Within any group, say, a Fantasy Football League, personality differences will surface. Keeping a league or group together has less to do with managing individuals than with accepting, even appreciating them. The right mix of seemingly incompatible, but tolerant characters can make the difference between a short-term league and one that endures. Here is sampling of your typical team owners:
No league can survive, and most won’t get off the ground without a leader. The Commissioner brings everyone to the table, and with blood, sweat and swearing, keeps them together. “The Commish” arranges, organizes, monitors, enforces, records, and keeps the peace. If your Commissioner is worthy of the unpaid title, he also procures a wall-sized poster board with multi-colored, preprinted labels for draft day.
The Commish sends year-round email reminders to keep everyone focused, and solicit rules suggestions. His life force then slips out between his grinding teeth as all the people who ignored his every email assail him with their critical concerns five minutes before the draft.
For his efforts, the Commissioner is rewarded at year’s end with the honor of chasing down his deadbeat friends for their league fees.
His primary concern is promoting fairness through regulation and rules changes. The league runs smoothly from year to year, and the Democrat gets as much enjoyment out of it as anyone, but subject to his political leanings and undiagnosed ADD, not speaking out for the masses causes the Democrat insufferable anxiety.
Disappointed by the league’s inflexibility, the Democrat still fares rather well in the standings, for despite an ineffable social inclination, the Democrat has a head for sports. If he put the kind of energy into his team that he regularly invests trying to initiate a yearly draft-day sit-in, the Democrat would be as difficult to beat as he is to listen to.
The Carpetbagger moved out of state some years back, but as a friend, and league participant, he is irreplaceable. If he does not get himself a reasonable hands-free device, however, this may be his last draft. The draft takes about three times longer than it needs to as every pick is followed by a distracted, “Who?” coming from the Carpetbagger’s end of the line.
A favored drafting position is right after the Carpetbagger, due to his loyalty toward his hometown Minnesota Vikings. The Carpetbagger rarely screws up your pick as he opts for Visanthe Shiancoe, way too early, delivering Reggie Wayne to you for a song. The Carpetbagger knows sports, though his disappointment is manifold, as his league success is tied inexorably to that of his beloved Vikings.
Gordon Gekko shares the Carpetbagger’s Viking allegiance (they are brothers), but Gordon cares a little more about winning. To be accurate, Gordon hates to lose. No small number of Vikings do make their way onto Gordon’s roster, though he is not religious about it, and will forsake the purple uniform for talent, all things being equal in his mind.
Gordon Gekko is the veritable draft-opposite of his brother, and can be counted on to blow up your picks. Without provocation, Gordon will take his fourth wide receiver with his sixth pick if he senses interest among the other GMs. The resultant draft-day roster is a patchwork of players that everyone else wants, and the holes it contains would grieve Mike Ditka.
Gordon’s draconian methods carry well into the season; his regular forays into free agency carving a gruesome path of devastation. With perseverance and disdain for his fellow man Gordon easily recovers from his draft-day shenanigans, certainly quicker than those whose teams he helped ruin. Better at Fantasy Football than making friends, Gordon Gekko does rather well in the league, and that’s just super.
The Micro Manager
Consistently leads the league in transactions, and holds the record for earliest player move in history the year he dropped a Quarterback on draft day. The Micro Manager knows all the bye weeks and turf conditions, but keeps messing up his roster because, for reasons known only to him, he is obsessed with the Miami Dolphins.
The Micro Manager won’t accept your trades, but will snatch up everyone you let go if only to give you pause. He shuffles his roster with impunity, and will pick up, drop, and reacquire a player in the same week without remorse.
The Micro Manager is good for the league, as few things are more damaging to a voluntary pursuit than inactivity or apathy. Diligence does not necessarily translate into success, however, and the Micro Manager does a lot less winning than one befitting his sports acumen (see Miami Dolphins, above).
Does not reply to email. Does not respond to or participate in trades. Does not engage in transactions and contributes very little to the league. But the Absentee pays his league fees with unflagging reliability, and is thus indispensable.
He does research, but won’t discuss his findings. He brings magazines and printouts to the draft, but won’t let you look at them. The Absentee keeps his mental and physical distance on draft day, and without warning takes a kicker in the seventh round. He has a strategy that he won’t let you question, then consistently assembles and maintains a truly questionable lineup, which just as consistently fails to produce wins.
If he wasn’t a dear friend, you might wonder why he signs up for the league every year. By the same token, if you weren’t his dear friends, he wouldn’t.
Still waters run deep, and this quiet, calm, kindly member of your league has a lot going on beneath the surface. He is a nice guy, a really nice guy. He resides upon that level of nice to which we can only aspire, and so it doesn’t even bother you to admit he knows more than you do about sports.
You don’t want to draft anywhere near him. Every player he picks in front of you will be one you desperately want, as every player you let fall to him will be one you desperately should have taken.
Should you drop an underperformer during the season, if that player makes his way onto Deep Water’s roster, believe that you made a mistake. If Deep Water waives someone, ignore him. When Deep Water beats you twice this season, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t bother you.
The Town Crier
Every league has that one owner who takes it upon himself to entertain everyone. Of interest is how this guy doesn’t seem to care that no one asked him to.
The downtime from Tuesday through Sunday morning drives the Town Crier crazy. He cannot let a day or a player move pass without comment, and comment he does. From scathing editorials, to simple, gratuitous insults, the message board and every team owner’s inbox runneth over with the Crier’s unsolicited commentary.
If one of your starters has a bad week, he will tell you about it. If you sit a player that scores, he’ll kill you for that. And Madden forbid you drop a player who then puts up some numbers, he’s likely to spray paint your shame on the hood of your car.
Wisely, you have agreed over the years to let the Crier do his thing without resistance. The downside to making a fuss, i.e., a seven-part expository on the injustice inherent in the world, far outweighs the minor inconvenience of deleting a few hundred email messages.
Which one are you?
For more Strategy advice, read the Fantasy Football Obsession.