You start off with a little, and you want more. And more. And then still more. Before you know it, what began as an enjoyable little pastime in a free Yahoo league with some buddies soon snowballs into a burdensome commitment to three dynasty leagues, two keeper leagues, a redraft league, a survivor league and a high-stakes Tournament Of Champions league. When you find yourself debating the merits of quitting your job just so you can keep up with it all, then you know it’s time to find some balance.
The lure of “just one more league” is often a strong one. A new league might have a different group of coaches (or many of the same, familiar, fun ones), a unique roster or scoring system, a tantalizing reward pot, or some other new or interesting element which makes it intriguing. But as the additional leagues pile up, your ability to focus on each of them diminishes. Before long you find yourself spread so thin that you are unable to excel in any of your leagues. And how much fun are you really having when you are in nine different leagues, and losing in all of them?
But just how many leagues are too many? When is it time to say “no more”?
Unfortunately, there is no magic number. Each person has to find that line on their own. Some coaches start buckling under the pressure when running more than one league. Others can easily handle ten or more leagues without breaking a sweat. If you fall into the latter category, well then, hats off to you. But for everyone else, there are some general guidelines which can help you curb the addiction and find the balance needed to maximize the enjoyment of your leagues… and your life.
Identify the league or leagues most important to you, and give them the lion’s share of your attention. Leagues which you have been involved in for many years are usually most deserving of your continued commitment and attention. The old 80/20 rule is often a good metric for allocating your time. Give 80% of your time and attention to your favorite league or two, 20% to the remaining league(s).
2. Resistance is not futile
As hard as it may be at times, you must resist the temptation to over-commit. There will always be another league you’d like to join, another game to play. But be cognizant of the commitments you have made to the coaches and commissioners in your existing league(s). If you are asked to join a new league, take some time to consider the implications of joining yet another league, and the impact it will have on existing commitments.
3. Keep it similar
While it is definitely more fun to play in a variety of league formats, that diversity also increases the team management workload. By sticking to similarly styled leagues (redraft and keeper, or dynasty and keeper, all dynasty, etc) with similar roster and scoring formats, you increase your ability to work from the same set of data and research. The same draft list will work well in pretty much all redraft leagues, as will the same rookie draft cheat sheet in all dynasty leagues. You still have to spend time making management decisions for each team – picking up a player off the wire may make sense for one team, but not for another. But at least your time spent researching and creating lists and sheets and organizing your thoughts is minimized.
4. Share the load
If you really want to get your feet wet in different leagues, consider starting a team jointly with another coach. This will allow you to each share the load of managing a team while still giving you the opportunity to experience something new. Shared coaching arrangements are usually less than ideal – the two coaches have to be very much on the same page and act in concert. Conflict between two owners of a team can destroy a team and adversely affect an entire league. So enter into this arrangement very carefully. But if you know someone who you can work well with, the league is OK with a shared coaching arrangement, and you are both committed to seeing it through, then this just might be an attractive solution.
5. Leave gracefully
If you find that, for whatever reason, you are no longer interested in a league, then do the right thing. Advise the league commissioner you will be resigning, and finish your commitment. If there is not already a waiting list for entry into the league, be sure to give plenty of advance notice so that a thorough search can be performed for a replacement. While you remain in command of your team, continue to field the best possible team each week. The worst thing a lame-duck coach can do is let his team languish, or just walk away in mid-season. You may have lost interest in the league, but odds are the other coaches still take it very seriously. Allowing any team get away with an easy win seriously upsets the balance of a league, and quite frankly, is just plain unprofessional.
Fantasy football, as we all know, is a blast. But it is also a serious commitment, and as such your fantasy football commitments should be taken seriously. Be careful about adding to your team management workload, and don’t take on too many new obligations too quickly. Always strive to find balance between your current commitments and exploring new opportunities. Take your time considering these new opportunities and always be fair to your current league mates. Not only will you maximize the enjoyment of your existing leagues, you’ll also be that much closer to striking a balance between your fantasy football life and that bothersome little thing called real life.
How many leagues are you in this year?
Is there even such a thing as too much Fantasy Football?