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What Is a Snake Draft in Fantasy Football? Fantasy Football Snake Draft Explained

Publish Date:25.01.2024
Fact checked by: Adan Cabal

One common question I’ve heard among newbie fantasy football managers is, “What is a snake draft in fantasy football?” In simple terms, snake draft is a draft system where managers go through rounds picking players for their fantasy league teams.

The first round usually starts with the top manager in the league and continues till the last league member picks a player. After this cycle, the next round begins with the last manager and moves up to the first league member. The sequence continues to interchange in this manner till all managers have filled the spots in their team rosters.

The snake draft – What is a snake draft in NFL fantasy football?

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been asked, “What is snake draft type in fantasy football?” In my experience, the easiest way to explain how this system works in picking players is to imagine a standard fantasy football league of 12 teams with 16 lineup spots.

During the snake draft, managers take turns picking players, starting from the first member of the league. However, after the first round, the sequence restarts, with the last manager going first. The first manager will then pick first in the third round, and so the interchange continues until everyone fills their team spots.

Aside from traditional fantasy football, snake drafts are also popular in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Before you run off to Google to search “What is DFS in fantasy football?” I’ll explain it to you in simple terms.

Daily Fantasy Sports are much like standard fantasy sports, except you draft players and compete daily instead of across a season.

Snake Draft in Fantasy Football: Pros and Cons 

Snake Draft in Fantasy Football
  • Straightforward draft method for inexperienced players
  • Minimal technicalities in picking players
  • Less time-consuming than other draft types like auction draft
  • Limitations regarding player choice, as your options depend on what’s available after each turn

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Snake draft strategies – How managers navigate this draft type

Fantasy football managers typically approach the snake draft in a number of different ways. Below, I’ll explain some of the most common draft strategies:

The Hero RB 

The Hero RB strategy involves drafting an elite running back like Derrick Henry as the first player on your team, then filling other spots with high-upside players before picking an RB2 in the sixth or seventh rounds. By choosing a top-tier RB on your team first, you have a guaranteed consistent performer to carry your backfield and score high weekly fantasy points for you.

The Zero RB 

Using the Zero RB strategy, you ignore the RB position in the first few rounds while filling the wide receiver and quarterback positions with elite talent. Eventually, you’ll pick an upside RB in the draft’s middle rounds.

While I consider this strategy risky and lean towards the Hero RB method, I understand the logic. The running back position is the most volatile in terms of injuries and performances – a factor that can affect your fantasy football season in the long run.

Tier-based drafting 

While learning the basics of drafting, most first-timers encounter tiers and wonder, “What are tiers in fantasy football?” In a nutshell, tiers are groups that feature players with similar skill levels and ratings.

Fantasy football managers arrange players in tiers to identify and draft the best available players for their squads. You can use the tier-based model to categorize players based on performance or talent and select the best options for your team.

Snake draft vs. auction draft Which method works best? 

Auction and snake drafts are the most common draft systems in fantasy football. Due to their popularity, most players usually wonder which one is better. I’ll quickly explore how both methods stack against each other in the table below:

Snake draftAuction draft
Suited for first-time managersComplex for experienced managers
Managers only have access to the players available at each turnManagers can bid for any player they want
Straightforward and faster turn-based draft systemBid-based draft system with a 2-3 hour auction timeline

Conclusion – Build all-conquering teams with fantasy football snake drafts 

Snake drafts are one of the most popular draft systems in fantasy football, offering a straightforward way to build your dream team. If you’re a new player, it’s also the quickest way to get started with fantasy football. Of course, while the turn-based model limits the players available to you at each round, I still believe you can create a strong lineup with the perfect strategy.

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Snake draft in fantasy football FAQs

❓ What’s a Snake draft in fantasy football?

Snake draft is a draft system in fantasy football where managers go through rounds of selecting players for their teams. However, the roles interchange in each round, with the first manager going first in the opening round and the last manager taking the number one spot in the second cycle. 

🤔 What is the best position in fantasy football snake draft?

Most fantasy football managers consider the running back position to be the strongest. As such, they often draft the elite players in this spot first during the snake draft. 

🤷‍♀️ Who should I pick first in a snake draft?

Your first player in a snake draft depends on your draft technique. That said, most strategies involve picking a running back or wide receiver first. 

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