Are you about to embark on this sacred once-a-year journey with your fellow leaguemates? Have you peed your pants from the impending excitement or developed carpal tunnel from the endless hours of draft prep? The live draft is the penultimate experience in fantasy football and it happens but once a year. Help your league take it to the next level this year by adopting some of these simple practices into your day.
What’s on your live draft must-haves? Let us know by tagging @TheFFBallers and sending us a picture from your live draft.
1. Planning/Forward Thinking
This may sound a bit elementary and even downright belittling, but if you’re reading this and you haven’t fully planned out your league’s live draft experience… shame on you! Live drafting is a whole different level of drafting that, for some people, becomes an early Christmas present every year. I’m a fairly scheduled person but, even in my life, I find that sometimes I don’t end up getting to do the things I want to do because I’m weighed down by the tyranny of the urgent in my life. Get out a white board and think through this thing as if this were part of your job.
The NFL Rookie Draft is a great time to reconvene with your league and usually is the tipping point of piquing people’s intrigue in the next year of fantasy football. If your league’s live draft is important, make time and mark down days on your calendar… to just think. To think about what could this next year look like? How can we make our draft experience as a league that much better? What did we forget last time?
Set your draft day so far in advance that there’s almost no chance anyone could schedule anything but this thing. The last weekend in August is the most popular weekend in terms of the volume of fantasy drafts.
2. A Draft Board
The draft board is the visual display of the heart of your league’s shining moment. Honestly, draft night is something you want to cherish and remember throughout the season and even into the offseason. Why would you give hours upon hours of calculated thought and reward yourself by writing your selections on a whiteboard or even worse, a piece of paper? Woof.
FantasyChamps.com has some genuine draft board options that, quite honestly, are as good as it gets. Not only to you get a giant, full-color 32″ x 48″ draft board but it comes with labels of every single player in the league sorted by position. When it someone is on the clock, they simply walk up to the list, peel, and stick. Voila! You get to see each round directly in front of you without the hassle of keeping a side spreadsheet or constantly checking who has already drafted a quarterback or not.
Establishing league traditions that take place at the live draft is the lifeblood of why we do what we do. It’s the conversations that keep us from actually doing work at our real jobs as we dream about fantasy life. These are the tentpoles and foundational cornerstones of a legitimate fantasy league. Take a league picture. Do an interview style video at the draft so you can document this annual event. Start a once-a-week podcast for your league. The possibilities of generating content for your league starts at the draft. Let this be a springboard for the rest of the year!
If you want to up the ante on the season, making small time bets on players immediately after drafting is bulletin board material for the year. If you honestly think Isaiah Crowell is being overdrafted and your league mate is glowing about his early 3rd round selection, put something on the line. Keep a Google Doc or spreadsheet with your leagues side bets that you can talk about year long. Use the Wheel of Water app to spin and find out how you can douse your league mates come pay day.
4. A M.C. to Keep it Moving
I have horror stories of drafts where I not only drafted my own team but played the role of draft mediator, rules enforcer, and time keeper. Hiring a Master of Ceremonies (M.C.) for the night not only takes away the pressure but can allow the league to have an unbiased facilitator to keep things moving along whether its auction or snake drafts. If you are participating in a live auction draft, please DO NOT have one of the league members also double as the auctioneer. Jason has also attested to this travesty on the podcast as you helplessly try to manage the task of keeping the group organized and focused while also trying to actually draft a team.
Whether it’s a friend of a friend or a leaguemate’s sibling, finding someone not in the league to shoulder this load is so valuable especially when it comes to keeping time. If an owner is dragging their feet because they have 30 seconds left to deliver their selection, the M.C. can give them a playful jest and also inform the league who was just selected so that you won’t have to stop every single selection and take note. Pro Tip: I wouldn’t hire Roger Goodell.
Bonus: Taking the M.C. to the Next Level
-Get a podium for owners to announce their draft picks
-Have owners supply walk up music for every selection
-Give the M.C. opportunity to roast owners (Think: Michael Scott at the Dundies)
5. The Food Essentials
If Andy, Mike, and Jason have not made this clear on the podcast, I’m not sure what you’ve been listening to. Having legitimate food at the draft not only fills the tummy, but it makes the entire drafting experience that much more satisfying. I’m a quality over quantity type so well prepared dishes matters. Mike has a sausage and cheese dip that he swears by. Jason obviously has to have himself some Double Stuff Oreos. Andy can’t live without a full bag of Werther’s Originals.
In my home league, we’ve had a full-out shrimp boil where we hired a league member’s brother to catch fresh shrimp out in the ocean and cook it for us. It was incredible to be focused on my draft, not have to worry about the food, and finish my meal with the utmost joy. Shrimp boil has become part of the league lore. Don’t scrub this one and microwave a bunch of Totinos pizza rolls people! Get some good grub and your live draftmates will thank you!
No live draft is complete without the Ultimate Draft Kit! Dominate your league opponents while having the best live draft experience ever with the #UDK.