Uncategorized

Anatomy of a League

All dynasty owners are looking for the same thing- a great league to be a part of. But, what makes a dynasty or keeper league successful? How can an owner find (or even create) a league that will be fun, active and competitive? In this ongoing series, I will take a look at some successful dynasty and keeper leagues from the perspective of the commissioners who run the leagues and the owners who participate in them.

Two years ago, Twitter was growing by leaps and bounds and the man known as @FantasyJedi took advantage and used the new social media tool to create a unique league called the Fantasy Premier League. In that short time, the FPL has established itself as one of the most popular and well-known leagues in our hobby. I contacted @FantasyJedi and some of the owners in the league to gain some insight on what makes the FPL so successful.

League name: Fantasy Premier League
Commissioner: @FantasyJedi

The Fantasy Premier League is a 24 team IDP keeper league (divided into two 12 team conferences).

DLF: How many years has your league been in existence?

@FantasyJedi: 2012 is our third season.

DLF: What made you want to create your dynasty league?

@FantasyJedi: I wanted a league that had a solid backbone of rules, yet had the flexibility to evolve with the fantasy football industry. I also wanted a league in which I could control the parity, manipulating rules so that in spite of its dynasty element, there will always be a chance at glory for even the ‘lowliest’ of teams.

DLF: How did you go about finding owners for your league?

@FantasyJedi: Twitter is a phenomenon, the ease of communication is second to none. I wanted our users to have the ability to contact me at any time and have a place to communicate with one another all in the same place. I recruited exclusively on Twitter.

DLF: How many teams do you feel is ideal for a dynasty league?

@FantasyJedi: The FPL has two 12-team conferences. But if I were to start a standard dynasty league today, it would have 14 teams. I think 14 could be the long-term sweet spot if scheduling is done correctly.

DLF: What are the starting lineups your league uses? Why do you feel these are the optimal lineups in a dynasty league?

@FantasyJedi: We have a hefty IDP side to the FPL, which adds 2DL, 2LB, 3DB & 1Flex to the offensive side: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE & 1Flex. Every scoring-eligible position is accounted for here, every play of every game on any given week has fantasy implications.

DLF: Does your league have any unique scoring rules?

@FantasyJedi: Our scoring is pretty standard, but I have a strong opinion on fumbles. I punish fumbles, regardless of if they’re lost or not. That could be cause for an ongoing debate, but I welcome it.

DLF: How are divisions setup in your league?

@FantasyJedi: Divisions are realigned after every season, re-seeded based on previous years record. It’s a necessary part of our promotion/relegation setup.

DLF: How is the rookie draft handled? Any special rules or features?

@FantasyJedi: We do not have a rookie draft. We include all free agents in a one-time draft every year. Who has time for multiple drafts for the same league? I’ve found over time that that’s not something I’m comfortable asking 24 people to take time to do. And given that all players are available at the same time (Offensive and Defensive free agents and Rookies), it makes the draft more exciting.

DLF: How did you go about creating rules that have resulted in a successful league?

@FantasyJedi: Strength and flexibility. Every league needs untouchable core settings and rules: scoring, lineup requirements, etc. Everything else is up for debate/evolution. I expect and encourage change.

DLF: What are some of the specific rules you have that makes your league unique and successful?

@FantasyJedi:

1. Every team makes the postseason and has a chance to win it all, even at 2-14.

2. At the end of every season, the league completely reshuffles. If you finish in the Top 6 in your conference, you earn a spot in the “Premier” League and will play against the Top 6 teams in the opposing conference next season. The best teams always play the best teams. If you finish in the Bottom 6, you are relegated and will play in the “Secondary” League against the lowest ranked teams in the league.

DLF: How do you handle controversy in your league? Can you give me an example?

@FantasyJedi: I haven’t encountered much controversy, which could be a testament to the rules. But on a couple of occasions a manager wasn’t pleased with something mid-season and indicated his/her desire to leave the league at the end of the year. As much as I want managers to stay, the league is a dynasty league and requires total commitment. I asked each manager to step down effective immediately so I could give the team to a more dedicated manager. Quick and [relatively] painless.

DLF: Are league decisions made solely by you, or does that league vote on issues?

@FantasyJedi: Our users are very involved in the legislative process. We have a 5-man rules committee and encourage open debate of league standards and rules by all 24 members.

DLF: What is something that could ruin an otherwise strong league?

