Fantasy Football Drafting: Online vs. Offline

In order to play fantasy football teams must assemble rosters from a selection of NFL players. This is accomplished through a draft that is held by each league.

Most fantasy football hosting sites include some type of option for an online draft. Each player enters into a virtual draft room and begins choosing players in an order that was pre-assigned. Generally each player’s selection time per round is limited to three minutes.

Offline drafts take place in a specified location and require each member of the league to meet at that place. A pre-assigned order is used here as well, however each player verbally states a pick when his turn arrives. The league commissioner or team owner himself writes down each choice in a visible area.

Several factors determine which draft option is best for your league. There are arguments for and against each of these formats. Ultimately it comes down to weighing advantages vs. disadvantages.

Online Draft Advantages
In some leagues the logistical problems of getting everyone together make an online draft the best choice. Possibly some of the guys in your league live too far apart or maybe some younger players are away at school. An Internet draft gives everyone a chance to participate no matter where they are.

The forced time limit per pick generally makes an online draft the faster choice. Many men are busy with work and family obligations, therefore making it impossible for them to spend several hours drafting.

Online Draft Disadvantages
Internet service is not always reliable and stable. If an owner is having connection problems he may not be able draft. Usually the draft program auto picks for those absent, but this will probably leave you with unwanted players.

Some fantasy sites have endured problems with their online draft service. A draft program might run too slow at times or even accidentally knock users off the site. The only way to lower probability of this is to research different sites and learn which are best for online drafts.

Offline Draft Advantages
A fantasy football draft is one the best excuses for getting the guys together. The entertainment and camaraderie of an offline draft can give you an excellent break from everyday life. Quite a few leagues even treat it as a draft “party” and make sure plenty of manly essentials like beer, pizza and cigars are on hand.

Someone unfamiliar with fantasy football or ill-prepared can benefit from the offline format. Other players that are more experienced may be able to help a guy that is not. Also more time usually elapses between picks, giving someone a few extra minutes to research his choice.

Offline Draft Disadvantages
The extra time between draft picks can also create a disadvantage to drafting offline. Certain guys in the league may have limited time to spend before having to leave. In addition, spending too many hours drafting can actually become a bit boring and monotonous.

The online format automatically arranges chosen players with teams immediately following the draft. However, an offline draft requires the league commissioner to manually enter each chosen player with the corresponding team. This is a tedious task that can possibly take several hours.

Both methods of drafting discussed here can be a lot of fun for everyone involved. As you can see though, there are some potential drawbacks to each that must be considered. Hopefully the information here is helpful when deciding how to hold your next fantasy football draft.