How to Be a Good Fantasy Football Commissioner

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IMay 14, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01: The Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders pose before Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

At Bruno Boys we spend most of time discussing a lot of different aspects of fantasy football, but one thing we haven't touched upon is how to act as the commissioner, better known as a "commish," of your own fantasy football league.

There are many perks to being the commish of your own league including selecting who gets a team and who doesn't, the point-scoring system as well as other rules such as waiver priority, trading, etc.

But a lot of people who act as a commish for the first time don't know how to act or handle different situations. Here is a list of things to do, and not do, when acting as commish of your own fantasy football league.


Creating the league

The first thing you need to do, and this should be done well in advance of the start of the season, is to create the league.

There are plenty of Web sites around the internet that will let you create a league for free such as ESPN, Yahoo!, FOX Sports and CBS Sportsline, so do you not worry about paying for it unless interested team owners have expressed the desire to do so.

After signing up and deciding to create a league you will be asked to set up the rules and guidelines with which the league will run this season.

Some of things you'll be asked to do include determining the scoring, the positions each team will start, how many players each team can get, the rules regarding free agents and players on waivers, the draft and draft time, as well as many other things.

If this sounds like too much for you don't fret; most leagues have default setups that are the exact same rule set and starting positions as the public leagues.


Finding team owners

Fantasy football is like watching football in real life in that it's fun to do so alone, but is much more enjoyable with friends. Most average-sized leagues have 10 or 12 teams so you'll need to find nine, or 11, other owners to take part in this league.

This can be more of a tedious process than you think which is why it's important to create the league early. You can create the league months before the season starts to get a jump on finding owners, and this will prevent you from scrambling around at the last minute trying to fill the league.

If you can't fill all the teams and have asked all your friends, you can also try asking co-workers or telling the people that are already in the league to ask their friends to join.

It is not difficult to find a full league of owners as long as you create the league early and not two or three weeks before the regular season starts.


Determining Rules and Scoring

If you're still new to fantasy football or being a commish then going with the default rules and scoring is absolutely fine. However if you want to tinker with either to add some flavor to your league, then you're more than welcome.

Popular changes to scoring include adding a second quarterback position or flex spot, making the league points per reception (PPR) or giving quarterbacks six points for a touchdown pass instead of four. In regards to rules, the one you'll want to pay the most attention to is the regarding free agents and players on waivers.

When a player is dropped he is sent to waivers so that every team can see he is available and put in a waiver request, and also to prevent the owner from picking him up minutes after dropping him, but the question is for how long?

Typically is it one or two days but some leagues make it so all players dropped following a Sunday/Monday of games remain on waivers until Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.

It is your personal choice, obviously, which direction you go with there but be sure that all the owners review the rules and scoring before the draft takes place.


Trades and Vetoes

Some leagues automatically make it so a pending trade between two teams is under review from the rest of the league where the owners uninvolved can accept or veto that trade.

Other leagues make it so you can see the pending trade but not vote on it and a third type make it so the trade goes through immediately when both teams agree to the deal.

When playing with friends, acquaintances or coworkers it is advised to make a one or two-day pending period where the other owners can veto the trade if they feel like it.

This will prevent one owner who is struggling from helping out a friend who is near the top.

For example, trading LaDainian Tomlinson for Devery Henderson is not a fair trade and thus there would likely be something going on behind the scenes of the trade. A pending period and option to veto would help prevent stuff like this.



If you choose to alter the setup of the playoffs from the default then make sure the championship game is not player in the last week of the regular season as a lot of teams in real life rest valuable starters that week.

You want the championship week to be the two most-deserving teams going at each other with their best lineups. In fact, a good way to avoid this is to make championship week the third-to-last week of the regular season.

There is also the question of whether the championship round should be one or two weeks. That decision is up to you and both ways have their pros and cons. The one-week setup is more like real life and is the same way the entire regular season has been played.

The two-week setup allows the owners two weeks of play and more time to score the maximum amount of points, thus incorporating more strategy when setting lineups and evaluating match ups.


Handling Disputes

As the commish, the final say on every decision comes down to you. Don't be afraid to rule with an iron fist because in the end the owners will want everything to be fair. Typically you will not have to deal with many disputes during the season.

Most of that will happen before the season as owners will want different times for the draft, want different types of scoring and different rules.

For the draft, be as a flexible as you can and pick the time when the most people can be there. Sunday afternoons are a good time for this.

For scoring, leave it open to discussion but any changes made to the original rules must be set before the draft begins and must be accepted by more than half the owners in the league.


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