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10 fantasy baseball rules to spice up your league this season

Fantasy baseball is great -- who doesn't love playing manager and trying to craft a championship team? But for some who have been playing for years, straightforward fantasy baseball has simply become too easy. With most seasons spanning around 20 weeks, there can be a sense of routine. That's where we come in.

When the variety of most standard leagues extends no further than the number of utility positions, we think there's room to shake things up. Let's make things interesting, shall we?

Below are 10 unique rules to spice-up your league this season and keep everyone checking their lineups. Institute these and watch chaos reign:

1. Drop your highest-scoring player every month.

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Are you and your league-mates simply too good at fantasy baseball? Do you crave a challenge? Well then, institute this rule. Let everyone enjoy April with their full squad. Come May 1, however, everyone in the league must drop their highest scoring player for the previous month. On June 1, another player says goodbye, etc.

There are a couple of tweaks you can make: You can limit this to batters or pitchers depending on your sensibilities. You can also decide if you want to quantify "highest scoring" as overall, or for each respective month.

And, if you want to be merciful, you can let everyone have their players back for the playoffs.

2. Must start three players whose name begins with "J" in June.

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There are a lot of "J" names in MLB: Jose Bautista, Adam Jones, John Jaso. To add a wrinkle to your league, might as well highlight them in the first "J" month of the year. You can break this rule down by first names, last names or both -- just make sure there are enough names to go around.

3. Only start left-handed pitchers in July.

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Another way to mix things up: Restrict starting rosters by handedness. This one offers a lot of possibilities -- there's no reason this can't be "Only start right-handed batters in September." But I'm left-handed and I was born in July, so that's your example.

4. Only use players younger/older than age 30.

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Do you value youth or experience?

You can make this a league-wide rule, split it up half-and-half or change it month-to-month. I vote splitting it up, because who wouldn't want to see how youngsters versus vets plays out?

5. Must start one player who's played for at least five teams in his career every week.

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A rule dedicated to MLB journeymen is a good rule.

6. Must start one player who's only played for one team in his career every week.

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These last two will probably have some overlap with the age rule, should you choose to institute them, but we think that's OK.

7. Only draft players who wear high socks and/or facial hair on a consistent basis.

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Because we're big on aesthetics at Cut4. This one will take a bit of pre-draft research -- you can base eligibility on the 2014 season. Or, for the facial hair qualification, you can use Spring Training photos to only include players sporting a beard or mustache at the time of your draft.

8. Only draft players whose jersey numbers are above/below 25.

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Why not?

9. Only start players with nicknames in August.

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Everyone loves nicknames! And why not jazz up what is the final full month for most fantasy leagues with a bit of moniker whimsy?

10. Swap pitching staffs after the All-Star break.

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You know what's a good way to screw around with your league's status quo? Approximately halfway through the season, have everybody swap their pitching staffs. This will be particularly fun if the top team in the league has to swap with the bottom, and so on.