Every year, your fantasy football league is a big focus of your Sundays. You and your fellow owners are locked in serious hypothetical combat, fielding teams of real-life players on made-up teams in a struggle that is deadly serious and also entirely fun. You’ve got your podcasts and draft prep ready, and you’re dreaming up the perfect team name, colors, and logo. You’re ready for this season, and it all starts at the draft.
But what will your draft look like? Not in regards to the team you’re going to go after, but rather in terms of the actual draft event itself. Is it a fun gathering of friends and fellow team owners, or a soulless event that takes place in different locations, with each person in some dark room staring at a computer monitor?
Let’s face it: Online drafts are boring. They’re sad and oftentimes isolating. And everything that they are, in-person drafts are the opposite. In-person drafts rule, and your next fantasy football draft should absolutely be an in-person event. Here are a few reasons why.
The big draft board is fun
You can still use a drafting app if you draft in person, but you might want to consider a fantasy football draft kit complete with a draft board and stickers. It’s bright, colorful, interactive, and just plain fun. You’ll have a great view of your team and everyone else’s, as the draft board is filled out, and in the end, someone will have a nice souvenir to remember the draft by.
Once you’ve slapped a sticker up on the board to make your pick, you’ll never want to go back to quietly clicking your pick in a web browser in your darkened bedroom.
The team owners get to know each other
Fantasy football is always fun, but it’s a lot more fun when you’re playing with friends. When you know your opponents well, you can engage in good-natured trash talk, stay in touch as the games go on, and even get together to watch at someone’s house or the bar.
But not all leagues are this friendly. You can help ensure that yours is, though, by bringing people together for an in-person draft, where they can chat and remind each other that they are real human beings, not faceless opponents to get mad at online.
It will set the tone for a civil league
When your team owners get to know each other, they will be less likely to get mad at each other. They’ll treat each other better in trade discussions, and they’ll be friendlier in online chats. There are a lot of different people in your league, and some can be intense, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be friendly. You need to enforce a good league culture.
All of this starts with your draft. A fun in-person draft will remind everyone that they’re in this together, and that fantasy football is supposed to be a fun and social thing, not a solitary or particularly serious pursuit.
You’re still in competition, of course, but don’t be surprised if folks in your league start warning owners about injured players. You might not see a lot of people freely sharing in-depth draft tips, but the tone of friendly competition will be established.
It’s a great big party
When you’re hosting an in-person draft, you need to plan for your guests as if you’re hosting a party. Bags of chips will be opened, and booze will almost certainly flow. It’s a big, fun, in-person social event, as all drafts should be.
An in-person draft is a real event. You may even want to allow people to bring along friends who aren’t in the league. You may want to let team owners know that they’re welcome to stick around after the draft to hang out or that everyone should head to the same bar — not a bad strategy for getting everyone out of your house.