Arguably the biggest decision heading into fantasy football season is what type of draft you want to partake in.
The draft is often the most exciting part of the fantasy football season, and the experience of an auction draft is vastly different than a snake.
The snake draft, the most popular format of fantasy football, is the traditional way of drafting where a team owner can select any available player when it’s their turn. Then, the next person in the draft order selects, and so on. The only tricky part is that the draft order wraps around, so the team with the 10th pick also takes the 11th, and then it reverses.
In a snake draft, the team with the first overall pick has to wait until the 20th slot to take its second player. In snake drafts, there is a round for every roster spot, so if your league decides to allow 15 players per team, you’ll draft 15 rounds.
Average draft position (ADP) is a useful tool for evaluating players during snake drafts; it’s usually a smart idea to draft players when they slide below their ADP. One fantasy tool has Patriots running back Sony Michel’s ADP at 44. If injury concerns cause him to drop, it might be smart to scoop him up in the fifth or sixth round.
Proponents of snake drafts enjoy how perceivably fair — and simple — the format is.
On the other hand, an auction draft is more complicated and likely much less prevalent. In an auction draft, each team gets a set amount of money to spend on players. Any team owner can place a player on the auction block, and every league member can bid on that player from there. Each team must fill out their roster without going over the salary cap. Typically, the standard budget is $200.
To put that into perspective, the top running backs — the most coveted players in fantasy — usually cost between $55 and $63, per fantasypros.com. That means team owners often devote more than 25% of their budget to players like Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley.
Auction drafts place an especially high value on low-cost sleepers; owners need to fill out their rosters with high-ceiling players who won't break the bank. Patriots rookie wideout N’Keal Harry, for instance, is valued at $2.
(A note: Values for auction draft and average draft position for snake drafts can fluctuate based on which scoring system you use.)
The auction more closely represents the real world in that there’s a strict salary cap, but it’s more of a free agency frenzy than a traditional draft.
You can’t go wrong either way, but snake drafts and auction drafts yield significantly different experiences for fantasy players, so choose wisely.
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