Having been a sports fan my entire life, most notably baseball, I’ve always been enthralled by the statistics part of the sports section. Number upon numbers representing averages, totals and splits. Massive amounts of data that was continually updated, almost like a puzzle that’s being created as it’s being put together.
Statistics blew my tiny frickin’ mind. Although I disliked math, I loved statistics. I’d memorize player’s stats off their baseball cards and recite them to my friends. Not only did I know all the older and career stats, I was pretty likely to be able to tell you any given player’s batting average within a few points at any given time of the day. I never did projections or predictions, as I was more like an encyclopedia than an almanac (why I only exploited this ability to remember phone numbers of everyone who knew me in grade school and King’s Teriyaki I have no idea) and could only recite.
Years passed. Junior high, then high school (where I didn’t take math my senior year) to college (where I took math my first two quarters, did well, and never took it again) and I never thought about stats. Then I heard about online fantasy sports. Fucking sweet! Averages and totals you don’t have to work out on your own! It was the best of all my worlds, all put together. But I didn’t play. I was scared I wouldn’t get it, and that I’d discover I didn’t know sports as well as I’d liked to. More years passed.
In 2007, I got an invite from some college buddies to join a baseball league (I eventually played fantasy football, baseball and basketball). I accepted and was thrust into a world I might have whacked off to as a youngster (had I known how). It was awesome. Everything was done for us, we just manipulated the settings and changed players out sometimes and automagically the numbers are pitted against each other and one of us wins. We always had snake drafts, which I never liked, until one fateful day in 2010, I participated in my first live, online auction draft.
An online draft auction set up with each player being allotted $250 to spend on players as they see fit. Players are offered up by an auctioneer, bids are placed and the highest bid wins. The winner’s bid is subtracted from their total and they bid until they are out of money (strategies vary here).
The fun was back instantly. No more waiting for people to pick every 90 seconds, no more relying on your draft spot predictions, just head to head matchups that’s won by whomever wants it most. Fantasy football would never be this good again.
Of course, I think there are a few ways it could be better. Here are some of my rules that I’d like to implement next time I get a chance to have a live, in-person draft.
No kids. Wherever the draft is, adults only, unless there is a separate room for them and someone to watch them. All participants must have 1-3 hours to focus on fantasy football and fantasy football only.
You must have a LARGE screen or preferably a projector. The host’s screen should be mirrored on the big screen for everyone to follow along.
Everyone must bring a computer, hopefully a laptop, for the draft. If you think you can manage a live auction draft on a smartphone, you are wrong and you’re going to screw up and bitch about it, which will be about the time I ask you to leave and never come back. Arrange for yourself to have your own computer.
Unless you’re allergic or an alcoholic, you should be drinking. Drafts, and really any event with mostly dudes and competition, is way more fun when people are drinking. No need for hard liquor, beer will do, unless you’re a straight Scotch or Bourbon kind of person. Then drink whatever the fuck you want.
There is no time limit. How long is this going to take, you ask? As long as it fucking takes. That could be an hour, that could be six hours. Please plan your food and drink supplies accordingly.
Clean foods are preferred. Think veggies, sandwiches, pretzels and the like. Nothing that’s overly greasy or sticky, like most chips or wings. Those kinds of foods are for watching football games, not participating in a fantasy football auction draft. Or, you could eat messy stuff with a fork but seriously dude, get manly.
Non-participants are allowed, but they must remain spectators. Questions are good, but never to someone who just lost an auction for a running back and is visibly upset, nor should they be asked in a rapid-fire sequence. And seriously, the more questions you ask, the longer we’re here, which means the longer we’re going to drink, which could mean issues later, so ya dig?
First-time players are allowed to have someone help them with drafting. It can’t be another participant, but it could be the auctioneer IF the auctioneer isn’t also a participant, nor can it be a professional sports broadcaster or writer of fantasy football. We all used to be newbies, people. Let’s let the rooks get their learning in so we don’t feel bad about pummeling them later.
If you open a notebook and have notes on more than one page, you’re an idiot. If you were REALLY researching, you’d be able to summarize your notes on one page, but if you were just writing down everything you heard, you’re likely to have a few pages. So be cool, and let’s keep this fun. No one wants to pretend this is about school or learning.
Playing with money makes everything better. Cap the bets if you’re worried about things getting too expensive, but encourage betting. Quarters, dollars, twenties, whatever, ’cause people play better when there’s something on the line. Also, side bets make for hilarious stories and crazy game ending activities.
I never want to be an auctioneer.
(Want more? Here’s Part 2.)