If you find yourself on draftfc.co.uk reading this article, chances are you take your draft league(s) fairly seriously!
If this isn’t your first season there will no doubt have been some teething issues in your first year(s). The injustice of bottom place grabbing Lukaku and Ronaldo in successive waivers at the beginning of the season, questionable trades around the double gameweeks or a manager who loses interest two weeks in never to be heard from again.
One way to ensure a fair, happy and committed league is to get creative and add your own enhancements – some of which we discuss below.
If there’s one criticism brought up time and again with the OFPL Draft game, it’s the lack of customisation. Aside from the time limits for each pick you just have to go along for the ride. For some, the ability to decide your own draft positions, pick-up players who aren’t in the game yet or even trade waiver picks means getting creative!
The easiest way to do all of the above is to take your draft offline. This means drafting the old-fashioned way with post-it notes, a whiteboard or a spreadsheet. Once you’ve concluded your offline draft, it’s then as simple as adding your 15 players to your in-game watchlist and letting the game auto-draft your pre-determined picks. This works fantastically well, but does add an added layer of admin that many would rather do without.
For those who are more interested in transfer speculation, another DIY step (which works fine if you’re drafting online or offline) is to assign stand-in players. So for example, it’s unlikely anybody is going to draft Troy Parrott [FWD] from Spurs, so if somebody really wants to take a punt on Neymar joining the PL, Parrott could be used to represent Neymar. It’s worth coming up with a list of possibilities pre-draft so that everyone is on the same page.
Another annoying part of the early gameweeks to deal with are the slow trickle of transfers that are being completed late in the window. For those unfamiliar with OFPL waiver system, the priority runs in reverse league order. So a manager who ends up bottom for the first few weeks can find themselves in the fortunate position of bolstering their team with a few star-studded arrivals.
One way to control this (and a rule used in Draft FC’s main league for a few years now) is to impose an embargo on waivering in new transfers until the transfer window has closed. That means come gameweek 4, once all business has been completed, there will be a stack of waiting players in the waiver pile that can be more evenly distributed throughout the league.
I think it’s important to note that there is no perfect way to deal with this issue and in other platforms it can simply be a race to log-in and pick players up quicker than your fellow managers, which also has obvious downsides.
The day-to-day conduct of your league is something that will inevitably be self-policed. Having a whatsapp group or equivalent to be able to discuss the games, H2H match-ups and dodgy waivers is all part of the fun. Trading is usually a big source of discussion, both between the two involved managers, but also the rest of the league looking on.
It’s not unheard of for trades to go down which raise an eyebrow and having a mechanism in place to govern this is important. The game itself allows for a couple of options – administrator approval and manager approval. This allows for trades to be vetoed either by the league admin or by a majority of fellow managers. For our Draft FC league, the whatsapp group provides the jury and if anything is deemed to be “not in the spirit of the game” then suitable punishments will be presented.
To aid creativity in trades, we also allow for loans. Now I know from a recent guest podcast that some leagues take the opposite approach and actively impose a minimum amount of the time that players must be kept before moving back. Particularly with the volume of blank/double gameweeks in recent years, the ability to make short-term deals with a trade-off in the very near future provided some useful angles to make deals and did not detract from the overall experience.
I also know from hearing about other leagues that some impose a rule that every manager must make a trade at least once a month in order to keep things fresh and active. While I understand the rationale for this, as a manager who grows very attached to his squad it’s not something I’d personally vote for!
End of Season
Once all is said and done – what reward is there for the league champion? And what forfeit must the loser endure?
Having an incentive system, however small, is the best way to keep the league active and engaged. This should be agreed upon before GW1 ideally and even a token amount on the line will dramatically improve the commitment levels in the group.
Why not get a trophy to be passed around each year? Afterall, you’ll have
wasted invested enough time on your team, you should get something to show for it!