10 Auction Draft Tips (2018 Fantasy Football)

Jul 31, 2018

Late-round sleepers like Anthony Miller shouldn’t be nominated too early

We’re on the cusp of that special time of year, folks! In two days, the NFL season will kick off with its annual Hall of Fame game, and with that coincides the start of the fantasy football draft season. One type of draft that is increasingly growing in popularity is the auction draft, and our featured experts are here to give you some fantasy auction dos and don’ts that will help you come out on top.

The only cheat sheet that syncs with your draft for live advice >>

Q1. What is your best tip for something fantasy owners should always do during an auction draft?

“It’s often overlooked by those who spend countless hours on their cheat sheets, but you must adjust for inflation during the draft. Just because your sheet says that none of the top-10 running backs are supposed to go for more than $40 doesn’t mean that will be the case. You may sit back and think that you’ll be getting value later, but if all the studs are being nominated, you’re going to be left with a roster full of decent players, leaving you with a decision of who to start each week instead of having bonafide studs who are always playing. With just 16 roster spots in most leagues, value can only go so far. Instead, adjust to what is happening and make sure you get one of the top-10 running backs, even if it is slightly over what your cheat sheet says.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

“One of the great joys of an auction is the certainty of being able to get some of your favorite players as long as you’re willing to pay the price. While fantasy is meant to be fun, and owning “your guys” is certainly exciting, you need to be flexible. Go into the auction with players slotted into price tiers and be willing to move away from a guy if another owner is bidding you up. As painful as it can be to watch one of your favorite players go to another owner, getting similar production at a better price allows you much greater flexibility as the auction plays out.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

“This is not a shameless FantasyPros plug, I honestly believe this is an absolute must. You have to live sync your auction to our Draft Wizard. Plug in your custom league settings, then upload a cheat sheet from a handful of your most trusted experts. It will shoot out recommended auction values for you, and as the draft goes on, the Draft Wizard will adjust for inflation so that you are never paying more than you should. This is the best tool we have on our site, and if you don’t use it, you are asking for trouble.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

“One of my favorite strategies to implement in an auction draft is to nominate players I don’t want, especially early on. Owners are essentially forced to overbid for these players when they know they have the money to spend on them. Correspondingly, I’ll be able to spend less on players I do want later on.”
– Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

Have your own budget calculator. I prefer spreadsheet that auto-calculates with formulas. A list of target players with industry value and then your personal max is also helpful to snipe players on a pre-determined budget.”
– Chris Meyers (Athlon Sports)

Q2. What is one thing fantasy owners should avoid doing in an auction draft?

“It’s such a minor thing, but do not nominate a player you want on your bench early in the auction. Some think they’re sly by doing this, but in reality, it’s just dumb. Let’s say that I want Anthony Miller as a sleeper, so I nominate him for $1 at the start. At the start of an auction (or even in the first half of it), owners have money to spend and don’t think twice about spending a measly $4 or $5 on a player. If you were to wait as late as possible, every single dollar counts to owners at that point, and you likely could’ve landed Miller for $1 or $2.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

“The most helpless feeling for an owner during an auction is to have already spent all of your budget early and being forced to watch as your league mates grab one bargain after another. While I am a big proponent of the “stars and scrubs” strategy of spending the bulk of my budget on several top players, I still try and save roughly $15-20 (of a $200 budget) for my final 5-6 picks. This allows me to steal three or four solid players with $2 bids from owners who are maxed out and can only make $1 bids, as well as make one or two bigger purchases for quality flex options that were nominated late when everyone’s low on funds.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

“The single most important piece of advice I can give is not to enter with a plan in place. If you have a plan, you will almost certainly have to settle for players who are lesser values than what you could have bought otherwise. When you insist on drafting Kareem Hunt, you may be passing on Dalvin Cook for $10 fewer. Rather, take the values as they come to you and your roster will blow away any realistic gameplan you could have devised for the draft.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

“One of the rules of thumb is to avoid spending the big bucks on a quarterback, unless you can get a great terrific deal. It’s safe to wait to spend a single-digit amount on a viable starter as opposed to $20-something or more on someone like Aaron Rodgers.”
– Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

Trying to get too clever or up-bid players hoping others will bite is something I would avoid. I have seen this backfire plenty of times and it usually involves good players, so it isn’t disastrous, but it can really hurt your bankroll.”
– Chris Meyers (Athlon Sports)

Thank you to the experts for their auction draft tips. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for all the latest discussions this season.

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