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Commissioner’s Corner: What’s My Job?

So you read my previous article and have made up your mind, you want to start a fantasy league and be a commissioner. Or, you have volunteered to take over for a commissioner that doesn’t want to do it anymore. Either way, you are stepping into the role and now need to figure out what exactly you have to do. What is your job as a fantasy commissioner?

As discussed in my “Should I Be A Fantasy Commissioner?” article, the commissioner is the most important member of the league. Without the commissioner, there is no league. Only one person can be like Thanos and “Snap” the league into non-existence, and that is the commissioner. But we don’t want that to happen. We want a successful, fun, long-term league. So how do we get there? Here are the four most vital jobs and responsibilities of a fantasy commissioner.

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4 Major Responsibilities of a Fantasy Sports Commissioner

#1: Organization

Without even the most basic organizational skills, a commissioner (and therefore the league) can fail. This is by far the most important job for fantasy commissioners. If the members of the league don’t know when the draft is being held, or aren’t aware of the league rules, everything can fall apart. The commissioner has to set dates, collect fees if applicable, communicate with the league, and overall just make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. This can feel like babysitting sometimes, or I believe the term I used before was “herding cats.”

#2: Engagement

I just said that organization is the most important job of a fantasy commissioner, but a very close second is engagement. We’ve all played in fantasy leagues that are boring. You draft your team, you set your lineup, you make your waiver claims, you win or lose, and then the season is over. There’s almost nothing in between. This can be pretty normal, or even expected in public leagues where no one knows each other. However, that is not the type of league we want to create and run with our friends, family, or close competitors.

We want to enjoy our fantasy leagues. We play them first and foremost for entertainment. So why play in a league where the extent of the interaction between league-mates is strictly an occasional post on the group message board? No one is eager to come back to a fantasy league each season that is boring. So make your league fun and engaging! There are many different, and even simple, ways to do this. We’ll go over some of those things in a future article in Commissioner’s Corner.

#3: Competition

Piggybacking off the necessity of creating and fostering engagement, competition is also essential to the success of every fantasy league. Nothing kills the excitement and engagement of a league like a third (or more) of the teams giving up and not setting their lineups halfway through the season. This happens all the time, especially in redraft leagues. If a team has suffered major injuries, or just flat out isn’t good, the losses will pile up. Unless that manager has some incentive to keep playing, they will abandon the team in many cases. This can create major issues for the league. Whoever is playing against that team in a given week will get a free win. Big playoff and league-winning implications can be affected by simply one manager giving up and not setting a lineup.

To avoid this, part of our job as a commissioner is to create reasons for teams to not give up, and to set their lineups all the way through the season. Come up with a punishment for the team that finishes in last place, or maybe a consolation tournament for the non-playoff teams with a prize of some sort. There are a lot of ways for a commissioner to increase competition, and the league will only be better for it.

#4: Harmony

The last essential duty in the fantasy commissioner job description is a delicate one. We want engagement and communication in our leagues, we want trash talk and multiple opinions. With that, comes the high likelihood of conflict and disagreements. Not everyone is going to be best friends, and the entire league is not going to like every single member, and that’s okay. League engagement can thrive with conflict and differences of opinion. However, if that conflict crosses a line or is constantly happening on a daily basis, it can begin to negatively affect the rest of the league.

We can’t have everyone acting like a bunch of beasts and demolishing everything we’ve built. Remember what I said before about babysitting? Sometimes we need to act as a mediator of sorts and squash a beef before it gets to a point of no return. A fantasy league will not be harmonious for its entire existence. We’re competing against others for prizes, pride, and bragging rights. There’s going to be conflict. But, it’s up to the commissioner to do our best to make the league a place that everyone can enjoy, and hopefully get along for the most part. At a minimum, league-mates should be civil with each other. And as I’ve ended the previous three job duties of a fantasy commissioner, it is our responsibility to promote league harmony as much as possible.

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