Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lessons From My First Fantasy Football Auction Draft

After 7 years playing fantasy football I finally did an auction draft last week. My 14 team work league made the switch this season. It was a lot of fun and kept my attention more than a traditional serpentine draft.

In an auction draft you're always on. I had to consider each player on the block, manage my budget, make bids, plan my next nomination, evaluate my team's needs and try to figure out the strategies of other coaches. That's a lot to process but it was exciting and made the draft more strategic.

Here's a summary of what I did right and wrong in my first auction draft...

My Auction Draft Mistakes:
  • Overpaid for my kicker and defense. I let myself get caught up in a run on kickers and spent $4.
  • Got burned a couple times trying to drive up prices. This is how I overpaid for my D...thought I could get another coach to outbid me one last time. Not.
  • Didn't bid high enough on stud players early in the draft and finished the draft with $10 unspent. That money would've done me more good going after top players I wanted earlier.
  • Did very little player research and barely followed NFL news over the summer. It's tough to value players, identify sleepers and avoid problem players that way.

Things I Did Right In The Auction:
  • Mostly stuck to my strategy. The FantasyGuru draft kit on Yahoo's "Draft Central" tab provided good auction strategy advice.
  • Did a mock auction draft the day before. This helped me learn the mechanics of the online draft tool so that I could focus on my strategy during the draft. Definitely do a mock draft before doing your first auction draft.
  • Nominated some players that I wasn't interested in to determine value and get money off the table.
  • Looked for other coaches' strategies during the draft. This wasn't easy to do with 13 other teams so I focused only on the guys I knew had experience with auction drafts. They were usually the ones nominating backups and kickers early in the draft.

One downside to the auction format is that the draft can take longer. Snake drafts in this league have taken 90 minutes to 2 hours in years past. The auction draft ran about 3 hours before the last teams were done. Some coaches were done in under 2 took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to fill my roster.

Overall I liked the auction draft format better than a snake draft. It was fun and I drafted a decent team despite my rookie mistakes. What do you an auction draft or snake draft better?