The time is nearly upon us, y’all. Friendships will be tested, bitter rivals will come together to make trades for the benefit of both sides, and backdoor collusion will occur on a regular basis. Fantasy football draft day is rapidly approaching, and I don’t know about anyone else, but as a 24-year-old American male, I could not be more excited for the start of the NFL season and fantasy football. I would consider the day your league decides to have your fantasy football draft more of a national holiday than some of the ones our country actually recognizes. It is an extremely important day of the year, and it can literally set the tone for your entire emotional state of living during the fall and winter months. Simply put, draft day is huge and your crew needs to crush it.
Make sure everyone in your league is in attendance.
No auto-draft, no Skype calls, no texting in your round-by-round selections. All of that bullshit is 100 percent unacceptable. If you can’t make the draft, then tough luck, Bub–maybe there will be a spot for your sorry ass next year. I can’t stress how important this is. The rules for the league will be discussed, the league dues will be paid, and any and all side bets should be placed immediately after the draft is complete. Not only is the draft the single most important aspect to a good fantasy football league, but it is by far the best part of the entire season.
Make a weekend out of your draft.
Don’t decide to do your fantasy football draft at the last minute on a random Wednesday night when nobody is prepared. This will guarantee that you not only don’t get to enjoy the great time that is a fantasy football draft, but you will hate the piece of shit players you were forced to hastily draft. Go out of town, rent a big-ass suite in a hotel, and do this thing up right. If you’re rich enough, fly out to Vegas and get truly wild for your draft. I don’t recommend going to any kind of sports bar, because you will always have one or two guys who are going to get distracted by all of the people coming in and out, the hundreds of TVs, and all the waitresses walking around. Finally, be sure to only invite those who are partaking in the draft so that there are zero distractions. This will ensure that everyone there will have the same goal in mind.
Have some type of competition to decide the draft order.
I’ll be blunt. Drawing names out of a hat is for unimaginative pussies. Seriously, think of something all of the draftees have in common and make a competition out of it. Most guys playing fantasy football enjoy drinking the occasional beer or 12. Race through a 12-pack to decide the order, play a round of golf, or do some form of individualized beer Olympics. Hell, if you’re crazy enough, see who can run through the most hookers in one night if you’re lucky enough to have your draft in Vegas. Last year, my league decided to keep it simple: each of us cracked a 40 at the same time and we picked in the order we finished chugging. We decided to let last year’s champion decide how we would go about determining our draft order this year. Just throw some ideas around with your league and there is no doubt you will be able to come up with a unique way determine the order of your picks.
Put everything in writing.
This should go without saying, but any and all rules, league dues, and wagers need to be documented. The NFL regular season is almost five months long, and by late December, it can be easy to forget a bet or rule agreed on in August. For example, we have a stiff monetary fine for not setting your lineup that has to be paid into the pool of money that goes to the winners. Have specific rules for the losers of games each week, teams that don’t make the playoffs, or certain transaction fees? Write. It. Down. If it’s in writing, there is no way your friends are going to back out on anything they agreed to unless they are just huge assholes. If that’s the case, they shouldn’t get an invite to join the league anyway.
Nobody is going to judge you if you come in with a few sheets of paper you printed out at work, a list on your phone, or player profiles pulled up on your iPad. Under any circumstances, do not let yourself be the person constantly asking some form of these questions: “Who’s that running back again?” “Can I see your sheet real quick?” “Please guys, will you give me one extra minute this round? I need to check something out.” These types of questions should all be met with either a fine or the loss of a pick. Treat this like Roger Goodell treats a defensive back who lays out a defenseless receiver over the middle: show no mercy. There are no excuses as to why you can’t come prepared for something you’ve been waiting for all summer.
Follow these rules and you will not only have a great draft, but you will enjoy the entire fantasy football season that much more. Good luck out there.