Make Your Own Free On-Screen Fantasy Football Draft Board with Google Drive
Every live fantasy draft should have a Fantasy draft board. You can do it the old-fashioned way by physically creating one out of poster board and markers. You could also plunk down a little cash and get yourself some draft board software. If you want to go the bargain basement way, however, you can also whip up your own digital fantasy football draft board using Google Drive Spreadsheet, or any other spreadsheet application such as Excel or Calc.
I’ve chosen to use a Google Drive spreadsheet for a few reasons. (NOTE: Google Drive is the new home of Google Docs, which is Google’s web based suite of Productivity software) First, you can share documents easily with others online. If one or more people can’t be at the live draft, they can view the Google Drive Fantasy Draft board the same as you do at the draft with each pick being updated as along the way. Or, if others at the draft want to pull up the draft board on their own laptops, iPads, or iPhones, they can do that as well. Google Drive has an app for both iPad and iPhone. Or, you could always use the Safari browser. Google Drive is free for up to 5 GB of storage. If you don’t already have an account, sign up here for Google Drive.
If you won’t have Internet access in your draft room, or you just prefer not to use Google Drive, you can always use another spreadsheet application, or create the spreadsheet on Google Drive and download it for use offline.
Creating Your Draft Board
I’m sure all of you have seen a draft board before so you’ll. I chose a pretty standard setup with draft rounds listed vertically along the left and Team names listed at the top of each column. A light blue background for the row and column headers makes them stick out a bit more. You can start out with any font and font-size in the beginning and then adjust later as you test the draft board out on the TV screen.
Next, I choose color codes for each position and placed a key along the bottom for reference. Each time we type in a new draft pick, we will give it a background color corresponding with their position. If you are using a color-picker box like the one available in Google Drive spreadsheets, it’s a good idea to pick colors from the same row so you aren’t inadvertently selecting slightly different shades of green or yellow, or red, etc.
Displaying the Draft Board on Your TV
Connecting your laptop or PC to your television or projector will vary depending on your computer and it video output connections. Many newer laptops have HDMI out ports. Whatever connection you have, you are likely to find the necessary adapter or cables at Amazon or some other electronics retailer. For Macbooks, you’ll have display port connections. Again, you can find a Display port to HDMI or DVI cables for about 10 bucks or so at Amazon.com. If you have a newer Macbook Pro running Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) you could connect wirelessly via Apple TV.
You’ll want to test your draft board ahead of time and tweak the font-size, column width, and any other characteristics so that the board displays properly on your TV. I ended up setting up my rows and columns with 24pt font and the cells where the draft picks go are set to 18pt. I then adjusted the columns so they fit nicely on my 55 inch screen.
Sharing the Draft Board
During or after the draft, you can share the document with others by choosing File > Share. You’ll have the option of keeping the document private and granting access only to those granted permission, or make it open to all and simply send the link to those that wish to access it. Constantly saving your doc is always a good idea, but documents on Google Drive are also automatically saved by default, so in the event of a computer crash you won’t lose much, if anything.
For any trades or other comments, you can make a note right in a specific cell (Insert > Comment) Or, just drop comments into a cell below the draft board.
Of course, doing it this way you don’t have some of the built-in features that might come with a true fantasy draft board application that will make draft usage a little easier. If you are already familiar with using spreadsheets, however, this way is pretty quick and easy. Plus, it’s free.by