Tips for improving your fantasy league: Team power rankings, recaps and more

Fantasy sports are in our DNA at Yahoo, and we know it’s your passion, too. We’re always looking for ways to make our award-winning experience even better and in this case we’re getting help from one of you, our amazing legion of fantasy players, to make leagues even better.

Commissioner’s Corner is a multi-part series meant to provide tips to keep your league engaged all season long and tap even more into the fun that comes with playing fantasy. The author, Justin C. Cliburn, has been the dedicated commissioner of his Yahoo Fantasy Football league the OIL since 2006. While it’s a unique league, each and every one of your leagues is special and brings friends, families and co-workers closer together.

Part 8: Keeping your league engaged all season

A good fantasy football commissioner fills three important roles. First of all, you’re a manager chasing a championship like anyone else in your league because, if the commish isn’t giving it their all, it sets a bad tone for the rest of the league. Secondly, your job is to keep the peace among team owners and enforce the rules. And, lastly, you are the voice of the league as a beat reporter. In that role, your job is to cover your league as if it’s the most important league in the world . . . because it is.

Remember that the goal for any league should be meaningful participation that continues through the final week of the season. But, if you want your league to give maximum effort, you’ve got to set the standard. Why should your leaguemates care if it looks like you don’t? To promote meaningful participation all season, you’ve got to engage the league regularly, and there are multiple ways to accomplish that.

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Part of what makes the NFL season so enjoyable is the media coverage leading up to game day. The Yahoo matchup recaps break down your latest win or loss. And everything from there on out leads up to the next week’s action. Think of your Yahoo Commissioner’s Note (or, even better, your own league website) as the sports media covering your league. There are plenty of ways to cover your league like a pro, and Twitter is a great resource to find leagues that set the standard.

The Dynasty Fantasy Football League publishes a weekly post reviewing the previous week and previewing each upcoming matchup, complete with action images of the week before and professional-looking logos.

My league, The OIL, has 42 teams spread across three conferences, so previewing all 21 weekly matchups is a little unwieldy. That’s why we instead publish a Game of the Week post to preview the most consequential matchup in each conference, complete with logo and uniform matchups and the tale of the tape.

The OPR referenced in our Game of the Week post is our power ranking, which is perfect for today’s analytics-obsessed sports fan. Power rankings allow you to compare apples to apples on a week-to-week basis and provide another data set for managers to argue over throughout the season. Power rankings provide a clearer picture of league superiority and tell the story of a season more than the final standings ever can.

The thing is, when you treat each week and each ranking like it matters, your leaguemates pick up on it. It’s contagious. But we live in an instant-gratification society, and season-long fantasy leagues require a months-long wait for reward . . . and typically only one team reaps a reward. That’s why weekly awards are so important to some leagues.

Some leagues announce weekly winners in pre-set categories like highest score, largest margin of victory, and highest score in a losing effort. Other leagues take it a step further and award a small portion of entry fees to the winners in those categories. This allows someone other than the champion to recoup at least part of their dues and provides motivation for managers with no chance of making the playoffs (and winning a championship).

Remember: your goal is to have every manager give their best effort until the final whistle of the season. Why? Because you don’t want your No. 1 seed to be the manager whose schedule down the stretch included the three teams that had already given up on the season. Make your top seed earn it by ensuring every week’s opponent has something to play for and your league will be better for it.

[Fantasy Football player rankings: How could drafts play out?]

Helpful hint: A big part of in-season engagement is making sure you and your leaguemates are prepared each week to try to get a win. That means making pickups, debating matchups and setting your final lineup. Lean on the Yahoo Research section as well as their award-winning fantasy analysts to keep up emerging trends and rankings.

Up Next: In Part 9 of the series, we’ll discuss league communication.

More tips for improving your fantasy league:

Starting with the basics
Why bylaws matter
Building franchises
Recognizing the champ
Tapping into rivalries
Fun ways to set draft order
Make your draft memorable

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