@FantasyJedi: A heavy hand is something I’m always trying to prevent. I understand that everyone and everything has its flaws, I’m prepared to be flexible and understanding.

DLF: What are the main reasons your league has become so successful?

@FantasyJedi: I’ve made some good connections with people on Twitter. I have been successful at social media. With that, I try to give my users the absolute best in service: quick response, transparency in administration, friendliness, and opportunity for fantasy success.

DLF: How many leagues do you commish?

@FantasyJedi: Currently I run 4 leagues, with a 5th planned for 2013.

DLF: Anything else you’d like to share?

@FantasyJedi: The Fantasy Premier League and FootballGuys are proud to be bringing back the experts IOP for 2012. IOP and it’s revolutionary scoring system were designed by Miller and Footballguys Staff Writer Jene Bramel. Please visit http://www.fpl-iop.com for more info.

Next, I contacted four owners who participate in the FPL to get their opinion on the league.

Brandon Salamat (@TrueGentleman808)

DLF: Is there a rule or feature that sets this league apart from others?

BS: In general how the FPL operates is something I’ve never been apart of before, with the two interchangeable conferences and the doubleheaders throughout the season.  One rule in my opinion that sets the mark is we’re only allowed to keep 9 offensive players and 8 IDP’s (just got introduced in 2011) and being that we’re 24 managers deep (might I add the most active managers I’ve been around). It kind of balances the competition because the Free Agent/Rookie Draft is filled with talent or hidden gems. Another feature that sets FPL apart is the interchangeable conferences (Premier Conference and Secondary Conference), being that if you’re in the secondary conference, you’re also competing to get into the premier conference as well, and on the other side if you’re in the Premier Conference you’re other goal is to try and stay in that conference, this also helps balance out the competition amongst teams too.

DLF: What are some things the commissioner does or has done to help create a strong league?

BS: Jedi is an amazing commissioner, and has been since day one of recruiting the managers. He reaches out to everyone, listens to feedback and always looks forward to making change if it’ll better the league. He not only hears his voice, but he hears everyone else and let’s be honest managing or taking care of 23 veteran fantasy football managers is not an easy task. Jedi has one an excellent job on creating the FPL and the direction its headed to, greatness. I cannot thank him enough for what’s he’s done and the biggest thing is respect, he has that for each and every one of us.

DLF: Overall, what are the main reasons this league has become successful?

BS: Overall, FPL has become so successful because everyone is allowed to have a voice – we’re all open to discussion and suggestions. All 24 managers are active one way or another whether it is on e-mail or twitter. We all have twitter accounts and  each manager is active in making sure the draft is running smoothly. There’s a certain level of respect for one another and that’s another reason why the FPL has become successful and also the commish has been looking for ways to improve the league and make it more exciting. The Last reason why I believe the FPL has become so successful? Tthe Commish made the move to make it an IDP league, now we know how amazing IDP leagues are, haha.

@JuniorGeneral

DLF: Is there a rule or feature that sets this league apart from others?

@JuniorGeneral: I don’t know if there are any unique rules in the FPL.  The Premier/Secondary league is a bit unusual, with the bottom half of the premier league getting relegated to the secondary league at the end of the season and top teams in secondary getting promoted.  And the bottom teams have their own playoff for draft position in next year’s secondary league, so everyone has something to look forward to after the regular fantasy season is over.

DLF: What are some things the commissioner does or has done to help create a strong league?

@JuniorGeneral: The commissioner does good job of communicating with the league when issues and questions come up.  He hustles, and listens to new ideas.  Sometimes these are put up for a league vote so the members can help to shape the rules.

DLF: Overall, what are the main reasons this league has become successful?

@JuniorGeneral: A lot of times a keeper or dynasty league will fall apart if the participants don’t have some kind of connection other than the league.  I think it helps that the FPL members are all actively involved in fantasy football on the Internet through websites and twitter.  And everyone knows their stuff and actively manages their team, which makes the league more fun for everyone.  No dead teams or quitters here.

Sam Thun (@gridironguy)

DLF: Is there a rule or feature that sets this league apart from others?

ST: For me, the fact we have 24 teams and two player pools and being able to switch conferences depending how your team fared in the previous season is a great plus. One rule we voted into place last year was creating a rules committee to come up with ways to enhance our current league and I think that was a great idea.

DLF: What are some things the commissioner does or has done to help create a strong league?

ST: Jedi has gone way above and beyond what a good league commissioner does on a yearly basis.  If you check out the league site, you can see the investment; both time and personal money to build the site that is second to none.  Each franchise is a representative of the original AFL-NFL teams along with the logos. Communication is key and Jedi does a great job on getting us ready for the season.

