Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Auction drafts. You've heard of them. They're the unpopular style of drafting consisting of a finite budget, ideally $200, used strictly during the draft. If you have never done an auction style draft before, you've come to the right place to get yourself prepared.
First and foremost, like any league, the best way to prepare for your draft is doing countless mock drafts. A mock draft is a practice draft that helps you memorize the ADP of each player and to strategize for your real draft. Finding the guys who slip through the cracks gives every fantasy football player an advantage. Mocking will help prevent anyone from reaching for a player during their real draft. The biggest mistake you can make is drafting someone too early, with limited upside.
So, what's the reason for mocking auction leagues? Well, before you blow your whole budget on two or three players, remember to prepare with mock auction drafts (or as I call them, "mocktions"). Once you've done a few auction mocks, (without autodraft teams) you'll see that drafting Saquon Barkley, RB NYG and Chrisitan McCaffery, RB CAR may not be the best idea.
With a $200 budget, McCaffery and Barkley go for about $70 each. Maybe you're thinking, "So what? Barkley and McCaffery will carry me." While you're certainly right, they will only get you about 50-70 points per week. The problem is, if you drafted both of them, then you have most likely spent 70% of your budget right away.
Most players are probably not going to take this route because, quite simply, it's a bad strategy. Drafting these high-level players builds your foundation but you need the depth for a championship. So, what is the best way to draft in an auction? Well, I have done quite a few auction drafts, up to this point. There are a few different auction draft strategies I've noticed from numerous fantasy players.
These strategies have included
1. Blowing most of your budget on top tier RBs and WRs like Alvin Kamara, RB NO or Davante Adams, WR GB
2. Building on tier 2 players like Stefon Diggs, WR BUF or Leonard Fournette, RB JAX, that go for about $20-$25 each
3. Saving all $200 for later and not bidding for the first ~20 nominated players.
A bid is the money you put down from your budget in an attempt to “buy” a player. I typically align with the second strategy. With my $200 budget, I try not to spend more than $100 to get two quality guys that would normally go in the first or early second round of a snake. The best way to do this is BE PATIENT. This strategy only works if you aren't planning to buy the top guys. Recently, I completed a redraft auction draft for a league I started a few days ago (5/27/2020). My first two picks were taken after about 10 nominations were completed. I was patient and waited for the right time to start spending my budget, without being reckless.
Dalvin Cook, RB MIN, was my first get at $54. In a normal redraft, you may see Cook go as high as 1.04. After seeing Barkley, McCaffery and Ezekiel Elliot, RB DAL go for over $70 (Zeke went $1 higher than both of them!) and with Kamara gone, I knew Cook may be the last guy in his tier at RB. When I noticed the bidding was slowed down past the $50 mark, it became the perfect time to steal a valuable asset at a bargain price. This paid off because I was still left with $146 to build around a top 5 RB and plenty of talent left.
After a couple more nominations, I was awarded another top running back in Joe Mixon, RB CIN, for a dirt-cheap $41. I think that was my best bargain the entire draft. I didn't reach too much, blow my budget, or bet on one guy. Perhaps, I didn't get that top tier WR but I had a foundation in the form of my RBs. I shifted my strategy a bit to grab George Kittle, TE SF, a WR1, stuck in the tight end spot, for only $28. Below, will be the roster I left the draft with.
In the next articles, I will be explaining what to do and what not to do with each of the aforementioned strategies above. The most important thing to remember when going to an auction draft is don't be scared to bid but also BE PATIENT!