We have reached the dog days summer and the six-month hiatus without football is finally nearing its end.
The wait without fantasy football has been even longer due to the fact that most fantasy football leagues end their season after week 16.
For some of you whose fantasy team(s) had disappointing seasons, which ended in November, the wait has been over eight months.
I am as experienced as you will find when it comes to game of Fantasy Football. That does not make me a better player than anyone else.
I began playing fantasy football, or what we knew to be rotisserie football back in my senior year of high school in 1993. My league got laughed at as being for stat geeks and dorks who needed a hobby besides Strat-O-Matic. One day you will thank me for taking those verbal beatings.
Now, the people who made fun of me are in way more fantasy leagues than I am.
Draft day is one day that I really look forward to on my calendar. As you get older, you do not get to see your friends as much and the times you get to hang out with your buddies without a wife/girlfriend/children is rare.
I know many do their drafts online. Online drafts are great because all of the research and rankings are right at your fingertips. But, if you have the opportunity to hold a live draft in person with your entire draft crew available, go for it.
Your draft crew may consistent of friends, co-workers, guys you know online, etc.
As someone who has hosted over ten drafts at his place of residence I want to import some of my knowledge to you.
Most importantly: Have fun. Enjoy the day, make jokes, eat and drink, because it beats either working at your job or working on your home.
Make sure you have guys in your league that you can trust to take the league serious enough to talk some fun smack, but not too serious that the smacks get physical. I do not like to see guys who take it so seriously that they forget that it is just a game and fantasy football loses what it was originally intended to be.
When it is not fun anymore, I would suggest finding a new hobby.
Here is a list of things that can make for a better draft day experience:
1 – Announce Your Day and Time Well in Advance – People’s plans change like the weather, so try to pin as many down as quickly as possible to give them time to clear out the day just for you.
2 – Do Not Expect Your Draft To Start On Time – Some people are just habitually late and some may hit traffic or some other unexpected event. My advice is to put your draft time at least a half-hour or an hour before the actual time you really want to begin the festivities.
3 - Have Some Supplies Available – I mean the real basics like pens and paper. You will be surprised how many come without something to write. If you would like to have your league bring in food and beverages that is more than acceptable. Just do not start the heavy drinking until after the draft is complete.
4 – Sit In Draft Order – This works very well especially if the group does not know each other that well. Most drafts are done in a serpentine format; this way the person will always know when he is next to select.
5 – Hide Your Remote Control or Video Game Controllers – Try to keep the distractions to a minimum. You know it is very difficult to keep people contained for a couple of hours at a time. I like to keep one channel on mute to at least provide a little bit of entertainment without losing the audience.
Now, I would like to introduce to you the ten people you will find at your average Fantasy Football draft.
Amazingly, all of these players have similar odds of winning the title. In my 16 years in rotisserie/fantasy football, each one from one of these ten categories has at least one championship to their credit.
They are all great in their own way, but they all find themselves falling into one of these categories.
If you have a new category of fantasy football player to add, feel free to let me know.
The commissioner aka the commish, is the organizer, the banker, the consigliere and the judge.
This is a person who usually has a good knowledge of sports, but more importantly is the most trusted of the group.
You trust your commish to be fair, keep communication lines open and be the mediator if there is a dispute.
He will oversee trades and the finances of the league and usually is responsible for the decorum during the draft and the entire season.
He usually looks like the guy on the left. Although, your commish is probably better looking than me.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: Um, it would be pretty tough to pull all of this off without him.
This is a guy who should have a job with Elias Sports Bureau. He knows things about the players than many do not know themselves.
He knows items like DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value over Average), VORP (Value over Replacement Player) and DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and other abbreviations that should pertain more to some CIA lingo than football.
He will at least bring one laptop to the draft. Heck, he might even be in a live online draft while your draft is taking place!
His bible is football outsiders.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: He is the go-to guy for stats. A living sports almanac of every offensive lineman’s bench press at the last ten combines.
This guy is either sneaking out of his house to come to the draft or has lied about the details of the day. You know the one whose grocery store trip took three hours or that he told his wife that the draft would be only about an hour.
Some time after round three, his phone will be vibrating meaning he is getting a text or a phone call from his wife saying, “Are you almost done yet? We have plans for dinner with those people you can’t stand tonight!”
