Every year, I get offers to join random leagues from co-workers, friends of friends or league mates.
I love to compete and match wits with others, especially when it’s taking candy from a baby. So my first thought is almost always “let’s do this.”
But I’ve played Fantasy Sports far too long to get caught up in that mess.
When joining a league, your best security blanket is knowing the commissioner – and sometimes that doesn’t even help. But when you don’t know who you’re getting into bed with – so to speak – then you’re likely going to regret your decision to join.
The problem is that some commissioners are flat out dubious and cannot be trusted. Whether it’s irresponsibility, ignorance or just a desire to run a low-level ponzi scheme, joining a league with a shady commissioner is the biggest mistake you can make in the fantasy world.
7 Ways to Be a Great Fantasy Commissioner
If you are a Fantasy commissioner and want your league to become the stuff of Fantasy folklore, then make sure you follow these seven tips.
1. Quick Payout
This is the No. 1 for a reason.
I don’t know how many leagues I have joined where I won or cashed and received my winnings six months later – if at all. There is zero excuse for this to happen.
As the commissioner, you should collect league dues before the draft. If you do not then you’ve already failed as a commissioner. Your responsibility is to collect your league funds and NOT to spend them.
The excuses I have heard in the past on why I have not been paid have ranged from:
- “You didn’t give me your address”
- “Sorry, bro. I’ve been so busy”
- “I’m still waiting on Player X to pay me”
Slow payment reflects negatively on you as a Fantasy commissioner – and as a person – and will have your Fantasy mates bolting for a new league.
Don’t be that guy.
2. No Rule Changes After the Draft
It blows my mind how often this happens.
League commissioners will host a draft then, for reasons unknown, decide to change scoring rules, roster settings, move limitations, etc. This is an absolute no-no.
League members prepare for their draft from predetermined rules. They set strategies and players to target based on these rules. When a commissioner feels the need to change them, it screws league members and sets off a massive controversy – one you’d be wise to avoid.
Set and establish rules before the draft. Any changes after the draft will be put into effect the following season.
3. Be Responsive
No one wants to join a league where the commissioner is MIA for weeks at a time. If there is an issue in the league, there needs to be a resolution.
If there is a question or concern it needs to be addressed. If there is collusion it needs to be dealt with. If you are a commissioner that shies away from these issues, then you should not be commissioning a league.
Whether there is money on the line or bragging rights, a league needs to run like a well-oiled machine. A Fantasy commissioner that is unresponsive and does not have his finger on the league pulse is your worst nightmare.
As a Fantasy commissioner you should always be available.
4. Choosing a Draft Date
No one wants to auto draft or find a proxy for their live draft. As commissioner your job is to find a date that works with the majority of your league mates.
While appeasing everyone is close to impossible, setting a date months in advance and sticking to it is one of the best ways to avoid a Draft Day disaster.
No draft is enjoyable when you’re missing half the league or you have Player X’s girlfriend trying to pronounce Arismendy Alcantara in the fifth round.
Set a date with your league, confirm, alter if needed, and reconfirm. Whether or not your league mates actually show up is completely out of your control. But what you can control is communication and confirmation.
Don’t leave any league member in the dark. They will appreciate it and you just might win some sort of commissioner of the year award.
5. Spice it Up
Who said your league had to be like every other league you’ve ever seen?
As a commissioner your job is to create a fun, fair and exciting league.
Make Draft Day an event!
Hand out fun awards, spend a couple dollars on pizza for your league mates, or create a unique experience that sets your league apart from the rest.
As an example, my co-commish and I – who happens to be my twin brother – invested in a late 1800s throne that the league champion drafts from every year.
It’s the best seat in the house — literally and figuratively.
Your league mates will appreciate the extra effort you put in and it will have people lining up to join.
6. Keep Your League Competitive
If you want your league to be taken seriously be very particular about who you invite into your league.
I once invited a guy that fell asleep during the draft! Needless to say he was gone the next year.
Sure, they represent easy money, but they also negatively affect the entire league. A weak player lacks knowledge, which can stack stronger players during the draft. Their lack of knowledge also translates into the season as they have minimal player movement, becoming virtually inactive on the waiver wire and leaving injured players on active rosters.
While their lack of player movement can be seen as an advantage to the active players, it’s actually a disadvantage to the entire league as it could stack the competition.
If you can fill your league with competitive players that are active and enjoy playing the entire season, you’ll have created a much more exciting and competitive league.
7. Create a League Constitution
A league constitution formally establishes your league’s rules and leaves nothing and no one to challenge them.
If there is a debate or controversy in your league, simply refer to your league constitution – crisis averted.
To create a constitution you just need to create a set of rules for your draft, trades, lineups, scoring systems, etc. The stronger the foundation of your league the better and more efficient it will run.
Maybe you should share this article with your Fantasy Commissioner — with a winky face, of course.
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