The Draft: How It Works

I get it. You’ve made up your mind who is going to be the Premier League’s top scorer this season and you want him leading the line for your fantasy team.

The good news is when it’s your turn to pick a player there are no price tags which means no budget restrictions holding you back. You can pick whoever you want. The flip side is that so can every other manager in your mini league, and you might not be picking first.

Whatever website you’re using the standard way of picking players is what’s known as a “Snake Draft”. This is where each manager takes it in turns to choose one player for their team until everyone’s squads have been filled. Normally the order of who goes first and who goes second etc is completely random and you will find out your position in the queue just before it starts.

The term “Snake Draft” comes from how the order of who picks snakes from one round to the other in an effort to make it as fair as possible.

Round 1: Team A, Team B, Team C, Team D

Round 2: Team D, Team C, Team B, Team A

Round 3: Team A, Team B, Team C, Team D

Round 4: Team D, Team C, Team B, Team A

Don’t panic if you aren’t lucky enough to have the first pick because as you can see the manager picking last in round 1 gets to go first in round 2. The pattern is repeated until the end of the draft.

When it’s your turn you can choose any player that hasn’t already been taken in the draft. There is a time limit for you to make your selection and this will be set before the draft by the league chairman, ranging from 30 seconds per pick up to several minutes depending on which website you’re using and your chairman’s preferences. There’ll be a countdown clock showing exactly how long you have left to decide so there’s really no excuse to panic and end up with Marouane Fellaini.

If you don’t pick a player within the allotted time, or are offline during the draft, a player will be picked for you automatically. You can read more about this below in the Autopick section.


Before the draft you will have the chance to create a list of players in the order that you want them for your team. This is typically known as a Watchlist or an Autopick list.

If you’re not online for the draft, or don’t pick a player within the time limit a player will be picked for you automatically. The highest player left on your list that is still available will be chosen for you. If you haven’t made a list yourself the website will have given its own ranking to the players and when it’s your turn you will receive the highest ranked player that hasn’t been picked already.

And that’s it. The mechanics of drafting are pretty simple. With players having no cash values the key to getting a good squad is being able to judge who are the best players and who will be the highest points scorers yourself.

We’ve got plenty of tips and advice to help you be successful, from setting up a league to the best way to approach the draft itself and beyond.

To avoid making any Rookie mistakes read our helpful Do’s and Don’ts for the draft and Autopick lists here
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Other Beginners Guide articles

What is Draft Fantasy Football?

The Draft: 3 Rookie Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

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