Making the Jump to Auction Drafts August 08 2014

Are you tired of the same old redraft league? Is your dynasty league getting stale? After 10 years of playing every variation of redraft league in existence, I finally made the jump to an auction league...and it was the best fantasy decision I have made in a long time. Auction drafts are the ultimate live draft experience. 


For those who don't know what an auction league is, I suggest you read this primer so you know what I am talking about: 


So why do I love auction drafts so much? 


  1. Every player is up for grabs, so it takes the luck of draft position out of the draft. Do you want Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham and Jamaal Charles? You can do that, which would never be possible in a draft league. 
  2. The bidding strategy is interesting. People get caught up in the bidding and pay way too much, other players get taken for a steal of a deal. Managing your budget is so important so you don't blow your money too quickly, but aren't so tight pursed that you don't have any elite players. 
  3. The interaction and emotion of a live auction draft is awesome. There is something satisfying about hearing your friend say "fine, he's yours" and knowing you beat him out for a player he really wanted. 
  4. Removes the crutch of ADP which so many people depend on. Sure you can bring in a sheet of auction values you printed off ESPN, but as the auction dynamics change, you need the knowledge to adapt for maximize value. 


For anyone approaching their first auction draft, I definitely learned some lessons from my first time:


  1. Don't make decisions out of spite. My friend had already drafted Matt Ryan for $20, so when I got into a bidding war with him for Peyton Manning, I let him have it for $19. I thought I was screwing him over because he had $39/$200 tied up in his QB, even though I had $21 down for a fair price for Manning. I tried to spite him and I will let you guess who won our pool last year...
  2. Know your values for players and don't get caught in a bidding war. Know the guys you are willing to go $2-$5 above your player value for and the guys who aren't worth it. Every dollar counts near the end. 
  3. Pace your spending. I was definitely too tight with money last year and while I had the most money in the middle of the draft, I also didn't have enough elite players to spend it on. I ended the draft with $4 unspent, which is a horrible mistake. 
  4. Decide on a strategy, but be flexible. Are you going studs and duds? Do you want a balanced team? It is good to approach the draft with a strategy but you have to let the bidding shape your decisions. If people are over bidding for studs, sit back and watch them blow their budget. If people are gun shy early, then maybe spend lots of your budget early to get 2-3 elite players for a decent price. 
  5. Use emotion to your favor. Is your friend a big Broncos fan? Then bid up Broncos players to see if you can make him pay a premium for his love. Did your buddy just lose a bidding war and is mad about it? Try to bait him into another war and he will overpay to make sure he wins this time. Finally, don't let other players take advantage of you and try to maintain a clear head. 


One last tip I have is to use our draft kits to smoothly run your auction draft. I was swamped last year as the commissioner tracking budgets and who paid what for which player. I recommend the following system on our labels to track budgets and let everyone know how the other players are sitting.