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A new style of drafting is becoming increasingly popular in Fantasy Football leagues, as it places a much higher emphasis on research, prudence and strategy when compared to the usual “snake” draft.
In a typical auction draft, every owner is given $100 or $200 in salary and nominates players for the league to bid on. The top stars will often go for 25 percent or more of your salary. Eventually, you trickle down to a traditional draft where the final players are selected in sequence for $1 each.
This is a great way to set up a keeper league, because you can assign a monetary value to the players who are kept for the following season and subtract that money from each owner’s salary cap. For example, you paid $32 for Andrew Luck in your first year with a league. The following year, you decide to keep him for a 15 percent increase, or about $37. You will now have only $163 when your draft begins.
Here are some tips for Fantasy Football owners who are interested in trying out this style of draft.
This is much easier said than done, and it could be a misplaced strategy depending on how the rest of your league is playing the auction. If you are in a league where the top RBs and WRs are all going for more than 20 percent of the cap, then you can wait until your opponents have only $60-$80 remaining and go bargain hunting.
That doesn’t mean you should completely ignore a value when you see it, and you shouldn’t sit idle and refuse to bid. You’ll need to get involved in driving the price up on certain players. That will further cripple your opponents down the line.
You can build a very balanced team with this strategy, but you may end up counting on three WR2-type players to step up as your top receivers.
It comes across as very nerdy, but you should do a couple of mock drafts and assign a monetary range for the players you want to target. Know how much you are willing to spend on each player, and recognize at what price they could be snagged at a discount.
If you are in a keeper league, talented young studs are a priority when it comes to how much you are willing to pay. Don’t break the bank for a veteran who might break down this season or the next. And you certainly don’t want to pay too much for a QB at any level.
This is the beauty of the auction style. Whereas in a “snake” draft you can hope for certain players to fall to you based on your draft position, there is no arbitrary order in an auction draft. You can literally plan and project your desired team on a position-by-position basis before the draft begins.
When it’s your turn to nominate a player for bidding, the most obvious strategy is to nominate a player whom you don’t want to draft, and watch as your opponents drive up the bidding. This is a fine route to take, but make sure that the nominated player has enough hype surrounding him in order to really drive up his price.
Is it an aging RB coming off a huge workload over the past few seasons? Is it a WR who has thrived based on a specific system but could struggle once defenses start to game plan for his limited route tree?
A bunch of players will become overvalued during the preseason, and the best way to draft is to identify those guys while also identifying the undervalued studs you will target later.
If you use patience through the first few rounds of nominations, you’ll have more salary left than your opponents midway through the draft, and that’s when it’s time to nominate that WR2 who you believe is going to make the leap this season. Maybe that’s when you take a young QB you believe is putting in enough work to become a top-10 passer for only $8. Maybe this is when you start stockpiling athletic RBs who have a chance to find their way into the rotation for a run-heavy offense or could become huge assets if the starters in front of them suffer injuries.
The best auction teams come to those who wait. But again, it’s all about being prepared and taking a balanced, guarded approach while considering the value of each player prior to the draft.