10 vs 12

I will never claim “I know it all” when it comes to fantasy football. I do consider myself “accomplished” and “experienced” when it comes to drafting and managing a team. On the flip side I think I am strong commissioner, knowing the ins and outs of how to successfully run a league. I think our league, which celebrated 28 years this season is a testament to that. Unfortunately I think I failed myself and the other 11 owners this season when I took the reigns of our work league.

For many of those 28 years we were an 8-team league. Early in the 1990s we decided to expand the league and bumped league by 2 teams for a total of 10. This year in our work league as defending champion I was in charge of setting the league up and running it. In most respects I feel I failed.

First off we used ESPN to run our league. Nothing against their league software, it was fairly easy to navigate and set the league up. Unfortunately never running a 12-team league I structured the league as if I were running a 10-team league. While the problems were not initially glaring, as the season wore on it became evident where the break down was.

First off we used the standard 1/10 and 1/25 scoring with 6 points for all TDs and 4 points for TD passes. We drafted 16 rounds, for a total of 192 players. Needless to say by the end of the draft some teams were reaching for players. I suspect a few teams had not done their homework and prepared well enough. Even after the draft the problems weren’t evident.

Once the season kicked off the waiver wire became heavily used. Never being a big fan of the wire, I like teams to be built on trades and the draft. I feel the wire can easily be abused to build your team if you have drafted players that don’t pan out or get injured. With that said, it wasn’t but 8 or 9 years ago we adopted the waiver wire to the league I manage, while not happy with it, many of the owners do like it. The same holds true for the work league I managed this season.

The failure came when I set the league up. If I knew (which I should have) just how thin talent would get on the waiver wire, I probably would have implemented maximum players at each position. No reason for some teams to stockpile 4 QBs and other teams to pack on 6 RBs (even though I was one of those owners). None of these owners were playing “outside of the rules” and were just using them to their advantage. In order to keep some talent on the wire I think the league would have been better off with a maximum of 2 QB, 4 RB, 4 RB, 2 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST. This would drop the total draft to 14 rounds or 168 players leaving a well equipped player pool from which to draw from.

These two actions alone would have changed the dynamics of the league as owners would need to make important decisions during the bye weeks to abandon a kicker or D/ST in favor or a starter. I am sure there would have been teams to hold on to their top defense and take a zero, which could result in the loss of considerable points. Kickers, outside of David Akers, who is the top scorer in one of my leagues are only separated by 20 points, positions #2 through #9. Unless scoring were weighted more heavily for kickers, finding a bye week replacement or rotating kickers on a weekly basis won’t make or break your fantasy team.

The last issue was the fact that leagues like Yahoo and ESPN allow a commissioner to “freeze” players draft in the first rounds and not allow them to be dropped. As luck would have it nobody in our league did that, but there were some “questionable” trades made. My policy as a commissioner has always been to approve all trades, figuring owners will want to get the best deal for their team. Unfortunately I don’t know the owners at work as well as the friends I have had in my league for 25+ years. Next year it will come down to each other putting a vote in to veto a trade. That move alone this year would have had repercussions on outcome of the H2H season.

Come next year if I am asked to run my league at work again I will change some of the variable, if not all of them. Hell, I might even make it a decimal scoring system, just to see how well that works. But looking back on this 12-team league it was a learning experience. While no one really cares how I did the dynamics are considerably different when you expand your league from 10 teams to 12 teams.