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5 Mistakes Auction Players Make on Draft Day (Fantasy Baseball)

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
May 23, 2020

Mike Trout always goes for a boatload in auction drafts

The single biggest mistake fantasy baseball players make is not voting to make their draft an auction. It allows for more strategy, makes draft day that much more fun, and prevents whichever teams luck into the top three picks from a major advantage. Today, I’m going to tell you about the most common and costly draft day mistakes for those who are in an auction league.

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Arriving unprepared

An auction draft is won before the draft. Unlike a snake draft, auctions aren’t about just grabbing the best player available as they fall to you. Rather, you have to manage your budget, balance your roster and find values as they come. In order to accomplish those three, you have to know how to manage your budget, how to track whether or not your roster is balanced throughout the draft and what constitutes as a value on each and every player. Fortunately, we have designed tools that do most of this for you so that it’s as if you are inviting fantasy experts into your draft war room with you.

Virtually every league has different settings whether it is scoring, categories, league size, positional roster spots, keepers or auction budget. So the first, and perhaps most important, step is to adjust each player’s auction value to account for your league settings. You can do by hand or set up some elaborate algorithm but that would take hours on end. So instead, let us do the work you with our Auction Calculator which accounts for all of this once you input or upload your league settings. You can even run practice auctions with our Auction Simulator too.

Don’t worry about printing off those auction values, though, because you can roll them over into our Draft Assistant, which is the equivalent of inviting advice from your favorite analysts with each and every player brought up. Not only will you have immediate access to our player notes, projections, in-draft power rankings by category, an accessible league draft board and our recommended auction values, but as your draft progress, inflation will set in and our manual draft assistant will adjust with each player brought up. It’s basically cheating.

There are three other important aspects to prepare for. Who do you want to bring up for bid, how do you go about bidding when you really want someone and how do you manage dynasty inflation. As for the last one, I’ll cover that comprehensively in an article next week. Only bring up guys who will cause reverse inflation, or to keep it simple: players who will go for more than they are actually worth. IE: Don’t bring up the players you want. When you do want a player, don’t give it all away with quick bidding or raising the price immediately to $30. Rather, just mirror the bidding of your competitors. If they bid quickly, you bid quickly. If they wait for the clock to nearly run out, do the same to them. Don’t show your hand or they may attempt to bid you up.

Failing to execute your plan

Draft day is fun and it may seem fun to act impulsively. You wanted Juan Soto but had him calculated at a $35 value. It’s one thing to bump that up to 36 or 37 but if you end up going $44 on him spontaneously, I promise you, it won’t be fun the final hour of your auction draft when you can’t buy four other players for $12 total when they are worth $40 total. Your plan is good. Stick to it and don’t get lost in the moment, lest you ruin the entire season in the process.

Losing focus

We love sports and this may be the most exciting day of the year for many of you, but zoning in for hours at a time just isn’t something you or I have grown used to doing. In an auction, however, you just have to. There is fun to be had during a draft like razzing your friend for overspending on yet another Giants player, but if it costs you a player because you weren’t paying attention, your overall quantity of fun decreases. This is the mistake that happens more often than any other. But folks, it is the easiest to correct. You just have to decide to do it. You will have plenty of time for goofing around right after the draft and throughout the season.

Running low on money too soon

I eluded to this earlier but I want a whole paragraph just for this because it is crucial. There will come a point in your auction where everyone is short on money but there are still quality players available. For instance, 7 of the 12 managers can only spend $1 per player. Three can spend $2 max and one other can spend $4 max on one player. Then there is you and you have $25 left for 8 players. Essentially, you are giving yourself six 16th round picks by being able to spend $3-5 on all of the best remaining players. That is a major difference from drafting a bunch of 22nd-25th round quality players with $1. Give yourself that opportunity rather than waiting for those late-round dart throws.


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Bobby Sylvester is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Bobby, check out his archive and follow him @BobbyFantasyPro.

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