How many leagues is too many leagues? The answer varies person to person. Most of the people in my home leagues average 2-4 leagues a year. On fantasy football social media, that average moves much higher. I always start each season boldly saying “I am limiting myself to five or six leagues this year.” I always end each season in the double digits. I love fantasy. I love drafting. I really love drafting. I love the fantasy community. I don’t want to turn down an invitation to a fun league.
When I tell people how many leagues I am in, I frequently get comments about it being “too time consuming” or “how do you keep track?”
I actually put in less time now running more teams than I did when I first started with only one team. So the question is, how do you manage multiple teams and still enjoy it? How do you stop yourself from being overwhelmed? Is it possible to play in multiple leagues and not go bonkers? The answer is…Absolutely.
These tips are for the casual player who wants to play in more leagues and maximize his/her fun. Some of the tips carry over to playing professionally. You need to tackle fantasy football like you tackle any project. (See what I did there … tackle?) Organization, planning and adjusting.
When playing for fun, don’t draft the same roster on multiple teams. This might be your first thought, and it isn’t a bad one. If I have 10 lineups and most of my players are the same, I don’t have to work so hard. Don’t do this. I am not saying don’t stock up on a guy you like, but if you are playing for entertainment don’t try and mirror your teams to save time. It seems like a great idea, but unless you have created a perfect roster, you have just put the odds against you.
If the injury bug hits your team you could end up with twice as much work as you frantically scramble to fill in spots in 10 leagues. If you were drafting teams early and took Arian Foster and Kelvin Benjamin this year, you are scrambling. If you did it on 10 rosters you just got uniformly crushed.
Additionally, when you are joining leagues for entertainment they tend to vary in scoring and league format. Trying to replicate the same team drafting out of different spots or translating a snake to an auction will most likely lead to missed opportunities and overpaying for players. A guy who is great in points per reception leagues won’t have the same value in standard leagues. Reaching for someone because you are drafting in a different spot could cost you a great player.
Also, by diversifying your player portfolio, you give yourself more players for which to root for. This is for fun, right?
(If you are taking a more serious approach and looking at playing professionally you are going to employ a different tactic. You will mirror rosters when you play in similar formats and you should be stocking up on certain players that you think are values or could hit. With a large quantity of lineups uniformity is your friend. In daily fantasy leagues, mirroring lineups is an absolutely brilliant way to run 100 rosters at once and sites give you the ability to replace one player on multiple rosters if need be).
Try and limit your teams to as few hosts as possible. Also, try to pick hosts that will let you monitor multiple leagues simultaneously. I love MyFantasyLeague (MFL) and most of my leagues are hosted by them. I can track all of my games simultaneously through their software, giving me the ability to grieve and ride a wave of triumphant joy simultaneously.
The Excel spread sheet. If you need to keep track of your teams and players on the go, the cheapest way is to create a spreadsheet. You should be able to drop your players right into the sheet. There are also apps for that and many hosts will let you track your players in multiple leagues. This isn’t the only thing you can use Excel for. The ability to create searchable sortable databases makes the software extremely useful. There is a spreadsheet program as part of Open Office if you can’t afford the Microsoft office suite.
You need to be looking at the NFL globally, both for draft preparation and in-season. This is true whether you have one league or 20. People will often prep for their draft and then stop following everything and everyone but their team and star player injuries. If you aren’t looking at the fantasy football universe as a whole throughout the season, you should work on that before you add more teams. Trying to keep track of only your players is actually more difficult than just staying on top of current football news. Additionally, you will make savvier waiver moves and trades if you are keeping track of the NFL as a whole. In this case, you really need to look at the forest not just the trees.
Use technology and use the experts. I started using a Smartphone because it made my job easier. The same technology you use for work use for fantasy. Most people are not going to crunch stats, watch film, attend organized team activities, etc.
Good news, someone else has done whatever it is for you. There are thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to sports. Everything from breakdowns of practice squad running backs, high school players who may one day reach the NFL, to complex kicker algorithms are available to you at the click of a button. Find the sites you like and trust that cover your types of leagues and use these resources.
- Email – I have a work email on my phone and one email account dedicated to football. I sign up for newsletters and news feeds. Breaking news is emailed to me. Most sites offer a newsletter. Sign up for them.
- Twitter – Twitter is fantastic, especially in-season. A player catches a cold and it will show up 1,000 times in an hour. Although some jokes are made as to the redundancy of information, when you are trying to get information quickly on game day your Twitter feed will be a game changer. Also, you can ask fantasy questions to experts or the Twitterverse as a whole and get answers. Twitter is a great place for feedback on your moves and teams.
Don’t just follow the major network sports writers and fantasy writers, find some beat writers you like and follow them as well. They are at the ones at organized team activities and they are talking to the teams. Whether they are local or national, a sportswriter’s entire job is to get you the information as fast as possible. One of the first places they post is Twitter.
My Twitter feed is primarily dedicated to fantasy football with very few exceptions. If you use Twitter for work and/or follow many non-football/sports people, create a secondary account dedicated to football.
- Podcasts – I only have so much time to dedicate to fantasy and the easiest way for me to keep track of the NFL is to let someone else do the work for me and then condense it for me while I make dinner, do chores, in the car, etc. Gary Davenport and Wally Spurlin host “The Feeding Frenzy” every Wednesday night (shameless promotion). I just subscribe to the podcast and I have instant access to information.
- Fantasy sites – The fact is you can get rankings, news, team trackers, draft tools, in-season tools and a wealth of articles from these sites. FantasySharks.com offers a significant amount of draft tools to help you stay on top of the latest news and win your league (above and beyond shameless promotion)!
Make sure to find the writers you like for each part of fantasy football. Different people excel in different areas. Make sure to use that to your advantage. Expert A may be better at ranking running backs, expert B may be great at Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues. I finished an IDP startup recently and had the rankings from Davenport and Spurlin open the whole time.
Make sure to follow fantasy medical experts. As someone who perpetually breaks her teams I have learned that following medical updates is as important as following camp updates.
There is a ton of football knowledge out there, other people did the work for you, use it to your advantage.