Commish HQ: Getting Inspiration from Others

By Reginald James
Reginald James

I follow Scott Fish on Twitter and earlier this week he asked the following question:


What rule did you hear about people doing this year (or one you thought of) that you are excited to bring to your league or even a new league next year?


I’m guessing the idea behind him posting the question was to jumpstart a sharing session amongst the denizens of Twitter fantasy. He has a large following so it was pretty interesting to see what peopIe said.


I hope that what I do at Football Diehards also helps in some way to get fantasy commissioners to think about things they can do to make their leagues better, and to improve the experience not only for their league mates, but also for themselves as commissioners.


One thing that I like to recommend to fantasy commissioners, is to keep notes during the season, tracking incidents, both good and bad that occur. They should also log any new ideas i.e., rules or scoring variations that hits their radar. I suggest making short notes with just enough details to help them remember later what was going on in their head at the time. It’s an effortless way to prepare for the upcoming season. You won’t have to sit down months later racking your brain trying to remember “that thing” that you heard about. It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, and when you take a look at your journal during the off-season, you might find some really great ideas to help with your prep work for the pending season.


Later, I’m going to share some examples of what I’ve written down myself. But first, I’m going to answer Scott Fish’s question.


What rule did you hear about people doing this year …


I don’t recall where I came across this particular idea. It was probably on Twitter. In any case, I do know that as soon as I read it, I got excited at the idea at possibly adding it to my league rules, and I wrote it down:


Unless the player is on your roster at the time of being placed on injured reserve, you can’t put them in your IR slot.


In general, I love this idea. However, my primary issue with this rule, is that we have a keeper league. I feel in a keeper league, you should be able to stash anyone you want, always with an eye out for next season. Plan and stash, stash and plan.


As it stands now in my league, when the IR slot isn’t being used for any players on the current roster, folks will go pluck a player from waivers and stash them. I do it myself. Whether the player is someone lost for the season who can potentially be their keeper selection for the next one, or someone out for a number of weeks, a manager gets to determine how they want to utilize that slot.


If I apply this new rule, it will eliminate the stash-and-hope nature of the IR slot. Changing the eligibility, will alter roster management in a big way. I would think that a lot of the players on IR right now in my league wouldn’t be eligible under the new rule.


I like to say that commissioners wear two hats. I believe once a commissioner comes to terms with this, running a league potentially becomes less complicated. Sometimes I have implemented rules in the past that as a player I wasn’t particularly keen about. I will add or modify certain rules anyway because whatever I choose to do as commissioner will always be in the best interest for the league. I take great care to be honest with myself of any bias I may have as a player.


If I put on my hat as a player, there’s no way I want this rule. There is always a player in my IR slot, often with players that came, not from my active roster, but from waivers. I like using it strategically in this way. If I don’t have an active player from my roster on IR, why shouldn’t I take a chance on a player on waivers and stash them? Why leave the slot unused?


However, when I put on my hat as the commissioner, I love this rule because it makes things more competitive. The rule would alter the way we will manage our roster making it roster specific, so to speak, as opposed to a nebulous depository for any player we decided to go pick up.


I’m not sure what I’ll do yet. Of course, when the season is over, I’ll have plenty of time to play the “what if” scenarios out in my head.


My list: pending rules and ideas


Here are some items that I’ll be mulling over in the off-season:


Consider changing TFL (tackle for loss) from 3 to 2 points. We voted on this, so we’d vote again?”


I have an IDP league. I’m contemplating changing the scoring because part of me feels that the defensive players are scoring too many points now. I need to decide if what I perceive to be an imbalance really is. I reminded myself that I think we voted on this, but I’m not sure, so I asked myself the question. I’ll confirm that answer in the offseason.


Officially add to the IR Eligible List:


NFI-R  Non-Football Injury (Reserve)

IR-R  Injured Reserve - Designated for Return


That pesky IR slot! I noticed during the season, that some managers in my league had players in their IR slot with those designations. Yahoo Fantasy does not officially recognize those as being eligible. I feel they should be - at least IR-R should be eligible. I’m not sure about NFI-R. If Yahoo doesn’t make IR-R an eligible IR designation next year, I’m going to modify our rules to include it.


We even have a caveat that if your keeper gets injured in that week leading up to the draft, you have the option to select a different player and there is an additional one-round penalty”


I came across this post on Twitter one day. I like the idea of providing a casualty relief option, but I’m not too excited about the additional penalty round.


I could see adding an additional penalty, if for example, a league allowed managers to change their mind after the official keeper list was locked. That’s on them. However, managers have nothing to do with a player getting injured during the preseason. There’s no question that after the season starts, managers have to figure out how to deal with player loss. That’s part of the game of fantasy football. If you’re trying to lessen the hit a manager takes before the season even begins by allowing them to switch picks, adding another round to the “penalty” is, in my opinion, not the way to do it. I'm leaning toward adopting the rule without the double-round penalty. We''ll see what happens.


Fantasy commissioners should always ask themselves if their league can be improved. I’m not a believer in making changes for change’s sake. Sometimes there isn’t a need to change anything. You don’t always have to be that commissioner looking to flip the league on its head with some crazy new rule. Sometimes a need to modify the structure of a league will come as the league matures. Players get better, the competition dynamics amongst your league members will evolve. Sometimes the rules may need to do the same. In any case, always be on the lookout, ideas can come from anywhere.


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