As much as I enjoy traditional fantasy drafts, I must admit a special fondness for auction-style drafts. Auction drafts add a poker-type element to the event, making it even more compelling than its traditional cousin. The added strategy involved in knowing who to draft, when to draft them and how much to pay for them can be daunting for first-time auction participants; to help ease fantasy owners into the process, I present my 2009 Auction Draft Survival Guide.
In auction drafts, the scoring rules and roster requirements are similar to traditional drafts. Additionally, each owner is allotted a fixed budget (usually $200), which will be used to draft players.
There is typically a "draft order", by which owners nominate players for bidding; for example, the first owner in a draft typically says "I nominate
Some points of order to keep in mind:
• Bids are typically as follows: $1 starting minimums, with all incremental bids in whole dollars.
With these assumptions in mind, we can work on a general Auction Draft Strategy.
Auction drafts involve a great deal more strategy; while this means extra work, it can also be very rewarding. In a traditional draft, you could never hope to draft Peterson and
Much of auction draft strategy involves nuances of human behavior, much like poker. How much will your opponent pay for his favorite player? How far can you drive up the price, causing him to deplete his budget? While I can't write a column that will turn you into a behaviorist of Skinnerian proportions, I can provide you with a auction draft method to guide you.
Using the principles defined by our
• Assume a $200 budget
... then we can devise the following guidelines:
• Each position will be capped at $1 per position;
• 7 starters required ($196 * .80) = $157
• 7 reserves required ($196 * .20) = $39
Note that I've allocated percentages of my budget per position, according to the relative importance of the position.
As your auction draft starts, there are some important strategic points to keep in mind:
You can also set folks up by establishing a "bluff", much like in a poker game. In the same draft, I nominated
Amazingly, the other owners felt I was trying to "run up" to lesser QBs in order to save my money for Brees or perhaps
Of course, the principles outlined above are merely meant to be guides, not absolute truths. A lot will depend on how well you know the other owners, how well they know you; league rules may force a shift in the way your budget gets allocated.
Auction leagues can be a little more draining and time-consuming, but perhaps more rewarding than traditional drafts. Give one a try and you'll see what I mean!