I love Auction Drafts. There is so much more strategy in it than typical snake drafts. You have to manage a budget, you have to understand other teams’ needs and tendencies, you have to be very privy to roster construction and much more. If Saquon Barkley (the consensus 1.01) is your favorite player in the league, and you have the 8th pick in a snake draft, sorry bro, maybe next year. But in an Auction? Go get your guy!
This guide will give you all the strategies and Pro Tips needed to dominate your Fantasy Football Auction Draft in 2019. Also, I will give you a complete pricing Cheat Sheet and Auction Big Board, at the bottom of this article. So if you’re just here for the Cheat Sheet, scroll to the bottom of the page!
This will be based on a $200 budget, drafting a typical roster of:
How an Auction Draft Works
If you have never done an auction draft before, I really encourage you to do so. Every team starts with the same budget, and teams take turns nominating players to be put up for auction until every team has a full roster. It differs from a snake draft, because you can take any player you want, if you have the budget to do so.
The first thing I want to get into is nominating players during an Auction Draft. I always nominate players that other people are really high on, but I don’t really want at their price. I always nominate the highest ADP’d player that I don’t like the price on. The reason I do this is because I want people to spend money before I do, on players that I don’t want.
For example, if I’m in the 3rd or 4th round of nominating players, I’ll nominate a player like Derrick Henry. There will be multiple people in your league that love Henry, and will spend a good portion of their budget on him. That will be 1 more person in your league that has spent part of their budget, and a player you never wanted is gone. Since you didn’t want him, you have saved your money as well.
Different Kinds of Strategies for Fantasy NFL Auction Drafts
Here are some very effective strategies for NFL Fantasy Auction Drafts:
1. Stars and Scrubs
In this strategy, you are filling your roster specifically with 3-4 studs taking up 85%+ of your entire budget, and filling the rest of your roster with $1 players.
This is a solid strategy when attacking upside players and defined roles with your $1 value picks. You also will have an advantage by having a team of Ezekiel Elliott, Joe Mixon, and Julio Jones.
You potentially have 3 first round picks, plus some upside $1 players. I like this strategy in a budget-conscious draft, when others are saving their money.
2. Save Money, Outbid Everyone at the End for Control of the Draft Board
This is my go to. I’ll explain a bit more below, when I go through the Auction Draft I just completed, because I employed this strategy. Cliff Notes version: Other teams will look like this:
- 7/17 players drafted $42 left
- And your team will look like
- 2/17 players drafted $112 left
You will have 2 studs, and now control the draft board because you have the most capital.
3. Balanced Approach
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You go for value the entire draft. You don’t blow all your budget right away, but you try to get high-quality players at every pick. This is what I would suggest for first time or inexperienced Auction Drafters.
Pro Tips for Auction Big Board Drafting
- Focus on the Sweet Spot
- Mike Williams (2) Cohen (2) etc players 55-80 on your BB
- If this is an old league, study your league’s auction history
- Who typically waits on players?
- What type of players are left over as $1 bargains?
- Know other teams’ needs and available budget
- The last player in each tier is usually more expensive than the second to last, due to supply and demand. Get Julio for $50, because when the tier break from Odell/Juju to AB comes, Odell will cost $59
- DON’T PANIC
- Use ADP to Estimate Auction Price
- Know your tiers, and try to get a safe stud when you can. If you see Hopkins go for $58 dollars, and the winning bid for Davante Adams is about to be $48, spend up. This will help your team in the long run
- As long as you don’t overspend on anyone, you’ll have a great team. Everyone else will be overspending, so you’ll get value
- Don’t be afraid to change your approach mid-draft
- If everyone else is also saving cap space, start getting those slight discounts on the super studs
- Don’t spend money on a quarterback please. Use $2 on Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson instead of $58 on Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. You’ll have a huge advantage on your league.
- Stick to your Pre-Draft Cheat Sheet (use the one on this page, duh) but understand that there will be differing opinions in your league, and this is only a rough guide. If I say that you shouldn’t spend more than $30 on AJ Green, but your bedroom has 4 AJ Green fat-heads and you can win him for $41, go get your guy!
- Know your (and your opponents’) average Budget left per player. If you have 10 roster spots to fill, with $100 budget, that’s an average of $10 you can spend per player
- Use your entire budget. It does not roll over into the season.
- There are WAY MORE $1 VALUES THAN YOU’D THINK. Don’t jump the gun. In this draft (12 teams on Yahoo) I just did below, these guys all went for $1 after everyone spent their money:
Personally, I love to control the draft room. That typically means saving budget. I want to have the most money left at all times (with spending on discounted studs being an exception).
This is the Auction Draft I just completed. 12 teams with a $200 budget. Let’s break this down like a Snake Draft and see how I did. Let’s pretend it was a 12 team, Snake Draft, and I’m drafting from the 8 spot.
I made some really big mistakes in this auction by leaving $31 on the table, but wanted to show you how powerful auction drafts can be if you run the table by saving the most budget. At 1.08 and 2.05 I can confidently say I got the best values in the first 2 rounds. In a typical snake draft, if I started like that I would be ecstatic.
The next 5 rounds, I got people almost exactly at their ADP. Josh Jacobs through Evan Engram I’d call extremely average value, because I think I got them all where they would go. But the fun starts in round 8 and beyond. Every player I selected, went multiple rounds AFTER where they typically go in snake drafts.
Imagine getting Mike Williams and Kenyan Drake in rounds 8 and 9? As long as you don’t reach at positions, you will get great value in an auction draft.
I love going for depth, where my worst RB is a Tarik Cohen type, even if it means I take a step below Saquon ($73) to take David Johnson ($59). It more than makes up for it when every other team’s bench is bare, and you have studs and excellent trade value, or just the advantage to withstand injuries, bye weeks and busts.
Did I do everything right during this draft? Hell no. Do I like my team more than all the other teams and think I’ll take a nice $500 prize in January? You bet.
I’d love to hear from you guys to hear your thoughts and feedback on my Auction Big Board for 2019.
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