From the GetSportsInfo.com archives:
Figure out how many people you could potentially get for your league. Ideally you’ll want anywhere from 8 to 12 owners. On top of that, it is usually nice to have a person or two as a backup (someone you think may want to get in, but you haven’t told them about the league) in case one of your confirmed owners backs out. Any less than 8 owners and the teams end up too stacked, and it takes less skill to win. On the other hand, any more than 12 owners and the league is too thin. Owners start to lose interest when they have to draft backup fullbacks to fulfill their starting running back position. By following the 8 to 12 rule, you’ll have successfully completed the first step in starting your fantasy league, and increased the odds that your league will have the best chance at staying competitive throughout the season.
Find the right people to play in your league. The easiest, and probably most fun people to start a league with are your friends, family, or people from work. The more interaction that you have with the other owners in the league, then the more trash talking that occurs, and in turn the more fun everyone has. Having owners who are experts at fantasy football is not a necessity. The goal of a fantasy league, especially when you are just starting out, is to have fun. As you get more experienced and knowledgeable, then that is when you start flexing your preverbal muscles on how much you know. If you choose good owners for your league, then hopefully you’ll be able to continue the league every year.
If somehow you moved to Latvia or Burma and don’t have any friends or family that are into fantasy football, then by all means go to the Internet and start a league. Many companies will allow you to create your own league, and then make it public so that anyone else in the world can join. By being the commissioner in one of these leagues, you can set the rules ahead of time and the company will automatically make sure that all of the owners follow them (ex. the number of players on the roster, or transactions limits). The biggest drawback of starting an Internet league with owners that you do not know is that there is no guarantee that all of the owners will stay active and keep track of their team. In a perfect world this would never happen. However, many people don’t share the same moral philosophy when it comes to fantasy football. Having a lack of participation can quickly kill your league.
It is now time to set up the style of play. The first thing that the commissioner needs to decide rules for scoring they want to incorporate into a head-to-head league.
In a head-to-head league, each statistic that a player on your team gets that week equates into a certain amount of points. One common scoring system is 50 yards passing equals 1 point, 25 yards rushing or receiving equals 1 point, all touchdowns equal 6 points, and interceptions count for –2. Obviously there are many variations of this scoring system, but in the end the goal is to try and have every position have the potential to score an equal amount of points (excluding kicker and defense). For example, if a player rushes for 100 yards and 1 TD then he would get 10 points. Each player’s points on your team is added up and put up against the total points of another team. The team with more points gets the victory, and the team with fewer points gets the loss. Each week the records of every team carry over, and determine the standings.
Before the season starts the commissioner determines how many teams will get a playoff berth, and a shot to win the fantasy title. It works the same way that the NFL does their playoffs. Once the NFL season gets to week 15 or 16 (determined by the commissioner) the fantasy playoffs begin. If there are enough teams in the league, then the commissioner may want to reward the teams with the top two records a bye in the first round. From there the third ranked team will face the sixth ranked team, and the fourth ranked team will face the fifth ranked team. The team that wins that week moves on to the next round of the playoffs. This continues until there is one ultimate winner.
When creating a fantasy league there are many different types of leagues that an owner can choose. No certain way of playing is any better than another. It is up to the owners in the league, and the commissioner to determine which style of play fits their league the best.