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On Wednesday's edition of the podcast, the Helpers discuss the plight of the fantasy football commissioner and ways you, as a commissioner, can make your league more competitive and fun.
The Helpers first start discussing different ways to be a commissioner. For one, it's a good idea to be a commissioner of a league where you have no team involved. That way, you can remain objective and try and be as fair to each team as possible. Now, that idea may seem like it's not worth it since you're not actually playing in the league. To make it worth your while, have each member of the league pool some money together and get you something for your efforts — even if it's just money.
When it comes to keeping the league fun, you have to put the majority of the league. It starts with the scheduling. Putting close friends together in division games can be a great way to keep them engaged. Also, it's always good to have a rule where each person in the league has to already have some type of relationship with at least two-or-three other people in the league. They can be co-workers, high school friends, husband/wife or whatever. Having people who have a close relationship is important since the fantasy football leagues are done mostly online now, so the interpersonal connection is zapped a bit which can make some people less likely to really enjoy the league and want to be competitive if they don't know anybody.
Another small tip is to make sure you end your season at least four or five weeks before the NFL regular season ends, that way you can make sure teams won't suffer when their star player is sitting out in Week 17 because his real-life team already locked up the division.
One of the biggest conflicts that can come from having a fantasy football league is money. One of the major rules most commissioners have is 'no pay, no draft.' This rule can be applied to all leagues and is especially helpful to commissioners who hate badgering people for money in the middle of the season. It can also put a damper on the final result of the league since the champion might not get his full amount of earnings since not everyone paid their dues. It's best to get all this taken care of at the start of the season (at least within Weeks 1 or 2) that way everybody pays up front and there's nothing to worry about the rest of the way.
Another problem you might have as a commissioner is what's known as the 'tanking effect.' As the season goes along, people start to figure out if their teams are good or bad or not. Once someone realizes their team is bad and they have no shot at the playoffs, they stop paying attention and neglect to set their lineup, making them an easy victory for other teams. This can be bad because it creates an unfair advantage towards the lucky players who happen to be playing the tanking team, essentially giving them a free victory.
To keep players involved, try and establish some incentive for not coming in last. For example, you can establish a consolation playoff bracket where the winner gets to pick where he/she drafts the following season. Or you can allow the person who comes in last place to automatically pick first. You can also do a survivor pool where the team that scores the least amount of points in one week is eliminated, thus making each team still want to not place dead last in scoring so they can stay in the pool.