DLF: Overall, what are the main reasons this league has become successful?

ST: When Jedi and I started recruiting for the 24 teams, we were looking for owners who were passionate about football and I think what we have in the FPL is a reflection of that.  All our owners are first class and they know their football stuff.  They make the league what it is today and with the vision, we have what I consider the premier fantasy league anywhere!

@southpawd1213

DLF: Is there a rule or feature that sets this league apart from others?

@southpawd1213: The 24 team feature is something that sets this apart from any other league I have been in.  We have 12 teams in the Premiere league and 12 in the secondary league.  Each year the top 6 teams from each league play for the “Effin Cup,” the league championship trophy, and form the Premier league (Cream of the Crop) for the following season.  If you don’t make the cut, the 6 teams from each league that didn’t make the playoffs gets sent to the secondary league for the following season to rebuild or reload to make it back into the Premier league.

DLF: What are some things the commissioner does or has done to help create a strong league?

@southpawd1213: @fantasyjedi set this league up and is the Commissioner.   I think his recruitment of experienced team owners has made this a very challenging league to compete in. Many of these owners have their own fantasy football websites and podcasts. When I first joined it felt like a “Pros vs. Joes” league with me being the Joe.  With @fantasyjedi being an active commissioner, he has been the key to making this league strong. His communication with all the owners and set up of the website has made it easy to be informed on everything that is going [email protected] has also set up several other leagues such as the FPL Redraft , which I ended up winning the inaugural championship this past season (pat myself on the back), along with an experts draft which had many of the top respected fantasy football experts in the field competing in it.

DLF: Overall, what are the main reasons this league has become successful?

@southpawd1213: I think the owners in the league are very knowledgeable which makes it very challenging for everyone. The owner’s activity in this league has been great. The amount of trades for players and draft picks is something I haven’t seen in any other league during this alleged “offseason.” With @fantasyjedi bringing this all together, the word has spread that this is a league that people want to be a part of.

Thanks to all who participated in this study!

Ryan McDowell

Ryan McDowell

Senior Writer at Dynasty League Football
In addition to his role as Senior Staff Writer here at DLF, Ryan is also a husband, father of three and second grade teacher. Ryan is the commissioner of multiple dynasty leagues, most notably the HyperActive Dynasty Leagues. Here at DLF, Ryan’s focus is on identifying, monitoring and analyzing player value. Check out Ryan’s work on the Weekly Impact Events and Dynasty Stock Market, as well as our dynasty ADP data.
Ryan McDowell

Latest posts by Ryan McDowell (see all)

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Paul Baxter

    May 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Good Stuff! The Fantasy Champions League is a very cool concept!

  2. Brian

    May 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve never heard of a draft run the way I run our league’s, I’ll try to explain it. We’ve got 12 teams and a 20 man roster (plus IR – if player is on NFL IR only). The draft includes rookies and FA’s, it’s like herding cats for 1 draft already, because it is most people’s 3rd or 4th league, with low fees.

    1) Before the draft, teams submit a cut list to trim their rosters as much as they like
    2) Everybody gets a 1st rounder, but they must cut 1 player to open roster spot
    3) The rest of the draft is flexible based on how many players you cut compared to the other teams, the more you drop, the higher your 2nd and later picks will be
    4) So if you cut 5 more players than everyone else, you get picks 13 – 18
    5) Next you rotate with the team who cut the 2nd most players, then 3rd, and so on
    6) Draft continues until everyone has 20 players again, that’s it

    The standard is that teams drop at least 1 for the 1st rounder, then it is a game of blind poker. Most contending or young teams only drop 2 – 4 players, while the bottom 3 or 4 teams drop 5 – 7. The record in 5 years is 10 players (Me twice). Once I had the 1st 4 picks of the 2nd round, the next time, another team dropped 10 also, so we rotated 13/15/17/19/21 and 14/16/18/20/22.

    I think this style allows teams to rebuild quickly, if they have the guts to thin out their benches before the draft. It also adds another layer of strategy. Many sit and hold, while I figure that dropping a lot of players is the way to go. If you think the player will slip past the 1st round, cut him and redraft him! It’s too risky for the weak though, but I’ve picked a lot of gems at the top of the 2nd round even coming off my own Superbowl titles, I was able to reload on young talent.

