Average draft duration
In a fantasy league with 12 teams drafting 15 players each, there exists 180 total players who will be auctioned on draft day. Each of these auctions will consume a minimum X seconds, where X equals the length of the draft timer, typically 30-45 seconds. The top 50 or so players will require more time than that because of the bidding wars that inevitably occur.
It may be safely calculated that a standard auction draft is going to last at least 9,000 seconds or roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes.
That is time spent actively bidding on players. There's another element of auction drafts that is so common, so normal, that it is considered a draft necessity by most, even though it causes average auction draft duration to skyrocket to over four hours.
That element is player nominations.
What is a player nomination?
A universally accepted operation of auction drafts, player nominations is the process of deciding what order the players will be put up for auction.
Traditionally, the process involves allowing 30-60 seconds for a leaguemate to nominate the next player in a turn-based round robin format, and this nomination happens in the downtime between each auction.
Unless you sat out the last auction to take a pee break, it's too late to go now. Once the new player is nominated, bidding starts immediately.
The standard format lacks innovation
This traditional method for player nominations has its roots in mainstream fantasy sites who set the standard expectations for a draft room over 20 years ago. These mainstream sports sites do not innovate because they either can't - often they're too big to change without uproar from their millions of users - or they don't know how to because their users don't question the traditional way of doing it.
Either way, auction drafts today are expected to follow the same tedious format simply because most drafters have never experienced anything different. Bottom line, we're talking about complacency.
"Auction drafts take too long"
I've had a lot of conversations with league commissioners. Among those who have experienced the snake draft format and auction draft format, most commissioners admit that an auction draft is more fun.
Auction drafts are more complex, every owner has a chance to land any player, there's less downtime... all of these make auction drafts a more compelling and exhilirating experience that requires more attention and more discipline for owners preparing for draft day.
But fun is not the only deciding factor. After all, snake drafts are the default draft format for fantasy sports beginners... why? As the commissioners who are against auction drafts will tell you, it's because "auction drafts take too long."
Nominating players adds up to 1.5 hours to auction draft length
Calculating the amount of time spent waiting on a player to be nominated is pretty easy to do, but there is some guesswork required for the average number of seconds that each nomination consumes.
Just because the nomination timer might be set to 40 seconds doesn't mean that each nominator consumes the entire clock, they will often only spend ~10 seconds before making a decision.
The basic equation is this: (number of teams) * (size of roster) * (average time to nominate a player)
All those multiplication signs are the reason the effects are so extraordinary.
Revisiting our standard redraft league of 12 teams and 15-man rosters, taking an average of 10 seconds to nominate a player in between auctions adds 50 minutes to the length of your auction draft.
12 * 15 * 10 = 1,800 seconds / 60 = 30 minutes
Heaven forbid your leaguemates consume an entire 30 seconds in between every auction just choosing the next player... that would mean your draft could last 1.5 hours longer than it should.
- avg. 5 seconds = 15 minutes added
- avg. 10 seconds = 30 minutes added
- avg. 20 seconds = 60 minutes added
- avg. 30 seconds = 1hr 30m added
Solving player nominations to make auction drafts shorter
Most fantasy footballers, baseballers, basketballers agree that draft day is the best day of the year in their fantasy league. Yes, the season comes and goes too fast and we wish it would last longer, but draft day is where it all begins. It's exhilirating.
Drafty is your source for innovative fantasy drafts, and we've developed a better way to handle player nominations. We call it the Nomination Cooldown.
Nominate with a cooldown instead of round robin
In a Drafty auction draft, any league member can add a player to the auction queue at any time. When they do, they are put on a cooldown so that other league members get a fair shake at nominating someone too.
Since the nominations happen without interrupting ongoing auctions, the downtime between auctions is completely eliminated. So using the same roster makeup example from before, the draft instantly becomes 30 minutes shorter. That might be the difference between needing a pee break and not, which could save another 10-15 minutes.
7/1/2020 Update: Drafty is adding a smidge of fixed downtime between auctions to make it feel a little more natural. The buffer screen as it's called shows the results of the last auction, and the name of the next player on the block. The default buffer is set to 3-seconds and will be editable in advanced drafts for the 2021 fantasy season.
Make auction drafts viable for everyone
If we can make auction drafts shorter (not too short because draft day is the best day and you don't want it to be over too fast), more leagues will convert to this superior draft format because - as admitted by most fantasy 'ballers - auction drafts are more exciting than snake drafts. As more leagues convert, we all get to have more fun, and isn't that what fantasy sports are all about?
At Drafty, we're all about innovating to improve your fantasy sports experience. How're we doing? I'd love to hear your feedback!