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Setting up an in-person draft

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Setting up an in-person draft

Postby Texas Flats » Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:27 pm

Hey all,

I've been browsing the forum every once in a while, but I haven't logged in for a while. I just had a quick question about the best way to set up an in-person draft. Sorry if I missed a similar thread elsewhere, I didn't see one when I did a search.

I have a couple leagues on ESPN, including one keeper league with most of my buddies from my hometown and college which we just started up last year. We did an online draft last year, but since we're all from around the same area, I want to get us all together to have the draft in person. I'm trying to figure out the best way to do the draft, and I'm running into a few problems. First, a little background on the league:

Like I said, it's a keeper league on ESPN. H2H (I would've preferred roto I think, but everyone else voted for H2H, so that's what we ended up with), 10 teams, standard 5x5 scoring, 21 roster spots, 5 keepers per year (I wanted more, and now I have 8 or 9 guys I'd like to keep, I have to figure out which way I'm going to go, but that's a question for a different thread.) Like I said, we did an online draft last year, but this year I'm trying to get everyone together to do it in person, and I just had a few questions:

1. Draft order and time per pick: We did a random order for the draft last year, normal snake draft. We'll be doing another snake draft this year, but instead of having a random order, we'll be doing the draft in the reverse order of the standings (boo having the last pick in the first round). Sound fair? Besides that, how much time would you recommend giving each player for a pick? Online, we had 90 seconds, but live, I think we might need a little more time, but I'm not sure how much. And if a player runs out of time and doesn't make a pick in time, what's standard protocol? Skip their pick until the end of the round? End of the draft? Give them some sort of a time bank they can use?

2. How to keep track of who's been drafted? Like I said, we have 10 teams, is it easiest to get a couple dry erase boards and stands and just write each pick as the person makes it?

3. What if something comes up and someone can't make it, but it's too late to change the date? Do I just ask for their pre-rankings, and draft for them based on what player they have ranked highest, and what position they have available? Like, we fill every position on their starting roster, and then fill out their bench spots with the highest-rated player on their list?

I think I had a couple more questions, but I can't think of them right now, so I'll post them if I remember them. But in the meantime, I'm all ears, and thanks for the advice.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby tavo2311 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:24 pm

Hey - I have rarely drafted online, always multiple baseball and football leagues each year in person, so hopefully I can help.

Draft Order - I think reverse order of standings is a good way for a keeper league. One other option you may want to look at that is fun. Kentucky Derby Style order, in reverse of standings; this is what my league uses. So for example, if you finished last place, you get 1st "choice" of draft pick, not necessarily first pick. There are many reasons in a keeper league why you may want a later pick. Simple example, of all the non-kept players, you rank the top 5 exactly the same, you may want pick #5 and not #1, so that you get an earlier pick on the way back. So you pick #5. Then the second to last fella gets 2nd choice, etc... Just something to think about.

Time per Pick - In my opinion, you want to make sure you have some sort of time limit, but not a hard and fast. Some people would disagree and say you need a strict time limit. I agree that no time limit allows drafts to get out of control, but a strict time limit and no one talks, chats, makes fun of picks, gets up for more beer, etc... Its basically an online draft but in person, and a reason to hold it in person is to basically get together and hang out a bit right? My main league has a 2 minute limit, but the 2 minutes is like a heads up where you get on the guy, and if he doesn't spit out a name shortly, we move on, not a buzzer that goes off or anything. When skipped, you have to wait ONE pick, then its on you again. Not two more minutes though, again, just spit out a name. If not immediate, we move on. Wait one more person's pick, then go again, and so on. There are more strict options I've seen, such as timer, and if you miss your time, you get fined 5 bucks. In a 20+ round draft, there is potential for lots of lost money if you don't watch the clock! Just make sure you have something in place before you begin, or just plan on a 6 hour draft.

Keeping Track - Normally as commish its my responsibility and I fill out the "official" sheet, but I do make sure to make copies for everyone before the draft so they can follow also if they want. A board to track is a good idea also. And finally, if you happen to have a computer that can connect to a TV, and a laptop available, just show the Excel board on TV.

