Fantasy Football: A Commissioner's Checklist, Part II

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Fantasy Football:  A Commissioner's Checklist, Part II
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Now, I have dabbled with almost every free website that offers the ability to create your own leagues.

I personally run most of my leagues through Yahoo!, though I do have leagues with major carriers CBS Sports, ESPN, FOX, and NFL.com, plus smaller carriers FleaFlicker, HomeGrown, and KFFL.

So, for purposes of explanation, I will use Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues as the model for my explanations. Most of the other websites are very similar in their setups, it’s just their aesthetics that make them each unique.



Teams

For most leagues in Yahoo! the default setup begins with 12 teams in one division. (Personally, I like 12 teams in two divisions.) I have seen a lot of 10 team leagues, and I guess that if you are forming your league close to the beginning of the football season, it might be easier to fill.

I have also seen 16 and 20 team leagues, but those leagues are so thin on talent for each team that it is NOT as competitive as it could be. We’ll go with the default 12 teams.

 

Scoring Type

For most leagues in Yahoo! the default setup is for Head-To-Head Leagues. The other options are Point Based Leagues and Keeper Leagues. Personally, I found Points Based leagues a lot less fun than Head-To-Head leagues.

I never joined a Keepers League because no one wants to stick around in one league from year to year except the core three or four managers in the league that have the best players already on their roster. We’ll use Head-To-Head.

 

Playoffs

Everybody joins fantasy football leagues to go to the playoffs for the chance to win it all. That being said, I think that the playoffs are the culmination of a long season, and sometimes the best part of the season.

For most leagues in Yahoo! the default setup is Week 15 and 16 with four teams for the playoffs. Now for me, that leaves a lot of teams out of the playoffs with the competition being too short-lived.

There are other configurations to choose from, but I prefer Week 15, 16 and 17 with eight teams for the playoffs.

This configuration does several things: It gets eight of the 12 teams from the league into the playoffs; every team in the playoff plays each week (no byes); teams that lose get put into a loser’s bracket so that first loss won’t end their season; and it puts the championship game and the third place game on the last week of the season, which makes for some pretty creative player choices.

 

Other Settings

You can choose different options for playoff seeding, the default is acceptable. There are options for the number of Player Acquisitions during the Year and during the Week—I like to say No Maximum to each because I hate being limited, especially early on when injuries can and do occur and you have to make moves.

For Trades, there is also an option for Max Trades Per Season—again, I like to say No Maximum. I set the Trade End Date to the last day available, the Trade Review to League Votes, and I set the Trade Rejection Time to two days (this seems long enough to figure if a trade is good or bad, and it allows the traders time to set their lineups).

For Waiver Time I prefer one day, and I set Weekly Waivers to No. For Post Draft Players, I set this to Free Agents so that every player is available right after the draft, no waiting to see what you can get to fix what you need.

 

Roster Positions

1-QB, 3-WR, 2-RB, 1-TE, 1-K, 1-DST and 6 Bench is the default configuration.

I started out this way and it worked for several years. But, for the past few years, I tweaked the lineup to garner some more scoring and make the player decisions a little more interesting.

On offense, I added 1-W/T (wide receiver or tight end) and 1-W/R (wide receiver or running back) spot.

For defense, I removed the DST (defensive team) and replaced it with actual defensive players. It is a big change, but I did it so that I could learn more facets of the game.

I use 2-DB, 2-DL, and 2-D positions. I also added 2-IR spots and 3 Bench spots, for a grand total of 25 players per team.

 

Categories

If you use the Yahoo! default configurations, then you are almost done setting up your league. These are:

Passing Yards (25 yards per point)
Passing Touchdown (4 points)
Interceptions (-1 point)
Rushing Yards (10 yards per point)
Rushing Touchdown (6 points)
Receiving Yards (10 yards per point)
Receiving Touchdown (6 points)
Return Touchdowns (6 points)
2-Point Conversions (2 points)
Field Goal 0 to 49 yards (3 points)
Field Goal 50+ yards (5 points)
Point After Made (1 point)
Tackle Solo (0.5 points)
Sack (3 points)
Interception (2 points)
Fumble Force (2 points)
Fumble Recovery (2 points)
Safety (2 points)
Pass Defended (1 point)
Block Kick (2 points)

Of course, that’s not interesting enough for me so I changed a few things and the results look like this:

Passing Yards (20 yards per point)
Interceptions (-1 point)
Completion (0.35)
Incompletion (-0.25)
Passing Touchdown (6 points)
Rushing Yards (10 yards per point)
Rushing Attempt (0.35)
Rushing Touchdown (6 points)
Receiving Yards (10 yards per point)
Receiving Attempt (1.45)
Receiving Touchdown (6 points)
Return Touchdowns (6 points)
Return Yards (12 yards per point)
2-Point Conversions (2 points)
Fumbles (-1)
Field Goal 0 to 19 yards (3 points)
Field Goal 20 to 29 yards (3.5 points)
Field Goal 30 to 39 yards (4 points)
Field Goal 40 to 49 yards (4.5 points)
Field Goal 50+ yards (5 points)
Point After Made (1 point)
Tackle Solo (2 points)
Tackle Assist (1.25 points)
Sack (2.25 points)
Interception (2.75 points)
Fumble Force (1.75 points)
Fumble Recovery (2.25 points)
Defensive Touchdown (6 points)
Safety (3 points)
Pass Defended (1 point)
Block Kick (2.25 points)

Why these values? Each year I have reviewed how each position scores. I find the average or median score for each position and I compare the results.

My philosophy is that each position should have nearly the same value, and so I tweak the scoring categories so that an average RB will score nearly the same as an average WR and nearly the same as an average DB.

The one problem is Kickers, because in order for them to score the average of an RB or WR they would need to get five or more points per kick, and that just doesn’t look right.

Also, the TE position will never measure up using WR stats—they just don’t get the ball as often and don’t go near as far down the field. But, across the board, this configuration has worked for the past three years.

Each position is nearly equal to all the other positions, and it has made the draft a lot more wide open. Of course, the scores are a little unrealistic—but who cares, it’s fantasy football!

There are two more categories left: Fractional Points and Negative Points, to which I select Yes for both. Fractional Points pretty much eliminates the possibility of ties, and Negative Points are needed for the calculations such as Interceptions and Fumbles.

Click OK and you are all set up with your league. Now sit back, chew your nails, and wait to see if everybody joins before the first kickoff. Good luck!

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