How to Be a Good Fantasy Football League Commissioner

by Joe Bond
2021 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Moves

We all love playing Fantasy Football, at least I feel like that is a fair assumption to make if you are reading this. Being a manager in the league has its own responsibilities, but easy enough to follow. Being a Fantasy Football league commissioner, however, is a whole different ball game.

You will be relied on to do many things from organizing, being the banker and ensuring the league is fun. In my opinion, the success of a league is largely based on how good the commissioner is.

From personal experience, I have seen leagues with great managers fail because the commissioner was not on top of things.

How do you make sure you are not one of these managers? Follow this guide and you will see.

Fantasy Football League Commissioner

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Finding Other Managers

The first thing you need to do is find other managers to fill the league. I suggest going with no less than 10 total managers in the league, so you will need to find nine more managers to play with you.

The best way to ensure league success is to have a group of friends play against each other. This tends to lead to more of a chance at having a draft party, more conversation, and trading. Most importantly it is more likely that they all stick around year after year.

I know it is hard to find a group this large who all know each other and who want to play Fantasy Football. When this is the case, my suggestion is to find people who both know the game and social. Try the office, friends from school, whatever you do try to find people at least you know and trust.

If you must, go to sites like Reddit, Twitter or the site you are running your league on message boards to search for those last remaining managers.

The one bad side to this is every year you will need to do the unpopular job of what I like to call "getting rid of deadbeat managers". This means finding those managers who abandoned their teams or didn't pay their league fees. To have a successful league, you need active managers.

Set Up The League Early

This does not just go for new leagues, this is for leagues that you are renewing each season. I try to get my leagues renewed and start my planning in early June. I know this seems super early but there are a few reasons for this.

Setting draft date and time

This is super important. You want to get this planned as early as possible.

Fantasy Football Drafts occur at the end of the summer, so people's schedules are going to be busy with vacations and weekend fun around this time. So get your draft on the calendar in June ensure everybody can attend because the last thing you want is half your league auto-drafting.

If you wait until August 20th to get a league going before the NFL season starts, you won't have much luck.

Voting on rules

This is more for leagues that are renewing but this is another reason you want to get your league set up early. It gives you, the commish time to request possible rule change ideas and submit them to the league for a vote.

Finding New Managers

In those cases where some managers will not want to return or you have to get rid of deadbeat managers, this gives you ample time to find new managers, get them acclimated to the league rules and even have them participate in new rule votes.

Setting up the Rules

A lot goes into setting up rules for a successful league. You have to both set the rules, but also be able to follow and enforce them, almost like a ref.

I have a few guidelines I follow when setting league rules.

Keep it Simple

Don't go all crazy setting up your league scoring settings, rosters, among others.

It sounds fun to have leagues where you give bonuses for extra long runs, receptions or over 100 yards. What you end up getting is a league where there is too much randomness and it is hard to manage a team.

Also, don't even think about getting cute and adding positions such as punters or head coaches. I have had friends in leagues like this and they hate it and leave the next season.

Don't Change Rules Mid-Season

There is almost no reason why a rule should be changed mid-season. You may realize that a rule is not good a few weeks into the season, but other managers drafted based on those rules. Therefore, it would be unfair to everybody if you changed rules after the draft.

The only reason I would change a rule is if a mistake was found in the setup. Regardless of that, to change, it would still have to be voted on and get 100% passing vote. This is because there could be past week ramifications, especially if it is to the scoring.

Collect League Fees Early

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Make sure you collect league fees early. Before the draft, if you can. I even have put in a rule that if you don't pay, you don't draft and I have the right to replace you as an managers .

The worst job of a commissioner is to have to track down managers at the end of the season when you are trying to pay the winners.

Make it easy on other managers too. Use Paypal, Venmo or other types of online payment methods to accept league fees. There are also sites such as Leaguesafe that handle the collection of the league's money and the payouts for you. The only downside to them is they require an extra fee to use. Still, it beats having to deal with a bunch of envelopes with cash or check in the mail.

Also as a commish, it is your duty to have payouts ready as soon as possible. Do not delay on this. People want their money and they want it fast.

Other Prizes

There are other types of prizes besides money that can make a league fun. You can have both money and a prize, such as a league trophy or belt, but you can also replace the money with just the prize. I love these types of leagues, but I understand they are hard to find, with money being a big motivator in a managers dedication to the league for an entire season.

Create a League Constitution

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To help avoid any questions about rules, scoring settings, etc. you will want a league constitution.

In the constitution spells out all the rules, from scoring settings, league dates, trade questions and more. So if there are questions or debates about them, you can simply point the managers to the constitution.

This brings me to one other point which relates to the constitution. Sometimes as commish you will need to step in and help squash an issue, fight or debate between league mates. I suggest that you rule quickly, just don't be a jerk about it.

Of course, having a constitution helps you be able to do this quicker.


Talking about the constitution brings me to quite possibly the most important trait a commissioner can have. That is good communication skills.

You need to be on top of all the things in your league and communicate things clearly to everybody. This ranges from the opening of the new Fantasy Football season, when league fees are due, reminders of important league dates and more.

Without communication, your league mates are left guessing when things are going to happen. Look in a perfect world everybody would check the league settings, log on to the site every day to check for updates, but the reality is it just does not happen.

Remember to Have Fun

In the end, you have to remember that this is all for fun. Even if there is money involved it's still fun. One great way to try and have fun is to host a draft party to start the season. Draft parties are a great way to

One great way to try and have fun is to host a draft party to start the season. Draft parties are a great way to kickoff the season and make everybody have something to look forward to each year. It is also a fantastic way for managers who do not know each other to meet each other.

Another quick and easy way to make the league more fun is to promote conversation between the league. You can do this by starting a Facebook group page, a Slack page or something else. When the league talks more things happen, including trades and banter during the season. The point is an active league is a more fun league.

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