He will go through about three or four bouts of back-and-forth banter with his wife before finally giving in to leave somewhere around round eight. The commish will need to finish his draft for him.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: It is the added bonus of the entertainment through the draft that you will not let him forget the next time you see him.
This is the guy who usually brings nothing. He will not even have a pen or something to write his picks on when he shows up.
Yet, it will not be an uncommon sight to find him knocking off a few premium drinks that he was able to find in the home.
He will usually take the longest to make his picks because he has to borrow someone else’s magazine to look at the players to help him select.
The funny part is that this far from his first fantasy football draft and still he comes unprepared.
The even funnier part is that you look at his team and say, “Holy cow, how did he draft such a good team?”
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: You need someone to tell you that the milk in your refrigerator will be expiring tomorrow.
This is a guy you know from your job. He comes to the draft bringing a full three-ring binder’s worth of stats, rankings lists, pivot tables, etc.
He will tell you how busy he is at work; yet, you notice that half of his research was printed on the company’s letterhead.
He’s a guy who usually will make a transaction or two every single day from his office.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: Because it is hysterical to see him on Monday and he will have no recollection of the draft and will pretend to be hammering away on a project in his office, when you know better.
Here is someone who has a good knowledge of his area teams, but really does not know much about other teams in the league.
The guy will be dressed in his favorite team’s jersey and may even start his favorite team’s chant sometime during the draft.
He will usually end up with three or four of his players on his roster from his favorite team. He likes to do this so he can root for his home team with little guilt of cheating on them by having players from one of his rivals.
His season is primarily based on how well his favorite team fares. He will likely guess or look at a list in his magazine to fill in his roster with players from other teams.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: It is always great to yell out players from his favorite team and tell him that his favorite team’s kicker is still available and it’s round three. The funny part is sometimes he actually listens.
This guy shows up to your house with a case of beer, some wings, and looks like he is just starting his vacation.
He has a couple of kids, both usually under the age of ten. His wife knows the commish and lets him out of the house for the entire day and will not even bother to call him on his special day out with the guys.
He likes football and likes being at the draft, but more importantly, likes the fact that he has absolutely no worries for an entire day, which is rare.
You could charge $500 for your league and he would gladly pay it for a chance to be his younger self again. Just try not to let him find the controllers for your Wii or Xbox. You will lose him for the rest of the draft if this should happen.
You will likely have a tough time getting him to leave because he knows when he returns home; it will be 365 days until the next time he gets his freedom.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: It is great to see your friend like this without any strings attached. It reminds you of seeing Mickey Mantle in his prime before the injuries and the alcohol hindered his great talents.
Here is a young man who does not really remember a time in his life without fantasy football. He was likely born after the USFL folded.
He has his cell phone ready to enter his picks and send them to his friends and make fun of whom the other guys selected.
He does not remember the Arizona Cardinals being in St. Louis and rarely remembers there being one football team in Los Angeles, let alone two.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: He is usually knowledgeable and probably knows more about computers than the commish does so if there is a network issue he can be the first to fix it.
This is a man who is far from being new to football, but may be new to fantasy football.
His kids are older and so is his wife. He may be your father, your father-in-law, a co-worker, your ex-girlfriend’s father, etc.
He is a nice man, but he likes to be competitive and wants to win.
Playing fantasy football keeps him young and gives him a new hobby
He will usually bring a book on fantasy football that he borrowed from the library to help him along.
Sometimes, he will see a player’s name and totally botch the pronunciation.
Actual story, two years ago he drafted Lavatorius Coles.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: He is usually one of the better players. He is one that the younger guys can pick on and say to him that, “Joe Namath is still available.”
We hear he was something before electricity.
This guy is a whirlwind.
He is making trades in the draft to move up his position to make his pick. He once tried to get another selection for a player to be named later.
He will not be afraid to introduce side bets to the action like betting on whose kicker will have more points in a certain week.
By the time your draft is 24 hours old, he has dropped two of his players, and attempted four trades.
By week one, it is likely not one of his draft picks are still with his team.
It is not that he likes certain players and wants them all for him. He really just wants lots of action. He will be actively talking smack on the message boards and telling you how great his team is going to do.
If you play him in poker, he just plays to keep raising the pot, either to intimidate you or just for the pot to grow larger and larger.
WHY HE NEEDS TO BE AT THE DRAFT: He keeps the season exciting long after the draft. For the four months of football season, you are always wondering what he will do or say next.