Introduction to NBA DFS Snake Draft

Snake Drafts

Sunday, June 20th marked the last day of one-day Classic Competitions for this NBA season due to there only being 4 teams left (and classic competitions requiring 2+ NBA games on the slate). The 2 other main contests that both FanDuel and DraftKings offer are the Showdown contest (you can view our article on showdowns here) and the Snake Draft contest! Snake Drafts are a 3 person contest, and the draft order is as follows: A, B, C, C, B, A, A, B, C - if you have the last pick in the 1st round, then you have the first pick in the 2nd round, hence the name “snake”. There are no positional requirements on EITHER site (you pick 3 utility players on both DK and FD), and the winner is simply the user with the highest number of fantasy points scored among their 3 players. Seems pretty simple, but there’s a caveat on DraftKings; you must choose at least one player from BOTH teams. 

Opportunity Cost on DK

If you’ve ever taken an economics course, you probably learned about the term “opportunity cost”; the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen (Oxford Definition). Who would have thought that this concept would actually be useful in sports betting?! Your Economics professor would be proud. Anyway, this concept is actually very relevant to the caveat on DraftKings (that you must draft a player on both teams). Let’s assume this hypothetical situation to illustrate why:

The Bucks are playing the Hawks, and these are the top 9 projected point totals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo… 60 projected points

Trae Young……………….. 55 projected points

Khris Middleton ………….. 41 projected points

Clint Capela …………….... 32 projected points

Jrue Holiday………………. 30 projected points

Bogdan Bogdanovic …….. 24 projected points

Brook Lopez ……………… 22 projected points

John Collins ………………. 19 projected points

Danilo Gallinari …………… 18 projected points

The idea of opportunity cost can be applied here by thinking about how you are impacting others’ lineups by your picks. On a team like the Bucks, for example, there is a huge drop off after Brook Lopez; the top 4 dfs players on the Bucks will almost always be Giannis, Khris, Jrue, and Brook, so if player A and player B each get 2 of those guys, they leave player C with a TERRIBLE option for their Bucks player that they are required to have in their lineup, therefore ensuring one of them (player A or B) a far better chance at coming in 1st place. This general rule can oftentimes be followed across the board; if a balanced team is playing a top heavy team (Bucks - Top heavy vs. Hawks - balanced), you’re going to want to prioritize those top-heavy-team players for your early picks, because then you potentially leave your opponents with some of the players BELOW that drop off point (I.e players projected for fewer points than Lopez like PJ Tucker) for their MIL player. It might make more sense, therefore, to get Giannis and Jrue (Instead of Giannis and Clint), because then you’re guaranteeing that you won’t get a Bucks player that is worse than Lopez while also potentially forcing one of your opponents to get a Bucks player that IS worse than Lopez.

Have Projections Ready!

You’re only given 30 seconds for each draft pick on both FD and DK, so it’s important that you have projections ready to go so that you’re not scrambling for who to pick at any point. This time can go by very fast, and it’s often very stressful to make a pick under the pressure. You want to be using those 30 seconds to figure out strategy like I discussed above as opposed to figuring out who you think will perform better. Figure out the construction of the teams that you’re drafting from (are they balanced or top-heavy?), and if they’re top heavy, make sure you figure out where the “drop off point” is. That way, as your opponents are drafting their teams, you can be thinking about how you’ll mess up one of their lineups by making them choose a player below the drop off point (like PJ Tucker or Pat Connaughton below the Brook Lopez drop off point). 

Make sure to check out our projections for every single player on the slate that come out EVERY DAY in our AC+ NBA Newsletter!