This article is the first in a series that will attempt to give all dynasty players an understanding of the perspective of a league commissioner. I also hopes this series encourages others to be willing to take on the thankless job.
My experience as commissioner, while at times frustrating, has actually been very rewarding and an overall great time. Here’s how it all started for me.
In the spring of 2006, I was wasting time perusing a well known fantasy message board. I clicked on a topic that was asking about dynasty league activity during the off-season. The thread poster was complaining about something I could easily relate to at the time- the inactivity of his dynasty leagues during the off-season.
Now, at this point, I had only played in dynasty leagues for two seasons, and I was far from an expert. But, I did have one thing going for me. I was the most active owner in my league. I constantly made trades offers, scoured the waiver wire for sleepers and read as much as I could from trusted experts and active participants on a variety of fantasy football sites.
As I read the original poster’s comments and the multiple responses that echoed his sentiment, I found myself wanting more and more to be part of an active league like the one being described. The problem was, no one seemed to know of a league like this to join. Finally, someone suggested what most of us were thinking…”let’s just start our own league!” Being dynasty addicts, you know what happened next…a bevy of replies calling “IN!!” Soon, one of the involved parties started a private group on Yahoo for the dozen or so guys who had shown interest. Rules, settings, lineups and scoring were all being randomly discussed, yet the discussion seemed to lead nowhere. Someone asked who would take on the role of commissioner. That garnered little response from anyone. I’m not sure what came over me. After all, I had never been in charge of a league and had relatively little dynasty experience overall. Nonetheless, I volunteered and all of the other participants, not wanting to take on the additional work, sighed with relief. The HyperActive leagues were born.
I quickly took the bull by the horns and began creating a detailed rules document. To aide myself in this, I read as much as I could on forums and also looked at the rules of some established successful dynasty leagues. I also gathered the input from all league members via message board discussions and league polls. Based on how this new league had started, I wanted it to be “for the people, by the people.” All owners had a hand in creating and forming what this league would become. We debated ideal starting lineups, scoring systems, roster size, followed by more specific settings, such as injured reserve spots, developmental players and more. The molding of this league was intricate and time consuming, but I knew it would pay off in the long run.
While the twelve of us were busy laying down the law of the league, the original forum topic that brought us together continued to be very active. As I went back to catch up, I noticed several other well known fantasy footballers were also interested in joining the league. After mentioning this to some of the owners already in the league, it was suggested that our HyperActive could be turned into a SuperLeague, or one that was formed from two separate twelve team leagues. The more, the merrier was my thought and everyone agreed. Now our league, designed to be an active, year round league for twelve guys, had quickly turned into a 24 team league before we had really even gotten started.
From this point, the details are sometimes sketchy, although I do have many specific memories from that inaugural season. I had no idea that this league would eventually grow and even lead to a spot for me in this industry we enjoy so much.
After the first season of the HyperActive Dynasty League, many people in my fantasy football circle were talking about the leagues and were even reaching out to me requesting I start a second version. So, that is just what I did. HyperActive 2 was quickly filled and this time we had even more fantasy experts involved. Deserved or not, this led to credibility and a strong reputation for the pair of new leagues. The following off-season led to a third installment and more of the best of the best in the dynasty world. In the years that have followed, I have started two more HyperActive Dynasty Leagues, meaning there are now 120 teams across the five leagues, many of those filled by writers and experts from DynastyLeagueFootball, FootballGuys, ProFootballFocus and many other terrific sites producing quality fantasy football content on a daily basis.
I don’t tell this story to pound my chest about these leagues, but rather to encourage any dynasty owners out there considering starting their own leagues to go for it. Who knows where it could lead?
During this series, I will share some of the insight I have gained from acting as commissioner to hundreds of active fantasy-crazy owners spread across nearly ten leagues. I will discuss important rules and league settings, strategies for finding quality owners and how to handle controversies that might arise. All of these, and more, are very important in building a successful league. If you have a question about a specific aspect of the job of commish, please post it below or contact me via Twitter.
Here are some links to the HyperActive leagues in case you want to take a look for yourself.
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