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How To Manage a Fantasy Football League

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Tips for Managing a Fantasy Football League

Managing a fantasy football league is harder than it looks. Fantasy football league commissioners need to:

  1. Make sure league transactions are handled promptly
  2. Administer league rules fairly

A fantasy football league manager is a competitor in his fantasy football league, so many league members will perceive your decisions are affected by your role as a league owner. In other words, other members of your league will view you more like Bud Selig than Roger Goodell. With that in mind, here’s a guide on how to manage a fantasy football league.

Handle Transactions Promptly

Stick with a weekly schedule. If free agency transactions begin at 7pm one night of the week, handle these transactions at 7pm that night of the week every single week. If this is a problem, find another time to handle waiver wire transactions. When you are punctual as a fantasy football league manager, your league comes to see you as dependable. If you don’t match up to expectations on seemingly unimportant transactions, your players will view you as undependable when it comes time for the big decisions. Promptness maintains your reputation.

If you can’t handle free agency transactions promptly, set up a waiver wire rule that doesn’t require your attention. Instead of blind bid free agency that you must process and record every week, choose the first-come, first-served free agency or a waiver wire priority list. Whichever you choose, be conscientious enough to make the league run smoothly. If you don’t, you’ll look like a bad fantasy football league manager.

Managing Fantasy Football League Trades

The most taxing part of a fantasy football league commissioner’s job is reviewing trades. Every trade in a fantasy football league affects every team – not just the two teams involved in the trade. Allowing unfair or unbalanced trades hurts the chances of every other team in the league. In money leagues, team owners will get especially angry if you aren’t protecting the league from bad trades.

If you veto or reject a trade and owners think it’s because you don’t want a rival to improve his team, league members will think you’re cheating. All of your decisions will be colored by suspected self-interest. No matter how fairly you apply the rules and invoke the spirit of the rules to protect the league, someone involved in a trade will eventually question your judgment and/or character.

Manage Your Reputation as League Commissioner

It’s important to appear fair. Being fair while appearing to make decisions in your own self-interest, will lose your league. Get rid of unreasonable league members in the offseason, and do what’s right during the season. Don’t let troublemakers destroy your reputation.

Keep Your Nose Clean

Most importantly don’t get involved in iffy trades. If you make a one-sided trade and use your commissioner powers to approve it, you have no moral authority to reject other teams’ unfair trades. If you let your unfair trades pass and veto similar trades by your rivals, you’re cheating.

Managing League Finances

An even bigger crime is mismanaging the league’s money. At most fantasy drafts, the league commissioner will collect league entry fees. This becomes the prize money given out at the end of the year. When you get this money, put it in a safe place. Don’t even consider spending it. It’s not your money; it’s the league’s money.

I was in a league where the commissioner had to pay the league champion’s winnings in installments, because he had  gambled the money away during the season. He was never our league manager again.

Manage a Fantasy Football League

Besides trades, free agent transactions and the prize money, the league manager really doesn’t do much. He might get rules discussions started at the draft or the end of the season. He might alert league members of announcements or start lineups when an owner calls him at the last moment and can’t get the computer set up himself. Tthe league manager buys the online league management website and sets up the post-draft rosters on the site.

The league manager in a fantasy football league helps make the league fun for the other players. The league manager is the host of a party, but he’s also one of the party-goers.

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