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When you’re a fantasy football commissioner, there’s a lot on your plate. You have responsibilities from planning the draft to ensuring that owners know the scoring system.

The following is a guide to the most important things to know about being a fantasy football commissioner.

What is a Commissioner In Fantasy Football?

As a league commissioner, you have two primary, overarching goals. You want a league that’s competitive but also fun for everyone involved. You have to balance competing egos and personalities, keep things competitive without them being cut-throat, and make sure everyone’s following the rules, no matter how much they might try not to.

It’s pretty common for leagues that are well-run to go on for a decade or more with most of the same owners, so long-term friendships are also born out of good leagues.

If you’re new to fantasy football, the idea is that participants are running their own team based on the NFL’s actually professional players. Participants draft teams from across the NFL, and then depending on their players’ performance in NFL games each week, they accrue points. The managers create lineups, propose, accept and reject trades, sign free agents, and compete against other league teams.

When you have a group of interested friends, you can get together to create a league or find one to play with that already exists.

If you have a group of friends who want to play fantasy, then as commissioner, you can set it up and customize it how your league prefers.

When setting up a league, some of the considerations include your schedule and scoring system, how your draft is going to go, and the transaction rules.

You can also create a league chat room or message board, depending on the tools you use.

Specific Things a Commissioner Does

There are a lot of responsibilities that fall onto the shoulders of a commissioner, including:

  • You create a great draft day. The fantasy football draft day is everyone’s favorite, and you want to make sure it lives up to expectations. If you have a standard league with ten teams, you’ll want to make sure you get the appropriate draft board. You may also need a larger one.
  • Commissioners take on the role of keeping everyone enthusiastic throughout the season, even when a team isn’t performing well. Keep all the managers talking and active, and ensure every team starts a roster that’s eligible, with no one on Bye.
  • Maintain a sense of integrity for the league, with fair trades and no collusion.
  • Make sure payment and awards are received on time.
  • Update your league settings each year.

Tips for An Excellent League

Since the responsibility of running a great league is on you as commissioner, there are some best practices you might keep in mind.

Don’t Draft Too Early

Real football leaves open a high potential for injury. Even in preseason games, the elite players who could be relevant to a fantasy draft can get injured, completely changing the landscape of the season.

If you have a league that drafts early in the preseason, then everyone’s going to feel extra stressed worrying about injuries.

Try to hold your draft as late into the preseason as you can to avoid this.

Don’t Try to Drastically Change Things

When you become a commissioner, you might want to switch things up compared to the conventional way of doing things, but this isn’t always a good idea. The process that’s used in fantasy is one that’s been perfected over time thanks to trial and error.

You need at least ten teams for a league. Eight can work, but then you might have a waiver wire that has too much depth. Twelve can be ideal.

Don’t do a keeper league unless everyone you’re playing with is experienced—redraft leagues keep things more fun for the less experienced.

As you’re starting as commissioner, the best scoring method is probably head-to-head.

Setting up scoring settings means you decide the types of actions that will lead to the accumulation of points for players. When you decide what will qualify as a scoring play, then you allocate a particular number of points for each play. There are recommendations you can find on this. Harder actions are worth more points, and simpler ones are worth fewer points in most setups.

Your roster settings include how many players can be on a team and how many starting spots there are. You can also choose how many of each position can be on a starting lineup.

Entry Fees and Payouts

Entry fees should be something everyone is okay with, and you don’t have to have one at all if you choose not to. If you aren’t sure, talk to the other owners. If someone is unwilling to pay the entry fees you set, you might still let them play, but they don’t get any award if they win.

Payouts are something else that can vary widely.

Along with setting up payouts, you want to ensure you collect your fees early on. Otherwise, at the end of the season, to pay winners, you may have to track down owners and get the fees.

When you’re the commissioner, you don’t want any delay on payouts. Your winners are going to want their money quickly.

You might also add a little extra fun into the league with additional prizes.

Be An Effective Communicator

Finally, for things to go well for everyone involved, be a good communicator.

In fact, one of the most important skills you can have as a commissioner is communication. You need to stay on top of what’s happening in your league and keep everyone in the loop.

This includes things like when fees are due, reminders of important dates, and more.

If you don’t communicate, your league mates are going to have no idea what’s going on.

You might set up a Slack page or social media group page to promote conversation and communication between members of the league.