Strategy Sessions

Leaving Your League Gracefully

If fantasy sports are addicting, dynasty leagues are like freebasing with a former disco star in the back of a stretch limo and you don’t realize how far you’ve fallen until you wake up after the season having made some terrible decisions. It’s time to admit you bottomed out and cut yourself off.

There are lots of reasons to leave a league: changes in your life, drama, overcommitment, burnout. Regardless of the reasons you might be considering bowing out, there are ways to do it gracefully without burning bridges or hurting the long-term health of the league.

Admit Your Feelings

If you’re considering leaving your league, the most important thing you can do is admit it. If you know you’re not planning to come back, let your commissioner know right now. If you’re not sure, let your commissioner know that as well. If your league has open communication either via chat, email, or message board, let your league-mates know that you’re out or on the fence. When you admit where you are, you give your commissioner and/or league-mates an opportunity to respond. Maybe they’ll convince you that it’s not you, it’s them, and they can change. Maybe (more likely) there will be some feelings but the split will be amicable and everyone will be able to stay friends after.

Leave It Better Than You Found It

If you’re leaving a dynasty team in the offseason, it’s unlikely you’re abandoning a champion. Your team might suck, maybe you didn’t touch it since May. You still have a chance to make things right by leaving your team in a solid shape for the next owner.

Don’t Trade

If you’ve told your league that you’re on the way out, the next thing that will happen is someone will make an offer for your best pieces. You’ve made a decision to leave the team, those aren’t your pieces anymore. Don’t accept any trades, and let the teams making proposals know that you aren’t going to consider offers.

Offer to Help

If you have any ability to recommend new team owners, do so. If your league has weird rules and complicated politics, document what you know for the new owner and give your notes to the commissioner to hand off to the new owner. If there are critical offseason dates, either completely hand off control and step away from the team to let someone else keep the ship running, or offer to stick around until a new owner is found and remain as engaged as possible. If you do offer to stick around, make sure you do so.

Be Available

Stepping away from your dynasty league will give you hours, days, weeks back. The least you can do is make yourself available to the commissioner/s and/or new owner/s to answer questions or help with the transition as needed. Answering a few emails will take a lot less time than managing your full team.

What If You’re A Leader?

Leaving a dynasty league as a manager can be tough. What if you’re the commissioner or a critical leader in your league? The most important thing you can do is follow the tips above: don’t stick around out of a feeling of obligation. If you can’t give the league the attention it deserves, cut yourself out.

If your league has a constitution and that constitution says anything about the transfer of power, follow it to the letter. As a leader/commissioner, your role is to ensure the rules are followed even if that’s the only level of involvement you’re able to maintain.

If you can step down as a leader but stick around as a manager, your history with the league can make the transition to a new leader easier. If you have to step away completely, leave the league in capable hands and try not to sweat it.

The ultimate purpose of fantasy sports is fun. If the game has stopped being fun, or you’re not able to give your team or league the attention it deserves, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Leaving your team better than you found it and allowing a new owner to take over, or allowing the league to absorb your team, will make the rest of the league stronger, and you’ll feel better for having helped.

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Tyler Baber

Tyler Baber

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