So you’ve decided to take the plunge, you like or potentially love football, and want to take that love to the next level–but how do you start a fantasy football league? By starting a fantasy league, it is a great way to do these things, as it allows you change as you grow in your skill/knowledge while keeping it fun for the whole league! When starting a league, there are a few things that you will want to determine as you get your league up and running.
How Do You Start a Fantasy Football Draft? Step by Step
1. What type of league are you going to start? A redraft (where you redraft the entire league each season) or a dynasty/keeper (basically keeping the entire team, or just a certain number of players each year, where the rest would go back into the draft pool). If you’ve never done fantasy football before, redraft can be a nice way to dip your feet in and see if you and your league-mates like it or not. After the season, you can always decide to change to a full dynasty and either keep the team you drafted or completely redraft the new dynasty league. Within a dynasty league, you can choose to keep your entire team, or just a certain amount of players, often just called a “keeper league” instead of a full dynasty.
2. Are you the only commissioner? Are you going to have multiple commissioners? This is a bit more tricky. If you’re all new to fantasy, it may be smart to have 1-3 commissioners to make sure situations are handled properly, or at the very least, to just have decision makers to talk through the nuts and bolts of your new league. It’s not uncommon for there to only be one commissioner who makes the decisions, creates the rules/bylaws/scoring setup etc., but that tends to be someone who’s done it before and is comfortable handling all the minor details of league management.
3. Scoring setup: You’ll want to decide how deep the league is in terms of whether is it a standard league (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1TE, 1 Flex RB/WR/TE) with standard starting positions, or if you want to do a SuperFlex, where you can start 2 quarterbacks, or IDP, where you draft and play individual defensive players. The type of starting lineups can help dictate scoring setup, but again, this is something that can grow and change as you and your league mates get settled into your new league!
4. How many teams will there be in this league? Many many moons ago, 10 teams were pretty normal, but most of the time today you’ll see at least 12 teams. The cool thing about starting at 12 is you can add owners as the league continues, and you also can start the league with as many teams as you want. Here at RotoHeat, we have some 96 team leagues (which are super deep, with multiple conferences and all sorts of wildness!) but for this article, we will focus on keeping it a bit more simple. In a standard redraft or dynasty league, it’s not uncommon to have 12-16 teams. As you are deciding, just keep in mind the more teams, the more strategy in roster building will need to be undertaken, as there are only 32 starting quarterbacks in the league!
5. Cost and hosting service: When I first started fantasy football, I kept track of things with paper and pencil, but with the change in technology years ago, sites like MyFantasyLeague.com, Sleeper, ESPN and Yahoo (among others) all have created fantasy platforms with varying levels of complexity. If you’re doing a redraft league, any of the bigger name brands are perfectly fine (and some free to use) to help keep your overhead low (if you choose to run the league free you could do so). If you are going to charge to be in this fantasy league (which is a good idea, because if people have skin in the game, they tend to give it their all!), you can start low–say $20 bucks a team–and the winner gets the largest share, 2nd place gets the next largest share, and then you can determine if anyone else gets anything (ie: division winners get their money back, losers playoff bracket, etc.).
6. Create a league constitution and bylaws: It’s best to have a written document that explains everything from league costs and due dates to roster sizes, scoring setup, tanking (in a dynasty, this is where you purposely submit a bad lineup to get a higher draft pick), when the draft starts, and anything else the league may need to know. On your leagues website, there’s typically a message board and you can post these bylaws there. This way, everyone in the league has access to them if need be.
7. Setup your league on the website you chose: This will include inviting the owners to take over their teams, setting the scoring, draft start date, and any other league configurations the website you chose has for you to setup (all the sites can be different, some more complex than others *Cough* MyFantasyLeague…)
How Do You Start a Fantasy Football Draft? Conclusion
Once you have done these steps, it’s doing your prep, figuring out your draft board (or just checking here at RotoHeat.com for our rankings) and getting ready for your league to start! If you ever have questions, the team at RotoHeat is here to help! You can hit me up on Twitter or jump into our Facebook and Discord communities where you can get your questions answered by the whole team! Thanks again for checking out How Do You Start a Fantasy Football League!