Auction drafts are easy to “win” but even easier to “lose.” In this series, Dave Caban will overview the preparation, thought processes, and in-auction strategies needed to ensure that you’re ready for the intensity and challenges auctions will throw at you and are poised to leave your draft with a contender.
If you’ve never participated in an auction draft, or have spent little time considering auction strategy or optimal approaches, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You might be wondering, how much is too much for Christian McCaffrey? Who should I nominate and when? How do I build a value worksheet to head into the draft with? Can I employ Zero RB? Should I really go stars and scrubs?
While a truly optimal approach doesn’t exist, there are strategies and easy advantages that can be gained by recognizing that an auction draft is an entirely different animal than a snake draft. Auctions aren’t linear and no two are the same. This is a double-edged sword. While it allows one to build a team in ways that would never be possible in a snake draft where ADP limits flexibility, it also makes preparing for and contextualizing the draft much more difficult.
I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about auction drafts, participating in expert auctions, and considering in-auction dynamics over the last four seasons. During this time, I wrote a number of articles on the topic that I believe will more than prepare you for the mentally grueling exercise that is an auction draft. A number of the principles underlying solid approaches to them are not intuitive and I find that newbie auction drafters are often asking the wrong questions when preparing for their draft. Very honestly, trying to determine the correct price for players prior to entering your draft is largely a waste of time and can often be counterproductive.
This series will make clear why that is the case, help you to understand the laws of supply and demand that are at play during an auction, get a sense of how to adapt to the specifics of your auction, and properly prepare for your draft. Part 1 will focus on building your knowledge base and providing the background needed to begin to consider your draft for the specifics of the 2020 season. As is the case with other types of drafts, player evaluation is only a single aspect of a larger preparation process, and very often, it’s the other aspects that win and lose leagues. In the following articles, we’ll take a look at different ways that teams can be constructed in 2020, consider the feasibility of Zero-RB, and identify players that you’ll likely be able to acquire on the cheap.