Welcome to the August 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 there are other August dynasty events that I missed, put them in the comments!
SLOW DYNASTY STARTUP DRAFTS
As mentioned throughout the off-season Commissioner Calendar series, 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. The combination of the ability to know rookies’ landing spots combined with the potential time crunch of August nearly necessitates rookies be in the startup rather than the alternative options presented earlier in the off-season for separate rookie drafts and auctions.
The biggest detriment to a slow August startup draft is the randomness of when news drops that could impact a player’s value. Drafting a player minutes before tearing an ACL in practice can be gut-wrenching, or missing out on that player’s backup by one pick based on who is on the clock when the news drops take out a small decrease of skill to the startup draft. In startups in January-July, I am happy to allow a 9-12 hour clock, however in August to help mitigate the problem of clock-killing, I would recommend a shorter clock of 4-6 hours while encouraging participants as much as possible to use the pre-draft function.
SLOW DYNASTY STARTUP AUCTIONS
The two factors to account for with August slow startup auctions are similar to that of the slow dynasty startup draft. First, depending on your number of nominations per day and roster spots, slow dynasty startup auctions typically take longer than slow dynasty startup drafts, you do want to make sure when you are starting a slow startup auction with a pace that will finish before week 1. So the two ways to speed up a slow auction are lowering the auction clock and increasing the number of nominations per day. I wouldn’t lower the auction clock below 8 hours as many people sleep for that amount of time and there is no way to pause an auction clock overnight.
Most slow startup auctions allow 1-2 nominations per day, when you get to August, especially late August, I would increase that number to 3-5 nominations per day. If you are trying to factor in how long a dynasty startup auction will last with the number of nominations, it can be somewhat of a math equation, if you have 24 roster spots with two nominations per day, that would take at least 12 days plus an added 1-2 days for unlimited nominations/lingering nominations from the last day or so of two nominations per day.
LIVE DYNASTY STARTUP DRAFTS/AUCTIONS
Live dynasty startup drafts/auctions do not have the same worries or limitations of slow dynasty startup drafts/auctions. You can theoretically have a startup followed by a rookie draft/auction or even vice-versa, but that would make for a long day of dynasty drafting. All but one of the live dynasty startups I have done have included rookies, and the one that didn’t had the rookie draft on a separate date, something that most don’t have the luxury to do in August.
LAST-MINUTE ROOKIE/DEVY DRAFTS/AUCTIONS
By the time we get to August, most rookie and devy drafts are in the rearview mirror. If you are doing a slow draft or auction, some of the issues presented in the slow startup draft or auction are also present for rookie and devy drafts, just at a smaller scale as you aren’t typically drafting 24-30 rookies or devy players in August, instead you are likely looking a number of 4-6.
FREE AGENT DRAFTS
Free agent drafts aren’t extremely popular, but I do have them in all of my best ball leagues that don’t have weekly off-season waivers. In these leagues, teams have 10 rounds of rookie/free agent draft picks, the first five rounds are conducted in May following the NFL draft, and the final five rounds are conducted following week two of the preseason. This provides a non-waiver way for people to select the rising rookie names that were lesser known or valued in May or the veterans who are getting an unexpected opportunity due to injury.
Through the years, I have found out that 10 with five and five is likely a bit unnecessary as rarely are 9th and 10th round picks kept past roster cutdown so a better option is likely eight rounds with four rounds in May and four rounds following week two of the pre-season. From a value standpoint, the two segments of rookie/free agent drafts do provide some interesting value questions and perspectives as some actually end up valuing the first round of August picks (6th round) over the last round of May picks (5th round) as players value the information provided over June-August over the ability to have the higher priority draft pick.
WAIVERS OPENING/SETTING UP IN-SEASON WAIVERS
If your waiver wire is opening in August, it is highly recommended that you do only blind bid waivers for the month of August due to the randomness of training camp news, there is no way to have fair first come/first served waivers during the month of August. Additionally, there is no reason for it due to the fact that there are no lineups or points scored in August, so there is not as much urgency to get a player on your roster from a time perspective as there is during the 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 if you are opening a waiver wire in August, separate in-season and off-season waiver budgets are likely deemed unnecessary as you are just reloading blind bid dollars one month after starting blind bid waivers.
At the end of August, as the commissioner, I make the necessary modifications to the transaction calendar to ensure that first come/first served waivers are available following the weekly waiver run leading up to the first week of the NFL season. In all of my leagues, waivers are processed on Wednesday evening and then first come/first served waivers are available between Wednesday evening and the kickoff of each player’s individual game.