If yours is just a straight keeper league, keeping people interested in competing late in the year is certainly a tough challenge. I run a contract/auction league, and we give out cash in a consolation tournament. That's more than enough incentive to compete late in the year. But you have a draft...
I've seen leagues order the draft in a nonsensical manner. For instance, maybe your league has the top-4 make the playoffs. The draft order the following year would be 5,6,7,8,9,10,4,3,2,1. I'm not the biggest fan of that as I believe it will drive the owners of low-ranked teams out of the league creating a revolving-door team that will never be well-managed.
You have to come up with some sort of incentive... Seems to me that the real problem is mostly predicated on the value of the first-round picks. How about a unique first round? Order the first round as I showed above or have a consolation tournament that divies out picks for the first round to the non-playoff teams. After the first round, the draft order could go back to normal with the lowest-ranked team starting.
That might excessively punish the good teams, but you get the idea. Create some incentive that punishes tanking and rewards teams that fought hard to make it to, and narrowly missed, the playoffs. That will keep owners on the up-and-up.
Do you have a minors system?
Want an easy icon?
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