Mastering the Auction, Part 2: Attacking Beginner Auctions

Learning how to attack beginner auction drafts

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:

After Part I, you have a basic framework for how to avoid some common problems for beginning auction drafters. Now you can start to focus on how exactly to avoid those mistakes instead of just knowing that they’re undesirable.

When your league decides to try auction drafting for the first time it’s probable that the majority of the league hasn’t done it before so there will be some easily predictable results for the first couple years of the draft. Assuming reasonably intelligent owners, these trends will gradually become less pronounced and eventually disappear altogether. But before that happens if you are aware of what’s coming you can take advantage of their inexperience. Furthermore, even if they eliminate some of these simple rookie mistakes, there will always be owners who don’t learn from their mistakes year to year, and newer auction owners who don’t know what they’re doing. These skills you learn now continue to give you benefits no matter how long you do auctions.


For new auction leagues, emotion and lack of self-control are two of the bigger calling cards you’ll see. The word emotion refers to a very specific behavior exhibited in new owners when the bids start flying and things are real for the first time. The emotion can manifest itself in different ways. Some owners are so jacked up to get going and start drafting that they forget how long the draft will be. Instead, they are bidding on every player and they’ll start spending wildly.

The other side of that same coin is beginners who are very intimidated by the moment and are extremely passive as big names are flying off the board. More often than not this will be what you see in a new auction league. The teams have likely not read Pasquino’s article on how to come up with values for individual players. They likely have not come up with numbers that they are willing to pay for certain positions or tiers of players, and even if they did they’re likely to be inaccurate. As a result, when players cross the $50 or $60 mark (assuming a $200 cap) they will be scared about the amount of money they are committing, and in that uncertainty is where you pounce.

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