Mastering the Auction, Part 1: Beginner Mistakes

Learning the basic skills of auction drafting by avoiding beginner mistakes

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.

Other sections of this series:

So your league has decided to give auction drafting a try. It may seem daunting at first, and it’s natural to have some anxiety about it, but by following some simple guidelines you can already be ahead of your league before you get there. Drafting in an auction format is at once both exciting and stressful. It requires a level of attention that serpentine drafting does not. As a result, you will literally make hundreds of micro-decisions throughout the draft that ultimately lead to the players you end up with. But before you can excel at all of those decisions and run away with the best team, you have to learn to walk first. And if you’re here that means you’re just learning to walk. The best way to do that is to avoid some common beginner mistakes.

Beginner Mistake #1 – Leaving Money Behind

This is not a difficult concept intrinsically, but in practice, it is very hard. Chances are good, that in any article on auction drafting you have ever read, this concept is one that you will see. In fact, the Auction Primer series covers this very same thought. Why is that? Because it is THAT important. Too often novice drafters end up with extra money (for a variety of reasons that will be covered down the road), and that leads to frivolous spending on defenses or throwing the last money at the RB55 because that’s all that’s left. Again, the concept is simple – spend your money! – but for practical purposes walking the fine line between blowing your money too early and not spending it all is a tough one to navigate. This series will give you those tools, but for now, just remember to try not to leave the draft with any money. If you find yourself at the end of the draft with too much money and all that is left is the RB40 and a couple of wide receiver flyers, don’t scoff at them and think “these guys aren’t worth this money”. Instead, spend the money and take them anyway. Last year a quarterback by the name of Lamar Jackson was a player with a very low price tag and he turned in to a league winner for many teams. Rather than beating yourself up, go grab the best that’s available and hope that one of them pans out. They won’t all be Lamar Jackson, but there are plenty of cheap players that turn out to be valuable producers. Using your remaining cap on as many of them as you can is the single biggest lesson to learn before your auction.

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