Virtue One: Always be Informed…and Punctual
Arrive to the draft at the correct time and date. As a commissioner, I can’t tell you how many times owners text me two minutes before the draft is ready to begin with some type of sob story that I care very little to hear about. Excuses typically range from the I have a tummy ache all the way up to my wife is in labor. Regardless of the situational magnitude, I will still feel very little compassion because nobody messes with my draft! Two hours sets the tone for a five month season so there can simply be no excuses or interruptions. Ranking your players ahead of time, drafting utilizing the light version of applications or calling in your draft picks over the phone are all potential options of how to participate in a draft when situations do arise.
Virtue Two: Keep Quiet and Focus, Dammit
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Don’t be that guy who spends more time chatting than drafting. For the most part, very little time should be spent expressing thoughts on everyone else’s draft picks when that time can be better spent evaluating your own. As an owner myself, I am taking the player I want regardless of whether or not I gain your approval after the selection has been made. The most important reason not to be a “Chatty Cathy” in the draft room is because, first and foremost, it’s annoying! If you take one thing away with you from this article make it this: the owner acting like they know the most typically knows the least. A truly educated and empowered owner sits back quietly stalking their players in hopes that they can strike when they’re on the clock. Why would you want to let people you are in competition with know your every thought and desire? Loose lips sink ships. Keep your mouth closed or, in this case, put some Chinese finger traps on until it’s your turn.
Virtue Three: Use The Queue…Obi-Wan
Act like you’ve been there before. This isn’t the same as when an NFL player gently tosses the ball to the referee after scoring a touchdown, as opposed to doing the complete Truffle Shuffle (you love the Goonies reference, admit it). What I mean is to act like this isn’t your first online draft. I can’t tell you how irritating it is for an owner to take the entire clock with every pick they make. Someone like me is organized having my cheat sheets broken down by positional tiers, salivating over if any of “my guys” will make it to me. Should one of them, I’ve already had that player queued up for an entire round and can’t wait to click DRAFT the moment I am put on the clock. I can’t for the life of me understand what owners are doing when they scramble into those dreaded red ticks just to make their selection. Get a clue, use the player queue and watch how much more relaxed you will be in future drafts.
Virtue Four: Learn Your Drafting Platform…Before the Real Draft
This sounds like a complete no brainer but you’d be surprised how many people completely have no brain. I have had past owners call me frantically after making draft selections to complain that they didn’t receive the players they selected. I come from a technical background so I immediately think there must have been a session, token relay or JAVA based error that occurred; how does a fantasy commissioner handle that one? We will leave that question for another day. I come to find out though that the only error made was by me for allowing dopey owners into my leagues in the first place. The root of their problems ended up being people that mocked on Yahoo but drafted in ESPN, I’m being serious here people. If you only play in ESPN leagues than use the ESPN platform to handle all of your mocking needs. There are differences between interfaces, stat presentations, rankings, sorting capabilities, queuing, button functionality (including the most important, DRAFT button) as well as a plethora of other, subtle nuances that vary from site to site. You wouldn’t practice pitching to the dimensions of Petco Park if you played your home games at Yankee Stadium would you?
Virtue Five: Stop Complaining About Your Draft Spot…Nobody Cares
I’m sure that everyone reading this article can think back to an owner or two who feels the need to complain about their position in the draft. Comments like “I would have taken Player-A if I didn’t get stuck picking here” or “I didn’t have a chance to grab a closer because I got stuck at the bookend and the positional run occurred before I could get involved” always seem to litter the chat section. Well, let me be the first to tell you…BOO-HOO. What was that you said, Mr. Timberlake? Oh yes, I remember, cry me a river. I have won leagues picking first and I have won leagues picking last. I have won leagues drafting slowly and I have won leagues drafting fast. I have won leagues…okay, enough of this. You get the point. If you draft in reverse order of last season’s finish and are picking last than you enjoyed success in the very recent past. If your draft order is randomly generated than have your beef with whatever god you worship or the computer algorithm that is truly to blame. Regardless, complaining about something that really doesn’t affect the overall outcome and cannot be changed is just wasted key strokes in the grand scheme of things. Leagues are won from every draft position, all the time.
Joe Costello is the MLB Content Manager for @FakeSeamHead, the baseball division of the immensely talented @FakePigSkin crew. I can be contacted at @jcswigga to answer any of your fantasy baseball or football questions (I play that, too). I am also the commissioner for both baseball and football leagues so feel free to drop me a line on the most thankless job in the industry.