If you are new to fantasy sports you may have seen the term serpentine draft and wondered what it means.
A serpentine draft in refers to a draft in which the order of the picks is flipped each round. For example, if you pick first overall in one round you will pick last overall in the next round.
What this does is give everyone an equal ability to draft players. A standard draft keeps the pick position the same in each round which gives an advantage to the teams which select 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|
For this example, we used a draft with only four teams so it is easier to understand. As you can see after each team has selected a player the order will flip.
The team that picked first did not pick again until the end of the second round with the eighth pick.
Teams that select last in the draft will also find that all of their picks will happen back to back. This can be a little stressful come draft time but it can result in some awesome value.
Luckily when participating in a snake draft the draft order is usually going to be laid out in front of you. All you need to remember is that the draft order flips each round and you should be able to make sense of it.
Serpentine drafts are almost always used when starting a fantasy football league.
Draft order plays too much of a role when doing a traditional draft. If a team selects first in each round their team will be noticeably better than their opponents.
This is why most fantasy football commissioners will use a snake draft when starting up a league.
How to win your serpentine draft
Now that you know what a serpentine draft is in fantasy football you may be wondering how you can take advantage of this draft style.
Know your pick positions
In a serpentine draft, it is common that fantasy managers are not going to look through the draft order to determine where exactly they are going to be picking.
And since the order is flipped each round most will not be able to figure out where they pick in each round off the top of their head.
By studying your pick positions ahead of time you can determine which players will likely be there for your picks.
Using ECR or ADP fantasy managers can find good value in their picks.
Be prepared for double picks
If you pick first or last in the first round you must prepare yourself to make two quick selections. Two managers in your draft will find that all of their picks in the draft will come back to back.
During the draft itself, this can often be overwhelming. It can result in fantasy managers picking at random when it comes to their second selection.
To counter this be sure to plan ahead when your back to back picks are coming. Always try to keep two players in mind that you want on your team.
This way when your picks come you will have some easy selections.
Know when you are going to target each position
Another thing you want to take into account in a serpentine draft is when you are drafting your positions.
Specific positions like quarterback or kicker are often only selected once in the entire draft.
In a serpentine draft, there are often long breaks between picks, especially in larger leagues. This makes it even more important that you realize when you want to select each position.
Failing to select a quarterback for example can go poorly if you find yourself picking up one of the leftovers after other teams have selected their top choices.