Fantasy Football Drafting: Auction vs. Snake

Two primary methods of drafting are used in the world of fantasy football. Leagues generally opt for an auction format or a snake style when picking players.

Auction drafts begin with each owner being allotted a specified amount of imaginary money. Players are then put on the auction block and team owners bid with that money. The highest offer wins a player, but that successful bid amount is deducted from what an owner has left to spend.

The snake draft type is done with teams choosing in a predetermined order. It begins with the first overall pick and moves down in ascending numerical order. When the last team is reached, that owner makes two consecutive picks and the draft moves up in reverse order.

Both types have some positive aspects and particular flaws that can be found. Here are some of the main arguments for and against each format.

Auction Advantages
Many leagues that prefer auctions point out the notion that fairness arises from having no draft order. Each owner has equal chance to take players they want since there is no waiting for assigned turns. In this case, the only concern is how much money is left to spend.

A lot of auction drafters also like the flexibility that is created by a monetary concept, or salary cap, as it is known to some. An owner can take whichever player he wants and do it whenever it personally suits him. Those in snake drafts must wait their turn and can only choose who is left at that point.

Auction Disadvantages
Time can be a big problem when dealing with an auction draft. Considering there is no limit on how long bids can last, drafters might be picking for several hours. It is not uncommon to hear about auction drafts lasting into wee hours of the morning.

Although many auction proponents would disagree, another problem is that it can become very dull at times. There will be long stretches of time where auctions outside an owner’s budget will take place. At that point there is nothing to do for that person except sit and watch.

Snake Advantages
A lot of guys play fantasy football to at least somewhat replicate the NFL ownership experience. A snake draft has much more of resemblance to the professional way of picking players. The added twist of reverse order makes things a bit different than NFL drafts, but the general concept remains in place.

Team owners in a snake draft tend to get caught off guard for at least one round and make a bad pick. It may sound a bit unfriendly, but capitalizing on this creates one of the more enjoyable strategy techniques. Obviously a similar scenario would probably not play out during an auction.

Snake Disadvantages
Based on the snake format, certain owners will inherently be stuck toward the bottom of a draft. Even though another pick quickly comes their way, getting a very highly rated player in the first round is normally impossible. Considering first round picks should be the most successful in a season, this automatically leaves those toward a draft’s end at a disadvantage.

The time factor can be problematic in snake drafts as well, but for reasons a bit more frustrating. If per pick time limits are not established, those unprepared for choosing can seriously delay things. Even with a limitation in place, owners may still want extra drafting time and therefore create some potential favoritism issues.