The Commish Invites You to the World of Fantasy Football

By on September 26, 2014

by Alan Branch —

 

You’ve more than likely seen it on television advertisements, your boyfriend’s laptop, or a sport’s television network and online website: Fantasy football.

Fantasy football is the perfect opportunity for football fans to create their own leagues with friends, assembling their own fantasy teams of the best professional football players. Participants play weekly head-to-head games against each other to see who can score the most points based on your players’ performance on football Sunday to be climatically crowned as the fantasy football champion at the end of the regular season. It is a gentleman’s game fueled by the competitive spirit of football fans everywhere, but ultimately it’s much more than that. Fantasy football not only builds rivalries, but destroys friendships, stirs within you this nail-biting anxiety every Sunday during game time and lights a fire of burning pride in those who walk away from their league victorious, which in some cases results in winning prize money from competitors. On a much larger scale, fantasy football has now shaped the football world in a substantial way by giving fans an opportunity to experience the game at a personal level.

Introducing the Commish

 

You can call me the Commish. I’m currently going on my seventh year playing fantasy football as well as commissioning my very own league with co-workers and friends. I can talk all day about the years I’ve outsmarted my friends on draft day — resulting in me taking their money at the end of the season — but first and foremost, I want to explain to you what it takes to be a fantasy football commissioner. And as a fantasy football commissioner, you first have to set up a league. You start with creating your league on www.ESPN.com/ffl or www.Nfl.com/fantasyfootball and selecting the number of teams you want to compete against. Whether it is eight teams or fourteen, it is essential to have enough to add a certain level of competitiveness, depending on the experience of your fellow team owners, to draft the best players for your team. The more teams you have, ultimately the more competitive your draft and your league are. Also, being the commissioner, you are in charge of setting all the league’s rules as far as scheduling, scoring, draft time, location and so forth. The league is your own, so you are free to make it anyway you choose, or you can just stick to the basics and use ESPN’s standard scoring which I have used all my years of being commissioner. It’s easy and efficient, and calculates all your players’ stats week to week, auto-correcting every statistical mistake it may make. You can also make it even more competitive by charging an entry fee for every team owner in your league. Therefore, you’ll have an enormous pot of money that will be awarded to the eventual league champion. So once you finished setting up your league and have all your former friends who are now your competitors, it’s time for the moment of truth that separates the men from the boys: the draft.

 

The Draft

 

This is where those months of preparation pay off. Flash back to the last week in June when you first opened those fresh pages of a brand new fantasy football magazine and instantly are overwhelmed by the undeniable truth that the football season is only a summer away.  In short, the draft is sixteen intense rounds of equipping your team with the best available player for every pick. You can do an online draft on the league’s homepage, or make it even more entertaining by having an offline draft where you and all the other team owners come together at a set location to hold the draft itself. The inevitable groans you’ll hear when someone chooses the player they wanted, as well as the unanimous ridicule you give someone who tries to draft a player who has already been drafted makes an offline draft worthwhile. The very last thing you want to do is go into a draft unprepared. A cheat sheet of ESPN’s top 200 players and your very own, customized, big board of desired players filled with their statistical history and trends you discovered from your months of research and analysis should be enough to lead you to a successful draft.

 

FOUR FACTS ALL DRAFTERS SHOULD KNOW:

  1. Draft running backs early and often. Due to the frequent injuries and in today’s pass-happy NFL and running back committee-styled offenses, running backs are the scarcest position. Therefore they are the Holy Grail and backbone of your team.
  2. Be the first, if not, the last to draft your QB. Having Peyton Manning as your quarterback is nice, but anyone else outside of the elite three consisting of him, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers is worth grabbing later on in your draft.
  3. Realize every pick matters. Your team will be built on your starting lineup and your bench players, so highly successful drafters are well-prepared, no matter what round it is..
  4. Trust your gut feeling. Above all else, go with what you know to be true rather than relying on what you heard on ESPN or having a conversation with a friend. The truth always lies within the stats and trends because numbers never lie.

*These of course aren’t all guarantees, but if there were a book of commandments for having a successful draft, I can guarantee all four of them would be in there.

 

The Team

 

Okay, so now you have your team, which I hope consists of a well-balanced starting lineup from top to bottom. When I say lineup, I mean your starting lineup that you will compete week-to-week which will consist of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a defense/special teams unit, a kicker, and a flex position which is open for a running back, tight end, or a wide receiver (ESPN standard lineup). The rest of your players fall in your bench and will be called upon when one of your starters has a bye week or an injury. After evaluating your team, it’s always fun to get creative with your team name. A team name typically contains one of  your player’s names within it, along with a catching and funny slogan or pop culture reference. (i.e. Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson + Alvin and the Chipmunks = Calvin and the Chipmunks)

 

The Football Season

 

Now with the league all set up, the draft completed and your starting lineups all set, all that’s left is for the regular season to begin. Throughout the season, it’s wise to make waiver acquisitions (picking up undrafted players that are not owned by a team owner within the league) as well as making trades between other owners along the way to sustain a strong and winning team. The truth is: injuries are inevitable and players may not meet expectations. So it is absolutely crucial to stay up to date with everything going on in the NFL, such as injuries, trades, depth chart changes and so forth, as well as listening to fantasy football experts that actually get paid to give their opinions on based on highly intensive research and analytics. Typically the playoffs for your fantasy football league are played in the last weeks of the regular season. The best teams with the best record of wins and losses through the first 14 weeks go head to head in a playoff-seeding bracket until one is finally crowned the champion at the end of the regular season.

The Debrief

Alright so there was your brief and highly descriptive summary of everything you need to know about fantasy football and being a commissioner. And remember, it’s not too late to join a league or create your own on www.ESPN.com/ffl or www.Nfl.com/fantasyfootball. I’ll be giving week-to-week analyses of every game and matchup throughout the season, as well as giving you my best and most helpful tips and advice to ensure your success for the rest of the NFL season. So tis’ the season to all of you jolly fantasy football fans everywhere, and wish you nothing but the best for your fantasy football success this season!


– The Commish

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One Comment

  1. dave

    September 27, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Very good article, still I don’t know what to do when 2 RB’s are on a bye and my bench is lacking any RB’s due to injury?

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