In fantasy sports, you might have heard the term serpentine draft and wondered what it meant.
Serpentine drafts are those in which the picks are flipped each round. For example, if you pick first overall in the first round, you will pick last overall in the next round.
Standard drafts keep the pick position the same in each round, giving an advantage to teams that choose at the top.
Example of a Serpentine Draft
|Pick 1||Team A|
|Pick 2||Team B|
|Pick 3||Team C|
|Pick 4||Team D|
|Pick 5||Team D|
|Pick 6||Team C|
|Pick 7||Team B|
|Pick 8||Team A|
|Pick 9||Team A|
|Pick 10||Team B|
|Pick 11||Team C|
|Pick 12||Team D|
|Pick 13||Team D|
|Pick 14||Team C|
|Pick 15||Team B|
|Pick 16||Team A|
In this example, we used a draft with only four teams to make it easier to understand. As you can see, the order will flip after each team has chosen a player.
It was not until the eighth pick in the second round that the team that picked first picked again.
Those who draft last will also find that all of their picks fall back to back. This can be stressful, but it can also yield some really worthwhile value.
Luckily, when you participate in a snake draft, the draft order is usually laid out for you. All you have to remember is that the draft order flips each round.
When starting a fantasy football league, serpentine drafts are almost always used.
In a traditional draft, order plays too much of a role. Teams that select first in each round will have a noticeable advantage over their opponents.
When starting up a fantasy football league, most commissioners use a snake draft.
What you need to know to win your serpentine draft
As you now know what a serpentine draft is in fantasy football, you might be wondering how to take advantage of it.
Know your Pick Positions
It is common for fantasy managers not to look through the draft order before picking in a serpentine draft.
Most will not be able to figure out where they pick in each round since the order is flipped each round.
You can determine which players will likely be in your pick positions by studying them ahead of time.
It is possible for fantasy managers to find great value in their picks using ECR or ADP.
Be Prepared for Double Picks
The first and last picks in your draft will come back to back for two managers in your draft if you pick first or last in the first round.
Fantasy managers often pick at random when it comes to their second selection during the draft.
When you have back-to-back picks, try to keep two players in mind that you want on your team.
When your picks arrive, you will have some easy choices.
Decide When Each Position will be Targeted
When you draft your positions in a serpentine draft, you should also consider this.
During the draft, quarterbacks and kickers are often selected only once.
There can often be a long gap between picks in a serpentine draft, especially in larger leagues. Therefore, you need to keep track of when you want to select each position.
When you fail to select a quarterback, for example, your chances of succeeding are slim if you end up picking up one of the leftovers after other teams have chosen their top players.