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Daily fantasy sports have become quite the phenomenon in recent years. It’s truly transformed the industry from being solely a season-long game to something you can start and re-start every day or every week of a league’s regular season if you’d like.
Most DFS sites – at least, the most popular ones, like FanDuel and DraftKings – focus on a salary cap type of roster building experience. It’s great because you can theoretically have any player you want, but there could be some weak spots to your roster depending on how expensive the studs are.
One place that combines the joy that is DFS with season-long successfully is DRAFT, which is a daily fantasy site that doesn’t have any salary caps. They instead have players select their respective teams by, well, drafting them.
The excitement that comes with draft day is unmatched for diehard fantasy players, and DRAFT allows you to have that experience every single day during the fantasy baseball season if you so desire (without taking hours and hours).
Before signing up and entering your first draft with the promo code CHINMUSIC, take a look an overview from my first few experiences with DRAFT.
Signing Up/Initial Deposit
If you’re wary of an annoying process with regard to signing up for anything, none of that happens at DRAFT. All they ask for is a username, email address, password, your date of birth, and any particular promo code you may be using (like, you know, CHINMUSIC).
Some people may only be signing up because of a promo code, but even if that’s the case, you still have to make an initial deposit to begin entering contests. You can enter a custom amount, but it has to be at least $10.
Upon signing in, you’ll be prompted to enter your email address and the corresponding password to access your account.
For those who prefer using their phone instead of the desktop site, it’s worth noting that there is no mobile site currently available. So if you’d like to use your phone to sign up, deposit, and start drafting, you must do it through the appropriate mobile phone app.
Learning the Basic Rules and Scoring
At DRAFT, there are no “values” in the way many of us have come to know with DFS sites based on player salaries. When a particular contest is filled, your pick number is automatically generated for the snake draft. Where you land and how large the field is that you’re playing in will be some of the determining factors with regard to what your team will ultimately look like.
The time of your draft will depend on the contest entered. If it’s a guaranteed contest, drafting will start immediately. If the contest must fill first, the draft won’t start until all the spots are taken. That sometimes means you’ll be able to start drafting right after entering, but you may have to wait a bit. If there is a prescribed time for the draft to happen, it’ll be clearly marked after throwing your hat into the ring.
If you don’t have the time to wait around or can’t make the scheduled time, there is a link at the top of the lobby to make pre-draft rankings for an auto-draft setting.
Another clear distinction between DRAFT and other DFS sites is the size of your roster – instead of a full squad, you’re only drafting one pitcher, two infielders, and two outfielders. You’re allowed to stack certain games (using multiple players from the same team), but every team must contain players from at least two different games.
With regard to scoring, here’s how pitchers are evaluated:
And here’s how position players are evaluated:
|Hit By Pitch||3|
There is a player swap feature available, but it depends on the situation. If you drafted a player while they had an “active” status (such as In Lineup, Probable Starter, Starting Pitcher, and No Status) and that changes to an “inactive” status (such as DL, Suspended, Out of Lineup, Traded, Out, and Postponed) you’re allowed to make a swap.
If you draft someone already with an inactive status, you aren’t able to swap them out. DRAFT will also send a push notification to your phone if there is a swap-eligible player in your lineup.
Navigating the Lobby
At the top of the lobby, you’ll see a few functions to take advantage of, such as My Drafts (if you have any active ones going on), Upcoming (which shows the contests you’ve entered in and haven’t started yet), Live (for contests that are currently in progress), and Results (which shows how you did).
You’ll also see your username, the amount of money currently in your account, and a drop-down menu to access your account, rules, contacting the support team, and a link to download the mobile app. The ability to deposit more money is also rather clear thanks to the green button that says “Deposit” to the far right.
Navigating the lobby depends on what you’re looking for. Featured contests will be at the top, but you’re also able to look at available contests by sport if you click on the appropriate link.