No Shows - Luckily I've never been faced with this. Some in my wedding party almost missed the wedding start, but NEVER a fantasy draft! Priorities... Anyway, again, whatever it is, just make sure you have something in place beforehand. You can get a pre-draft ranking list from all owners with a stipulation of how players will be drafted. i.e. higest ranked guy for a position you still need. Or you can tell everyone in the case they dont show, you will use CBS or Yahoo's or any other site's list in the same fashion as above. You can tell them they can draft over the phone or online. Phone is awfully annoying, online is much easier. You pop into a chat and instead of calling when it is their pick and feeding every name picked since you last spoke, you can just feed them the names of who was picked so they basically follow along. Try to avoid the remote drafting though, just in case. Again, dedicated owners won't miss the draft anyway!!

Sorry for such a long response. If you have any more questions, let me know. Draft day(s) is my favorite thing each year.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby Texas Flats » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:09 pm

Sounds great man, thanks for getting back to me as quickly as you did. I usually run my leagues more like a democracy, I like letting majority rule and let myself step back unless there's a dispute that we can't solve otherwise. I'll bring up all those possible ways to run it to the rest of the guys, and see what they all say, but it definitely sounds like you've got your way down. I'm also trying to figure out what sort of league fees we could use, we want to give some money to 1st, 2nd and 3rd (which is a real shame we couldn't do it last year, with me winning the league and all ;-D ), and if the guys want to give little penalties for running over their allotted time, that's just more money for me to win next year :-b

I figure the draft will be sometime in March, so I've got plenty of time to set it all up, but I've been thinking about this draft for a while, and it couldn't hurt to start planning now. Once I come up with anything more concrete, I'll post it and see what you guys think. And if anyone else has any good experience with offline drafts, nothing's set in stone, so I'm still listening for any kind of input. Thanks again.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby fast dogs » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:42 am

I can't imagine needing to have more than 90 seconds just to make a pick, unless no one does any preperation at all. What does everyone do when the guy on the clock is thinking? they should be getting ready for their pick.Most of the time unless my top player gets taken, I pick in 10 seconds, especially in the first 3/4 of the draft.What I would suggest is every 3-5 rounds take a 5 minute break just to be sure everyone is caught up and has the same players as drafted. Just be sure & have everyone keepers named a week or so before the draft so everyone has time to prepare with the available players. The toughest thing was always finding a night for the draft, someone was always missing it with something coming up at the last minute, then 1 poor owner would have to draft for 2 teams. Auction drafts take time, snakes shouldn't take long at all, especially with 5 keepers already.21 roster spots, 10 teams, 5 keepers, all guys need to do is have a list of 150 players after the keepers have been named, shouldn't be any problems at all.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby tavo2311 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:36 am

No one SHOULD need more thank 90 seconds at all, and I am like you, always quick. I have a group of people like me, but also the slowpokes. Usually the draft is done during NCAA tournament time, so we are watching that a bit. My main league is also a group of long time friends, but many not close geographically any longer, so this is a time to catch up. Again, in my opinion, if you wanted an all-business draft, do it online. If you want the social aspect, do it in person and be a little more lax, as long as there are loose guidelines to not allow the draft to stall. To each his own though.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby Curtis Pride » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:22 am

When I've done live drafts, there was no set time per pick. It was one of those things where after a minute people start booing and heckling. Peer pressure is fine.

Draft order.
The reverse order of standings in a keeper league is a great idea. We actually have two small twists in my league. First, the last place team doesn't get the first pick, they get the 6th pick. It goes 7-12, 6-1. This is an attempt to prevent teams already near the bottom of the league from just punting and giving up completely. But just going in reverse order is fine. The other twist is that people get the choose their draft slot as opposed to just having it assigned. The team that finished in 7th place gets to decide if they want the first pick or maybe the 5th pick is the perfect spot to pick.

No-shows.
No-shows are very difficult. You need to go by a pre-ranking, however you can't just do it without logic. If they already have a 2B, and yet the highest ranked player is a 2B, you can't grab them another 2b. It really sucks. Hopefully, the sooner you schedule it, the more people can ensure that the day is open.

Tracking.
Most people will just tell you to get a draft board and fill in every name. I find that worthless. It's not practical at all. If you're in the 9th round and wanting to know if Jhonny Peralta had been picked already, you need to scan every round to find his name.

Additionally, having excel and an overhead projector isn't going to work either because you can't see everything on one page - so you're going to have everyone asking to go to different parts of the page in order to see previous rounds of positions or whatever. The person in charge of the excel manipulation is going to be overworked.

