As fantasy sports grows in popularity, fans are overwhelmed with choices on the web: Which site is best for managing a league’s number-crunching? Where to get the most up-to-date and useful player news? Which has the biggest variety of games? Which is the most user-friendly? Perhaps most important, which has the best commissioner product?


A fantasy sports league commissioner is the one who establishes the league, by setting its rules and inviting other users to join as team owners. During the season, the commissioner may be responsible for approving trades and other transactions, and for adjudicating disputes among fantasy team owners. His task is made infinitely more manageable by a website having a strong commissioner product.


Here are some requirements for a fantasy sports league commissioner:


• Teams flexibility: The commissioner must be able to create a league with an arbitrary number of fantasy teams. A useful feature is the ability to organize them into divisions.


• Draft flexibility: Different methods of conducting the league’s draft must be available. An Offline Draft option allows the commissioner to manually enter the players drafted at a “real” meeting of fantasy owners. A Live Draft provides the league with a platform to conduct online drafts and auctions. Especially helpful for novices is an Automated Draft:


• Schedule flexibility: There is no reason why a fantasy league can’t begin and end at any points during a sport’s season, since a good fantasy sports website maintains statistics on a game-by-game basis. A fantasy league can last just a month or even a week, if the commissioner so chooses.


• Roster flexibility: A commissioner must be able to specify fine-grained roster limitations. For example, he might decree that each fantasy football team have between 10 and 13 players, of which at most three may be on injury reserve and two may be other reserves. Of those, one or two must be quarterbacks, two must be defenders, and one must be an NFL team’s Special Team as a whole. Further fine-tuning can be done per position, for example by specifying the maximum number of active running backs per team roster, and the minimum number of games played a back should have in order for his statistics to count. Since this can be a complex task, the website should offer preset roster configurations.


• Scoring flexibility: At its simplest, this involves selecting which statistics count for the fantasy sports league. But the software must offer fine-tuning options such as assigning weights per statistic, and varying fantasy points by range.


• Transactions: There ought to be flexibility in setting rules for trades, claims, and other lineup moves: There may be deadlines, maximum numbers of moves, trade voting systems, free agent bidding, waiver wire procedures, and so on.


• Keeper leagues: Fantasy leagues should be allowed to continue from one year to the next, by allowing teams to keep a configurable number of players from their rosters. A nice-to-have is a league history tracking feature.


• Salaries & Contracts: A commissioner should be able to customize salaries and contracts with such options as: salary caps, custom contracts, and automated contract and salary updates.


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