Slow Draft Board for Fantasy Football

A tool that may save your league

A problem that my fantasy football league has run into over the last few years is agreeing on a time and place for a live draft. Things were much easier in and shortly after college, but nearly 10 years later we’re so dispersed across the country that getting everyone together is all but impossible.

Even a managed live draft through Yahoo or ESPN doesn’t work out, as “adult responsibilities” have folks coming in and out of the draft, making attempts from their phones in the car, or stealthily joining a Hangout or Skype call in between dinner and dessert with the in-laws.

We solved this in the last few years with a Slow Draft, where we set a range of dates for the draft and make our picks asynchronously across a one or two week period.

We started by emailing everyone our picks, moved to a wiki we collectively edited, and finally landed on using Google Sheets. It took the load off of our commissioner and let him more easily import the rosters once everything was settled.

While I still think a live, in person draft is one of the best parts of the fantasy football season, try this tool if you’re struggling to get consensus. You could also use this as an offline draft board, even if you’re all together in the same place!

Slow Draft Board 2016–2017

Looking for 2017–2018?

Setup:

  • Start by making a copy of the sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dV3Cr_1leo3H_4R9vIAHHJPa-aNk_GztPWVMGmBcYeg/edit?usp=sharing
  • There are tabs in this sheet for three league sizes: 12, 10, and 8. Delete the ones you don’t want to use. (to-do: more league sizes)
  • On your board, list your top to bottom draft order by filling manager names in the first column, starting with cell A3. The draft order will fill up automatically in a snake format in the center. (to-do: support more than snake drafts)
  • Optional, but recommended: select and protect columns, A, E, and G through N. This will prevent folks from accidentally overwriting formulas in those cells.
  • Delete the INSTRUCTIONS tab or modify it to give your managers instructions and you see fit. Share the sheet with your league’s managers.

How to draft:

  • The PLAYER LIST is based on a version of ESPN’s top 300 for 2016–2016. You could overwrite this so long as you keep the format intact.
  • Players can copy players from column K of the PLAYER LIST area to the appropriate cell in column F to make their picks.
  • POS, TEAM, and BYE will auto fill with each pick. No need to copy those over.
  • Duplicate picks or players already selected will be highlighted for you.

Once your draft is done, or even during your draft, it’s easy to make any combination of boards and views on the results using pivot tables (perhaps I’ll write about some useful possibilities). Your commissioner can also translate as needed to import rosters in your fantasy football provider of choice.

Is this useful? Any features you’d like to see in future versions? Comment here or reach out to me on Twitter @44.

Enjoy and happy drafting!