I write on many sports-related topics—mainly basketball, since I played in college.
The Fantasy Draft
When we sign up for a fantasy league, before we can start taking on our friends and hitting the waiver wire, we have to master the art of The Fantasy Draft. This is where we develop our strategy, figure out which star players we want to target and which unknown sleeper picks are going to have a breakout year. The Fantasy Draft can be performed in numerous formats, which differ by sport. But the most thrilling of all is the live, snake draft, which is the most similar to a real sports draft that occurs in professional leagues like the NBA and NFL. We determine the draft order and take turns picking from the entire pool of players until our rosters are filled out and we're ready for world (Fantasy Sports) domination.
But as the person running a fantasy league, one of the toughest questions you might face is "Where should I host my fantasy draft?" Many opt for the simple online method, where all players get online at the same time and utilize the online draft rooms. But if you really want to make a party of it, you should consider doing it in person.
So here are five of the best, and perhaps craziest, locations to host your fantasy draft.
The 5 Best Places to Have Your Fantasy Draft
1. The Best Sports Bar in Town
One of the classic Draft hosting locations that a lot of leagues opt for is the trusty sports bar method. Great sports bars such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Hooters are well known for hosting fantastic Fantasy Drafts and if you reserve them especially for that purpose they will make sure you have a fantastic draft. Some of the best benefits of hosting a draft at these places are that quite often they will supply you with a lot of the tools you need, and more importantly some incredible chicken wings, appetizers and plenty of beer.
This particular location also adds a new element to the drafting situation, which is "The Public." There is a whole new dynamic in place when your draft is taking place in public. Personal embarrassment becomes much worse, and bystanders often get in on the act when someone is being chastised for a horrible selection. There are distractions such as attractive members of the opposite sex, ordering food and drink, noise, chatter and the fear of public humiliation.
You may be able to dominate a draft from the comfort of your couch, with a laptop in front of you, but can you do the same without quick internet access and a clear head? Or what if you're about the make the most important pick of the year, and you're on the clock, but an attractive woman walks up to you and begins to chat. Are you going to stay true to the draft, even if it may involve sacrificing your best chance at getting a number from a beautiful woman? These are the kinds of choices that make a public draft fantastic.
2. The Office Conference Room
For those of you who have Fantasy leagues going on with your colleagues at the office, one of the most popular locations to host a draft is in the Office's finest conference room. This is usually the one reserved especially for large client presentations. You know the one I'm talking about, with the massive 90-inch television and the surround sound system. The comfortable office chairs and a fridge full of cold beverages.
Schedule your draft for 6 p.m., wait for your boss to head home for the evening, and then gather the troops and turn that beautiful conference room into a perfect draft war room. Project your online draft board onto the giant company television that they paid for instead of giving you a raise, and be sure to empty that fridge. If you're really bold, you might even be able to order a boatload of pizza, and attempt to charge it to your expense account. It all depends on how dedicated you are to the Fantasy draft.
But make sure you have a nice client presentation running in the background, just in case your boss forgot their umbrella at the office!
3. Las Vegas
My personal Fantasy Draft dream is to host the ultimate draft party in the ultimate sports gambling location. Las Vegas, Nevada is the home of more casinos than any other city in the United States, and also the hub of sports gambling in the USA, which is illegal in most other states. It is full of sports bars, massive swimming pools, night clubs, and hotels. There are endless places in Las Vegas to host a great Fantasy Draft, and where you choose will depend on how much money you have to spend.
If you're really rolling in the dough, consider renting out the VIP at a nightclub and only let in exclusive draft members. Set up your draft board, order your bottle service and let the fun commence. Maybe if you're lucky you might even be able to attract some celebrity attention to your draft. Or maybe find one of the indoor pool resorts, and set up your waterproof draft board right by the comfort of the warm water.
Plus, what better way to supplement your fantasy football gambling, than some big-time sports bets on your favorite team, or a late-night poker tournament. Most Vegas casinos offer free drinks and snacks too, so you might be able to take advantage of that. All in all, the entire spirit of Fantasy Football itself is embodied by the Las Vegas environment.
But remember guys and girls: the phrase "What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas" is not entirely true.
4. On a Cruise Ship
So here is an interesting idea for hosting a Fantasy Draft. The obvious benefits of this location are the beautiful sunshine, crystal clear waters, swimming pools, expensive cocktails, and gourmet food. So in that sense, it is a beautiful fantasy draft idea, and can even be used as a way to get the entire league out on a fun group location. But here is the true reasoning behind this idea. No matter how bad your draft goes or no matter how terrible to interleague scheming and pranks become, you cannot escape each other. Unless you decide that it's more appealing to just jump overboard than continue being exposed to your supposed friends.
Plus, this is perfect if you know some of your primary competitors suffer from seasickness. There are not many better ways to take a league member out of the running than to have them throwing up overboard while their draft clock ticks away. Or let nature take its course on that unfortunate drafter who forgets to put their sunscreen on and falls asleep poolside. It's not easy to concentrate on your draft depth chart when your skin is bubbling beneath its Aloe vera.
5. Last Year's Loser's House
Those of you who have watched The League know that in an effective Fantasy Sports league, the loser is punished. The reason for this is more than just embarrassing your friends. It forces people to continue to give maximum effort for the entire season, even when they can't win anymore. This maximizes the integrity of the league for those who are still in the running. Well, one effective way to punish the league's losing player is to force them to host and fund the following year's draft party. This includes getting together a draft board, preparing food and plenty of drinks and basically catering to every need of those players who have proven themselves far superior as a player and human beings.
Depending on the weather, a backyard draft party can be really effective, with meat on the grill and games to take part in between picks. If not, a big garage is also a fantastic location. Basically, any way to keep the maniacs in your league out of your house. But if it comes down to it, and you have to let them in and host them in the living room, make sure you don't steal anybody's top picks or you might end up with some redecorating to do.
Who Gets First Pick?
If you've seen The League you'll know that the random order generator is not sufficient when it comes to picking who gets the first pick. They devise crazy competitions and races to determine the draft order—here are some ideas they used and a few others:
- Have the kids race for your order at one of your children's birthday parties.
- First one through airport security gets first pick.
- Video game tournament to see who gets the honor.
- Who can eat the most <insert food> in an hour.
- The 'group dares' until only one person remains game.