Strategies for Operating an Auction Team
By Jeff Pasquino
Jul 18th, 2012

Anyone who has ever played fantasy football knows all about the draft process for selecting their teams. If you have participated in even a few drafts, you know that everyone wants that first pick in the draft and the inherent advantage they get by being able to take that top guy that they really want. Many have wondered if there is a better way to distribute the talent more fairly and equitably amongst all the fantasy teams.

There is - and it is the joy of fantasy auctions.

Over the course of several articles I will be guiding you to the differences between an auction league and a draft league, with all the different elements, aspects and entertainment that come in an auction instead of the typical draft format.

  • Section 1 - Auction Leagues for Beginners
  • Section 2 - Preparing for Auction Day
  • Section 3 - Knowing Your League
  • Section 4 - Auction League Types
  • Section 5 - Strategies for Building an Auction Team
  • Section 6 - Strategies for Operating an Auction Team
  • Section 7 - Nomination Strategies
  • Section 8 - Auction Day
  • Section 6 - Strategies for Operating an Auction Team

    Operational Strategies

    Besides having multiple budget plan strategies, there are several other concepts that you need to keep in mind throughout the auction regarding your budget and how you bid on players in the market:

    Spend Everything You Have

    In almost every auction format, the money that you have left in your budget is worthless once your roster is full (some leagues do allow you to roll over or add extra dollars to free agent bidding money to be used during the season). Since a dollar not spent is worthless to you, make sure that you plan to spend every single dollar you have. Waiting too late to spend big bucks can force you to overspend on a player late in the auction, which is very much a waste. Dollar guys are dollar guys for a reason, so let them be only worth $1.

    Avoid Bidding Wars

    One of the biggest mistakes a fantasy team owner can make during an auction is to get into a bidding war. Well, let me qualify that - the biggest mistake the owner can make is to get into a bidding war and win it. Getting a player for way too much will not only cost you too much value against that player but it will hurt the rest of your team because of the budget implications. Even if you are fortunate enough to lose the bidding war - and believe me, the loser is the winner here - the emotional aspect of a bidding war can cloud your judgment and leave you open to make additional mistakes during the auction. Keep a cool head and do not get into a bidding war no matter how much you love a player. Not falling in love with players and avoiding situations where there can be a run on the last stud at a given position should keep you out of harm's way.

    Bidding Late in the Bidding Process

    Some owners like to wait until the last moment to throw in a bid. That doesn't always work, but slipping in a late bid when the auction slows down can get you a player when the value is nearly determined. This can work even if this is your first bid on that player. if you have already been in on the bidding for that player, a late bid can show a little bit of reluctance which might wrap up the bidding, saving you a few extra dollars.

    Jumping Bids or Bidding High Early

    Nearly every bid goes in increments of $1. Early in the auction, players are going to go for big bucks, so if you are confident that a jump up in the bidding would still leave you with a value pickup if you win that bid at that moment then go for it. Sometimes a big jump in the bidding will stop others from bidding on a player, either because they feel the amount is too high or that the big jump shows you will not that player go. With everyone expecting small bumps in the bidding, a bigger step size could get a very positive result.

    Act Fast

    The auction can last for hours, so on occasion some players will be in and out of the auction very quickly. Throwing out a number on a player and hoping the auction closes quickly could get you a steal of a value.

    Don't be Afraid to Overspend if it Makes Sense

    If everyone is overspending early in the auction (which is very typical), sometimes you have to get in the market and spend more than you really budgeted for to get a stud player early. At first this may not seem to make sense, but you cannot let everyone snap up the early talent while you stand on the sidelines. The good news is that if everyone else is overspending by 20-30% of what you think the players should be worth, going over by 10-20% will still leave you with more money than the rest of the league for the later portions of the auction.

    Don't Let the Talent Evaporate

    You cannot let everyone get the top players while you continue to wait for bargains. This strategy goes along with the last one as you have to spend or overspend if it makes sense. Letting all the stud quarterbacks, running backs and top wideouts evaporate from the talent pool will leave your team at a huge disadvantage. Waiting too long will leave you cash rich and talent poor.

    Waiver Wire and Free Agency considerations

    Some auctions have a second budget for free agency (such as for free agent acquisition budget, or FAAB). If your league has that sort of rule, keeping a few extra bucks at the end of your auction may seem like a good idea, but you have to avoid that temptation. The difference in having $100 or $105 for a free agent or waiver wire budget is so minimal it usually does not matter at all. The difference between having two $10 players and two $8 players can mean far more - so focus on and emphasize getting the best possible team on Auction Day and ignore the temptation to save a few bucks for a rainy day need that may never come.

    There are some waiver wire and free agent league settings that could influence you on Auction Day. If you have an open season on free agents as some point after the auction but before Week 1, and if your league rules allow it, you could shoot for the best players possible and not even have a bench! If you don't need to buy 20 players during the auction, then why should you? Those $1-2 guys can add up - and if they are all waiver wire quality guys then forget about it and go and get the best players possible and spend all of your budget on your starters and top backups. If your league doesn't require you to have a valid starting lineup at the end of the auction, don't buy a kicker or defense either. Get one before your first fantasy game, but do it for free off of the waiver wire.

    This may not be a complete and exhaustive list of all the strategies that are out there for auctions, but it is a great start. Knowing these strategies will take you far on Auction Day. Now let's dig into a very specific topic but one that requires even more thinking, and that is how to figure out when and who to nominate during the auction.

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