It’s that time of year again. The anticipation of football is in the air. If football is just around the corner then you know what that also means. It’s officially drafting season. There is nothing more satisfying for me in the fantasy game than drafting. I understand the appeal of trading, maintaining line ups, and scouring waiver wires, but let’s be honest, we play fantasy football for the draft.
Around every corner, there are people mocking and prepping and mocking some more. It’s that time of year where there is hope for all, and everyone is in first place. It’s just beautiful. We felt like we should give you some tips to help enhance your drafting experience.
Do not draft over the internet.
If you can help it, please do not draft your league over computers. Face-to-face interaction is one of the few things that I really hate to see fading from American society. We have friends, but they live on Facebook. We have followers, but they aren’t following us anywhere.
I get the simplicity of drafting at home. I do. It’s just like watching a game from the comfort of your living room. Who remembers games they watched from their couch? I bet you remember a lot of the games you were at in person.
That same principle applies to drafting. I want to see the look on my drunken friends faces as I rip apart their strategies. I want to revel in every mis-pronounced pick. It’s really a must and a no-brainer for having the most fun at your draft.
Restaurants/Bars vs. Homes
I’m a home drafter personally. It used to be nerdy to be a fantasy football player so we’re all used to drafting in dark hideaways. Now times have changed.
Can you believe restaurants give you free draft boards just for having your draft at their restaurant? Fantasy Sports.org actually provides draft boards to local restaurants and bars across the country. I can’t believe how mainstream fantasy football has become. It’s not only accepted; it’s expected that every red-blooded, American male is in some sort of fantasy football league.
While restaurants can offer nice scenery and never-ending beverage flows, they are usually loud and very impersonal. Home drafting is awesome to me. Get rid of the wife and kids. Grill some meat of your choice. Hang up your fantasy football draft board, and let your cares fade away into the bottom of your glass. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Last year we, as a league, rented a cabin in the Smokey Mountains. For about a 100 dollars a person we treated ourselves to an awesome place for two nights of a mancation. The cabin was incredible. It had an indoor pool, a jacuzzi, and a bunk bed that even a drunk 7 footer couldn’t break.
I’m not saying you have to get crazy with an exotic locale. For us, we are all lifelong friends that are married with kids. We rarely spend time as a group anymore. It is really more than just a draft with our league.
It’s a chance to revive friendships and reminisce about the good ole days where just happen to also have a fantasy football draft. I hate to get sappy, but don’t miss out on a chance to make memories.
Compete for draft order position.
I’ve been in my fair share of fantasy football leagues. One of my favorite things I’ve ever been a part of when drafting has been the mini-competitions we used to determine draft order. One year we threw footballs at a post from 20 yards out.
The person who hit it first was awarded the first choice of draft position. That continued until all the slots were filled. Another year we played a different version of beer pong where you threw the pong ball into one of twelve cups.
We actually numbered the bottom of the cups to eliminate the skill portion (we had some experienced beer pong players). Whatever number you had under the cup was your choice of pick. This year we are doing a live selection show over Google hangout.
Your commish can also do a show over Skype or U-Stream. It’s obviously not a necessity to do your draft order this way, but I can attest that the more creative you are with it, the more awesome it will be.
Develop and Honor traditions for your league.
Oh, this is so important. If your league doesn’t have a perpetual trophy then you need to get one. It needs to be present for your draft. Make a rule that you don’t get to touch it if you haven’t won it or something along those lines.
It needs to be hallowed. Have a trophy, toilet seat, or some other form of embarrassment for the last place finisher of the previous year to have at the current draft. Make a logo for your league. Make T-shirts. I don’t care what it is, but you need to have something to cherish. Look across every continent there are time-honored and battle-tested traditions that permeate sports.
Fantasy sports are no different. You can have walk-up music or a whip cream pie that somebody has to get smacked in the face with if they try to draft a guy that’s already been taken. I haven’t even mentioned the countless drinking games.
Mimic real drafts
If you can get a guy with a podium where you submit picks via letter to the commissioner, I am all on board with that. I’ve never been in a league where this took place, but I see the potential for greatness.
The point is, anytime you can grab something from real sports and bring it to our silly game you are going to make it better. Trophies, jerseys/logos, podiums with commissioners are all just a few of the ways you can bring “realness” to your fantasy drafts.
Side bets are encouraged.
I would necessarily say that these bets should be money bets. Money is great. Don’t get me wrong. But I want to see you suffer. I want to see your pride diminish. Maybe, I have some issues. I don’t know.
Last year, we had a guy lose a bet in our league, and he had to make a music video dressed up like a banana. Due to copyright infringement I can not show you the video mentioned.
Trust me, it is every bit as awesome as you think it is. Just one Google search and you can see the possibilities of what unbelievable, priceless things you can get your leaguemates to do. Just be careful because that leaguemate could always be you.
No outsiders allowed.
If there are no girls in your league then leave them out of your draft. Don’t bring your buddy that just wants to drink. It’s been my experience that these people tend to take away from the camaraderie and are usually more likely to be the ones complaining about the draft.
Do yourself a favor, and stand up for your draft and your league mates. I promise Cindy and Bubba will be there after the draft is over. For the most part, outsiders just don’t get it. Have some respect.
I’m sure there are a lot more ideas that I’m leaving out, but this should at least get your creative wheels turning. Think outside the box. It really will pay off. I look across my league that has been together for over 7 years with pretty much the same crew.
Since we started making the league more “fun”, we have had very little attrition. In fact, we’ve only lost two league members and actually have a waiting list these days. Your draft is what you make it. Since the draft is my favorite part of my favorite thing in the whole world, why would I not want it to be a highlight of my year and my buddies’ year too.
Please leave any other suggestions or traditions of your league in the comments below.