2019 Fantasy Football Auction Draft Strategies to Win Your League

Dan Israeli
Carolina Panthers v Cleveland Browns
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While most fantasy football enthusiasts participate in traditional snake drafts, true diehards know that auction drafts are the way to go.

How Does a Fantasy Football Auction Draft Work?

Instead of having an assigned draft slot, from where you make all of your selections, in auctions you are given a fixed budget that you use to bid on players.

As opposed to a snake draft, in an auction you can go after any player you want, as long as you prevail with the winning bid. It creates a lot of room for strategy, as far as how you want to allocate your spending. Budget management is an important key for anyone participating in their first auction draft.

If you are one of those people, and feel a little lost heading into draft day, here are five auction strategies to help you win your league.

1. Know Your League's Salary Cap and Rules

First and foremost, it's important to know what your starting budget, or salary cap, is going into an auction. In order to determine how much you can spend on average for each player on your team, you will need to compare your starting budget to the number of roster spots in your league. Other auction settings can include whether the league uses max bids, and if the lowest bid is $1 or $0 toward the end of the draft. For the regular season, some leagues also use a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB), which gives you more money to bid on free agents off the waiver wire.

2. Draft Who You Want – You're the GM!

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Bummed out because you got the 12th pick in your snake draft? That's why auctions are awesome! If you're determined to draft Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey this season, all you need to do in an auction is outbid the competition. The same goes for mid-round and late-round guys. You don't need to worry about someone "snaking you" in an auction draft – if you value player X the most, he can be yours (as long as you have the available budget). Just remember that you can't have everyone you want, or you run the risk of blowing your budget and being unable to fill a competent roster due to lack of funds. There is nothing worse than being reduced to minimum bids in an auction draft when your team is nowhere near complete.

3. Pay Attention To Your League Mates' Spending

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While everyone starts off with the same budget in an auction draft, after a few rounds of bidding, the dollar amounts can differ drastically from team to team. For example, if you're someone who hasn't spent a lot early on, this could work to your benefit later in the auction, as you'll be able to outbid your league mates who have less money. This is important when you get into a one-on-one bidding war over a player. Just remember, while having more money than your league mates is an advantage later in auctions, the quality of the player pool will likely be diminished. Holding out too long means you'll usually miss the boat on several top players, so don't be too tight with spending early on.

4. Nominate Players You Don't Want

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When it's your turn to bid, a good strategy is to bid $1 on a player you have no interest in having on your roster – whether you think they'll be a bust or don't value them the same as others. This will cause other owners to bid on said player, which should result in one team having less money later in the draft. The more you nominate players you don't want, the more you assure other teams are spending money that you'll be saving for the players you do want.

5. Build a Balanced Team Over a Top Heavy One

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While auction drafts allow you to take any player you want, it all comes at a cost and value. Bidding on a player like Barkley can reach epically high proportions, leaving you with a gutted budget to fill the rest of your roster. And if Barkley were to get hurt, you'll have ended up wasting a huge chunk of your draft capital. As an alternative, building a more balanced team is a safe strategy in auctions that doesn't limit your upside to win the championship. By filling your roster with reasonably priced players, you can avoid having to pick from the bottom of the draft pool at the end of the auction. A balanced auction team will typically consist of players usually taken in the middle rounds of snake drafts, giving you the chance to target a blend of safe and high-upside players throughout your auction.

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