Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Eric

Eric's Articles

The Best Auction Draft Advice Ever

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them….Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”- Sun Tzu, the Art of War

In other words, zag when your enemy zigs.

Congratulations, you’re a fantasy football rebel. While the Bud-swilling fantasy football proletariat is snake drafting, you are one of the elite auction drafters, a card-carrying member of the Sierra Nevada IPA-quaffing bourgeoisie. So why would you follow the same old warmed-over auction advice that has been floating around the fantasy football echo chamber for the past several years? Every other guy is going to walk into the draft clutching a fantasy football mag like you grabbing Kelli Cooper’s teat back at the ninth-grade dance intent on following its advice like it were gospel. Not you. Now let’s talk guerrilla tactics.

Published Auction Values Are Useless

I have never seen accurate auction values in the magazines or on websites, and for good reason: Auction values are arrived upon in the relative calm of the veal-fattening pen that most writers generously call an office, with all the pertinent information at the fingertips and a calculator unsullied by spilt beer. There’s no beer, there are no taunts from your enemies, there’s no beer, there are no split-second decisions, there’s not a synapse outside the loving embrace of alcohol. That’s nothing like the scrum of a live draft.

If you must, make your own values. Take the actual prices from last year’s draft and figure out what percentage of the entire available money went to each position. If your league devoted 27% of the pot to wide receivers last year, take 27% of this year’s pot and allocate all that money to the drafting of wide receivers. If the total pot is $1000 auction dollars (10 teams x $100 per), and there will be 50 wide receivers drafted, take a popular consensus ranking of the top 50 wide receivers and allocate the $270 amongst them appropriately. Take into account the idiosyncrasies of your leagues, especially homerism or college affiliations (got a guy in my league who graduated from USC and drafts heavily from its ranks). Let the calculator keys cool for a sec. Now add 10-15% to the LTs, Mosses, Bradys, and Gates, the top-tier guys, and take that money from your third tier players to balance the numbers. This is the beer and over-hyped studs (Studs and Suds) tax. In another column, pencil in a dollar amount for each player that represents the max price you would be willing to pay for that player.

Good, now you’re looking at a value sheet far better than any you’ll find in a publication, but again take it with a grain of saltpeter—you’re unstressed and sober at the moment.

Reggie Bush

Let others bid up the big names early while you focus on sleepers.

Throw Out Big Names in the First Rounds…(Not)

Classic advice found in every auction article…but useless. The argument goes like this: Throw out the big names—the ones you’re not interested in—to drain your opponents’ budgets so that you can control the auction by the mid-rounds. Can’t agree. I think this time can be better spent. Let everyone else throw out the big names. This is where you make hay with your deep sleepers.

Though an entirely different beast than a conventional draft, the auction works much the same way in that most owners will seek to fill out the upper end of their rosters first. Not sure if Reggie Bush can tear himself away from the pneumatic charms of Kim Kardashian long enough to shoulder the load? Think the Deuce is done? This is where you bid for Pierre Thomas, my friend. Because there’s someone else who likes him too but that guy is still saving his shekels for Joe Addai as his RB #1.

A Dollar Saved Is a Dollar Wasted

Conventional fantasy football auction advice has you aiming to have the biggest bankroll in the middle and late rounds so you can pick up the real bargains. Some noobs overshoot this mark and save far too much money for far too long. There’s nothing like getting into a bidding war with another poor tool over Rob Bironas in the waning moments of what should now be apparent is a sucktastic draft. The only thing worse is ending the draft with auction dollars left over.

It Brings a Tier to Your Eyes

In your rankings, tier your players according to similar expected production. This helps prevent you from getting too attached to, and over-spending on, any one player. (Non-attachment, the center tent-pole of Buddhism, is a damn fine way to approach a fantasy football auction draft).

The last player bid upon in the second tier of the glamour positions (QB and RB) typically goes for far more than fellow second-tier players as owners panic and realize they need a bell-cow at the position—and those are running out. To wit: For the past few years Rudi Johnson, perennially second tier, has gone for substantially more than Clinton Portis, also a second-tierer, in my 14-team league, precisely because he’s just unsexy enough to end up at the bottom of the second tier.

Back-up Before Moving Forward

If you’re targeting a valuable backup, get him before the stud he handcuffs comes up for bidding. Chester Taylor’s price goes up if you’re bidding against Adrian Peterson’s owner.

The Late Entrance

Once again, unscrewing the brainpan of the your opponents: Few things are more devastating than clawing your way to the final stages of bidding on a prized player and it’s just you and another owner mano o mano when, all of sudden, a previously silent third party enters the bidding. It’s a kick to the wedding tackle. Be that third owner for the psychological waste it lays to your opponents’ psyches. As an added plus: Usually the weary combatants are upping each other by a dollar at this point. Come in with a bid five or ten bucks higher. Crack a beer and watch them bleed out emotionally.

Murder the Inner Cock-Eyed Optimist

Contrary to the common refrain, “In an auction draft you can get any player you like,” you never end up with anything approximating the starting lineup you want. There’s no Santa Claus, no Nigerian Internet benefactor, and, no, the stripper isn’t giving you the eye. It isn’t going to happen, get comfortable with the idea now. You’ll end up with a couple of stars and a bunch of David Pattens. Embrace this reality and you’ll enjoy the draft exponentially more. And work that waiver wire.