Whether your league’s made up of eight or 16 teams, follows PPR (points per reception) or standard scoring, a live draft party is a must to kick off the season.
First, you should select a time, date and location. Send members an easy scheduling survey (Doodle is a good tool) to determine a date that works for most managers, and pick a location with very fast, reliable internet. After that, let the fun begin…
Determine Draft Order
You could always let last season’s winner go first, or draw names. But why not do something a little more fun? Kick your draft party off with a flip-cup tournament. The added suspense of not being able to prepare with a draft position in mind will make things a little more exciting.
Not into flip-cup? It’ll take a little work leading up to the season, but organize a volunteer challenge—the more you volunteer, the higher your pick. You could also do a board game tournament, chili cook-off, or an old-fashioned footrace.
Create a Manual Draft Board
Most fantasy drafts these days consist of a dozen or so people staring at their computer screens for a couple of hours. Designate someone to create a manual draft board—perhaps the commissioner, host, or the proud owner of the last season’s worst record.
Use a very large board or put up a sheet of butcher paper on a wall. Label the top with each manager’s name in order for selection, with the draft rounds down the side. Make it easier on your team managers by color coding players by position. Each manager is in charge of posting their pick to the board. The visual will be fun, and will help managers know who’s been taken.
If you’ve ever participated in a fantasy football draft, you know how depleting it can be! That’s why the best hosts provide plenty of snacks and refreshments to keep energy levels up. Pizza is a traditional draft party food, but change things up with a variety of mini finger foods—reubens, bruschetta, meatballs—and a salsa and dip bar.
Start a Swear Jar
Tensions are high during fantasy football drafts. Start a swear jar that any offenders must contribute to. Throw these funds into the league pot, or contribute to a charity of the league’s choosing. For added challenge, include (non-position-specific—that’s too hard!) football terms, like sacks, yards and carries.
Present the Trophy
Be sure to give the reining champion the recognition they deserve; they probably put a lot of sweat and tears into their season.
Don’t have a tradition in place yet? Let last year’s winner make their own trophy. At the end of this season, the reigning champ will hand it down to the next winner to modify to their liking, and to present at next year’s draft party.
Get Ready to Rumble
Do you have any special draft party traditions, or ideas of your own? Drop us a comment below, and may the best team win!