I kind of miss the annual back-and-forth about drinking and drafting, where I'd write that you shouldn't drink when selecting players, and people would tell me how crazy I was for writing it. Then we'd both cite examples, shake our heads, and go back to doing whatever we were doing. Ah, the good old days. But that argument is played out (I haven't changed my mind, but I didn't change anyone else's mind, either), so I have a new crusade. And this one applies to the growing number of leagues that draft online: Stay off the drafting app.
Technology is great, isn't it? We can do almost anything we want from our phones. You can buy food, Alien on Blu-ray and meet someone to invite over for date night (must like Alien, or swipe left). You can even check in and draft your entire team from your phone.
But just because you can do something doesn't make it a good idea. In this case, it's a pretty rotten one. The price you'll pay for that convenience is a wealth of intangibles that could have helped you on draft day.
When I draft online, it's in front of my computer with multiple windows open. Those windows give me immediate access to secondary info, updates, news, message boards and other ancillary data that helps me feel in control of each decision. I don't always make the right choice, but it sure isn't for lack of information. I even keep paper around to jot down names to remember as the draft proceeds, or on-the-fly notes as I'm doing research waiting for my next pick.
Now, I could I draft from the app, and be at a friend's house, or at lunch or at the beach (I'm in Florida, after all). And I'm sure it would work fine. I could even access most of the same information. But would it be as easy? Would tapping on a small screen be the same as spreading out across a desk with a big monitor or a laptop in front of me?
Now, I admit that I'm older than a lot of fantasy owners. Maybe I'm not as proficient with a phone as some other folks. But it's not like I'm fumbling with a Jitterbug trying to look up "The Google." I have a Galaxy Note, so it has a big screen and plenty of RAM. I can access spreadsheets and pdfs. I have major sites bookmarked and I know how to use drafting apps.
And you know what? I still feel rushed and with less access to information than I'd have at home. On top of that, I can't control my environment while I'm drafting. It might be a little bright, or loud, or maybe I'm in a social setting and have to divert my attention to other things and people. And I have to manage everything on a screen a fraction the size of a laptop or desktop monitor.
And for what? An illusion of convenience? The ability to say yes to some social plans and still keep my league obligations? What's the point if I don't feel like I made the best possible decisions and don't have confidence in the process? If I'm going for illusions, at least let me feel great about my team before the season starts. So don't use an app unless it's absolutely necessary. Not because it's a cool idea, or you can do two things at once, or you don't want to say no to your spouse. It's an hour or so once a year. Make it count.
If you need more proof, check out how NFL teams draft. The owners are billionaires. They could have an assistant draft on their state-of-the-art phones while they bark orders from a private yacht in the Mediterranean. But what do they use? A war room. A full-sized room staffed with people and paper and refreshments and cell phones and land lines. You'll see laptops and desktops in front of plush chairs. There's more room than they need and more people than they need. People are typing and texting and crunching numbers and making phone calls until all picks are made. If they can have a fully-functioning operation humming along for a couple days, you can use a full-size computer and keyboard with a little peace and quiet for an hour.
Obviously, there will be situations where it's the app or nothing. That's when it becomes really valuable, and it's much better than getting a team via auto draft. But unless it's absolutely unavoidable, don't use your site's app when you draft. Make it the absolute last resort. You won't be at your best, you won't make the smartest decisions and it will hurt your team on draft day.
Hmmm. You won't be at your best, you won't make the smartest decisions and it will hurt your team. Where have you heard that before?
How do you feel about using a draft app? Do you like the convenience? How does it compare to using a laptop or desktop computer? Share your thoughts below.