  3. Ryan McDowell

    May 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks guys! I am looking for more leagues for future profiles/articles. Let me know if you are part of a great dynasty league.

    • RV

      May 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Ryan I would love to answer yours questions about our league. I consider it pretty unique. Send me a note and I’ll provide a link.

  4. Steve Moyer

    May 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Not on the subject but worthy of posting:

    I’ve learned over the years that sometimes it takes two trades to get your target, rather than a direct trade with the owner of that target. If you ask me, it’s a great technique for dynasty leagues.

    I wanted a Top 6 QB and the only guy I thought I could get was Eli Manning (I have Mike Vick but he gets hurt too much to depend on, in my view).

    I have Jimmy Graham so I packaged 1.07 and Jermichael Finley and swapped them for pick 1.03. That guy had no TE to speak of so he was juiced to get the #4 ranked TE for a 4 position switch in our draft.

    In our league (QB driven — 6 pts for TD passes rather than 4), it’s a foregone conclusion that picks 1.01 and 1.02 will be Luck and Griffin, so pick 1.03 will be Trent Richardson. I approached the Eli Manning owner knowing that he desperately needed a #1 RB (has the aging RB’s Gore and S. Jackson, plus he also has Tom Brady).

    I traded pick 1.03 for Eli and pick 1.11 contingent on Richardson being available at 1.03 (which I sure he will).

    Net deal:

    Finley and 1.07
    for
    Manning and 1.11.

    Zero chance I could have facilitated the same move directly with the first owner, so figured this might come in handy for some of you. Sometimes it takes two moves rather than one to achieve your objective.

  5. Jim

    May 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Fascinating Read about different leagues. I’m in a Dynasty league that started in 1989. I’ve been involved since 1996 and love the competition as all 10 of the owners know their stuff. Makes for a run experience.

  6. OlingerIDPGuru

    May 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    This is really cool but the one thing I don’t fully understand is if this is a Dynasty league and you’re pulling from two seperate player pools and with the realignment after every year, can’t you run into teams playing each other with common players? Example, both teams have Arian Foster and Patrick Willis?

    • Ryan McDowell

      May 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Yes, that is exactly what happens. It is another unique feature of this league.

  7. Ches

    May 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I hope this “series” goes on to analyse other, more standard leagues. I mean, this stuff is cool, but it is all too unconventional for me to use in the league I commish.

    • Ryan McDowell

      May 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Absolutely, I want to take a look at a variety of leagues. There are so many out there and they are great for different reasons.

  8. Kamron Gatlin

    May 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I play on a site called EFSports and the Base league that started it all is a 16 team league that started in 99. 53 man rosters, 7 round rookie draft, restricted free agents, practice squads, practice squad bidding. The most complete fantasy experience you can get, where the big boys of fantasy play.

    • Steve Moyer

      May 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      This sounds good if you have no life outside of fantasy football. 😉

  9. seth

    May 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

    How can I find a startup dynasty league in my area (DC/MD) that needs owners?

    • Ryan McDowell

      May 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Hey Seth,
      You can check the Help Wanted forum here, but I know most of the leagues forming here are online based with no regard for where everyone lives. Good luck finding a league.

  10. sixshooter

    May 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Sorry but I think a league that consists of 12 teams, consistent divisions, rookie drafts and you have to earn your way into the postseason as the most fun and I have participated in many, many leagues! In addition, we have a re-draft and an auction league which are also extremely successful. No need for twitter to recruit as there is a waiting list for our leagues which are extremely competitive! Also are introducing a fantasy MVP between the three leagues based on how you finish!

    I guess everyone has their preference but what I have found to be most popular is a deeper league with no more than 12 teams (in Dynasty, 16 in re-draft) and a league where you can’t “luck” your way into a championship by taking advantage of other teams having players on the bench in the playoffs which is why I definitely don’t agree with every team making the playoffs.

    Keeping the divisions consistent year to year also makes for more competition especially when it comes to trades, etc because you will think twice before trading within your division and may regret it later!

    Just my two cents but I prefer these rules! Not sure I would enjoy the league nearly as much without these rules!

    • Ryan McDowell

      May 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Sixshooter! Your league sounds great! I am certainly not saying this is the only type of league we should play in. In fact, this league is not for me either (mainly because I have little experience with IDP), but I do think it is a great league. I wanted this series to be a way for commissioners and owners to show off and share what makes their league great. That might be a unique set of bylaws or just a great group of dedicated owners.
      I’d love to hear more about your league as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top