While fantasy team owners everywhere are sitting back and enjoying the NFL playoffs free from the weekly grind of waivers and lineup setting, dynasty commissioners are working hard to get their leagues in shape and set up for 2019. There are team owners to replace, dispersals to run, and payouts to be made. Needless to say, it’s one of the busiest times of the year for league commissioners.
As I was working through my leagues and getting everything set up for the off-season events, I began thinking about things that dynasty players everywhere could and should be doing to make life a little bit easier on the people who keep their leagues running smoothly year-round.
Pay your league dues
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Paying your entry fees for the upcoming season as early as possible without multiple requests helps out your commissioner more than you probably know. It locks in your spot and makes a clear statement that you are returning to the league for another season. If you need some extra time to pay, that’s usually fine. If you’re a good and active owner, verbal or written confirmation is the next best thing to paying your dues early. Just keep your commissioner in the loop as to your intentions for the upcoming season. We understand life happens, but don’t go completely dark, leaving us to wonder if you’ll be back. Nothing is more frustrating than getting no response to an email, direct message or text. Take the 30 seconds to keep your commissioner informed about your situation. The length of time I give owners to declare their intentions before they get replaced grows shorter each season.
Why is this such a big deal? For me, there are several reasons. I generally don’t allow teams to trade until they are locked in with their payment for the season. I’ve seen GMs make some early trades that go bad and then bail on the league before paying. Because of that personal rule, the longer teams wait to get their money in, the longer it takes to really get trading and activity levels back up and rolling for the new season. Don’t be the one person who holds up an entire league.
If multiple GMs depart a league, I like to hold dispersal drafts or auctions so the new owners of the orphan teams get a little more say in how they will begin building their team. This is especially beneficial when one or both of the teams are bad. It takes a special kind of dynasty player to agree to take on a bad team with no picks and no dispersal draft. They know they will be essentially donating their league fees for a year if not multiple years. Ideally, you are able to get all teams with an owner not returning to the league into the dispersal so they all get a fair shot at the combined asset pool. If an owner of a bad team waits until after dispersal occurs to abandon the team then the new GM doesn’t get to participate, placing them at a disadvantage, which just makes it all the more difficult to find a replacement owner for the team.
Paying your league dues early removes a large amount of stress from your commissioner so he can focus on creating a fun experience for everyone involved.
If you intend to trade future draft picks, pay next season’s dues in advance
Unless the commissioner doesn’t want to collect early, pay for your future picks. Knowing that future year’s entry fees are covered for teams that move future picks gives your commissioner piece of mind that even if that owner leaves a bad team, future years are covered if they have to sell a team cheaper to entice a new owner to take on a project.
Clear your injured reserve and taxi squad
Unless your league has specific rules concerning off-season IR and taxi squad spots, every team should move every player to the active roster. This may put you over your roster limit and forces decisions about who stays on your team and who gets sent to the free agent pool. This places all teams back on equal footing in regards to the number of players on their squads and builds the player pool for off-season waiver runs or free agent auctions. Taxi squads and injured reserve spots aren’t for stashing players to get around off-season roster limits unless otherwise specified.
Actively discuss and vote on off-season rule changes
The off-season is when most leagues should reevaluate their ruleset and make changes to their bylaws. Making changes to things like scoring settings or lineup requirements during the season is generally frowned upon because it can give a competitive advantage. I certainly have my favorite settings but sometimes a league wants to go in another direction and that’s completely fine, but to change something you usually need a majority of owners to be on board with the changes.
As a commissioner, you want complete buy-in from your team owners and that includes participating in every league vote. After all, this is your league. If you can’t be bothered to click a box that has to the potential to change the course of the league, what does that say about how much you care about what happens in it? Be invested in the direction and the health of your league. Commissioners want involved and active owners, not just ones that show up on Sundays to set a lineup.
Get to know your league mates
Let’s face it. If you’re reading a fantasy football site in January then you have the “sickness.” Most of your friends don’t understand and your spouse or significant other almost certainly doesn’t understand. I mean, the fantasy football season is over, why do you still spend so much time on it? You know who does understand? Your league mates in a dynasty league. So get to know them. If your league doesn’t have some kind of chat like Voxer or Slack then create one!
Honestly, Voxer has been a gamechanger for me and dynasty leagues. It’s not only a great tool for things like discussing trades, trash talking during a matchup, or just talking football. It’s also great for getting to know your league mates on a more personal level. Through Voxer, I’ve learned what my league mates do for a living. I’ve seen pictures of their kids, spouses, and pets. I’ve gotten to know them as a person, not just a competitor. I can truly say I’ve made lifelong friends through playing dynasty fantasy football.
Getting to know your league mates just makes the dynasty experience all the more fulfilling. As a commissioner, it makes me happy when connections like this are made in my leagues. It’s so cool to see people enjoying each other’s company whether or not football is involved.
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