Last season I tried auction drafts, properly, for the first time. I set up a few leagues with other beginners to the auction format. One common sentiment shared in each of these leagues was: how intimidating auction drafts look. Even to the most seasoned fantasy football player. However, after the draft, most holding this opinion changed their minds.
I admit that there can be a huge learning curve if you do not know player values. Unlike the snake format, auctions are hugely more unpredictable. I highly recommend doing preparation before the draft for this reason. But you must be flexible as the draft plays out. This will become much more clear in the near future.
What is an Auction Draft?
For those of you brand new to the auction format, think of it like eBay but for your fantasy football team. To break it down, each team will take turns nominating a player. The nominated player will then be up for bid. If you have played with the Free-Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) waiver set-up, auction drafts are very similar to this, only you know exactly how much each person is bidding in real-time.
Why will Auction Drafting become the next trend?
Snake format has the issue of locking you into players at the top of the draft. If you are given the 8th draft spot, unless you pay an absolute fortune to get up to the 1.01/1.02 to draft Josh Allen/Patrick Mahomes, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll get either of these top assets. While this is true in auction drafts too, at least you have the choice to grab one of these guys every draft.
On the other hand, if you really want a player you have to reach, most of the time an entire round above ADP to get them on your team. Reaching on players still occurs in auction drafts. But, it does not mean you have to grossly overpay for players (for the most part).
The two biggest reasons I like auction drafts, and why I believe they will be the next trend are: the flexibility and level playing field everyone receives. A randomiser does not determine who will likely be available at your picks, YOU do.
Does Auction Drafting Require A Certain League Setup?
No! You can play any format using an auction draft! The draft is the only thing that changes. That means you can carry on playing in your normal 1QB leagues, or your Superflex TE Premium with crazy scoring leagues. Auction is just the draft format.
Auction Draft Hints and Tips
I’m going to keep these hints and tips more generic format-wise – but auction specific.
- Every draft is different – I do not mean this as a cliché. Each draft has its own values. One Superflex draft may see GMs dropping 40% of budget on their QBs room, others may see 25%. One draft may see a steep drop between the positional top 12, and the 13-24 range. Another may see a gradual decline.
- Every draft is really different so make sure to understand your leaguemates’ tendencies early for the best chance to succeed. If you can predict how the draft will pan out, your team build will be ahead of the pack.
- Early nominations may become great values – Even if it does not feel like it at the time, some of the early nominations that are not top elite players may go cheaper while other GMs hold out for those top players. Make sure to stick to your values early and keep an eye out for those values all the way through the draft.
- Hold your budget for later on – On the counter to the last point, make sure to hold your budget for later on in your draft. Values happen all the way through the draft, not just at the beginning. Make sure to hold your budget to mop these up as the draft goes on. Although your bench will most likely be full of low cost ($1-$4) players, you do need some budget allocated to the higher cost bench players (like a backup QB, RB and WR).
- Don’t spend everything on your starting lineup – Following on from the last point, make sure you hold your budget for backups. There will be bye weeks, and most likely injuries throughout the season. Your starting lineup is NOT your full team. Remember it! Write it down if you need to.
- Never leave your draft with money – There are two ways to ruin a draft for yourself: spending way too much on a few guys and leaving no budget for the rest of your roster. Or not spending a lot on the first 50 players and having a really flat roster (not having too much difference between a lot of bench players, and starters). If you do end up with too much left over budget, try to trade whatever you have left for what you can. You will most likely have to pay over what someone got the player for though.
- Use nominations to your advantage – If you want people to spend their money, nominate positions that you are not interested in spending in, which others also need. If you are eying up a QB2 and there are others who may want the same QB2, try to starve them by nominating different positions that they need. You could even nominate a different QB to the one you want. There are many iterations of this which fit into many situations. Although, it isn’t the easiest to explain in a general term!
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this article: try auction! Even if it is just one league. Whether it is a slow or live draft, just give it a go. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it a lot more than you think!
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@theFSAtweets) if you want to get involved in auction drafts! I’ll be running some redraft auction leagues as the season approaches. Both slow and live auctions! Keep your eyes peeled for more articles from our great Dynasty team, coming soon. Remember to tune into the 5 Yard Dynasty livestream every Tuesday at 8pm (GMT).