Commish HQ: Learning From Your Fellow Commissioners

By Reginald James
Reginald James

Two years ago, I wrote a piece inspired by a question that Scott Fish posted on Twitter, which was:


“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 decided to answer the question myself and share that with readers. Every once in a while, I’ll stop answering DMs or emails, or dropping Commish HQ pieces, and I’ll share a personal experience that I’ve had running my own league (Cair Paravel). My hope is that readers will find something amongst my words that will help them with the management of their own league, or be entertained at the very least.


When I wrote the original response piece, the idea was to follow up the next season and share if I actually implemented any of the new rules, and what happened as a result. I imagined there would be an annual revisit of sorts. Well, I forgot, and didn’t write anything. However, I remembered this year! Here’s the original piece, “Getting Inspiration from Others.” I shall now try to pick up where I never started in the first place. No better time than now to start.


The Purpose


I believe that commissioners should always be looking for ways to improve their league. More than anything else, I look for ways to keep things competitive, or to make them even more competitive if I can. I don’t want to add some crazy rule just for the sake of changing something simply because I can. You may know a commissioner like this. They’re usually boasting about their “crazy league” unprompted. I believe that rule changes or gameplay modifications should be grounded in reality, with some sense of need involved. The goal is to make things better. For example, over a number of seasons you may notice your league doesn’t trade a lot. You may decide to move the deadline up because no one uses the extra time anyway. This wouldn’t seem like much of a radical move on your part. It doesn’t have to be. That’s the point. Maybe the change will cut down on how much time managers will have to procrastinate and they’ll end up trading a little more. Maybe nothing will change. You’re simply responding to the evolution of the league that you’re running.


You can find inspiration on Twitter, from a caller you hear on a fantasy radio show, or from a podcast. You might discover a commissioner out there that’s doing something in their league that you’ve never thought of that may work in yours. I feel that’s the whole point of Fish’s question. Get in the habit of taking notes. Write down anything that you find interesting. You can review in the offseason and decide then if what you've got is good for you and your league.


What rule did you hear about people doing this year …


Back in 2021, I came across this rule on Twitter that a commissioner utilized in their league:


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.


I loved the idea when I came across this one, but I thought it would conflict with our keeper league. For example, one manager might drop a QB  that’s lost for the year due to injury. Another manager might pick that same player up, because they might be a viable keeper candidate for the following season. I like this competitive option being available for the players in my league. While I personally think you should be able to stash players on IR as you see fit (as long as they are eligible with the proper desgination), I also thought the constraints that this rule would create would be great for competition. I was torn over this one, and eventually ended up not adding it to the rules.


My list: pending rules and ideas


Because I actually do follow my own advice, I had taken note of three rule changes that I would consider during the offseason, and perhaps adopt for my league in 2022. This is what I had written down:


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


Officially add to the IR Eligible List:


NFI-R  Non-Football Injury (Reserve)

IR-R  Injured Reserve - Designated for Return


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”


Consider changing TFL (tackle for loss) from 3 to 2 points:

I didn’t bring it up for a vote. I just made the change. I announced to the league what I was going to do, of course.


Officially add to the IR Eligible List:

I made the new additions to the list. I did this as well, without a vote.


We even have a caveat that if your keeper gets injured …”:  

I added this to our existing keeper rules


The List for the 2022 Season


Although I didn’t write the 2022 piece as intended, I once again did what I advised other commissioners to do. During the 2022 season, I kept a record of ideas for rules that I thought might be good for my league. When it came time to announce that our league was going live for 2023, this is what was on my list:


• Change the Keeper Submission Deadline


This change would simply marry it up with the last weekend of preseason games, which used to end on Saturday. The NFL now has preseason games scheduled through Sunday. I thought I should move the deadline to coincide with the last set of games, just in case someone's decision hinges on the health or status of players in any of those games. This was a change made without a league vote.


• Offer a league vote to potentially change scoring for kickers


This is what I presented to the league:




3 points for fields goals up to 49 yards

4 points for field goals 50+ yards

Points added for the total yardage of the field goal




• The elimination of 4 points for field goals over 50+ yards. 

• All field goals will be worth 3 points. 

• Points for total yardage remains the same

Please vote either "YES" or "NO" to the following question by 11:59 PM Friday, July 14:

"Should all field goals be worth 3 points?"


The league voted to keep the scoring that we had, with no changes.


• Allow managers to trade draft positions


After the draft order is announced, this rule would now offer managers the immediate option to trade their designated draft position with another manager. A league member had been asking about trading draft picks as well. This move was the one thing I could do within the confines of the Yahoo platform. I added this without a vote from the league.


• IDP Scoring Adjustments


This is the language I used:


• The original intent of adding scoring for the Tackles for Loss (TFL) stat was to help increase the value of positions like DT, DL for example, that often are ignored for rosters.


• I wanted to try and increase the competition among managers over a wider pool of available players.


• Yahoo's initial scoring description was very specific to what constituted a sack vs a tackle for loss, i.e., the stats would be singular in event and not combined


• That has turned out not to be the case resulting in sack scoring ballooning from 3 to 5 points per sack - this was NOT my intention when I added TFL to our scoring.


• My options for bringing things back to par were very limited if I was going to keep TFL at a value higher than a regular tackle, but lower than a sack:




Sack - 3 points

Tackles for Loss - 2 points




Sack - 2 points

Tackles for Loss - 1.5 points


I made the change. This was not up for a vote. I was trying to fix an unintended consequence that I myself had created. For me, it wasn’t up to anyone else’s say as to how that went down.


• League Voting Tie-Breaker


This inclusion, also not up for a vote, was a pretty simple addition: If at any time league voting results in a tie, the champion of the most recent season will cast the additional, or deciding vote to break the tie.


What’s on My Current List?


To be honest, I don’t have anything jotted down at the moment. I haven’t come across anything, or heard an idea that I think I’d want to consider. I do however, wish Yahoo would offer the option of running waivers on Wednesday (Thursday AM). Most likely, this would be a change in the rules that I would have the league vote on. For now, it’s off the table until Yahoo makes a change on their end (by the way, if you want them to add Wednesday waivers, bombard their suggestion page). Who knows what will happen between now and the start of the 2024 season? As I’ve said in the past, I’m not a believer in making changes for change’s sake. Sometimes there isn’t a need to change anything. That may be the case next year, but I always like to encourage my fellow commissioners, to always be on the lookout because ideas can come from anywhere.





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