Keeping Fantasy Football Fun

club-banner_wpBy The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson

Drafting players. Analyzing stats. Setting lineups. Counting cash. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Many fantasy football leagues follow this exact pattern. Over the course of your league’s history, some covering a decade or more, it becomes pretty monotonous. Yawn. Snore. Nap time. Where’s the fun?

I’m sure many of you can relate to the story I’m about to tell. A bunch of old college buddies and I had a league going for close to ten years. I was the commissioner for a long time. I tried to usher in a few things to bring us together, like offline drafts to get us all in person – the first year we had all ten members in person and every year after that we never had more than nine – and I later introduced a keeper format. The keepers were a little harder since some members weren’t with us every single year, but for the most part, people were on board with it.

But even with all the changes to mix it up a little, the league just became dull. I passed on commissioner duties one year when my schedule just wouldn’t allow me to dedicate the necessary time needed to run the league. What followed led to the downfall and folding of our league.

As with many fantasy football leagues, we had a buy-in we used to help increase the competition. When the new commissioner took over, he was less forgiving with people’s desire to pay their league fees at the end of the season. He said we’re all grown men and when someone says when something is due, it should be delivered by that date.

Needless to say, this started to drive a wedge into the league. Some of us felt that we were all friends and you can count on us to deliver. Other felt the same way as the new commissioner. I understood both sides of it but since I wasn’t the commissioner anymore, my job was simply to follow the rules at hand.

The next year, my schedule freed up and I resumed my duties as commissioner with a burning desire to reunite the league and make it fun again. Running a league with that kind of mission statement is a lot harder when guys in the league have wives and children or full time jobs that limit their accessibility. Add in the fact that many of us no longer lived in the same city and it shortly became known I was fighting a losing batter.

A year later, the league folded.

One of the guys started a new league with a larger buy-in and put all the rules on the table from the start, which made it easier for everyone to get on board. But it’s just same old fantasy.

Where’s the fun?

One of the things I love so much about being in the Skrip Club is the camaraderie. These are people that I first met once I joined this league. I know less about them then some of my closest friends. But we laugh, we joke, we tease each other and their never-ending hope is to one day get the last laugh against me. (They won’t, but don’t tell them that and take their dreams away.)

The key to having fun while playing fantasy football against people you’ve known for a long time or with people you just met is to treat it like a trip to Las Vegas: what goes on in the league and on the message boards, stays there.

Don’t take things personally. Don’t be afraid to talk trash. Own it if you lose. Work some trades and be open to trading. But don’t be a pushover. Love football and love playing fantasy football.

That’s the key. Don’t play just because you and your friends have always played together. Play because you want to and they want to.

Trust me. It’ll make your time spent in the league and with your friends that much more enjoyable. Unless The Commish wins your own league more than you. Not quite as fun in the end.