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Commissioner Duties: Making a Difficult Task Easier and Having a Little Fun with It

There are tasks we must do each day, terrible tasks. If you have been playing fantasy football for a while now you are already a commissioner somewhere or you will inevitably be one. Every year I end up being the commissioner in multiple leagues, and although it is enjoyable it can also be a thankless and stressful job.

At some point as a commissioner you will have to play the heavy. You will also have to resolve conflicts within the league and smooth over ruffled feathers. You will need to prod inactive owners and provide verbal Valium to the more aggressive ones. You will have to deal with collecting the dues, deal with the software and technical difficulties, and address unforeseen issues.

During my many years of being a commissioner or co-commissioner, I have made more than my share of mistakes and learned quite a few lessons. Here are some ideas to make it easier for you:

Format, Scoring, and Bylaws

1) Pick your format before your start: You need to decide if it’s going to be dynasty, keeper, Individual Defensive Player (IDP), redraft, etc … How many teams will be in the league? Once you do this you can then recruit. The last thing you want to do is get stuck managing a league that isn’t a format that you like.

2) Roster lineup: Determine what you want your roster to look like. Will there be flexibility in starters or a rigid lineup? How deep will your league be? Will it be a superflex? If you are not on a site that has a mandatory set-up you will need to create your roster and bench. Check out different styles before you commit.

3) Write up bylaws: If you haven’t written bylaws before, go to the Shark Forums Community Leagues section and search for leagues that are looking for players. You can find a variety of different types of leagues and check out their bylaws. Certain powers should be left to league vote and certain powers need to be retained by the commissioner. The complexity of your league should be reflected in the bylaws. A redraft league’s bylaws should be very straightforward. A dynasty league with a salary cap, contracts and a super pot should be roughly the length of War and Peace.

4) Scoring: One of the worst mistakes I have made as a commissioner was the scoring in the first dynasty league I created. It is far too low and now the league is stuck with it unless we overhaul everything. Look at different league scoring setups in other leagues and find one you like. Test it on the players to see what tiers develop. Most sites will give you the option of multiple formats and some will even let you import scoring from another league.

5) Divisions and games played: A while back, we completely scrapped divisions in my leagues because it always seemed like there was a strong division and a weak division no matter how random you made it. We also switched to doubleheaders which seems to even out lucky wins compared to team strength. If you are that person who always ends up playing against the team with the weekly high score, that rule’s for you.

6) Create the league, get everything above done, and then invite your league mates in and allow input: This prevents you from having your vision of the league radically changed. It will also help prevent in-fighting on rules. It is much easier to say “no I am not changing that” than it is to try and field 11 people’s ideas on how to set up a league. You are going to be the commissioner. Make it a league you want to be in charge of. I have a league with a bunch of lawyers in it. Several wanted to aid in drafting its bylaws. I declined and we are all much saner for it.

About Lisa London

I suffer from an undying obsession with fantasy football. Former Lee Evans owner, I am not proud. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, I would get to the second one but I have lineups to set. Follow me on Twitter @leedoglaw