I agree that alot of problems in young football leagues can be solved by having an in-depth rule book and a commish who enforces those rules. Before our season begins, we will not accept a cut list until the GM acknowledges they have read the rules (dynasty league format). Since a majority of the GMs in our league are experienced players, we have a league wide vote to determine the commish every 2 seasons. The commish is responsible for enforcing the rules so its best to have your most experienced guy there. Rules are never changed during the season, and all rule changes require all GMs to vote and a majority vote (6/10 in ours). Our league has 10 teams, 4 team playoff for the $$$ in a winner-take-all format. If you want to tank your team in our league, you can, its your investment (League dues are due in the middle of the offseason). Our only requirement on rosters is that you keep a minimum of 1 player in each position and you start 1 player in every position available. Draft picks are assigned by how you finished after both playoffs (1-4, 5-8) complete. Kinda like how the NFL does it (why work against existing rules). With the dues being required so early before the draft, we ensure we have enough owners for the following season. After 2 seasons, its been pretty even amongst all the teams. I'm only 10-1 because of the timing of the schedule this season (toughest games during opponents bad bye weeks... thanks yahoo...) However, there is solid competition for the 2-4 positions. Only 1 team from last year hasn't improved (he doesn't participate, he is still new to fantasy football, and will end up having his team purchased by a more experienced fantasy player). We are all friends, so the kinda helped things early on in keeping things together, but with a possibility of expansion with others, we'll really be able to test our rulebook. In the past off-season, 4 new rules were created in our league, 2 rules were amended, just when we thought we had everything addressed. This season, so far so good, only talk about raising the dues and having a trophy (additional bragging rights). I've never found leagues without dues very entertaining as
Perhaps a better response with all the issues is to establish rule book templates for the various types of leagues. Maybe not the Bible for Fantasy Football, but a list of sections/rules covering the spectrum of possible rules and the options a league can make related to that rule.