“My favorite part of fantasy football is the draft.”
This is a common refrain among fantasy players, many of whom enjoy preparing for and participating in preseason drafts more than the weekly management associated with the teams they ultimately piece together. It’s certainly tough to match the excitement of watching the guy you really want to pick slowly sliding back to you in a snake draft, agonizing (in a good way) over the pros and cons of your next selection, or getting that sleeper that you just know will put your team over the top. But alas, after a handful of in-person drafts for your home leagues, a few live drafts online, and maybe some slow best-ball drafts, that part of your fantasy experience is over by early September.
The fine people at DRAFT (formally known as PlayDraft.com) are bringing the excitement of the snake draft to daily fantasy sports. In their own words, DRAFT is “the only place with season-long and daily snake drafts for money.” The platform is 100% draft-based and does not offer salary-cap style games.
How Does DRAFT Work?
After signing up for a DRAFT account and making an initial deposit, players can enter the Lobby and select from a variety of NFL games (MLB, NBA, NHL, and Golf are also available if you’re interested in expanding beyond football). DRAFT offers snake drafts in head-to-head or multi-player formats, depending on how many people you want to play against, with the same back-and-forth concept that you know and love from season-long drafts. In a 12-team league, for example, the draft order is 1-to-12 in the first round, 12-to-1 in the second round, and so on.
Similar to Fanduel, DraftKings, and other DFS sites, DRAFT leagues are available for a given slate of NFL games each week. Drafts either start as leagues fill or at a scheduled time, with the specifics listed in the title of each draft in the Lobby. In addition to a variety of public league options each week, DRAFT also offers the ability to create private drafts, so you can play against friends, family, co-workers, Twitter followers, or whatever other customized groups you can think of. DRAFT offers the ability to “follow” other users, making it easy to invite friends to your drafts and join leagues with people you know.
Once it’s draft time, things move pretty quickly. The pick clock in snake drafts is just 30 seconds and each team’s roster consists of only five players (1 QB, 2 RB, and 2 WR/TE). So, even in a 12-team league, the maximum time needed to make all the picks would be 30 minutes, but with players typically not needing the full allotment of time on the clock, you can get in and out of a draft in practically no time. And once the draft is finished, that’s it. There are no roster edits or “late swaps” on DRAFT. Just sit back and enjoy the games.
The DRAFT APP
Probably the most impressive aspect of PlayDraft.com and something that I just couldn’t leave out from this DRAFT Review is the beautifully designed app they offer their users. Both DraftKings and Fanduel have set the bar high for Daily Fantasy Sports apps, and while it’s hard to categorize DRAFT as a Daily Fantasy company as they do offer season long Best Ball games and live drafting games, I do think that DRAFT has one of the best sports apps on the market.
Simply put, DRAFT’s app allows you to do everything and more from your phone. In fact, the drafting experience from your smartphone is better than from the desktop. You can join a Best Ball draft and allow notifications to appear on your phone to inform you when you’re on the clock. The notifications are very casual and subtle. There is no alarm or massive popup, the notification is a small white box that appears in the bottom left corner of your phone to inform you-you’re on the clock. Check out some of these screenshots that we took of the app
The scoring system on DRAFT mirrors that of Fanduel, so many of you will be familiar with the settings. Each passing yard is worth 0.04 points while rushing and receiving yards are valued at 0.1 points. It’s a half-point PPR setup, with four points for each passing touchdown and six points for touchdowns scored via rush, reception, or fumble recovery. Interceptions subtract one point and fumbles will cost you two points. There are no defensive or kicking points in the DRAFT format.
An interesting twist on the week-to-week DFS concept, DRAFT also offers a tournament option, in which a larger number of players compete in a head-to-head, bracket-style competition over several weeks of the NFL season. For example, a 128-person DRAFT tournament would be completed over seven weeks, with the field being halved every week until a champion is determined. Tournament drafts run at a scheduled time and are outlined on the original join screen, so players will want to confirm availability for each potential draft before entering a tournament competition.
Did I say DRAFT was 100% draft-based? Well, here is the one exception to that rule. Dream Team contests will be more familiar to DFS players from other sites, as you have the ability to fill your five-person roster (again, 1 QB, 2 RB, and 2 WR/TE) with the players you think will score the most points over a given slate. Players will not be removed from the pool if selected by another user, and you will be competing against your opponents and their Dream Teams in an effort to score the most total fantasy points.
The DRAFT twist to this classic setup is that there is still no salary cap or monetary restriction. So, while there could be a lot of overlap between competing rosters, you will still need to look for clever ways to distinguish your lineup if you want to win big.
Final Grade: B+
It’s hard not to like DRAFT after downloading their app and trying out a few of their games. DRAFT have taken the best aspects of Fantasy Football drafting and incorporated them into the Daily Fantasy world that most of us also know and love. You’re not going to find anyone at Gridiron Expert that will say anything bad about this company, we all love it. However, I still feel the company is growing, which is not a bad thing. There just feels like there aren’t as many games as Fanduel or DraftKings. I’m guessing in a year from now, I’ll need to retract that statement and bump my overall grade, but for now, I’ll give DRAFT a solid B+
Support from Gridiron Experts: 2017 In-Season Article!
In our continued effort to support any and all needs of the fantasy football player, Gridiron Experts will be providing weekly content for DRAFT participants. From players to target each week to tips for maximizing your snake draft experience in the different DRAFT league formats, we will have you covered.
So, get ready for the DRAFT experience. Because this week’s season-long snake draft doesn’t have to be your last of 2017.
Self-described fantasy degenerate that has been participating in fantasy sports leagues since the spiral notebook scoring era. If you can make a fantasy league out of it, I’m in.