All fantasy seasons begin with the Draft, when team owners take turns selecting or bidding on players for their teams. At NFL.com, you may practice for this event using Mock Drafts, or even join a league using the Live Draft Lobby.
- Standard: Team owners take turns selecting players in a linear or snake draft order (explained below).
- Auction: Team owners nominate and bid on players using an allotted budget. This does not involve using actual money.
- Keeper: Keepers are players that teams choose to draft again in custom leagues where this option is enabled. During the Draft, NFL Fantasy distributes keepers first, but League Managers can use the Custom Draft Board to distribute them in later rounds and/or reflect offseason trade agreements.
- Live Online: Team owners all draft at the same predetermined time, online, using NFL.com's draft client
- Offline: Team owners in a Custom League hold a draft without use of the Draft Client or Autopick, and the league manager manually enters the selections to begin the season
- Linear: For every round in the draft, team owners draft or nominate in the same order
- Snake: Team owners draft their teams in an order that alternates forwards and backwards from round to round. The team owner with the last pick of the first round gets the first pick of the second, and so on.
Autopick Draft: Team owners unable to attend part or all of the draft have their teams automatically drafted by the site during their absence according to personal or site pre-draft rankings. In Autopick Leagues, the entire league is auto-drafted.
The order of the draft is either determined at random by NFL.com 30 minutes prior to the draft or, in Custom Leagues, by the League Manager. Once established, the draft order is reflected in "Draft Info" from the league page before the draft, to the left of the Draft Client during the draft, and on the Draft Results page after the draft is complete.
The draft date and time in all non-Live Draft Lobby leagues can be found among the league notes in the league home page and on the league settings page as well. When joining a League in the Live Draft Lobby, the draft begins when the other team slots have been filled for that Live Draft Lobby league. This usually happens quite quickly, so users should be prepared to draft immediately.
Thirty minutes before a draft, "Draft Now" appears on the league homepage and in the Fantasy Draft Center. Team owners may access the draft at any time from when this appears until the draft is complete.
Custom Leagues please note: if there are not owners for every team slot within an hour of the draft, the draft will automatically be postponed. In order for a league that is not filled to draft, the league manager must invite enough owners to fill the customized number of team slots or reduce the number of team slots to fit the number of owners who have accepted the invitation to the league.
How to Draft
The draft client features the draft order, a timer, stats, analysis, your queue, a history of who has been selected, and a chat room for the league. Search for players by using the search bar or by scrolling the player list, filter them by position, or insert and rank players in a queue that will update as players are taken. Select the player bar to bring up the player card for more detailed information, a link to his player page, a button to add him to the customizable queue, and a button to draft the player or bid on him. If you do not choose or bid on a player in turn, your team will automatically be set on "Autopick". The Draft is not complete until every team in the league has filled every spot on the team roster and the Draft Summary screen appears.
Live Draft Lobby
From the Live Draft Lobby, select the Draft Now button to be placed into the next available draft, which you can enter once enough other team owners have signed up. After the draft, the league begins. All Live Draft Lobby leagues are NFL-Managed and will have default settings and rules.
Offline Draft (Draft Party)
The NFL.com Draft Client is only available online. If a league drafts their teams offline, often done using a board, screen, or projector at a party, then the League Manager must select "Edit Draft Results" in the MANAGE tab in order to enter the league's drafted rosters. All rosters must be filled, and the League Manager must then select "Start Season" in the MANAGE tab, in order for the teams to populate and the fantasy season to begin.