Can you enjoy being a Fantasy Football Commisioner?
Yes, it is possible, but if you don't know what you are doing it can be a miserable experience for you. I've seen it first hand where the commissioner abandons the league midseason over unnecessary drama. Here is advice on how to keep your stress levels low and enjoy being the commissioner of your league.
You need to be on top of communicating with your league. Keep track of who you’ve invited, who is yet to reply, and have standbys. You don’t want to have 18 people confirm at the last minute, you don’t want only 6, and you don’t want an odd number. Also, communicate to them the buy-in if there's one (which always keeps things interesting) and any abnormal rules, especially if they’ve changed since last season. Beware that every rule change comes with its own dose of skepticism from the owners who were perfectly happy with the old rule(s).
2. Majority Rules
In fantasy football, you need to have a strong heart and a strong stomach. Without either you will likely be trampled upon by the other owners. Worst of all is a power-hungry commissioner looking to control every transaction. So as the commissioner, you shouldn’t give yourself too much power. Let the league vote on any scoring or roster changes. I like to let the league vote on trades too, rather than trusting in the commissioner's opinion on the trade. And don’t edit another owners roster, even if someone is starting inactive players. Let owners fall victim to their own inertia rather than helping them stay afloat.
3. Collect the league dues before the draft.
Otherwise, you become debt collector harassing people who you rarely see and may have to travel to the end of the earth to track them down. In my experiences, you will have to cover whatever dues you fail to collect. This alone can tarnish your relationship with that owner who ducked out on you. But it's okay because "The North Remembers" for all you Game of Thrones fans out there. Anyways, back to business. So, collect the league dues early so you can enjoy the fantasy season without worrying about shaking people down.
4. The Fantasy Draft
Again, you must communicate with your league mates about when and where you’ll draft because you shouldn't schedule a time when someone is unavailable. Auto-drafting kills reduces the chance that the owner will stay involved in the league throughout the season. Online drafts are convenient, but live drafts at someone’s place (rather than a loud and crowded sports bar) are most fun. There are many cool ways to pick draft order: some draw numbers from a hat, play a preliminary poker tournament where the winner picks his draft spot, and others use the reverse order of last years standings. Also, enforce a time limit to keep the draft down to a reasonable time frame. I like to go as fast as 90 seconds per pick.
5. Scoring and Roster Settings
Don’t make a radical change such as having PPR points awarded differently to each position without notifying your league, and voting on it. Leagues with between 12 and 16 owners are in the Goldilocks area where the level of the competition is high and if one owner gives up mid-season it doesn't skew the standings in any one's favor. When playing with 8 owners, it doesn’t matter if you find the diamonds in the rough because every roster is jam packed with elite talent. So if your league is 10 owners or less, I recommend adding roster spots – make it a 2 QB league or add a super flex (QB/W/R/T). Anyone who objects to any of the above is welcome to go join a rotisserie league with 11 other inactive owners.
6. Playoff Spots
The number of playoff spots in your fantasy league is a big freakin deal. It can single handedly determine whether it's worth it to play in the league. For example, if your league has 10 owners and 8 playoff spots then you might as well skip the 12 weeks of intermural football and just show up for the last few weeks in pursuit of a flashy fantasy trophy. On the other hand, having only 4 playoff sports in a league of 12 or more is equally frustrating. Find your healthy middle, as each fantasy owner will have their own misguided opinion on the matter. Also, give the top 2 owners in the standings a 1st-week playoff bye. This way they don't get upset by a 6th seed in the first week. It's funny when this happens, but it's beyond tragic to those who went the distance throughout the regular fantasy season.