Hope everyone is taking any and all necessary precautions for the impending hurricane, its better to be prepared than not. The other day one of our other great staff members here at WCG asked me about Auction Drafts, and I realized we hadn't really discussed this since the Fantasy Football 101 series. I intend to correct that today with a brief primer for those who have drafts left to go.
Auction Drafts: Its pretty simple stuff, as many of you know or have read, you bid on players instead of drafting them...but it can be important to know that players are still nominated by the teams in a "draft order".
That means you will get a turn to "draft" and when you pick a player, he goes up for bid. This gets into the first part of "Auction Strategy": People over-spend early, all the time. What this means for you as an owner of a team in an Auction Draft is that when its your turn to "draft", nominate the players you DON'T want, but are ranked high in most fantasy circles.
Example: I hate Mike Vick, because he is injury prone and relies on rushing yards for points (only 3100 passing yards last year). I don't trust a fragile, over 30, running QB. Many disagree with me and have awesome valid points. My mind isn't changing, so if it was my turn in an auction draft, I'd actually nominate him...so everyone else can get into a bidding war for him, and spend their money on him, instead of the QB I really want. It makes them use their funds and helps me get my guys cheaper...Not to mention the guys who actually get him won't be bidding against me for other QBs either, so I reduce competition. Toss Peyton Manning in their too. His neck is broken, he is getting old, and his team often rests starters in the playoffs and championship weeks of Fantasy. His 4000 yards are great, but disappear when you need them most.
I Don't Care What Experts Say, Get Your Guy: Second thing I like to do: Have 1-2 guys you are willing to spend on, even if it exceeds your listed budget for that player, but don't make them "the big names"...aka, don't pick Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster, because they have inflated value right now...Again, let others spend on those guys, who are good but won't return dollar value, and instead set up something like "I will overpay for Vincent Jackson, Philip Rivers, Matt Forte, and Ahmad Bradshaw". That is a heck of starting lineup, they aren't the "biggest" names so you won't get into a lethal bidding war, and they will return on the dollar...of course you are waiting for others to put those players up for bidding, as discussed above.
Patience is a Virtue, Unless you are Going Big: Third thing: Bid late. Let the timer run down before you bid, so you don't start a bid war prematurely and show your hand. In this respect, its like poker. Use the clock. If you are going to bid early, bid larger sums to discourage those who aren't willing to match and to set a higher value (see strategy one, again) for a player.
Save a Little, Win a Lot: The late rounds (say 9th-16th), many people have spent all of their budget except the obligatory $1 per position left on your roster. If you were smart, you saved at least $3 per spot on your roster and diligently refused to spend it...so you could outbid everyone else for depth as the draft goes on. This means the difference between getting a 800 yard receiver vs. a 600 yard receiver for your 4th-5th option; it means getting a 15 carry back instead of a 3rd string guy; it means the difference between getting a solid backup (as Flacco and Cassel seem to be trending) or ending up with Colt McCoy (who I kinda like this year for no good reason), Donovan McNabb, or Kevin Kolb.
The espn list has a decent price list, but it depends what your league's dollar value is about. If they aren't $200, then you might have to re-calculate some or google a list that is based on your budget.
This cheat sheet isn't bad either.
You can even practice here, for what its worth. Many people do obnoxious things like put up the old Bears Adrian Peterson instead of the Vikings one early (and someone always overbids for him, then quits the draft, ruining it for everyone). That by the way is a strategy I avoid like the plague. Its classless and can ruin people's willingness to trade with you, or be friends with you, forever after. Its poor form, and many solid Auction leagues have rules against it and will boot you as an owner for playing that way.
Let me know some of your questions after you digest this stuff, and I can answer questions.