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Delightful Tips, Dastardly Tricks, and Dangerous Traps: An Introduction to Auction Tactics

You have decided to enter the wonderful world of auction drafts. You have hopefully familiarized yourself with how auctions work and have read this great auction strategy article. Now that you’ve got the basics down I’m going to address manipulating auctions and how to avoid being manipulated.

Before you start an auction you need to prepare like any other draft, familiarize yourself with the players and scoring system, make your own draft board, and come up with a strategy of attack.


1. Make a player board with tiers that include minimum and maximum prices for both the players you like AND the players you don’t. You may be down on DeMarco Murray but at what price does he become worth it? How much is too much for Lacy? Set your prices according to your strategy but build the board so you can change strategies if need be. For an example, I recently did an IDP startup that is also a superflex. My original plan was to go big on QB early with a studs and scrubs plan. Unfortunately, that painfully obvious plan was also considered by the rest of the league and I ended up in a situation where I would have to blow around 80% of my budget to do it. I changed my board and my plan.

2. If you want a certain player, get them. One of the reasons you are doing an auction is to have parity. If you absolutely love a player go get them, just make sure to adjust your board in doing so. Don’t be afraid to overspend a little. If a little becomes a lot, see adjusting strategy above and sandbagging mentioned below. Experience has taught me that it hurts less to lose with the guys you love than with guys you don’t. If you love a guy, truly love a guy, you go get him.

3. Adjust your board as you go. I use spreadsheets and/or a notepad to create my lists. I suggest a spreadsheet. List your league’s roster requirements and then fill it with your players as you draft. Cross off positions on your board as they are filled or revalue positions if you are strong or weak in one area.

4. Don’t put players on your board that you hate. If you are doing your valuations and you can’t find a price where you suddenly like a guy, don’t draft him. You want to spend your money building YOUR team. Don’t burn money on guys you can’t get behind, save your money for the guys you want.

5. I know it has been said a thousand times, but don’t leave money on the table. This goes back to adjusting your board to flow with the auction.

6. Slow Auction Proxy bidding tip. shows transactions. It won’t show you how much they are bidding but it will show you who is nipping (bidding up) your guys. Use the transaction page to your advantage.

7. Use the auction detail page to see everyone’s balance and players. This will also show you how tangled up they are in current bids. If they have their cash committed elsewhere they can’t go after you.

8. Count roster spots. See what spots are filled by the other teams. Go to rosters and put them in grid format. This will give you a much better visual on team strengths and weaknesses. If you can hold off on placing your favorite WR up for bid until most teams are low on funds you have a better chance to score them.

About Lisa London

I suffer from an undying obsession with fantasy football. Former Lee Evans owner, I am not proud. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, I would get to the second one but I have lineups to set. Follow me on Twitter @leedoglaw