at Aretha Franklin’s memorial service and upset attendees with his “offensive and distasteful” eulogy. It works on multiple levels!
5. MAGA construction. “Make America Great Again” has ruined more than just red hats. The phrase was never particularly clever or original, which means it’s obvious fodder for the slowest guy in your fantasy league.
A team named “Make America Gronk Again!” finished 38th on ESPN’s fantasy leaderboard last season. (In case you don’t get it, “Gronk” sounds a little like “great.”) This year, Bleacher Report’s “Cheat Sheet for Choosing Best Team Names” includes “Make AmariCarr Great Again.” There’s a profound sadness to this team name, and just seeing that Raiders portmanteau makes me want to move to Carrnada. One alternative I’d suggest is “Make Janarion Grant Again,” a reference to the Baltimore Ravens’ punt returner. That team name is opaque and frustrating enough to give AmariCarr a run for its money.
6. Something something Jake Butt. Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt missed his rookie season due to a knee injury, but the former Michigan standout’s skill set should translate to the NFL. His last name also translates to fantasy football, so prepare to see it used in all your leagues. For a team name that is both recursive and lazy, may I suggest testing the half-life of Mark Sanchez jokes with “Jake Butt Fumble”?
7. Forced pop culture reference. Sports Illustrated published a list of possible fantasy football team names, and I will begrudgingly admit that “Sony Michel’s High School Reunion” isn’t terrible. It’s not easy to stick the landing when it comes to pop culture references, however, and “Agholord of the Rings” (also on SI’s list) serves to remind us of this fact.
The key is to make your pop culture reference so confusing and jumbled that neither the player’s name nor the reference is immediately recognizable. For example, what do you get when you shoehorn Washington wide receiver Josh Doctson into the world of British sci-fi? Why, your next fantasy team name: “Doctson Whoson.”