Unit One: Getting Started
Chapter One – Starting up a Posse
So, you’ve decided that you want to start a fantasy football league. Great. Now what?
Well, obviously if you want a guaranteed championship for yourself, you could have a league of just one person (that would be you). While this would result in a guaranteed win, it’s not very challenging, or very fun.
I recommend a league size of 8-12 teams. If you have any less than 8 teams, you will have a set of teams that are composed of very good players, and some of the challenges that come with roster management are not part of the game – effectively dealing with a scarcity of resources. If you have any more than 12 teams, roster management gets to be too much of a hassle. Managing a fantasy football team is really like managing a business. Both are about managing scarce resources. In business – the main scarce resources are capital, people, customers, etc. In fantasy football, it’s players – whoever gets the most value out the their resources wins, in business or in fantasy football.
Keep in mind that there are 32 teams in the NFL, which means that there are 32 starting QBs (quarterback), 32 starting RBs (running back) (in fantasy terms, less actually because of Running Back By Committee- more on that later), 64-96 starting WRs (wide receivers) and about 32 starting TEs (tight ends) on any given week. And while most of these guys are people who will produce week in and week out – you’re dealing with a relatively small number of true fantasy producers. Given average roster sizes, 8-12 teams is really a good number.
So, how do you recruit for a league? There are a few tried and true methods for getting a well-represented league.
Friends: This is the most obvious and really the best way to get a league going. Usually a group of friends decides through a mixture of Groupthink and mass osmosis to start a league all at once. However, sometimes a person will take the initiative all by himself to recruit for a league (that would be you, in this case).
The selling points are pretty easy. Fantasy football is fun, a challenge, and another way to make some honest cash off of your friends. Oh yeah, plus it’s another way to taunt your friends.
The biggest benefit to starting a league with friends is that the league is more likely to last for numerous seasons. A pitfall of any league is the potential lack of interest by owners. Believe it or not, some owners simply give up, which can wreck a league. Having owners who are competitive and will fight to the last week is very important for a successful league. Recruiting friends is a more sure way of keeping all owners interested through thick and thin.
Work: This is another source of fantasy football owners. There are a couple of challenges with recruiting for work leagues however. Depending on your office atmosphere, the politics of your office could creep into the league; that can be ugly. Also, there’s a chance that if you exclude someone (who you may assume to not even be interested in football), they may take it as a slight.
Playing with a boss in your league can be a challenge too. I know of a couple friends who were in a work baseball league. The commissioner of the league also happened to be the superior of almost everyone in the league. People made lopsided trades with him quite often. One of my friends firmly believe that this was because the league owners were either bullied by him subtly into trading, or they were trying to garner favor with him by making stupid trades. Be careful here, if you have a Little Napoleon in your league, you may be creating more trouble than it’s worth (we are talking about potentially affecting your livelihood).
School: (see Friends above)
Internet: If you’re reading this you have computer access. The Net is a great place to recruit also. There are a lot of places to recruit owners, any place with a message board will do. You will also find fantasy websites to do your research at. Their message boards are excellent places to find knowledgeable, competitive owners.
Most fantasy scoring sites also have ‘Public Leagues’, these are places where you sign up for a team and are put together randomly with others to form a league.
If you are in a league or two and want just one more (this hobby can be addicting), the Net is a great, quick tool for finding a league.
Drafting in person is a lot of fun, so I recommend friends, work and school, especially if you will only be in one league this year. Draft Day is a lot of fun with friends. As long as you are in a league with competitive people who won’t give up (I can not stress this enough) you will find your fantasy league an enjoyable, challenging experience.
Stay tuned, we will next explore roster sizes and scoring rules.