What are Bylaws in Fantasy Football?
Bylaws in fantasy football are distinct codes of conduct or rules for a league. All league members must agree to the bylaws and abide by them throughout the course of the season. Failure to do so often results in being removed from the league by the commissioner.
Bylaws generally fall into one of five categories: entry, roster/lineups, transactions, drafting and prizes. While bylaws tend to vary from league to league, the most common bylaws are outlined below:
For private leagues, members must receive an invite from the commissioner in order to join the league. In order to join a for-money league, all league members must cover the buy-in cost set forth by the commissioner or host site prior to the draft.
Standard roster bylaws state that each team must have exactly 16 players (includes at least 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 D/ST) and a maximum of 2 players can be placed on injured reserve at one time. Only players officially listed as injured by the NFL can be placed on injured reserve. In addition, weekly lineups cannot be changed after 1 p.m. on Sunday. Thus, once a manager submits the lineup, only the players included in the starting lineup will count towards the team's point total for that week.
Transaction bylaws pertain to both trades and adding/dropping free agents. In order to add a player, a player currently on the roster must be dropped. Players placed on injured reserve do not count as one of the 16 players on a roster, allowing owners to temporarily add a player until the injured player returns to game action. Recently dropped players are placed on waivers, requiring managers to submit a waiver claim to add such players to their roster. Waiver claims automatically defer to a priority order, which gives teams with the lowest number of free agent adds first priority.
Two managers agreeing to a trade does not necessarily mean that the trade will go through right away. All trades are subject to being vetoed by other members of the league and must be reviewed by the commissioner before being processed.
There are a few important rules that govern the draft process. For starters, once the draft order is set, it cannot be changed. The draft order is determined randomly or based on each team's record from the previous season.
Most fantasy football leagues use a live online draft, in which members of the league make their picks online in real-time. Managers that leave that draft for an extended period of time or fail to show entirely will be placed on 'autopick,' in which the computer selects the best player available.
Any sign of collusion to maximize a manager's chance of winning the league (i.e. one team trading star players to a friend's team for next to nothing) will result in both managers being removed from the league.
The league champion will receive a bulk of the money paid as entry fees (70%), while the second and third place managers will receive 20% and 10%, respectively
Importance of Bylaws
Bylaws help to ensure fairness by forcing each team to play by the same set of rules. They also keep things civil, preventing managers from taking issue with certain conduct. Without bylaws to govern a league, chaos would ensue in the form uneven trades, sneaky roster moves and financial inconsistencies.