Anatomy of a Fantasy Football Draft

By: Jeaux Sportsbreaux

Fantasy football drafts are incredible. One, they are fun. Two, they only happen once a year. Three, my wife doesn’t question the fact that I’m leaving the house on a weeknight to go drink beers with my buddies. Somehow, drafting real players for my make-believe football franchise gives legitimacy to a bunch of non-athletes sitting around drinking.

Sadly, with technology increasing, many people don’t host live fantasy drafts anymore. And, that is a shame, because fantasy drafts are awesome. Why are they awesome? Consider the following participants:


1. The Returning Champion


The returning champion is rightfully confident. But, more likely, he is overconfident. He claims his success is due to his superior ability to recognize value in the draft when—in reality—he sheds half of his draft picks by week 4 in waiver wire moves.

Last year, he probably picked up Dak Prescott in Week 2. At some point, in a moment of championship-induced delusion, he will claim that he saw something special in Prescott after he watched a couple of Mississippi State games. (You don’t remember when he stayed home on Saturdays watching Mississippi State on SEC Network 2.1)

However, he or she is the champ. So, the moment is theirs.


2. The Overthinker

One of your league members is going to have a theory about some player or team. This theory always leads to him drastically overvaluing said player. It’s possible that he’s hammered out this theory all summer. More likely, he concocted it while driving over to the draft and he’s giggling inside like a second grade girl at a N.K.O.T.B. concert about how much smarter he is than the rest of the league.


Then, the following will occur:


(Overthinker’s draft pick)


Overthinker: Give me (then, he’ll name the Patriot’s backup tight end).


Immediately, following this pick he will get the smirkiest little smirk on his face. He is relishing everyone’s puzzled looks back and forth. DO NOT MAKE FUN OF HIM OR QUESTION THE PICK!!!! This is what he wants. It’s like throwing a Tiger (or Tony Siragusa) raw meat. If you choose to make fun of him, you give him the coveted opportunity to explain the theory.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Allsport

Overthinker: (sarcastically) Oh, no, you guys are right. It’s a stupid pick. I guess (said player) doesn’t have a torn ACL and (back up RB) does know you can get a DUI by driving high. Yeah, really dumb pick.

Everyone else in the league: It’s the Second Round!!!!!

Invariably, the theory fails and the Overthinker cuts the pick by Week 4.


3. The Guy Who Doesn’t Need a Preview Magazine/Website


At this time of year, fantasy football magazine are available everywhere, grocery stores, gas stations, churches, and old folks homes. Multiple fantasy websites will have PDF fantasy football advice downloads you can print a free one off the interwebs. But, for some reason, one of your league-mates doesn’t bring one. Is he a genius, an anti-capitalist, allergic to paper? No one knows. Instead, he comes in with three players names scrawled on a gravy-stained Golden Corral receipt. Then, during Round 3, someone catches him trying to sneak a peak at their magazine. By Round 4, his pride has completely broken down and he is asking everyone to borrow their magazine.


4. The Ill-Prepared

One of your friends doesn’t watch football as much as everyone else. And, that’s ok. But, he also insists on being in your friends’ fantasy football league. And, that’s not ok. He makes every sweaty, nervous pick expecting the remainder of the league to laugh because he just selected a wide receiver whose ACL exploded when he was jumping on the trampoline with his kids.

(PRO TIP: Late in the draft, when the Ill-Prepared has no clue who to select, casually lean over and say, “Hey man, I know you aren’t really sure who to draft. But, Scott Norwood is positioned to have really strong year at Wide Out for the Bills this year.” He’ll frantically flip the pages of his fantasy football magazine as the draft clock ticks before finally drafting a kicker who retired 16 years ago. Well played.)

Photo by getty images/hulton archive


5.  The First Guy to Draft a Kicker

The selection should always be greeted with loud laughter and boos. If he tries to explain himself, he should be shouted down like a politician at a town hall meeting.

Before attempting to defend yourself as the first guy to select a kicker, consider this helpful flow chart: (1) Does the guy I just drafted only touch the ball with his feet? (2) If no, Congrats! You didn’t just draft a kicker. (3) If yes, shut up. No one cares that Will Lutz had the best rookie kicking season ever according to an analytics website. The guy you drafted only touches the ball with his feet. Be quiet and take what you have coming to you.

This does not apply if you draft a Grammatica brother for comedic/tribute purposes. Until they are both dead, it’s perfectly acceptable to draft Bill or Martin Grammatica, even though they aren't playing in the league anymore.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Allsport

6. The Guy Who Can’t Keep Track of Draft Picks

Someone in the draft is going to look prepared. He’ll have a magazine. He might even have several sheets of players listed by position. Yet, inexplicably, somewhere in the middle of the draft he loses the ability to remember who has already been drafted. To him, the idea of placing a line through drafted players’ names is as unfathomable as Einstein’s theory of relativity. By mid-draft, he is selecting players that have already been drafted by other teams. A few rounds later, he will select two players in a row that have already been selected by other teams. Finally, as the draft draws near and he’s shuffling lists like a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, he will pick a player that was drafted immediately before his pick. Embarrassed, he will select a player that is terrible just to avoid picking someone that has already been drafted.


Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

7.  Somebody’s Brother-in-law or Friend from Work

It happens every year. Some bro in your league tries to fill an empty league spot with someone they know outside your group of friends. The bro will vouch for him. “Dude, he is really good in his other league, he’s won his championship two out of the last three years.” (What your bro does not say or what his brother-in-law/friend from work doesn’t tell him is that his “other league” consists of four of his cousins who are under 10 and a great uncle who hasn’t watched football since they got rid of leather helmets—because now it’s “sissyball.”)

Also, if you introduce a brother-in-law/friend from work and he is one of the aforementioned individuals in sections 3-6, do yourself and your league a favor and gracefully bow out of the league for a season as penance.


Happy Drafting. GRAMMMMMATTTTTIICCAAAA!!!!!!!!!!