A plea: If your league has always gotten together to do a snake-style draft, and you haven't drafted yet this summer, please, for the love of George Halas, Ralph Wilson and Lamar Hunt, change it to an auction. Please! Please! Please! With edible FieldTurf on top!
A snake draft is basic, where everyone gets a turn to pick a player. In an auction, there's no order to how players get selected. You spend fictional dollars and can get anyone you want!
A snake draft is short, it'll probably be over in a couple of hours. An auction takes longer -- which is good because anything Fantasy Football is better when it's longer.
A snake draft means developing a strategy for the first few rounds. An auction forces you to adopt a strategy for the entire exercise. How much should you spend on Player A at one position versus Player B at another position? And if Player C goes for $20, shouldn't Player D go for $15? There is a clear domino effect which you can either kick off or take advantage of ... or both.
A snake draft creates the opportunity for every owner to build a fair and balanced roster. An auction takes fair and balanced and throws it on its head! You can conceivably land Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson on the same team if you wanted to. Or you could get consensus second-round picks Le'Veon Bell, Zac Stacy, Julio Jones and A.J. Green all on the same roster.
A snake draft is simple and easy to do on the computer. An auction can be done just as easily on CBSSports.com. Here, check out a mock auction for yourself.
Basically, there is no good reason not to try an auction unless you're boring and lame and you stick with what you've always done and don't like change and are scared to try new things because you're a scaredy cat.
Basic auction strategy
Your typical auction gives every owner the same amount of bidding dollars, then one by one players are put on the block. The owner who bids the most on a player wins. This process repeats until everyone has a full roster.
To maximize how you spend your dollars, take some time before you pick and create tiers of players at each position based on expectations (just like we do with quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends). This is especially important for auctions -- when the best-available group of players is down to one of two guys left, bid if you have a need there. Not only will you get a player you have certain expectations for, but you'll know what other players in the same tier went for previously and should be able to get that player at a slight discount.
You should also be aware of how much you spend in the early going because once the auction hits the 60th nomination or so, bargains are going to fly off the board. We're not talking about a Round 5 player going in Round 6 or anything like you'd find in a snake draft ... we're talking about getting someone you might have expected to pay $10 for going for $4! It's all the more reason to not make it rain with your bid bucks from the get-go. Aim for a third of your budget to be spent on bargains.
There's a bit of bookkeeping that goes into auction strategy too. By keeping tabs on how much dough everyone has left as well as what their needs are, you'll be able to figure out how much your rivals can afford to bid on certain players. This comes in handy once you're at that 60th or so nomination and bargains begin coming off the board. It is not a fun experience to have a max bid of $3 (because you already spent so much) and watch five players you need for your team go for $4 or $5.
Auctions are for the selfish
We often talk about "personal choice" when it comes to certain strategies for building a Fantasy team. For auctions, it really is all about what you want and how you want to build your team. Think it's important to have a stud quarterback, a stud running back and get by everywhere else? You can do it. Or maybe it's better to spend a steady amount ($15 or less on every player)? You can do it. Auctions are as personal as it gets in Fantasy Football.
That includes who you nominate during the auction. Most leagues let owners take turns putting players up for bid. In those formats it pays to nominate players you don't want early (so other people burn up their money) and then bid on who you do want later on (so you don't get outbid on sleepers, bargains, etc.).
But the most important auction advice is to strictly bid on players you want. Never bid up a player and get stuck with him because you're trying to get someone else to overpay. And don't add a player you don't like because ... well, you don't have to. Sometimes in a snake draft you end up taking someone you need, but in an auction you can just focus on the guys you like and fill needs that way.
Twelve Fantasy vets gathered and spent about two-and-a-half hours bidding against each other for Fantasy dominance. Armed with a $100 budget to fill 15 roster spots, we deliver what should be a very good example of what to expect come your own auction.
We'll start one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one Flex, a kicker and a DST. The scoring is standard -- all touchdowns worth six, all turnovers worth minus-two, 10 yards rushing or receiving worth one, 25 yards passing worth one and typical scoring for kickers and defenses.
Here's our lineup:
Adam Aizer, Podcast/Video Host
Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
Adam Flango, Video Producer
Mike Freedman, Video Producer
Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
Eric Kay, Associate Managing Editor
Peter Madden, Editorial Director
Al Melchior, Data Analyst
Joe Polito, Social Media Coordinator
Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer