Ask The Commish: Season Just Started, Manager Already Not Managing Roster

By Reginald James
Reginald James



I've got a guy in my league who had one or two roster spots unfilled leading almost up to kickoff the last two weeks. I’ve warned him to set his lineup twice already. The season just started. I’m not sure what he’s doing but I don’t want to deal with this all season. How soon before I kick them out? Should I? I already want to. I just don’t want to be guilty of overreacting but I’ve been in leagues where people have done this, and no one said anything. It’s ruins the fun and competition. I always thought if I got my own league I wouldn’t let stuff like that slide and now here I am. I actually read where you talked about having a reserve list. I don’t have that but I do have someone who wanted in, that I can replace them with.


Already? We just got done with Week 2! Now you get to see what all this commissioner stuff is all about, eh? Yes, usually it’s a reverse situation where you have someone who pays attention, managing their team with fervor the early part of the season - until they see they’re not going to win, and then they decide to disappear. The teams that face them once this happens, get a freebie game each week e.g., competing against a starting roster with players on bye week. That’s neither fair nor cool. I get it. You’re right, it can ruin the competition in the league.


First of all, do you have a rule that says managers need to have a full roster for their weekly matchup? I feel you shouldn’t have to tell people that they need to put forward a complete roster. Some commissioners will actually make it a specific rule. Meanwhile in other leagues, you don't have to play with a full roster. That also, is written in the rules. Put this item on your off-season to-do list and decide how you want to address this topic, and whether you want to do something similar next season.


Second, in a way, one could argue you’re tampering when you give him a warning, or a “heads up,” which they might feel he doesn’t deserve. They could point out that if he was going to leave spots open, then he should suffer the consequences. It’s not your place to make him change, or alter his lineup. That’s one way of looking at it. I’m not necessarily taking that position, but I think you can see how others might. As a commissioner, you want to steer clear of situations like this. The optics aren’t good. In other words, it doesn’t look good if you find yourself habitually assisting another manager in this way. Once or twice maybe, but I agree with you, no one should be dealing with something like this all season.


The day someone else forgets to adjust their roster, and they lose, they might wonder why you didn’t help them. If only you had given them a heads up. Maybe it’s your fault they lost. Yes, things can get petty like that real quickly. But, in their defense, you did it for someone else, right? Why not help them out too, oh gracious fantasy commissioner? See how that works?


Next, I agree that you should nip this in the bud quickly. I know you said you weren’t sure what he was doing, and that you already want to kick them out, right? Before you shrug your shoulders and give them the boot, however, have a conversation with them to make sure they understand how this fantasy stuff works. Have they taken the time to read the rules? You and I both know they should’ve. Everyone should be familiar with league rules. It would help for you to know where they stand on this. I don’t know your history with this person. Do you know them personally? Did they join your league through a referral from a friend? What if this is their first time playing? What if it’s their first time playing on the particular platform you’re using?


On the Yahoo! platform, for example, you can preset your roster for each individual week over the course of the whole season. However, if you trade or drop someone, it will affect your future rosters and leave holes in them. You then have to go back and manually make adjustments. Maybe they made waiver moves that triggered that. Maybe they didn’t know this would happen. Find out.


If they’re new, you need to decide if you want to help get them up to speed. Who knows? They may turn out to be a good addition to your league, and a great fantasy player for years to come. On the flip side, if they are experienced and have played before but they were just doinking around and not paying attention, then I’d be more inclined like you, to replace them. They should know better. Make Week 3 their last chance to get it right, and be ready to call up the other person you know.


Your task is to find out if he’s a slacker, a newbie, or a delinquent. Then go forward from there. I would just make sure you have all the information you need before you make your decision.




I took over a league after Week 1. It looks like the last commissioner forgot there’s a Week 18, and our playoff schedule is still set to end in Week 16. The first playoff round is Week 14 and that’s still a bye week. No one has said anything to me, but I noticed. I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other, a bye week is just one more thing to deal with competitvely. I’m not sure if I should change it now, or let it stand. 


Maybe the members of your inherited league know and it’s not an issue. Maybe that’s why no one has said anything. It’s possible. I’d first ask league members to see if this is true. If so, you’re good. If not, you could put it up to a league vote to decide what to do, or just make the decision yourself and move the playoff schedule up one week (or two) and be done.


You could also take the opportunity to consider getting rid of a playoff altogether. Maybe your league players would like that. It’s only Week 3 - here’s the opportunity. Maybe the league has a playoff because the person who set it up just did  “what everyone else is doing.” Guess what? There are leagues who don’t have a playoff. We do not have a playoff in my league, and we'll never have one, but that’s another discussion for another day.


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