The way we did it is one page per team. Go to Staples and you can get those giant post-it pads. Tape 12 of them to the wall, every team gets one page. You write the positions on the left of the page, and then everyone goes up and writes their pick on the paper. This makes it really easy for you to scan if Troy Glaus had been drafted. Just scan every team's page for 3B. Plus it makes it pretty fun because you have the pageantry of people walking up and writing their players on the page. It was really cool. If you need to track down the rounds players were drafted, you only need one person to track that. And it also makes it so no one person has to spend a bunch of time tracking everything - putting them at a disadvantage to everyone else in the draft.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby Texas Flats » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:53 am

Thanks guys. I'm really pushing this offline draft for this league because I just moved down from central/north Jersey down to south Jersey, and since most of my friends and I are big gamblers, I'm trying to get people to come down to AC after the draft, whether it's later that night or they stay over and we head down the next morning. And with me moving ~2 hours away from my hometown, I don't get a whole lot of chances to chill with these guys, so if I can give them a good reason to drive all the way down to my new place, I'm going to use it B-)

Now, let's see if I can hit all the new points in one post. If I missed something, I'll get back to it later.

I don't think anyone will need more than 90 seconds, they usually don't even need 60, but there's always a couple picks (especially toward the end) where you're really scouring the FA pool trying to find the best pick for your team, and everyone has those rounds where you're really cutting it close. I don't mind if people take a little extra time if they really need it, but I figure we'd all like to keep it going at a somewhat reasonable pace.

I'm really liking the idea of giving the last-place team their choice of draft position, I think I'm really going to be pushing that idea.

As for no-shows, I was going to do just what Curtis here recommended by using the player's pre-rankings. To use his example, let's say the no-show already has a second baseman drafted, and the next-highest player on their list is a 2B. Our league uses a UTIL position, so if that's not filled, I'll probably draft the second baseman and put him in that spot. If both 2B and UTIL are already filled, I'll just move on to the next open position on their starting lineup. And once the entire lineup is filled, I'll just be drafting the next-highest ranked player on their list and putting him on their bench.

I do like the idea of keeping track by writing down each player for each team he was drafted for, and putting him in his position on the team, rather than just in whatever order he was drafted in. But instead of just doing it on some sheets of paper on the wall, I'm leaning toward setting up a couple dry erase boards so that it's large enough for everyone to see from their seats, instead of forcing them to get up each time.

edit: ok, I misread the post, you're talking about those big pads, which would serve the same purpose as the big dry erase boards. Either way, I'm taking funds from the league fees to pay for them (and any drinks and snacks and such needed) instead of having the whole cost come out of my pocket. Then anything left over is going to be split between the top 2 or 3 teams.

Ok, I know I missed a couple points there, but I have to get up early tomorrow and go to a couple early leads, so I'll have to cut it short here and finish tomorrow. Thanks again, you guys have been a big help.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby tavo2311 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:48 am

Hey - Another good idea you can't use for this year's draft order, but for future years... To give incentive to the non-playoff teams to not tank the end of the season for a higher pick, or to not set lineups, etc... Play the consolation bracket among all non-playoff teams for the draft choices. So the winner of the consolation bracket gets that 1st choice to pick their draft spot, the runner up 2nd choice, and so on. This does wonders to ensure fair matchups late in the season that affect playoff races as well as giving everyone something to do during playoff weeks, and therefore more for their money.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby Texas Flats » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:15 pm

Actually, I just checked the league, and there was a consolation bracket (I guess I was too concerned with my team in the playoff bracket, I didn't pay it any attention,) so if the rest of the guys are cool with it, we'll pick our draft position based on consolation and playoff bracket standings.

Thanks guys, the draft is actually starting to take shape. I'll be sure to ask if I come up with another problem I come across setting this up, but you've all given me some really great ideas here.
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Re: Setting up an in-person draft

Postby Matthias » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:23 pm

As far as draft board, we used these guys: http://www.fjfantasy.com/baseballkits.htm

I can't remember exactly how much it was, but it was around $50 or $60 and well worth it. We also hired a girl to play Vanna White, putting the names up on the board topless and in a thong. That was $200 plus a $40 tip and also well worth it.
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