Fantasy Football Definition of "Commissioners"

The fantasy football league commissioner can be either omnipresent or a simple figurehead, depending on your fantasy football league and your league rules. Some commissioners simply take care of the fantasy football league website, uploading rosters at the start of the season and collecting entry fees. Other league commissioners propose new league rules, approve all trades, process waiver wire transaction, add/drop players from rosters and post announcements several times a week to the league. Depending on the owners in your league and the maturity level of those league owners, either type of commissioner will work.

Commissioner Holding the Money

The most basic role a commissioner plays is league treasurer. He makes sure everyone pays up at the fantasy football draft and then holds onto the money throughout the year. Everyone in the league needs to trust that the commissioner won't spend the money during the season. I was in one league where the commissioner spent the money and had to pay it out to the champion in installments throughout the offseason. He wasn't the commissioner again.

Commissioner Veto Power

The most important role a commissioner plays is policing trades. Some commissioners run from this responsibility, preferring to have a league poll determine whether a trade is fair or not. Other commissioners want to be the commish specifically to police trades, because buddy trades, one-sided deals and collusion drives him crazy. Some league allow any trade to automatically happen, assuming the league owners are mature and responsible enough to police themselves - and the other owners will roast them if they do something too corrupt or stupid.

In leagues where the commissioner has veto power over trades, the league needs to know he has the best interests of the league in mind. If the fantasy football commissioner is seen to be vetoing trades in order to help his team's chances or his friend's chances, he won't have the backing of the league very long. Similarly, a commissioner who is fair, but surrounded by a league full of owners who squabble about trades and try to undermine his authority, won't be commissioner for long, either. So match your commissioner with your league's needs and personalities and your league will run smoother. If rules don't fit your league, change them in the offseason and don't ask your commissioner to enforce unpopular rules.

Commissioner and Timely Transactions

Don't lobby to be your league's commissioner if you don't have the time and schedule to allow it. If you have certain times every week where free agency is processed, make certain you process free agents on time. If you can't do it one week, make arrangements or inform the league there will be a delay.

I've played with league commissioners who like to state they are the league commissioner, but who take days to transact free agency. I had one commissioner who leave free agency blind bids sitting out there for days, who would add his free agent moves to his roster, but not get around to adding other owners' free agent players, and then would get angry when someone called him on it. We used blind bids and this same commissioner refused to keep up with free agent points, or at least post everyone's free agent points. At the same time, he was a strict enforcer of the free agent point rules, so anyone who made a mistake was not allowed to pick up free agents. That is a bad commissioner, who has no business being commissioner again.

So to reiterate, if you decide to be commissioner, perform your responsibilities. There aren't many of them, it doesn't take much time and everyone will have a much better time if you do. If you don't like having a weekly commissioner schedule, then be commissioner in a league with first-come, first-serve free agency.

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