Auction Drafting Made Easy
III. That 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.
Towards the last one-third of the auction, make sure you keep track of which players are still available. Highlight on your cheat sheet those you want on your squad, taking special note of which position is your weakness and is therefore the one in which you need more depth. Also, mark those you think you can get for the minimum bid and spend the rest of your money on those that should go higher than the minimum.
IV. 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 can also burn you very badly. While you can usually count on someone to bid a little more for players who carried their fantasy team the year before or who play for their favorite NFL team, 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 close 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 - and there's no faster way to throw a major wrench into the works of the most carefully laid auction plans.
V. Practice makes perfect
Excuse the shameless plug of our site, but practicing in our free mock auctions can only help to prepare you for the real thing. By going to FantasyAuctioneer.com and clicking on the "Try Our FREE Demo Now" button, you can immediately go up against 11 computer players using our default settings. You can also log into the site and set up a customized public or private auction or join one of the auctions on the public auctions list. Try out different auction strategies to see what works best for you.
VI. Run with our cheat sheet tool
If you have about 30-45 minutes to spare (or more if you like), you can use our free 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 "Suggested Retail Price" or "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 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.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you'll agree that preparing for your first auction isn't nearly as difficult as you may have once thought. For more auction strategy articles and tips, go to FFToolbox's auction strategy section. Happy auction-drafting!
George del Prado is the founder of FantasyAuctioneer.com, the home of the first and only real-time auction draft software on the Internet. He is moving the company to Las Vegas, NV, where he will undoubtedly be visited by way too many of his friends. His favorite pastime is making his 9-month old daughter laugh. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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