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Courtesy of  http://www.thefantasyfootballauction.com/

If this is your first auction draft, then you may be wondering exactly what to expect heading into your draft.  Whether you pick your squad online or live, there are a few basic guidelines I suggest you follow in order to put yourself in a strong position to acquire a solid team.

Since you are reading this then I take it that you are interested in performing well in your auction draft.  You are being proactive and looking for ways to improve your skills.  You may read many articles before you do your draft looking for secrets and words of wisdom to help you win your league which is a good thing.  One thing I have seen which drives me crazy is “experts” that write an article with strategy and they mention things about you being lucky.  If you read that immediately leave the site.  Would a stock market expert say recommend that you get lucky as a way to succeed with their product?  Of course you will need some luck in order to win any pool.  How do you harness luck and use it as a tangible strategy to bring into your draft?  Obviously it’s impossible.  If we knew how to control luck then we’d all be billionaires and we could play fantasy football with real football teams.  My point is I can’t trust the credibility of someone that says you should try and get lucky in order to succeed.  I’m going to tell you that the next few keys will help you potentially create your own luck by putting you in the best situations to draft a winning team.

Alright, let’s get into some real winning ideas.

DO YOUR HOMEWORKDraftAnalyzeriPhone-5_sh

This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people there are that play fantasy football that don’t prepare before a draft.  I
think you should read as much information as you can.  I also highly recommend doing as many free mock drafts on sites like Yahoo or ESPN that you can. For me, mocks are the best tool you can use to prepare.  These mocks will allow you to spot trends in values for particular players.  I always look at the results to look for players that appear to be over and under valued.  I can see which players will tend to be targeted more aggressively in drafts and ones that will tend to be overlooked.  The more mocks you do, the easier it becomes to spot patterns.

The one problem with online mocks is that many participants leave once they draft their starting lineup.  This makes it hard to gauge the proper values of bench players since robots begin making picks once the user leaves.  I try and get users to stay as long as possible to get a sense of the prices for the bench guys.  That’s important because your bench will win you your pool.  If it’s not deep then you will never be able to withstand bye weeks, injuries and inconsistent play by your starters.

CREATE YOUR OWN VALUES

If you were to build a house would you just pick one that you like and copy it exactly?  Most likely you are going to take aspects of many homes and use them to build your ideal dwelling.  Auction values are no different.  You will not completely agree with any one fantasy expert so why would you their entire rankings?  This ties into doing your homework.  The more values you read and more mocks you do the more detailed and individualized you can make your rankings.  You can use the trends you have noticed to create a more accurate ranking than your competitors.  So as you watch your buddies overspending on players you wanted to avoid you will know the values will be ripe for the picking later in your draft.

HAVE A PLAN A, PLAN B, PLAN C,…… if-plan-a-fails

In the words of the wise and ever insightful Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”  How true Mike, how true.  Everybody will have a rough idea of what they want to accomplish in their draft.  Drafts, however, never play out the way you want them too.  Maybe you banked on getting a particular running back only to find that four others thought the same thing.  Now there is a bidding war.  Do you overspend in order to get your man or do you have a fallback plan and know where you’ll spend your money should you pass?  A good drafter will have multiple scenarios and budgets planned out and know what outcomes to expect in each and every scenario.

Now what do I mean by budget?  I assign a dollar value for every spot on my roster.  For example, I don’t  budget more than one dollar for each of my kicker and defense which is fairly standard.  I also don’t typically budget much more than 15 dollars for my bench positions.  I try and spend the bulk of my money on starters and then get high upside, low cost players for my bench.  Now if I find myself getting starting players for less than I budgeted, then I can allot that extra coin elsewhere.  Maybe it goes to the bench positions.  The more research you do, the more easily you will be able to make your mid-draft adjustments.

I recommend having a few scenarios that are quite different from one another but still give you a team that you think you can win with.  The reason is because crazy things can happen in your draft.  You may have to change your plans a few times because players you want to target simply are too expensive for your budget so you will be forced to look for more affordable options.

WHO TO NOMINATE?

This is the area that makes auction drafts fun because gamesmanship comes into play.  The general thought is you nominate players that you don’t want on your team.  The thought is that it forces other drafters to spend their money on players that you don’t want in the hopes that it creates values for you later on in the draft because you’ll have more money later than your opponents.

I will say I like this strategy.  However, the more experienced you get at auctions and the more you draft with the same people you can tweak this strategy to your advantage.  For instance, I might nominate a player that I believe everyone thinks I’d have no interest in hoping they think I don’t really want him. Then people may be hesitant to try and outbid me because they are scared that I will stop bidding at anytime and they will get stuck with that player.

auction-hammerYou also have to really watch for potential good value players that are available.  For example if you see that there are a lot of wide receivers available that are around the $20-$25 range then I will nominate the players in that group I don’t think have the highest upsides.  My hope is that you will force other owners to fill roster spots with wide receivers so they won’t bid when they players you like finally get nominated much later.  By doing this you can really manipulate the prices of certain players in your favor and create values.

You should also pay close attention to what all your competitors’ rosters are looking like.  If you see that most other owners have a quarterback drafted then maybe you want to wait and take one later when there is less competition for them.  You can adjust your budget and allot more funds for skill position players.

What we’ve just covered are a few simple guidelines that will apply very effectively to any auction draft.  They are versatile and will get you in a position to do well, maybe even win a league for you.  However, like any guideline, they are open for interpretation.  The more experienced you get at auction drafting the more you will find yourself creating your own guidelines or personalizing the ones you like.

That’s the beauty of fantasy sports.  There is no right or wrong way to do things.