Hello everybody, this is the third and final installment of Auction Domination. This week I’ll be telling you the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid during a fantasy football auction. In addition to the 5 mistakes I’m going to highlight, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least make mention of drinking and drafting. Everybody likes to have a good time at the draft and I’m not going to tell anybody how to have fun, but just keep in mind that you’re stuck with these players for the season so you want to make sure that you don’t get so drunk that you take players who you otherwise would not have. As a general rule I’d say that you want to pace your drinking throughout the draft and then start going heavier afterwards (since most people do some amount of hanging out and/or partying after the draft anyways). It is especially crucial in an auction, where some of your toughest decisions are going to come a few hours into the draft when your money is limited, to make sure that you have your wits about you. Just saying…
Mistake 1: Avoid Going Crazy On “Must Have” Guys
Everybody has their “guys”. Those players that you love and have to have because they’re home town players or went to the same college as you or won you the league last year. It’s okay to have your favorites, but inevitably others in the league are going to know who you love and will bid you up to no end because they know you’ll pay it (as a side note, never wear the jersey of a player you intend to draft, it’ll cost you more). If you have players that everyone knows you love, consider dropping one on an opponent for an inflated price (I know it hurts to do this) and they’ll think twice about bidding you up on the next guy. Also, try not to zero in on one guy you have to have, but rather focus on a group of guys you’d like to have, it will work out much better. What I mean here is, instead of determining you’ll pay whatever it takes to get Antonio Brown, maybe determine that you want to get at least one of Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones or Mike Evans, with Brown as your main target. That way, if Brown starts going way too high in price, you can always jump out of the bidding because you have other similar options you’re comfortable with. I’m not saying you should never get your favorites, and it is perfectly okay to go a little over price for a guy you love or a guy you think will break out, but you should never go into an auction with such a rigid mindset that you must get an individual player no matter the cost.
Mistake 2: Avoid Entering An Auction Without A Plan
Snake drafts can be pretty simple. Just follow a cheat sheet and you can’t usually screw up too badly. This is not the case for an auction. You have to keep track of a budget and every player is live. While those added factors are part of what make auctions fun and great, they also make auctions more complicated so you need to have at least a general plan going in. If you know you like some sleeper options at Running Back and Quarterback but think Tight End is very thin, then you may want to plan on spending up for a Tight End while planning to pick off late Running Backs and a few cheap QBs. If you just enter the draft without considering anything, you may be tempted to spend big money on a Running Back early which leaves you out of the running for a good Tight End and puts you in a position where you can’t follow your strengths by picking off cheap Running Backs. Always have a plan and be flexible with your plan, but at least going in with a general idea of your budget and your value picks should keep you moving in the right direction and keep you disciplined to execute the best draft possible.
Mistake 3: Avoid Overpaying For Mediocre Players
Every year there is that donkey in the league who just sits on their hands for the first hour because everybody is too overpriced for their liking. They assume that they’re just going to pick off all of the bargains while everyone else has no money. In reality, what actually happens is they end up getting a handful of decent bargains, but they also get stuck battling it out for mediocre talent. It’s amazing how many times you’ll look back after the draft and see that the 10th best RB and the 20th best RB went for the same price because somebody waited too late and got into a bidding war over the sub par talent. An auction draft is a balancing act, you want to get a few highly talented players on your team while also saving enough money to take advantage of later bargains. Some people wait too long and miss out on the talent which leads to overbidding on lesser talents or even worse, leaving money on the table at the end of the draft. This is why it is so important to have a plan and stick somewhat close to it, so at least you recognize when you have to just go for it to get a quality player and when you should sit back and wait for your bargains. A good goal is to be about middle of the pack in remaining money after an hour or so. If half the other teams have a bit more money than you and half have less, that means you weren’t afraid to get a few studs early but you have enough money to make somebody pay for players later (and scoop up some bargains of your own).
Mistake 4: Avoid Spending Your Whole Budget In The First Five Minutes
The most common mistake for undisciplined owners is dropping 50-60% of their overall budget on two players in the first 5 minutes of the draft. It’s exciting to think about having both David Johnson and Antonio Brown on your roster and I get the temptation to do so, but if it means you have to spend $110 of your $200 budget to get those two players, you have to consider if it’s worth it. With only $90 left for the remaining 14 players, you can expect to have absolutely no depth on your team and you’re going to have to bargain shop. Again, some people may excel at this and that’s fine but I find that most owners will drop so much on two players that they’ll then go all in on the strategy and decide that they want to just get their team over with by overspending on a few more players at which point they’re relegated to $1 players for the final 10 spots on their team. I don’t care how great you are at picking out your scrubs, if you have all of your money invested in only a handful of players and even one of them under performs or gets injured, then you’re essentially screwed for the year. Getting 1-2 studs is fine, but beyond that make sure that you have a distinct budget and plan and that you don’t go overboard early and leave yourself no money to take advantage of the inevitable bargains later. Anytime you can spend $10 for a player that you think is worth $15 that’s almost always going to be better than spending $50 for a $45 player, so make sure you at least leave yourself enough money to afford some of the bargains.
Mistake 5: Avoid Getting Stuck With Players You Don’t Want
Bidding other people up is fun. It’s especially great when you get to see the face of the Aaron Rodgers fan turning brighter and brighter red with every successive bid you make on “their” player. However, it’s not so much fun when they decide they’ve had enough and you get stuck overpaying for a guy you didn’t want in the first place. You only have a limited number of roster spots and a limited amount of money, you want to manage both resources such that you end up with the best team possible. You’re not going to be happy if you were planning to strike on a bargain QB and spend big on a RB but instead find yourself buying bargain RBs because you spent big on the aforementioned Rodgers who you didn’t even want. As a general rule, I always like to bid players that I don’t like up to 80% of the value I have for them and no more. Even if somebody else gets a small bargain on a player, it won’t kill you and at least you won’t risk being stuck with the player. Worst case situation, if you bid a guy up to 80% and they get dropped on you, at least you got a guy for 20% off of what you thought they were worth. It isn’t your job to bid everybody up, there are other owners who will inevitably do that for you and by letting others do the work for you, you’re not risking your roster spots or your money. One final note on bidding others up, make sure that you never try to bid people up on players that totally ruin your roster. What I mean by that is, if you already have 2 QBs on your roster, you should never bid on another QB again, regardless of their price. What do you do if you’re bidding someone up on a QB and they stick you with your 3rd QB? Now you’ve wasted money on a player that won’t help you and you’ve wasted a valuable bench spot on a player that you’ll likely have to drop anyways for RB and WR depth. Bottom line, worry more about your own team and developing your own needs while taking advantage of bargains that present themselves rather than worrying about spending others’ money – you’ll find that it works out better more often than not.
That’s it for the biggest mistakes to avoid in an auction. As I said at the onset, this is the final article in the Auction Domination series, however, I will be bringing you new auction content every Wednesday from now until the start of the season. Expect to see some auction prices soon and some highlighted players to buy into at their expected auction values in the coming weeks. Thank you again for reading and if there are any mistakes I missed or that you want to discuss don’t be afraid to comment below!