Welcome to the June edition of Commissioner Calendar, a monthly off-season series breaking down the activities and responsibilities of a commissioner during each month of the off-season. But in dynasty, especially for commissioners, “There is no off-season.” If I missed other June dynasty events, put them in the comments!
DYNASTY STARTUP DRAFTS
As mentioned in the May Commissioner Calendar, the months following the NFL draft are prime months for startups, with the rookies included. While many commissioners are swamped with rookie drafts and auctions in May, the time and inspiration for dynasty startups may pique in the summer months, with some people itching to participate in fantasy leagues during months when there may not be much to do in your existing dynasty leagues.
Summer brings more free time for some people, and that free time provides more opportunities to meet in person. The fantasy industry has significant get-togethers in July for live SFB drafts, and many in the fantasy football community, both readers and writers alike, migrate to Canton in August for the Fantasy Football Expo. With that being said,
As we get closer to the season, more and more drafts will migrate from the online platform to in-person as people get ready to participate in their home redraft leagues. The dynasty version of that can be an in-person dynasty startup. For a rare occurrence, this week, I will be participating in a league in a non-commish role as I participate in my first-ever in-person live dynasty startup. So whether you live in a city with many members of the fantasy community or you want to get your redraft friends into dynasty fantasy football, the summer months are a great time to do an in-person live dynasty startup.
With the rookie draft season in the rearview mirror, devy leagues take their turn at attempting to identify the next NFL star as they select the best of college football, or depending on the devy depth of your league or even league settings, best of high school football or earlier. Things that should be in your league settings but also should likely be reiterated around when your devy draft begins include: is there a limit on devy picks or devy players a team can have, what players are eligible to be selected in the devy draft, how the devy draft will be conducted on your league platform or off, roster or taxi status of devys and rookies and any rules related to roster expansion or lack thereof.
In all of the devy leagues I participate in, there is no limit on devy picks or devy players a team can roster, outside of the only requirement being that you must be able to field a legal lineup each week if the amount of devy players you have are larger than the taxi squad limit or if there is no taxi squad at all.
When deciding what players are eligible in the devy draft, I have seen endless possibilities of configurations for those rules. Possibilities include any person that is alive(in a very deep devy league, fantasy analyst Travis May had someone in the league draft his infant son), any player in college(this is the most common), any player in high school or later, and some leagues even more specific like only allowing underclassmen to be drafted while others may bar incoming freshman from being drafted. The devy pool should be decided ahead of time and suit the skills and comfortability of the participants in your league. Any changes made to the pool to an ongoing league should require a unanimous or near-unanimous vote. I vote devy almost as much as anyone. Still, if I had a devy league that decided they wanted to start allowing high schoolers to be drafted, that is a league I likely wouldn’t want to participate in anymore as I have no personal aspirations for breaking down 15-year-old film anytime soon.
There are several ways to do a devy draft on or off the platform that you play on. The most common way that I have seen devy drafts done is that you select a random available player and put in the comments the player that you want, “Quinshon Judkins RB Ole Miss,” and then the commissioner creates a custom player with Quinshon Judkins and replaces the pick. This is how it is done on myfantasyleague; on Sleeper, I have seen leagues use Kickers in leagues that don’t have kickers and spreadsheets that show corresponding “Justin Tucker=Quinshon Judkins.” Another common way of devy drafts being done is just doing the draft on a spreadsheet or message board and having the commissioner upload the players at the conclusion of the devy draft.
Another important thing to have in your bylaws and a reminder when devy draft season approaches is the rules related to roster limits and taxi rules. I have leagues with unlimited taxis but for devy only, so it is important to remind people that rookies cannot be taxi’d in those leagues to make room for devy picks. If you have a contract league with a limited taxi, most of those types of leagues require the devy to take priority on the taxi squad to the point where if the taxi squad is five players and you have five devys, you cannot taxi four devys and one rookie with one devy on the active roster to preserve that rookie’s contract status.
I have seen devy nominations or “choices” for auctions occur in two different ways. The first way is nominations are predetermined before the auction begins by members of the league. The benefit to this is the entire league knows exactly which devys will be available in the auction, and the commissioner can create those custom players to be nominated in advance so that the entire pool will be available to be nominated at any time throughout the auction.
The other way that I have seen devy nominations occur is that the commissioner requests people send lists of players they think they will nominate during the devy auction, the commissioner adds those players to the system, and league members can request players be added during the devy auction if there is a player not in the system that they would like to nominate while still being in the confines of the restriction of the number of players available in the auction or the number of players a manager can win in the auction.
Along with two different forms of nominating, there are two different ways of doing an auction. The first is you can win as many players as you can with your money within the confines of the number of devys able to be nominated and won, and the other is devy spots where managers are restricted on winning a maximum amount of players in a specific devy auction called devy spots which can be a tradable asset, so that if each team starts with three devy spots, by the time of the devy auction, some teams may have six devy spots, while another may have zero, but maximum for the league will equal the amount each team started with times the number of participants in the league, so if each team starts with three devy spots in a 12 team league, there will be 36 devy players won in the devy auction. If you have devy spot rules, it is imperative to be constantly monitoring to ensure players are not exceeding their devy spot bids; if a manager has three devy spots and they have won two devys, they cannot be leading on two additional devys as leading on the second devy in that scenario would be an illegal bid, so it is also important to have any punishments for illegal bids outlined.
Once again, with the rookie draft and auction season over, waivers begin to open in many leagues. All suggestions from the May waiver opening apply to waivers that open in June. With waivers opening up, there are several decisions to make as the commissioner, will waivers be first come, first served throughout the rest of the off-season? Will they only be blind bid waivers for the off-season? Or a combination of the two? I recommend only blind bid waivers during the off-season to avoid the potential advantage of having the “fastest finger” after random news of a player getting arrested and his backup becoming more valuable or breaking news that a trade has made a waiver wire player more valuable. First come, first served waivers have a place during the NFL season as there is that urgency of potentially needing to pick up a player on waivers due to a last-minute injury, but that urgency is not necessary during the non-lineup setting season.
The other commissioner decision to make as off-season waivers open up is the allocation of blind bid dollars. Some leagues have two separate blind bid budgets, one for the off-season and one for the in-season, and these budgets get reset as week one begins. Alternatively, teams are given a budget when waivers open up, and that is the money they have until the season ends. I do not necessarily think there is a right answer between these two options, but I think the off-season and in-season separate budgets probably apply more with year-round waivers.