DraftHelp.com HOW TO Series

The following articles are meant to aid you in starting and running a fun and fair Fantasy Sports League.

HowTo Start a League

HowTo Create a Constitution

HowTo Build a Scoring System

HowTo Judge a Fair Trade

HowTo Run an On-Line Draft

HowTo Add Value to Your Draft


HOW TO: Start a Fantasy League
by Nathan Noy

If you are considering starting your own league then you must first ask yourself a few basic questions:

  1. Do I want to do a league for money or just for enjoyment?   Free leagues can be fun, but there’s nothing quite like putting a little money where your mouth is.

  2. Do I want to only be in a league with people I know?  It’s great if you know several other people willing to do a league.  However, if you are not that lucky you still have plenty of options.  Your best option may be joining a free league through Yahoo.

  3. What role will the Internet play in my league?  Gone are the days when the league commissioner did all of the stats by hand and passed them out once a week.  We live in the 21st Century, where we want it fast and we want it now. With the Internet we are able to accomplish this.

  4. Does the league need a stat service?  If you are not using a free Yahoo or Sandbox league the answer to this question is most likely yes.  However, there are many sites that have great services based on your needs. Check out our listing of Stat Service Sties

  5. What type of league do I want?  You have a lot of options here as you can choose from standard roto, 5x5 roto, fantasy points, head to head points, and head to head roto just to name a few.  I would suggest you do a little research and pick the style you feel would be most enjoyable.

  6. What kind of draft do I want?  Your basic choices are auction or draft; there are variations that include sealed bid among others.  I would suggest a draft as the easiest option for a new league, however auction is the way the game was originally intended to be played.  If you do decide to use a draft there are two things you must do:

  1. SET A TIME LIMIT.  No one should ever need more than one minute to make a pick.  Establish the rule up front and start letting others move ahead if someone is slowing up your draft.  Rest assured that there is at least one person at every draft who will want to make it last 14 hours.

  2. Use serpentine. The team that gets the last pick in the odd number rounds should get the 1st pick in the even number rounds if you are starting a new league.

Before you read any further, if you are a complete novice I would suggest you consider Yahoo as your first option.  Both services allow you to set up a free league, establish your league rules, and even run your draft from their site via a list or live draft.

If at this point you have answered all of the above questions, and you have decided what your league will consist of, then you only have two major issues left to consider:

  1. Get reliable people involved.  You have no idea how people will simply not show up on draft day or will roll in 30 minutes to an hour late on draft day.  Many people also quit in mid-May if their team is near the bottom of the league or end up never paying all of their league fees.  MAKE SURE the people you invite to do your league are reliable people.

  2. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT!  Put it ALL in writing.  Lay every rule out on paper BEFORE the draft.  Sure it’s a ton of work, but you have no idea how helpful it can be later in the season.  Do a little research as to what rules you need, you can even e-mail me at nnoy@drafthelp.com for some ideas.  A few that I would be sure to include are:

  1. FEES AND PRIZES.  What is the entry fee, how much are transactions, and most importantly how do you divide the pool when the season is over?

  2. DEADLINES.  Make sure everyone is quite aware of all the transaction and trading deadlines.

  3. SCORING SYSTEM AND DRAFT DAY FORMAT.  Be sure that everyone understands how the league will be scored and how the draft will be conducted.

  4. POWER OF COMMISSIONER TRADE VETO.  This could be the most important rule of all.  You never know when the guy in last place may decide to trade Pedro to his best friend for Rich Becker.  Remember the goal of every league has to be equity, everyone should have a fair shot at winning, obviously allowing unbalanced trades can ruin a league and cheat someone out of a first-place finish.

Refer to our article on HOW TO: Create a Constitution for more information.

 If you decide you want to use the Internet to run your draft then check out HOW TO: Run an On-Line Draft.  Good luck this season, and don’t forget that no matter how serious some of us may take it, it’s only fantasy baseball.