Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Auction Draft Strategy
Auction drafts are becoming more and more popular in fantasy baseball and I can see why. It is by far my favorite way to draft. Everyone has a chance at any player they would like as long as they're willing to pay enough to get him. There is so much more strategy involved and you are more rewarded for knowing your stuff than you are in a conventional snake draft.
An auction draft room is a very hectic place to be. You will have to be engaged for the whole three hours. It's not like a snake draft where you have five minutes in between picks. The draft will take its toll on you mentally and emotionally, but it won't be as bad if you're ready. Be prepared!
Have a plan: You should have an idea about how much you're willing to spend on every player. If you're drafting in an online draft room all the suggested player values will be there for you. If your league is doing an offline draft, you should make sure and bring a cheat sheet or something with player values on it.
I would suggest listing out a few players at each position that you will be targeting. Have a couple of fallback options at each position too just in case all your targets are too expensive in a few positions.
Nomination strategy: Most of the time it is good to nominate guys you don't want, whether it's because you already have that position filled, or because you know that that player will go for way more money than you are willing to spend on him, or because you just don't like that player. This will help deplete your opponents' funds.
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Sometimes, however, it can be advantageous to nominate a player that you do want. For example, if there is a third baseman you really want and there are only two or three other good third basemen left, don't wait until your guy is the only decent option out there or you'll have to pay quite a premium to get him. Nominate him early and your opponents won't go so high because there will still be a couple of decent options left at third.
Mix it up: You don't want to get into a pattern that your opponents will pick up on. If you do, you can end up getting stuck with players you don't want and paying more than you have to for guys you do want. Sometimes bid on players you don't want to drive up their price (be careful).
Every now and then wait until the closing seconds to start bidding on a player you want. Once in a while nominate a player you want. Don't just bid on players you want. Keep your opponents guessing and you'll have the advantage.
Leave some money for the endgame: There is a fine line here. You don't want to be cheap and end up not getting any good players but you would be wise to have more than a dollar per pick for your last five picks or so. If everyone has a dollar per pick left at the end of the draft, it basically turns into a snake draft.
If you have some extra money, however, you can control the endgame and get whoever you want. When a player you want is nominated for $1 you can bid $2 and get your guy (unless there is someone else with extra money too). If you only have a dollar per player at the end of the draft, you have to nominate guys you want (you don't want to get stuck with someone you don't want) and risk them being stolen from you.
I would also recommend getting some practice in before your league's draft. Do some mock drafts so you are familiar with your league's platform. Otherwise, you may end up feeling overwhelmed at the start of the draft until you get comfortable with how it all works.
So there you have it. You won't have a perfect draft; No one does. You might get stuck with someone you didn't want and you might end up with extra money at the end, but if you follow my advice you'll increase your chances at having a great draft.
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