Part Four – And just when you think you’ve got it all right…
“Life is trying things to see if they work.” – Ray Bradbury
I’ve been participating in fantasy sports leagues since 1997. Here’s a quick rundown of the experience I’ve racked up in those 15 years:
- I’ve played in fantasy leagues for each of the following sports: baseball (mixed leagues, AL-only leagues, and NL-only leagues), football, basketball, hockey, golf, soccer, NASCAR, and professional wrestling.
- I’ve played in leagues with both snake drafts and auction drafts.
- I’ve played in leagues with head-to-head, rotisserie, and points scoring formats (as well as some other non-traditional methods of determining a winner).
- If I had to guess the amount of fantasy seasons I’ve participated in, it would be well over two hundred, and I’ve been a commissioner of about one-fifth of those.
- I’ve seen exactly four episodes of “The League”.
You know what that qualifies me for? Ab-so-freakin’-loot-ley nothing.
What’s the optimal number of teams for a fantasy football league that starts two quarterbacks? I don’t have a clue! Is it better to use a cumulative scoring system or a per-game average scoring system in a head-to-head fantasy basketball league? Beats the heck out of me. How do I get the team in last place to start setting his lineup again so the rest of my league doesn’t get easy wins against them? Actually, that one I have an answer for – go to Fantasy 6th Man and sign up for their Replacement Owner Service, now only $49 (limited time offer only) for an entire season worth of coverage!
My point is that I don’t have all the right answers. I’m not going to be able to tell you what’s best for your league or how to handle every problem you run into. I can’t even get through a full season of “The League” in order to form an opinion on it.
And here’s the real kicker – you’re not going to know any of that stuff either. Actually, that’s not true. Some of you have probably seen enough of “The League” to know if it’s worth watching or not. In fact, can someone please Tweet me (@fantasy6thman) and let me know your thoughts on the show? I have it sitting in my Netflix queue right now behind “The Shield” and the second season of “Californication”, but I can easily move it up if it’s sweet television.
Ok, back to the commissioner stuff. The good news is you’re not going to have to know everything because, well quite frankly, there are no right answers when it comes to fantasy sports. A lot of the time, you’re going to resort to throwing stuff against the wall and seeing if it sticks. Sometimes it will, sometimes it’ll fail miserably. But in that process, you’re going to find what works for your league.
When my brother and I first started our long-running fantasy football league, we wanted to establish rules for keepers. We spent a lot of time thinking about it and came up with something that, at the time, seemed to be an innovative balance of strategy, fairness, and coolness.
And wouldn’t you know it, it flat out sucked. It was way too complicated (not only for the league to understand but for us as commissioners to keep track of), and it gave those owners that made really good picks later on in the draft a disgustingly greater advantage over anyone else. Needless to say, we didn’t reinvent the wheel on that one.
In the end, we were able to reach a compromise with the rest of our league to change the rules. Are they better than the ones we had in place? Eh. I mean, they’re definitely easier to understand but they’re not perfect. Fact of the matter is they’ll never be perfect, and we may tinker with them again some time in the future. However, I can safely say that no one has left our league over our keeper rules, and if they ever did we probably didn’t want them there in the first place.
My advice: be open to change.
That doesn’t mean you should let one or two members dictate the way your fantasy league is run, but at the same time, make sure you take the pulse every now and then to see if there’s something you can be doing better. In every league I run, I always make it a point to make a post on the message board at the end of the season asking for feedback. If there are any issues that I feel need addressing, I bring them up. If not, I open the forum up to the rest of the league to voice any issues they may want to discuss. In either case, I always ask all members to vote on any potential changes before they’re implemented the following year. That way, not only does everyone feel like they’ve had a say in the matter, but it also doesn’t alter the rules in play for the current season.
Now, what have we learned so far about being a fantasy commissioner?
- It’s the job that nobody wants to do.
- It’s a more thankless job than being an IRS agent.
- You’re not going to get paid as much as an IRS agent.
- Everybody you consider a friend, a confidant, or a relative is going to severely dislike you at multiple points of your tenure.
- No matter what you do, say, or attempt, it’s never going to be right.
Let’s see, did I miss anything? Hmm…oh yeah, as far as the actual competition of the league goes, you’ve got better odds of beating the house at Vegas than walking away a champion.
So…why am I doing this again?
Next on Part Five – The Payoff
Jason J. Consoli is the Director of Business Development for Fantasy 6th Man, an online service that provides low-cost solutions to fantasy leagues needing in-season replacement owners. Check out www.fantasy6thman.com for more details regarding their services and follow them on Twitter at @fantasy6thman for promotions and discounts on products.