Monday, July 20, 2009

Keys To Draft Success: The Auction

Rapidly growing in popularity, the auction draft is the most difficult, and possibly the most confusing type of draft out there. Beginners throw themselves to the wolves with their eagerness to bet all their marbles on the top players, leaving them with zero depth. Veterans eventually learn better, but sometimes become too tentative, leaving them with a bench-heavy team without any proven fantasy contributors.

With this in mind, I decided to take action. Witnessing the countless suckers in the fantasy world spend $100 on their first two picks was eating me up inside. I threw out my fantasy values and created an extra account on in order to draft in as many live auction drafts as possible without having the responsibility of keeping up with the team (honestly, those leagues are ghost towns anyway).

While conducting these teams, I took mental notes, keeping track of who picked who and what they payed. After each draft, I congratulated myself for a job well done, waving my ultra-deep team in front of every owner's face.

Now that I've O.D.'d on auction drafts, it's time to reveal my Keys To Auction Draft Success.

Please, if you happen to be one of the owners willing to sell their house for Adrian Peterson, read the following tips. I beg you.

1. Bring a pillow for the first 30 picks and take a nap.
While the rest of your counterparts spend all of their riches on Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner, relax and watch out for Pierre Thomas, Ryan Grant, Dwayne Bowe, and others. The average price for Adrian Peterson in my drafts were $65, while Turner was going for just as much. Thomas, Grant, and Bowe? Each went for around $25. Who would you rather have, Peterson alone or Thomas/Grant/Bowe for just ten dollars more? The trio for me, please.

2. Make a list of players you want.
This is an auction draft, where you can have whoever you want as long as you are willing to pay. You don't have to work around other owners. You have a shot at everyone. So take a fantasy draft kit, pick 15 names from the list who aren't in the top ten at their respective position that you want on your team, and write them down. There are going to be those spenders who want their guy for any price, so you won't be able to get all 15. It's more likely that you are able to draft five of your players. But just make sure that you buy players on your list. The happier you are with your team the more successful you will be.

3. Don't spend more than $35 on a player, and spend more than $30 just once.
Keep money for your bench! It is pivotal that you keep enough around so you have the ability to overpay for your sleeper picks. Personally, my huge sleeper was Zach Miller, the tight end for the Oakland Raiders. In one draft, another owner wanted him just as much as I did. Who had the money to overpay? I did, due to my early round savings. Because of that pick, I was happier and more satisfied with my team.

4. Don't put a player you want up for bidding.
Quick, if you could have Jay Cutler for $23 or $10, which would you take? The latter of the two amounts, of course. Why do I ask such an obvious question? Well, in one draft Cutler was put up for bid as one of the first QB's off the board. As a result, he went for $23. In another draft, he was nearly the last of the top 15 QB's to go, and instead went for $10. The reason for this is owners feel more confident and free-spending when they have more money. If you wait for Matt Cassel or Jay Cutler for $10-15, instead of buying Drew Brees for $35, you'll be in much better shape. This leads me to why you shall never nominate any favorite of yours for bidding. Just pray that he goes unnoticed and snatch him later when he is finally put up. The longer a player stays in the pool, the smaller his value becomes. If another owner decides to nominate him, get into the bidding only if his price is in a worthy range.

5. Stay out of the bidding until the final ten seconds, and don't raise by more than a dollar.
There is nothing I despise more than the owner who feels the need to up the ante by five, 10, or maybe even 15 dollars. While the player might be headed for that price anyway, don't increase his value so quickly. The player will inevitably sell for more if this is done, because owners feel like they didn't bid as much money due to their lack of actual times pressing the bid button. That's why I continuously remained dormant until the final ten seconds before entering the action. This way, I'm not involved the entire time the player is on the clock, and it doesn't appear that I really want this guy. If I give the impression that I am absolutely in love with this player, other owners are going to push the price knowing that I'll overpay. You don't want to fall into those traps.

6. Only raise the price three times, at maximum.
Now that it's the final ten seconds and you are in on the bidding, remember to keep yourself on a leash. Don't raise by more than a dollar per bid, and only raise three times. This way, the most money you end up adding on from when you started is $6, which will not kill your bank, especially if you saved early. Don't become too hesitant though. Just remember that if you were willing to spend $20 on a player, than you should be willing to spend $22 on that same player. It's only $2 more. But if you were willing to spend $20, you shouldn't be willing to spend more than $26. Three raises seems like a small amount, but in the end, anything more can deplete your cash amount.

So whether you plan on drafting in an auction style or not, I hope you found this helpful and informative. If you are a rookie at these drafts, sticking to these tips will prove to be beneficial to the outcome of your team.

The main point to remember is to save your money until players begin selling for under $30. You would be surprised how much value can come out of the middle of the draft. But please don't wait too long. You don't want to end up with Ahmad Bradshaw as your #2 RB, that's for sure.

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