What’s going on fantasy football commissioners?! We’ve already reviewed how to take your commish-game to the next level, create/deviate a scoring system, and how to keep your managers interested throughout the season. Now we’re going to discuss how to simplify your life as commissioner. There are hundreds of custom leagues out there with different settings, rules, keepers, etc. so this will serve as an outline, using some specific examples that I can personally attest to. As usual, if you have any questions or want to hear about a specific issue involved with being a commissioner, hit me up on Twitter and let me hear about it!
This article is going to cover a smorgasbord of topics associated with being a commissioner.
Generic advice for all managers who run leagues
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- Create an email group in your contacts to easily communicate with the entire league. I do this for all of my leagues and it makes life a lot easier when sending out weekly recaps, league polls, or just your good old trash talk. Some leagues use the message boards that your league provides – I prefer to get a little more personal and keep everyone involved through email.
- For very social leagues, use a text/SMS app like WhatsApp or GroupMe to bring your league even closer together. Even if a manager doesn’t like to use email on his/her phone, they’ll have access to chat with the group 24/7.
- Make sure you have an organization system for your league details. I personally keep excel spreadsheets for all my leagues. I like to track finances, manager contact info, keepers, rule changes, traded draft picks, archives, etc. in one clean document. If you’re old school and want to use a notebook then go for it! Other options include Microsoft Word, Notepad, OneNote, etc. Whatever you use, keep everything related to your league in once place. Here are some screenshots of spreadsheets I use to track details of my leagues:
Additional benefits of using spreadsheets to store league data:
Easy to share with GoogleDocs, Dropbox, etc. Managers in your league can look at the sheet in real-time to see their keepers, penalties, and whatever else you store in this document.
Easy to replicate for new leagues and creates a “historic record”. I created General Management for fantasy baseball but could copy & paste that document to use for fantasy football. Additionally, as long as you are organized and properly name/store your files, you will always have an archive of past years. This is extremely convenient for leagues that are planning to run for 5-10 years. In my Greatest league details in article #3, I used spreadsheets from the past 8 years to tally up how much each manager has won over the years. I also save each member’s final standing each year so I could track & trend performance across the years (see table below).
Easy to do statistical analysis of your league’s data. Sure, this one is getting a little crazy. Yet as you saw above, I like to go above & beyond when writing my power rankings and weekly recaps for my leagues. If you were born & bred in the corporate world like myself, using excel is second nature. This allows me to create fancier tracking sheets than most, but the simple excel table will do for most out there!
Determine the type of commissioner you want to be and the league you want to run
It’s your responsibility as commissioner to oversee everything that goes on in your league. Once you create your league, set the rules and stick to them. This one is important and I need to stress that you should always agree with your own rules. In my first article of this series, I talk about the importance of finding the type of commish you want to be. The same thing applies here to simplify your life. Do you push through every trade immediately or do you leave it up to a league vote? Do you give a manager a player back they accidentally dropped? Once you make these decisions, I’d recommend saving them (in your excel file, perhaps) so that you always know what your precedent was that you set. You’d be surprised how easy it is to answer the same question differently to 2 different managers over the course of months or years.
Find the best draft date & time for your league with a poll
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Finding a draft slot can be a struggle for leagues, especially those with returning managers. If the initial date you set doesn’t work out for everyone, try creating a schedule poll at Doodle.com. Doodle is a very simple site that allows you to choose potential draft dates & times, and let your league vote on the windows in which they are available. All you do is send the link out to the email chain you’ve created after reading my first piece of advice!
Create generic posts on your message boards to organize league activity
This one has helped me tremendously in tracking manager’s activities of my keeper league, General Management. I have two main threads on the message board for this league:
- Traded Draft Cash – within this post, managers who not only trade players, but draft cash and/or rookie picks, will post to make sure we have a “paper trail” of the trade details. The same applies if you were trading draft picks for future years.
- Dropped Keepers – This one may be specific to my league, but we have penalties in place if you drop a keeper. Therefore, I need a way to track this instead of going back at the start of the following season and assessing penalties for the drops that occurred through the season. I leave it up to my managers to post when they drop one of their keepers and I adjust my spreadsheet accordingly throughout the season.
When in doubt, put it to a league vote!
As a commissioner, you’re going to run into sticky situations involving managers, players, waivers, you name it. I will always stress that you should have your typical rules in place for what happens in the obvious failure modes of fantasy: forgetting to start a player, accidentally dropping a player, accepting a trade after injury news comes out, and the list goes on. But you can’t always be prepared for everything that can happen. When something does happen that you either 1) don’t know how to handle, or 2) feel like you can’t make an unbiased decision, then putting it to a league vote helps solve all. Address the league (again, using that email distribution group I talked about 😊), explain the situation, and ask them to vote on what the outcome should be. For issues described above, a majority vote should work in most cases but I would even shoot for 75% approval in certain circumstances. For rule changes in current or upcoming years, I always shoot for 75% before changing something drastic about the league.
As a commissioner, you’re going to run into sticky situations involving managers, players, waivers, you name it.
Are there other things that you find difficult or time consuming as a commissioner? Let me hear about them in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @MisterMarkot. Happy to indulge any and all questions regarding fantasy football, especially if it revolves around leading your league!