ESPN's live online "snake" draft allows you to experience the thrill of a gut-wrenching, real-time, player-by-player live draft process in which owners pit their knowledge and skill against each other. Each team owner drafts unique players via a back-and-forth, round-by-round draft order (i.e., 1-10, 10-1, 1-10, 10-1, etc.) until all roster slots are full. Like any prospective NFL team owner, you want to assemble the best possible roster of players, so it's smart to be prepared before you set out. To help make your live draft go as smoothly as possible, the following information will brief you on the ins-and-outs of how the snake draft works.

Your live draft date, time and details are listed on both your League Settings page and your League Office page (as seen in the example below).

We highly recommend that all live draft users customize their draft list before the actual draft. This protects you on the off chance that you are unable to participate in your live draft (on our calendar, nothing is more important than Fantasy Draft Day).

The list can be ordered using our Pre-Rank or Lite Version Tool available on your preseason My Team page. Your list will be used as your default rankings if you are disconnected for any reason during the draft. The links for editing your draft lists are available in two places:

  • On your preseason League Office page in the "Draft Info" box.
  • On your main Team page.

NOTE: You can edit your draft list as often as you like until one hour before your scheduled draft time.

You can enter your live draft as early as one hour before the scheduled start time. Links to enter the draft are available on your League Office and Team pages. Please keep in mind that all leagues MUST be full in order for a draft to begin, so league managers, pay attention and make sure all your league's team owners have joined with their teams at least one hour before your draft! If a league is not full, it will not convert into draft mode, and the draft time will be rescheduled.

In standard leagues, the draft order is randomly determined before the live draft begins. (In custom leagues, the league manager has the option of manually adjusting the draft order.) The first pick of the draft will be "on the clock" within three minutes of the scheduled draft time, so all team owners should make sure they are ready to go before the scheduled start of the draft.

Owners participate in each round of the draft by taking turns selecting players in a snake draft format (i.e., 1-10, 10-1, 1-10, etc.). Each team drafts one player per round until all roster slots are full (including bench).

The Java draft application is designed to give team owners as much player information as possible during the draft so you can pick the best available player every round.

NOTE: Be sure to test the computer you will be drafting from to make sure you can run the draft application. Look for the "Test Your Draft" link located on the League Office page. We also recommend lowering or disabling your antivirus and/or firewall security settings. Once you complete your draft, you will be able to return the settings back to normal.

Your draft list will be displayed in the center of the application. If you have customized your list prior to the draft, it will be displayed. Otherwise the list will be the ESPN default rankings list.

To draft a player, first click on his name. Doing this will highlight the player's row and add him to the "Draft Player" area on the top right of the app. Simply click on the "Draft Player" button when you are on the clock to draft the player for your team.

If you're not on the clock, you will not be allowed to draft until it is your turn. However, you can reorder players in your draft list or add them to your watch list. You can filter to view available players by the last name.

NOTE: If your draft display seems "off", try reloading the application.

In custom leagues, the LM will be able to draft players for other teams using this tool. In order to draft for another team, the LM must click on "Pause Draft." Once the draft is paused, the LM can select the draft option under the appropriate team name and will then be able to draft a player. The LM can resume the draft by clicking on "Resume Draft." Also, the LM can pause and resume a draft as many times as needed.

NOTE: In custom leagues, the league manager can also undo a draft pick. This will reset the clock.

The Lite Draft application is designed to allow owners who are unable to use Java to take part in a live draft. It is just as effective as the Java application, but without all the bells and whistles. The Lite Draft version of the live draft application is linked on both the League Office and Clubhouse pages when the league is in draft mode. To select a player when using the Lite Draft version, click on the player you wish to draft and then select "Draft" when you are on the clock.

Autopilot is the automatic draft selection system. If a team is on autopilot, the system will automatically select the highest-ranked available player based on that team's draft list.

The default setting for autopilot is "Off." You may turn it on anytime by clicking on it. But it can also turn on automatically if you fail to make your selection within the allotted time period and have no pending claims. At this time, your team's autopilot status will be changed to "On." When your autopilot status is set to "On," the live draft system makes your team's picks using your draft list as its guide. Specifically, the live draft system picks the top-ranked player on your draft list that is still available at the time of your pick, while making sure that you meet the roster position requirements.

All picks for that team are made by the autopilot system until the team owner sets autopilot status to "Off," at which point the owner will again have the allotted time to make selections.

NOTE: If your team has its autopilot status set to "On," and you have draft claims pending, the system will select your pending draft claims before any players in the draft list.

You may submit draft claims for upcoming rounds of the live draft. You must highlight a player's name and click the"Add to Pending" button. This will move the player to the pending picks area. There is no limit to the number of players who can be added to pending picks. When it's your turn to select a player and you have a player in the pending picks area, the first player listed will be drafted onto your team once your selection time has expired.

After all rounds have been completed, the system will need a few minutes to process it and convert your league into post-draft mode where you can start managing your team for the season.

In custom leagues, the league manager has the ability to customize many parts of their league's draft.

League Manager Tools >> Edit League Settings >> Edit Draft Settings.
You can access the Draft Settings page anytime up to one hour before your league's draft is scheduled to begin. On this page you can change any of your draft settings, and any edits submitted to the system will automatically trigger an e-mail to each owner in the league notifying them of the changes.

  • Changes to live drafts can be made up to one hour before the scheduled live draft time. Additional draft times will be added as required.
  • Changes for autopick drafts can be made until 2:59 a.m. ET the day the autopick draft is scheduled to process.
  • Changes for offline drafts can be made until the time the league manager begins entering the offline results.

LM Tools >> Set Draft Order.
If your league uses the live online or autopick draft method and has the draft order setting as "Manually Set by League Manager," you can access the Set Draft Order page anytime until your league's draft is scheduled to begin. On the page you can manually assign a draft position for each team in the league. If no draft order is set, the draft order is randomly determined when your league's draft begins. For offline drafts, the system does not observe a draft order.

LM Tools >> Reset Draft.
You can access the Reset Draft page after your league's draft is complete. If you wish to reset the draft, the system will completely change the league's status from post-draft to pre-draft. This will undo all draft picks and allow team owners to set their draft list again, if they wish.