Once you scroll down and find the contest you’d like to enter for that particular slate of games, all you’ll need to do is hit the green Enter button and you’re ready to draft whenever the prescribed time is. There’s a good chance it could be immediately, so make sure you’re ready if that’s the case.
The Actual Draft
As mentioned earlier, your draft position is automatically generated. You’ll typically have a minute or so to see where you land in the order and get your bearings before the first player is on the clock.
If you enter a snake draft, the order will be shown at the top left-hand corner or the site.
I love draft day when it comes to season-long fantasy baseball, but I typically get annoyed by the seventh and eighth round by those one or two people who take the full allotment of time to make a selection. And when it’s finally over a few hours later, I’m just relieved I don’t have to keep sitting at my computer. That doesn’t happen on DRAFT – there is only 30 seconds to make a selection. If you enter a draft as small as three or six teams, you’re down within 5-10 minutes, which is fantastic.
Players can toggle between just pitchers, just infielders, and just outfielders if they’d like. Once a certain position is at capacity, that part of your draft queue will be shaded out so it can’t be accessed. There’s also a search function available if you have a certain player in mind. When another person drafts any available player, he’ll be removed from your sight unless you specifically search for them.
Following Live Scoring
When contests are underway, it’s very easy to follow all the action via the “live” tab. The teams you’ve drafted will be clearly organized by date and contest. Before even selecting a particular contest, you’ll be able to see your current score, an updated projected score, if you’re in line to win any money at the moment, and what place you’re occupying.
Upon selecting one to look at, you’ll be defaulted to your team to see how much time is left in their respective games, how they’ve played to that point, and how many points they’ve scored. You’re also able to toggle to any of the other teams in your league to see how they’re shaping up.
If you do end up winning some money, contests will settle once every game for that slate have finished, and your winnings should appear by the time you wake up the following morning.
Other Things to Know
If you don’t like feeling rushed when drafting a team, it’s important to have a plan. Having certain players and/or games lined up that you’re comfortable targeting is a good way to not feel like you’re making rash decisions.
It also helps to think about the worst-case scenario when it comes to draft order. Thinking about which pitchers you feel have either the most stable floor or highest ceiling (or a combination of the two) that could be available if you had the last pick of the draft is valuable information to know upon entering.
I probably can’t state this enough, but be prepared to work fast. Having 30 seconds seems like plenty of time until your top three choices for your final pick are selected right before you (which has happened to me a couple times).
For those thinking about trying DRAFT for the first time, there are beginner games available that cost $1 to enter. A blue banner will clearly be attached to any contest that is specifically for beginners when browsing through the lobby.
You’ll be classified as a beginner due to one of the two following criteria:
- You have entered fewer than 20 drafts in one sport.
- You have entered in fewer than 50 drafts overall.
If you’re a beginner – or someone beyond the above thresholds – it’s important to know how you can spot experienced players. Those who are will have a black shield over their avatar because they’ve accomplished one of the following:
- Have entered at least 500 total drafts.
- Have played in 6-plus drafts and have won $2,500 or more.
A highly-experienced player will have a red shield over their avatar because they’ve accomplished one of the following:
- Have entered in 1,000-plus drafts.
- Have won at least $1,000 on four different occasions.
Is Playing Fantasy Baseball at DRAFT for You?
Playing DFS baseball on DRAFT truly mixes the best of both worlds for me – you get the fun of restarting a “new season” every day if you’d like to, but also get the joy of actually drafting a team and not worrying about any salary cap (or waivers).
The speed at which the drafts took place caught me a little off guard at first, but it’s something easy to get acclimated to after entering a few. The overall user experience was incredibly smooth and the interface was easy to look at.
If you’re looking for those huge tournaments that could help you win hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars (even though the chances of that happening are minimal), DRAFT may not be the site for you. However, if you’re more into cash games, this is the place to play. Experience it for yourself by signing up with the promo code CHINMUSIC and let me know what you think.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.