Fantasy Draft Alternative

2015_E-Z_Draft_FormIf you’re the commissioner of a fantasy football league, you have my respect.  Running a great league is a huge investment in time.  Until you’ve been commissioner of a league, you have no idea the amount of work and hassle that’s involved – even with today’s online commissioner services such as those offered by Yahoo!, ESPN, and NFL.com.

Perhaps the biggest frustration of them all is coordinating the player draft.  Finding a time that fits everyone’s schedule is next to impossible.  There are weddings to work around, vacations, varying work hours, you name it.  And with people’s lives becoming more hectic with each passing year, difficulty in coordinating the player draft is only getting worse.  Fortunately there are alternatives, and this post outlines one:  Football Weblog’s exclusive E-Z Draft Form.

Click HERE to open the E-Z Draft Form in PDF format, ready to print and use!

Here’s how it works.

Forward a Copy of the E-Z Draft Form

Forward a copy of the E-Z Draft Form to each team owner in your league.  Have them rank the players in each box (‘1’ being the most desirable).  Team owners need not grade every player in each box, but only as many players as there are teams in the league.  For example, only the top eight players in each box need to be ranked in an 8-team league.  Once the players within the boxes have been graded, rank the boxes themselves 1 to 18.  Lastly, make sure the team owners return their filled out forms by whatever deadline you establish.

Award the Players

Once all the E-Z Draft Forms have been returned, you’re ready to begin awarding players to each team.  Do this by sorting the forms in order of the rankings of the first box with the best on top.  Start with the top-most form.  This team is awarded their highest rated player in that box.  Now move on to the second form in the stack.  Like before, this team is given their highest rated player in that box, unless that player is already taken.  In that case, the team is awarded their second choice.  This process continues until all the teams receive one player from the first box.

Divvying out players from the rest of the boxes is a repeat of the steps just taken.  The process always begins by sorting the forms in order of the rankings of whatever box you’re working with, and then giving each team a player based on the rankings within the box.  This entire procedure is repeated until every team is awarded one player from each box.

Note:  Before you begin, review each form carefully to ensure that no one has made mistakes.  Make sure ‘Write-Ins’ aren’t already listed elsewhere on the form.  Also check the rankings for duplicated or missing numbers in the ranking sequences.

Resolve Equally Ranked Players

Inevitably there will be two or more teams with a box and player that are ranked the same.  When this occurs, simply use a random method to break the tie.  For example, you could assign each E-Z Draft Form a card from a standard deck of playing cards.  When a gridlock occurs, a quick draw of cards will determine the team that gets that player.  Alternatively, a simple coin toss can be used when only two teams/forms are involved.  A game die could be incorporated into the tie-breaking scheme as well.

Keep the E-Z Draft Form Rankings Confidential

As the commissioner, you’ll want to do what you can to eliminate any suspicion of cheating, so tell your team owners to submit their E-Z Draft Form in secret.  Sealing the form in an envelope is perfect, and mailing the forms to you by U.S. Postal Service (or Canada Post) is preferred.  Seal your own form in an envelope as well, and break the seals only when you begin the process of awarding players.

Make it a Celebration

To make the entire process as above-board as possible, make sure you have at least one other team owner present when you’re going through the forms.  The last thing you want is for team owners to question the integrity of the league.  Better yet, invite everyone in the league to attend.  You can treat the process of going through the forms in much the same way as a traditional player draft – party atmosphere, food and beverages – but without the necessity of having every last league member present.

Give Owners a Chance to Tweak Lineups

After completing the E-Z Draft Form process, add the rosters to your online fantasy football site as soon as you can to give team owners the opportunity to tweak their lineups as necessary.  Depending on your league’s requirements, teams may need to add a couple more players to fill out their rosters.  Or a team may simply want to address a ‘bye week’ problem that’s staring them in the face.  Regardless, the sooner teams have a chance to fine-tune their lineups, the better.

Summary

Football Weblog’s E-Z Draft Form is a great way to establish your league’s initial rosters.  Each team will end up with 15 or 16 players (depending on whether all teams were awarded a player from the ‘Write-Ins’ box).  The E-Z Draft Form process fairly distributes players to each franchise based on the merits of each league member’s preferences.  Best of all, it’s all accomplished without the hassle of coordinating a player draft.  Why not give it a try?

As always, run to daylight.
~Randy

PS – I ran a play-by-mail fantasy football commissioner service back in the dark days before the Internet with teams competing from all over the U.S.  We used the E-Z Draft Form then in place of a player draft and it worked like a champ, so use our form with confidence!

PSS – Check out our copy of the E-Z Draft Form from 1991!  It’s fun to see all the high-profile, skill-player’s names from that era!

Click HERE to open the E-Z Draft Form from 1991!

 

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