Tonight was our annual captain’s meeting for my bowling league. Yes, league, singular; I’m down to one this season, and seeing how my back is, I don’t know when I’ll even be able to start bowling. The season starts next week, so…yeah.
More importantly, tonight was my fantasy football league’s draft lottery. No, not even the actual draft; the draft lottery, as in, let’s draw numbers and figure out who drafts where. I’m the commissioner of the league, and I could theoretically conduct this myself a month before the draft, but in the interest of fairness, I like to do it with at least one other league member around.
It’s my favorite thing to do as commissioner. First, we randomly draw divisions. Even though it changes every year, I feel like I end up competing with the same two guys each season. I generally end up on the wrong side of that competition, too.
Once the divisions are set, it also helps decide our schedule. I’m clever – or, I spend way too much time on these sorts of trivial things – so I came up with a schedule matrix for the league. Each teams plays its divisional rivals twice (the first three and last three weeks are for divisional play) and every other team once for a total of 14 games. Again, I once spent way too much time matching teams up so that I could simply plug different teams into slots each season – Team A1 vs. Team C3, for example – so that the schedule is varied but consistent from year to year.
Finally, the highlight of the night is the lottery. We use last season’s records to give teams their proverbial ping pong balls (which are actually just slips of paper) – there are 12 teams, and the team that finished 12th gets 12 slips. 11th place gets 11, so on and so forth, until the defending champion gets one. There are some modifications in there – teams that have the same record get the same number of slips, regardless of any tiebreakers – so the number of slips is usually a little over 80.
There were 82 this year, and as the fourth-worst team last season, I had nine of them. That’s just a hair under 11 percent. The worst team only had 14.6 percent of the slips, so I had almost as good a shot as any of getting one of the first couple picks.
We started drawing. The first pick went to one of my divisional rivals, the guy who was third-worst last year. The second slip…was the same guy. The third…same guy. If I hadn’t written them myself, I would have thought it was rigged. I’m still not entirely sure it wasn’t.
The second pick went to a guy who was 7-7 last season. An anomaly, but it’s one of the vagaries of a lottery. The third pick went to last year’s worst team.
And so on and so forth for the next six picks. My name was nowhere to be found. I half expected to see all my slips on the floor. There were only three slots left, and the last three teams without draft slots are in my division.
The 10th pick came up and went to the two-time defending champion, the guy with one slip in the hat. Finally, one of my nine slips came out for pick number 11. Last year’s runner-up was 12th.
To sum up: of the three guys picking at the end of the first round, two of them played for the championship last season. The other one finished 6-8 and is THE GUY WHO SET UP AND RAN THE WHOLE DRAFT LOTTERY.
They say that if you don’t get one of the top three picks, then drafting in the bottom three is preferable. I won’t get any of the top 10 players, but I will get two of the top 14 due to the snake draft format (last pick in the first round picks first in the second and so on). Small consolation.
It looks like I’ll have to rely once again on my draft savvy and shrewd waiver wire moves to succeed. And as a quick look at my past finishes shows…
::looks at past finishes…6th…9th…10th…4th…9th::