The FSA Directeur Sportif, easily the best-working, best-sponsored, best-loved season-long cycling game that raises fantasy implications in users, has an underutilized element to it that I want to make sure you serious players consider: a draft league. I'm in one, called the Editors' League, and it's basically the long-running highlight of the year.
What is a draft league?
It's like your usual fantasy sports, where you get a group of people together and make teams where you draft athletes on to your team, and once an athlete comes off the board, nobody else can have him. You can make your teams as large as you please. [Eds' League teams are 12 riders each, but we have 23 owners. With a league of 10 owners, you could easily make 25-rider teams before you started going crazy.]
What's so great about a draft league?
1) The draft. In the Eds' League, the comity is a big part of it. But even among strangers, it's really hard not to have tons of fun at the draft. The key is for people to all/mostly be present and have access to a chat mechanism where you can keep a running discussion as names go off the board.
2) The game. As far as actually playing, every time you score points you can be virtually certain you have made headway against your peers, or most of them. Certainly if your guy wins. Or if you put four riders in the top ten. In the primary FSA DS, when Kittel wins a sprint, it helps about 200 people, and if you're one of them, that's cool. But there's nothing like feeling like your team is the only one that won today. Over the course of the season it's also fun to be proven right about your surprise picks. Like the main game, it's not won in the first rounds so much as in the last ones. [Though I picked like 20th last year and took Fabio Aru, who almost won it all for me in a thinned out league.]
Oh, and every word of this post applies for men and women. Hell, you could even do a league with both!
How would I do this?
Get people together. Rope in your existing PdC comrades. Use the comments section to this post to attract people you maybe don't know as well to your league. Make a pitch as to why your league will be the coolest. Hell, even grab people from outside the Cafe. It's your league, there is no requirement for the Cafe to be involved.
Once you have people and some sort of way to connect -- in person or online (Google docs!) -- then you need riders. Got ya covered. Superted has designed the FSA DS site to include a very handy feature: a downloadable spreadsheet of every rider on our list (which is definitely every rider you would consider drafting). Go here for men or here for women, and click on the green Excel logo to the right of the search fields. Presto!
Scoring: I'm not sure there is a way to do this, but the spreadsheet download has a column for this year's scoring. Perhaps you are clever enough to extract that data somehow? If not, you'd need to either talk to Superted about possible methods for doing this, or just type them in by hand. The latter would not be as bad as you think. Daily updates would mean just a couple minutes spent entering that day's results. Weekly or monthly would take longer but still not that long.
Questions? Comments? Experiences to share? Looking to start or join a draft league? To the comments!