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Convincing Your Local League About Auction Drafting
David M. Dorey

The switch to an auction style of drafting can be the most exciting, rewarding and memorable move that your league will ever make. That may seem like a big statement, and it may be hard to imagine anything being better than watching someone select a retired player in the fourth round but trust me and everyone I have known - auction is the best way to draft.

A traditional "come on - make your pick!" draft cannot compare to an auction. Selecting players by bidding against a salary cap makes the evening like a fantasy draft plus a poker game plus a buying spree. The end result is the exact fantasy team you picked with care (or not for some).

For a first year as an auction league, I strongly recommend only using a salary cap for the purposes of the player auction. Typically it is best to have about 10 to 15 bidding units per player on your roster. For an 18 man roster, for example, a good cap would be $240. Anything can be used, but keeping it around a dozen or so bidding units allows you get into meaningful bidding wars without endless raises. If you make the minimum bid increment $1, it is easier to conduct the auction and make bids and raises. Plus by the end you get to see what players you can actually acquire with just $1 or $2.

Keep it simple at first and only use a salary cap for a means to acquire players in the "draft" and it will be easier one everyone. The end product is no different than having a traditional draft except it is more fun and rewarding way to get that roster.

There will be the "change is bad" contingent in your league you will have to convince. Let's compare the two styles of drafting and see if we can swing their vote:

Traditional Serpentine Live Bid Auction
Waiting for between 2 and 22 picks until you go again. And waiting, And waiting... You have a chance at every player and can make bids on every player. At worst, you sit back while a player you did not want gets awarded but need to be ready for the next player. The action never stops. Never miss a good value.
If you draft first, you miss the next 23 best players. Never miss a chance on any player unless you "cap out".
If you draft last, you miss out on the best 11 players Never miss a chance on any player unless you "cap out".
Slow drafters can bring a draft to its' knees, especially in the later rounds. It's an auction, baby. Get ready or get passed by. Once a player is open for bidding, it ends when the bidding stops. The later rounds actually go faster when there is little money left for teams except the few "hawks" watching to swoop down on the cash poor teams trying to fill a roster.
Your sleepers get picked right in front of you. Nope - budget and he is yours.
Pick only players still available when it is your turn. Pick any player you want, long as you want him $1 more than anyone else.
Cannot affect how others draft Throw out those picks you know some homer will not be able to resist. Play "the most dangerous game" by bidding up a player when you know a guy really wants him. Forget to bring up players you really want until many teams have burned their cap up - "oops". Intentionally bring up players you know others want when everyone has lots of money.
Anyone with a cheatsheet and a pencil can draft a decent team. Oh no - this team is 100% yours. You are the genius or moron. You picked these players and intentionally did not value the other players enough to obtain them. This one is yours. You wanted these guys more than anyone else.
Fight the beer-induced sleepiness while Mr. Spreadsheet checks "a few more figures". Fight the urge to wet your pants when you see two guys triple the true value of a player in a heated bidding war.
Team with Marshall Faulk at an immediate scoring advantage. Team with Marshall Faulk at an immediate spending disadvantage.
Ordering your draft list is the guessing game when players might get drafted but it only takes one guy to take your player. DOH! That was my next pick ! You just have to want him more than everyone else. You are correct about this player, right? So take him and prove yourself. You're a player, right?
Someone selects Garrison Hearst. You look at remaining RB's. Someone selects Garrison Hearst. You immediately put Kevan Barlow out for bidding. "Think again, end-of-the-draft-boy. Show me the money you want that complete set."
One guy deciding on a pick Twelve guys either bidding, laughing, cursing or checking their salary cap.
After 60 players selected, someone finds a great player everyone missed. All team owners slap their forehead. After 60 players, someone brings up a great player that was absent in the early bidding. All team owners slap their forehead because they thought they were going to get him cheaply deeper in the draft.
Someone wants a deep sleeper, grabs him in the late rounds. Someone wants a deep sleeper and brings him up late. You notice that he only has $10 left to spend. You bid $11 with a smile. "Oh, I'm sorry - are you all out of money-woney?"
"zzzzzzzzzzzz' You recognize that someone is merely bidding you up in "the most dangerous game" and stop just short of where he thought you would stop. "He's all yours. Enjoy!"
"Come on and make your pick!!!" "Maybe you should have waited to get a mouth full of pizza until after the bidding was done"
Drafting is the simpler. My pick and a cheatsheet. If you rely on a cheatsheet for drafting, then just go to an auction and up the final bid of whomever you think is the most knowledgeable guy. You'll look shrewd and likely get a better team anyway.

The list could be as endless as the nonstop banter and fun involved in an auction. An auction is not more complicated than a traditional draft, it is just as simple as making a budget, targeting your players and staying on course. Auctions will go faster without the need to get up and write down a name and without the terrible down time teams on the end of rounds have to endure.

The mantra for an auction is "any player you want, just not every player you want".

More than anything, auctions are the ultimate in having fun for the evening. I have seen traditional drafts where team owners have almost gotten into a fight. I have seen auctions where team owners shoot beer out of their nose when someone bids almost half of their cap on one player. You replace frustration and boredom with constant action and strategy. You end up with the exact team that you wanted the most. You either wanted your players more than anyone else or you did not value all other players enough to get them. This is truly your team, not the product of a random dice roll and a cheatsheet.

The end product is the same as a traditional draft - full rosters. Except in this case, it is the getting there that makes all the difference.

"SOLD to Mr. Moneybags with an odd attraction for Bengal players!"