So you want to be a dynasty commish!? It can be an effortless job, but expect many problems if you don’t take it seriously. The role of a dynasty commish is critical to those who play dynasty. A dynasty league can be fragile; if too many things go wrong, it could fold or cause chaos. The commish is the glue that keeps the league alive like a well-oil machine. This article will explain what you need to know to be an excellent dynasty commish.
Rule # 1 – Set up the league the way you want it.
This is a critical first rule as a commish. As a commish, you are also a fantasy owner, and you must enjoy the league you are in. If you prefer Superflex or TE premium, make the league start that way before adding other owners. This will bring other owners with the same passion toward a particular format or scoring setting. Feel free to get creative with the dynasty league you set up. You can check out some unique leagues here. If you decide to go with an innovative style dynasty league, it often requires more work for you as the commish. If it’s not for you, then regular dynasty leagues are just as fun.
Rule # 2 – Try to be a good Judge when Inviting other owners
Outside of you as the commish keeping the league moving, the rest of the fantasy owners are also important. It’s also more fun to have people, you know, in the league, but it may not always be the best route to take. I have friends I’d love to be in dynasty leagues with, but they don’t share the same passion for dynasty. The issue is they don’t engage in trading, make many moves, or become inactive outside of drafting and setting lineups. You don’t want to be that guy to kick your friend out of your league. Ensure you have the right friends with the same passion for the dynasty. You can also check out many places where dynasty owners share that same passion. I see it every day on the Dynasty Nerds Discord channel. Some of my favorite people to play dynasty with I’ve never met in my life. So ask questions before inviting owners to your league.
Rule # 3 – Have Bylaws
This is very important to the league, especially when it is needed. Even though you’ll make bylaws, owners will still ask you a question about the rules in chat. It does help in a conflict situation between owners or you. It’s essential to consider every possible issue that could come or question when making the bylaws. I’ve had hard questions and simple questions like the ones below.
- What do we do if a player retires out of nowhere – do I get compensation for that?
- How is the rookie draft determined
- How are the playoffs determined?
- When is the trade deadline?
Those are just a few, but you should have a few pages of your bylaw breaking down every league component. I made sure I put in every possible rule, especially with trading future draft picks. I make sure that I put in any rule changes each year at the bottom so we have a record of when a rule changed. The Bylaws will benefit you as the commish to have a history of when situations change within your league. Here is an example of a bylaw from one of my leagues.
Rule #4 – If you trade future picks you have to pay up.
I made this mistake in my early years of being a dynasty commish. Whether it’s a first-round pick or a fourth-round pick of a future draft, you MUST pay up your league due for that year. You can make it only first-rounders if you want, but I don’t like it. If that owner leaves the group, the new owners should have the right to either have a free year because it’s paid already or all four of their original draft picks. Owners will try to say well, “I have two other first-rounders; a new owner will be fine.” For one, you don’t want an owner like that in the league, and two, it doesn’t matter; if they are that team’s picks, then that owner has to pay up.
Once you allow owners in your league to trade without paying up, your league could quickly go to shit. I’ve had to pay for that new owner because the team they took over was so bad. You can also wait until you get an owner willing to take on the mess and pay up. Again, don’t let your league come to this because, eventually, that one team will consistently be looking for a new owner. I created a spreadsheet for my payments to see who paid, when they paid, which year, and which platform. Now I like to use Venmo or PayPal because it is easy to get paid and pay. Eventually, due to some laws or concerns of other owners, websites like League Safe are a better bet.
Rule #5 – Be Active in the Chat
Whether you do a Sleeper App chat or your league has a text message chat, you must be very active there. As the commish, you should have the most comments or texts each year. As a commish, you sometimes need to treat your league like children. You should be setting reminders about league dues, when the rookie drafts, the deadline for the taxi squad, and more. I like to go over any new rules before the season starts and give an announcement so no one can say they didn’t know. These reminders will help continue your league flow and help keep other owners more active.
Rule #6 – Consider a Co-Commish
This may be the only rule I don’t do, but it can be a necessary rule to have. Being a dynasty commish is like a part-time job, especially when you have as many as I do. As commish, you get questions from other owners or have trades approved. We all have real lives and can’t be on apps or answer text messages immediately. So invest in a co-commish to help when you can’t be around. It’s crucial to pick the right co-commish for the league, someone with the same passion and professionalism as you. You also want to make sure they understand what is expected of them. I know I am a co-commish in a league that seems like I’m the actual commish, but I know my limits. Trades involving future picks would be an important duty. Ensure they understand that owners must pay the commish or the money platform first. It can be a significant relief to you as a commish.
Rule #7 – Consistenty to look for changes
Every year you should ask the league if there are any rules they’d want to see brought up. I do a Google form in all my leagues with potential rule changes to be voted on. It keeps the league engaged and can even bring more fun to the league with new rules. Setting up a Google form is pretty simple, but make sure you put in a section for their name so you can keep track. I prefer a 75% approval on league rules with 9 of 12 owners. If it is a league-changing rule like switching from 1QB to SF, it should almost be 100% or 11 of 12 owners.
Rule #8 – Be Level-Headed/Don’t Tolerate Toxic Behavior
This is more of a mental rule for being a commish. Don’t be a rude commish; that’s how you lose other owners’ trust and willingness to play in your league. It’s essential to keep a level head even with another owner barking up like a dog. If you do that, you’ll better see when there is a problem in your league that you need to fix. If you are respectful, hopefully, your other owners are too. Don’t be afraid to kick out any toxic owners from the leagues. A good example is an owner talking the wrong kind of shit or throwing the balance of the league with terrible trades that feel intentional. I’ve learned from experience that it’s better to kick them and give whatever money back and move on because keeping the league’s longevity is the most important.
Rule #9 – Ace the Start up
First appearances matter! If you come in as confident and have their shit together commish, owners will know this will be a good league. Make sure you have all the rules laid out for them and what is expected. Do the start-up draft in a fun/unique way to get the league excited. I always found that a Debry-style league gets everyone involved early on and talking. Debry style is when you create a random order and then allow the owners to choose their spots in both rookie and veteran drafts. You can have 1.01 and 1.08 or 1.12 and 1.03. It mixes things up. Many enjoy having the rookies mixed into the draft, but the more drafts, the more fun, in my opinion.
Rule #10 – Make it Fun
Make the league fun for everyone! Doing little things that get the group involved or talking about the league is great. Something I do is have my league history of total wins and losses from the regular season and playoffs. I also showed when new owners came and left and rated the league championships each season to see who was the best champion. I have also shown who had the best and worst rookie drafts. Show the league rankings vs. sites like Dynasty Nerds DynastyGM, who the experts like the best. You can even do a league video breaking down a recap of the prior, which can be very fun.
I hope this set of rules was helpful for you if you want to start your league. You can always find me on the Dynasty Nerds Discord channel or Twitter @coachstevenp if you have any commish questions because I’ve probably seen it all.