2019 Fantasy Football Snake Draft Strategies to Win Your League

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 30: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants reacts after scoring during the fourth quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants | Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The 2019 fantasy football season is almost here, which means the height of draft season is just around the corner.

For most of you, that means participating in a classic snake draft. These drafts usually include 10 to 12 teams who receive their draft slot via a randomized lottery, with picks going in the opposite order from round to round.

While snake is the more simplified version of drafting, as compared to an auction, it still requires a comprehensive strategy to maximize your roster. Here are a few snake draft tips to consider for the 2019 fantasy season.

5. Know Your League Rules

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 12:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks over his clipboard on the sidelines during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets on November 12, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

First and foremost, before going into any fantasy draft, make sure you are familiar with the league rules and settings. Are you playing in a PPR league? A half-point PPR league? Are there bonuses for big plays or yardage totals? How are defenses and special teams scored? These are just some of the questions you'll need answered before drafting, as they can weigh heavily on who you're selecting and when. Also, make sure you know the number and makeup of your starting lineup, if you have any injury spots and any other details regarding roster construction.

4. Don't Base Picks On Bye Weeks

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 21: J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans sprays water on his face during the first half of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field on October 21, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

While you want to be prepared and conscious about things when drafting, one thing that gets overblown in fantasy drafts is the importance of bye weeks. Some drafters will try to avoid taking too many players with the same bye week. On the other side of the coin, some find it beneficial to load up on players with the same bye, in an effort to punt a single week out of the season while keeping the other weeks unaffected. The best advice – take the players you think will have the best season and biggest impact on your fantasy team, regardless of their bye week.

3. Pay Attention to Your League Mates

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Many people who play fantasy football are only paying attention to their team during drafts. This is a fatal flaw, as the picks being made by everyone else provide a wealth of valuable information. It's important to know who your league mates already have on their roster, in determining who they may take next. For example, if you need a quarterback and pick 10th in a 12-team league, but notice the 11th and 12th guys already have QBs on their roster, it would be wise to draft another need and wait on a QB until your next pick. This is because both teams are highly unlikely to take another QB before the draft snakes back to you.

2. Ignore Rankings, Draft Who You Want

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 16:  Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrtaes after the game against the Oakland Raiders  at Paul Brown Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Player rankings, either by one expert or a consensus of experts, are certainly useful when planning your fantasy draft strategy. They provide a baseline of where players are projected to go, while also showing how analysts differ on certain players from list to list. However, the idea of using any set of rankings as a "cheat sheet" is an amateur move. You should be able to form your own opinions on players based on rankings and research, and the best way to do that is by creating your own personalized rankings, or player tiers, ahead of your draft.

1. TBPA (Take the Best Player Available)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans celebrates against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The most important thing to remember in snake drafts is this – ignore the myth of position scarcity, and take the best player available. While the concept of scarcity may be more common in baseball, where there are more positions to fill, you basically only need to worry about four positions in fantasy football, and maybe even three (depending how you value tight end, defense and kicker). Waiting on a QB is advised due to the depth of the position in today's passing-driven game and, as a result, running backs and wide receivers will almost always be the best players available in the first few rounds. However, at a certain point, Patrick Mahomes will become the no-brainer pick, once the top RBs and WRs are off the board. It's all relative, but taking the best player available is something that often pays off.

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