Mastering the Auction, Part 5: Bidding Strategies

Learning different bidding strategies to further your auction drafting skills.

Note: This series is designed to take auction drafters of any ability and refine their auction skills to those of a seasoned auction veteran. The articles will go from very simple concepts all the way to the most advanced auction theories. Each article is designed to build on the previous articles in the series. For best results read each article before proceeding to the concepts in the next article. For a breakdown of auction mechanics and strategies see Footballguy Jeff Pasquino’s excellent 8-part Auction Primer Series.

Part 4 tells you how to craft your strategy of nominating players, now you can work on what to do once the player is out there. There isn’t as much nuance in your bidding strategies as there is when picking a player to nominate, but there are still some things you can do to try and maximize your value when bidding.

As a general rule, the best way for a beginner to proceed in any draft is to not get fancy. While you’re getting comfortable with the other owners, their tendencies, and the process of an auction, you should follow the very simple rule of bidding one dollar more than the previous bid. Your goal is to take as much guesswork off your plate as you can and trying to craft the perfect bid every time you’re in the middle of a bidding war is sure to lead to mistakes.

New drafters can often get caught up in the flow of a high-priced player and lose valuable dollars. When the name “Saquon Barkley” is called out for $20 there will invariably be bids that proceed in $5 increments. It’s easy to see the bids climb quickly at that pace – “25..30..35..40..45..50…” – and if you’re in the middle of that at some point the bidding will slow down. What you don’t want is to be the one who yells “$55!” and the room goes silent. Perhaps on Barkley that number would be 60 this year, but the point remains the same. If you jump $5 and everyone stops bidding then you’ve stopped everyone in their tracks for 1 of 2 reasons: You got a deal because you blew everyone away with your bid, or you wasted money. If you’re new it’s hard to tell which is which. Don’t waste your money by guessing.

Assuming, however, that you’re here because you expect to continue to do auctions, or that you’ve already progressed past being a beginner, there are some things you can do when it comes to your bidding strategies.

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