Fantasy Football Auction vs. Draft
B. Put together an auction value list in as little as 30 minutes or as much as 379 hours - it's up to you.
If you're going to spend a little more time preparing for the auction, you can use FantasyAuctioneer's cheat sheet tool to help you put together values for each player (look for it in our Auction Strategy section). Starting with our cheat sheet (the "SRP" list), you can easily adjust it with the tool's user interface (i.e. move players up or down). By the click of a button, the tool will generate a mock auction by using your cheat sheet's values. Theoretically, if your cheat sheet is accurate, all the teams that are generated should be fairly even. The tool's side-by-side comparison allows you to see if any teams are noticeably stronger and/or weaker. You should then adjust players' values accordingly - weaker teams will have over-priced players and stronger teams will have under-priced players. After adjusting their prices, generate another mock auction, compare the teams, and adjust again. Doing this a few times should help you put together a decent auction value list in a relatively short amount of time.
Okay, so now you have a rock solid cheat sheet - now what? The name of the auction game is bargain hunting, so you should target players going once and going twice at a big discount. The idea is that if you can buy $120 worth of players for $100 (or $240 for $200, whatever your salary cap is), you should be well on your way to fantasy stardom.
C. Save some cash for later.
Chess masters will go to great lengths to protect each and every pawn because they know pawns are the difference between winning and losing in the end-game. Similarly, at the end of an auction, a single dollar can be the difference between you winning that coveted, high-upside sleeper and buying a "value pick" you could do without. Regardless of how much experience participants have, auctions tend to follow human nature - people spend more money than they should in the first half, when their salary caps are burning holes in their pockets. If you can go against the grain and wait until about halfway to two-thirds through the auction to start spending aggressively, you'll be in control of the board. When most everyone has just enough to pay the minimum for the rest of their rosters and you have $5 or $6 more than they do, you'll be able to buy just about every player thrown out, which is a beautiful and powerful thing. (As a side benefit, you'll probably have more fun at the auction by employing this strategy. We've found that the handful of people who still prefer snake drafts to auctions are those that blew their wad in the first 10 minutes and watched helplessly as player after player went by.)
D. All this being said, make sure you buy some quality starters along the way!
The last thing you want is to finish the auction with no difference-makers on your roster and a bunch of unused money in your cap. As they say, you can't take it with you, so be sure to spend it all by picking up some star players you can build your fantasy team around.
E. Don't get too cute with the shill-bidding game.
Shill-bidding is when you enter bids for players you don't want, just to drive the price up. This can be a fun game to play; but it's not without risk. While you can usually count on someone to bid more for players who carried their fantasy teams the year before or who play for their favorite NFL teams, it's not always the case; so be careful about throwing out overpriced bids. As a rule, only shill-bid a player if he is about to be sold for a price well below his value. Shill-bid him up to what his value dictates, but shy away from getting too greedy and trying to drive his price up higher than that. More often than not, doing so will get you stuck with someone you don't want.
E. Throw out big-name players you don't want early.
This is the most basic auction strategy. You want people to spend money faster than you, so in the first half of the auction, try to throw out names of players you don't want. (And don't get caught shill-bidding them onto your squad!)
F. If you want to get into a particular "tier," don't wait to buy the last player placed on the auction block.
The most obvious tier in this year's auction will be the top seven RBs on the board: P. Holmes, L. Tomlinson, C. Portis, D. McAllister, A. Green, S. Alexander, and J. Lewis. The last of these seven to be placed on the auction block will generally be sold at a premium. The bargains will usually be the middle three or four (usually, but not always). It only makes sense that "the last good QB/RB/WR/TE available" will be a little pricier than usual. This "tiering" concept should carry over to all the different positional tiers on your cheat sheet.
Following the tips above should ensure a successful auction for even the most inexperienced or casual of fans. For more auction strategy articles and value lists from some of the best fantasy minds in the business, visit FantasyAuctioneer's Auction Strategy section. Happy auctioning!
COMING SOON: An Expert Auction Draft at FantasyAuctioneer.com with RotoWire, FantasyGuru, FootballGuys, KFFL, TheHuddle, FFToday, FantasySportsAcademy, FootballInjuries, Coachbox, FantasyAsylum, and RotoWorld. Results and analysis will be available in our Auction Strategy section the week of August 9th.
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