Fuck It, We’ll Do It Live
I feel like this goes without saying, but there are still leagues that do online drafts. Are you in sixth grade? So what if that one guy in your league who’s more successful than everyone else moved to Chicago for work, get the rest of your jackass buddies together and Skype his ass in. I’d have to be in a league with some truly awful people to ever want to revert back to online drafting.
Don’t Skimp On The Venue
Last year my biggest money league drafted in a suite at the Borgata. This year we’re drafting in my buddy’s NYC apartment so we can make a night out of it. (I’m sure 14 dudes with no girls accompanying them won’t have trouble getting into a decent spot in Manhattan, right?)
I’m not saying you have to draft on a spaceship in Dubai, but at least put some thought into it—don’t just settle for your parents’ basement for the fifth year in a row.
Have A Decent Draft Board
Either have a projection screen hooked up to a laptop or order one of those draft boards with the player stickers for like $20. Taping two posterboards together on a wall and making your own grid with a ruler and marker is amateur hour. Plus, you’ll fuck it up every single time because dudes suck at art.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Auction Drafts
Look, I get it. You like snake drafts. You grew up with snake drafts. It’s what you know, it’s what you’re comfortable with.
But don’t be scared to try something new. I did my first ever live auction draft the other night and it was awesome. Drunk guys overbidding on players just because yelling numbers is fun. People using 90% of their budget on their first 3 picks and winding up with 3 studs and 12 bums. One guy going for “bargains” all draft and ending up turning Justin Forsett into the highest paid player in the league because he had so much money left. These things don't happen in snake drafts.
A couple days before the draft, have a couple of guys' girlfriends or wives text the league commissioner with a list of 10 or so players. Whoever drafts a player on the list has to immediately do a shot. Sure, most of the girls' lists consist of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Derek Jeter, and Michael Jordan, but it adds another element to the draft and makes your girl feel like she's “involved” so you'll get less shit for ditching her all day.
There's nothing worse than the guy who doesn't pay attention when crossing players off his list, so he repeatedly calls out guys who are already picked. Make him pay. Anyone who tries to pick a player that's already gone has to do the amount of shots for how many rounds ago that guy was drafted. For example, if someone tries to take Brandon Marshall two rounds after he was already picked, that guy owes two shots. The guy will still hold up the draft by being an idiot, but at least now he'll be an entertaining idiot.
Another penalty shot stipulation is when someone says the name of a player who's not yet been drafted. Everyone knows this asshole—it'll be the 5th round and he'll turn to the guy next to him and say, “Wow I can't believe Reggie Wayne is still on the board!” Thanks for announcing it to the room, dickhead. Here's a shot.
Trading Draft Picks
If you're in a competitive league, you might as well make the draft as close to the real thing as possible. Allow owners in your league to trade draft picks for other picks, players, a higher waiver priority, handjobs, whatever. Provided the negotiations don't take longer than a minute or two and hold up the draft, it'll be a nice deviation from the norm.
Last but not least, if your commissioner isn't a lazy piece of shit, he'll have draft grades posted on the league homepage a day or two after the draft is over. Call out the guy who took four Cleveland Browns. Make fun of the dude who blacked out and pissed himself with 3 rounds to go. Give the league asshole an “F” grade just to stir shit up. This is the last step in the draft process and the first step to get people talking shit about each other.