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Fantasy Football Auction Leagues: Values, strategies and optimized lineups

No variable is more significant for distinguishing diehard fantasy football players from those who are simply involved in a fun activity than if those players participate in auction league drafts. Snake drafts could be viewed as the minor league version of fantasy football.

For those who have participated in an auction league draft, it is true that once you participate in such a format, the thrill of a snake draft will never be the same. There is simply more control for owners to be able to make decisions, which increases the edge for those who are willing to put in the time and energy to dominate their home leagues. There are quite a few different approaches for auction drafts, so let’s take a look at the basics before touching on some best practices and diving into building some optimized auction league rosters to serve as templates in upcoming drafts.

The Basics

Auctions come in all shapes and sizes. One reason they work so well is the flexibility they offer — they are customizable to your desires. The main qualifier to be an auction is that instead of picking teams in order, you are assigned a salary cap (budget) and must fill out your roster allocating dollars to specific players. Within this structure, despite differences in league settings, we can develop a heuristic list of things to do or not do when it comes to drafting in an auction.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Auction Drafts

Do understand how game theory plays a role in the auction setting

This can be boiled down to “understand your leaguemates and some of the directions they are trying to go.” Do certain people bid on almost every player? Do others bid only when they actually want a player? Having a framework for how you evaluate what others are trying to do can help guide decision-making as the draft progresses.

The longer the league has been in existence, the easier it is to utilize things that others may not have noticed. This can be as simple as understanding that certain leagues have home-town biases for players. Nominating players early that other owners spend frivolously on can lead to opportunity later in the draft.

Do have a plan with each nomination

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