Fantasy football is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the NFL season with your friends, family, or coworkers. However, organizing a fantasy football draft can be challenging, especially if you want to do it offline and in person but some of your league members are unable to attend physically. How can you create and display an offline draft board that everyone can see and follow, regardless of their location? Here are some tips and options to help you create and display an offline draft board for your fantasy football league.
Create an Offline Draft Board in Excel
One of the easiest ways to create an offline draft board is to use Microsoft Excel, which allows you to organize and manipulate data. You can use Excel to create your own draft board, or you can use a template that you can find online. Some of the benefits of using Excel are:
- You can customize the draft board according to your league’s settings and preferences, such as the draft format, the roster size, and—if you want to go the extra mile—the player rankings on another sheet.
- You can update the draft board easily and quickly by entering the picks manually as they happen.
- You can save the draft board as a file that you can share with your virtual league members who are participating in the draft remotely (which we’ll get to in a bit).
Here’s a step-by-step to create an offline draft board in Excel:
- Open a new workbook in Excel and name it as your league name.
- Create a table with rows and columns that correspond to the number of teams and rounds in your league. For example, if you have ten teams and 16 rounds, you will need ten columns and 16 rows.
- Label the columns with the team names and the rows with the round numbers. You can also add some headers or footers with some information such as the league name, the draft date, or the draft order if you’d like. It’s also a good idea to put bye weeks at the bottom.
- Fill in the cells with the player names as they are picked. You can use different colors or fonts to indicate the player positions, such as QB, RB, WR, TE, K, or DEF. You can also use conditional formatting or data validation to highlight or restrict certain cells based on some criteria, such as color-coding positions (for example, use conditional formatting to create any cell that starts with RB to be blue; then you can type RB Christian McCaffrey to have his cell pop up as blue when he’s picked to make it easier to track positions).
- Save the workbook as a file that you can access from any device or browser to later upload to your league hosting platform like ESPN, Yahoo, or NFL.
Display the Offline Draft Board on a Bigger Screened TV
To heighten the usefulness of you offline draft board, you can display it on a bigger-screened television. You can use a TV to show your offline draft board to everyone in the room, as well as to your virtual league members who are participating in the draft remotely. Some of the benefits of using a bigger screened TV are:
- You can enhance the visibility and readability of your offline draft board by projecting it onto a larger screen that everyone can see clearly and easily.
- You can improve the interactivity and engagement of your offline draft board by using features such as zooming, scrolling, filtering, or sorting.
- It’s fun to see how the teams stack up at the conclusion of the draft.
Some of the options to connect your laptop to your bigger screened TV are:
- Using an HDMI cable. You will need an HDMI port on both your laptop and your TV, as well as an HDMI cable to form the connection. You will also need to select the correct input source on your TV and adjust the display settings on your laptop.
- Using screen mirroring, which is a feature that allows you to wirelessly display your laptop screen on your TV screen. You will need a compatible device and smart TV or app that supports screen mirroring technology, such as Chromecast, AirPlay, Miracast, or Smart Share. The most common example might be utilizing MacBook Screen Mirroring on a smart television like LG.
Use a Video Conferencing App
A video conferencing app will allow you to communicate with your virtual league members who are participating in the draft remotely. You can use a video conferencing app to see and hear each other during the draft, as well as to chat and share files. You can also use a video conferencing app to show your offline draft board to your virtual league members by sharing your screen with them.
Benefits of using a video conferencing app include:
- You can make your virtual league members feel involved in the draft as much as possible.
- You can respect their time and attention and avoid any unnecessary delays or interruptions. Just make sure you have a way to contact them in case the video call drops or freezes, such as through text or phone call.
- You can use any app that you have on your device or that you are familiar with. You don’t need to download or install anything new or complicated.
There are a handful of widely utilized aps that allow you to do a video call with virtual participants.
- FaceTime. You can only start a FaceTime if you have an Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. But if you are an Apple user, it should be by far the best option given that there is no limit to the length of the call. Also, it should be easy to screen mirror on a television.
- Skype. The classic and versatile video conferencing app that allows you to make free calls with up to 50 people for up to four hours per session. If you want to do it for free, this is probably the best option for non-Apple users.
- Zoom. The popular video conferencing app allows you to host or join meetings. However, the free tier only allows up to 40 minutes for a call, so this is not suitable unless you are willing to pay or already have a premium plan.
- Google Meet. Like Zoom, Google Meet unfortunately has a limit (60 minutes) that isn’t likely to be sufficient for the length of your draft. But it can be convenient if people have Google accounts and use Gmail.
Set Up Two TVs
To go above and beyond while setting up your offline fantasy draft, you can try to set up two TVs, one for showing your offline draft board and one for showing your virtual league members who are participating in the draft remotely. This way, you can have a more immersive and interactive draft experience that simulates a live event.
- You can create a more realistic and dynamic draft atmosphere by having two screens that show different aspects of the draft.
- You can enhance the communication and collaboration between your physical and virtual league members by having two screens that allow them to see and hear each other better.
- You can increase the fun and excitement of your draft by having two screens that make it feel more like the virtual participants are there in person.
If you want to go the two TV route:
- Connect one TV to your laptop using an HDMI cable or a wireless method like Screen Mirroring. This TV will display your offline draft board that you created in Excel. You will need to select the correct input source on your TV and adjust the display settings on your laptop.
- Connect the other TV to another device that has a video conferencing app installed, such as another laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone—also potentially with Screen Mirroring, even for a phone if you have just one laptop to use. This TV will display your virtual league members who are participating in the draft remotely. You will need to join or host a video call using the app of your choice, such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or FaceTime.
- Place the two TVs in a way that everyone in the room can see both of them clearly and comfortably. You might want to position them side by side or opposite each other, depending on the layout of your room and the angle of your view.
Enjoy Your Offline Fantasy Football Draft
By following these tips and options, you can create and display an offline draft board for your fantasy football league efficiently, even when some of your league members must participate virtually. You can create a smooth and hassle-free draft experience that everyone can see and follow. Have fun and good luck!