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The Best Ways to Determine Your Fantasy Football Draft Order (2021)

Jul 28, 2021

A few things I despise in the world of fantasy football: Taking a quarterback early, being offered a trade of three mediocre players for one great player, and draft orders being randomized 60 minutes prior to the start time. 

Keep in mind — when deciding your league’s draft order, the competition should decide the order in which teams select where they’ll be drafting, rather than cementing the order itself. For example, this season, if I had my pick of the litter, I’d take pick #2, and in my opinion, the least desirable draft position is not pick 12 (or the last pick). Therefore if I win whatever event is held to determine the draft order, I’d be able to choose where I want to draft. 

2021 Draft Kit: View printable cheat sheets, sleepers & mistakes to avoid >>

Even if everyone in your league is in a different time zone, there are ways to spice up draft order selection. Here are my favorite ideas I’ve either tried or considered trying in my leagues. I’ve broken them down into three categories: 

Physical: An in-person competition, race, etc

  • Mini Golf
    • This is fun, easy, and sure to elicit horrified and/or amused looks from the families watching a group of friends line up putts like they’re Phil Mickelson, not knowing that each stroke could be the difference between Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler in the first round. 
  • Home Run Derby
    • This will take a bit more time and coordination, but relieving the glory days to see who can mash the most homers on a little league diamond is a great way to spend the afternoon.
  • Real-Life Combine 
    • Let’s be honest. This is really just seeing who wins on the bench press and 40-yard dash. It still could be fun, assuming your league-mates are all of similar athletic ability. 

Intellectual: A quiz, task, challenge (much easier to conduct virtually)

  • The Wonderlic Test 
    • The Wonderlic Test is a 50-question aptitude exam each NFL draft hopeful takes. It’s also a tried-and-true method for fantasy draft order selection. There are plenty of online Wonderlic simulators where antsy fantasy players can try their hand. 
  • NFL Player Spelling Bee 
    • 50 years from now, I’ll tell my grandkids about the time I won my fantasy league because I correctly spelled the name of Oakland Raiders cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, earning me first selection (2017 Todd Gurley). You do need an unbiased third party to organize and moderate this event, but it’s incredibly entertaining when pulled off.

Random: Something that doesn’t take into account any skill, is a completely random outcome, but is fun to watch unfold

  • PGA Tournament 
    • Pretty self-explanatory, each team is dealt a golfer playing in the PGA Tour event of your choosing, and draft selection happens in the order of each golfer’s finish. 
    • A variation of this is with other sports. For example, my league once received random relief pitchers on the Boston Red Sox, and the selection order was decided by the pitchers’ ERAs. I’ve also heard of each person selecting a Little League World Series team. 
  • Playlist 
    • This one’s quick and easy. Everyone selects a song that is added to a playlist. The playlist is then played on shuffle in front of the whole league. The selection order is the order in which the songs are played. 

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TJ Horgan is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @tjhorgantv.

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