Names Out of a Hat
Completely random and classic, selecting names out of a hat is the go-to for a good portion of fantasy leagues. It keeps a certain level of suspense as the picker sifts through the crumpled up pieces of paper. If you want to kick it up another level, league commissioners can adopt the NBA Draft Lottery process by assigning the various team members numbers rather than just names. Though effective, this picking strategy is archaic and dull. The most interesting choice anybody will make is the type of hat you’re picking out of. We suggest a cowboy hat for the highest sense of immersion. It’s 2017 -- get more creative.
For the league filled with athletes, the NFL Combine favorite 40-yard dash is an excellent way to decide the pecking order. Keeping it to 40-yards preserves at least a little bit of randomness to this method. Make sure you have an indifferent timer to clock all the times. As a suggestion, your significant other doesn’t care if mere milliseconds is the difference between Le’Veon Bell and Lamar Miller. As such, don’t let them be in control of the stop watch.
For our fantasy fanatics that are less athletically-inclined, stick to the house party favorite of Pong. Grab as many cups as there are league owners, and write each owner's name at the bottom of the cup. Grab a designated “shooter” – that doesn’t know which name is under which cup - and have the person fire away ping pong balls one at a time, pulling each cup after they have been sunk. Reveal the owner under the cup, and continue until all the cups are gone. For all the over-21 owners, fill your cup with a bit of your favorite brew, and chug it down after your pick has been determined.
Videogame Battle Royal
Fantasy football and video games go hand-in-hand. The iconic EA Madden NFL has been used to settle countless disputes between friends, so using it to determine a fantasy draft order only makes sense here as well. If everybody in your league is on an even-playing field, a one-on-one tournament using 2-3 minute quarters will suffice. If the last game some of your members played was “Snake” for the cell phone, then having CPU’s battle it out with randomly picked teams works as well.
If you’ve had enough of football, you can go with a different video game. Super Smash Bros or any WWE game that features the Royal Rumble option can be fun ways to kick back and watch some computers battle it out. It’s always entertaining being in a room with your closest friends yelling at the TV as your representatives duke it out on the virtual playing field.
What better way to get the fantasy season started than watching some more sports? This method can work with any sporting event that’s being played before your draft. Choose a sport, pick a date in which all the teams are playing, and divvy up the teams randomly and evenly. If you have a 10-team league, give everybody three MLB teams. The WNBA doesn’t have as many, so one team each should suffice. Then think up your determining factors – you can go by the total amount of runs scored, or the amount of three pointers made. Watch the games from that day (or don’t if you can’t stomach the tension), and combine the totals of whatever stat was picked and assign the draft order in that fashion. 1st pick goes to the player with the most accumulated runs/points, 2nd pick to the next most, and so on. It’s a fun way to keep everything random, while adding some suspense. Hearing your Dodgers fan friend cheering for the Giants is always a treat.
After you're done picking your order, the first thing on your mind should be the draft. You can't have your brother-in-law Steve winning your league for the third year in a row, so getting started earlier is always better. Draft boards and cheat sheets are great tools for getting prepared, but above all else, make sure you complete a couple of Mock Drafts to prepare you for the season. There are great tools all over the internet, but none come close to Fantasy Pros' Draft Simulator. It allows you to change the rules to fit your league, and simulates all other picks that aren't yours. No more waiting around for other users that are going to leave after they make their first picks anyway. You can complete a Mock Draft in minutes, change the rules, and do another one without any wait time.
Sources: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports