Heyyyyyy sexy Bron… Op, Op, Op….Oppa Auction Style.  Want to find proper punishments for people that miss the draft?  Want to really show how much knowledge of basketball you have?  Want to have a better than 1 out of 10 chance to get LeBron James?!  Then do an auction draft.  I guarantee that if someone does not attend an auction draft, it is nearly impossible to recover.  You end up with the most overpaid role players and no stars (You get to be pre-2011 David Kahn!).   You see, in a snake draft it is much harder to have a bad team because everyone is more or less directed on how to draft players based on the site’s projected rankings.  In an auction draft, the prices are driven by the managers.  This makes it much easier to get autodrafters to overpay for players.  Also, it is really really fun to drive people crazy by bidding players up.  Conversely, it is really really annoying to get stuck with a player you are trying to drive the price up on.  All in all, the strategy in an auction draft is much more compelling than in a snake draft.  One of the more challenging things facing owners in an auction draft, is how to allocate their money.  Stars and scrubs (Bron, Durant)?  Or many very good players (Melo, Rondo) to mitigate the risk?  The choice is yours.  Read that word again in bold.  Choice.  You have the power to get anyone you want.

Here is a comparison of 2 different teams that made the playoffs in a 14 team league last year ($200 budget):

Team 1:                                                 Team 2:

Player $$ Player $$
Kevin Durant


Carmelo Anthony


Dwight Howard


Eric Gordon


Ray Allen


LaMarcus Aldridge


Luol Deng


Greg Monroe


Carlos Delfino


Joe Johnson


Derrick Williams


Roy Hibbert


Jerryd Bayless


Arron Afflalo


Gary Neal


Rodney Stuckey


Mario Chalmers


Jared Dudley


Richard Jefferson


Baron Davis


Tyler Hansbrough


O.J. Mayo


Al Harrington


Josh McRoberts


Tracy McGrady

1             .

Taj Gibson



I will tell you right now that Team 1 finished #1 in the regular season standings while Team 2 finished #5 (6 teams make the playoffs in the 14 team H2H format).  So take that for whatever it’s worth. I’ve done several auctions in many different fantasy sports (baseball, football, and basketball) and there’s a couple universal rules:

  1. Don’t get cheap on players you like.  Spend the extra couple bucks to buy a player you are really really high on.  For example, if you go into an auction thinking you’d like to pay $40 for Ty Lawson then don’t just stop at $40.  Go up to $45 if you have to.  MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY LIKE YOUR TEAM and don’t obsess over a couple bucks.
  2. Projected auction values are 100% garbage because it’s all relative to the particular draft you are in.  You all should have tiers planned out for your draft so that you can figure out the market value for players you lump in a tier.  Let’s say you have Kyrie Irving, Ty Lawson, Deron Williams, and Rajon Rondo in a tier.  If Lawson, Williams, and Irving all go in the $40-45 range and Rondo is about to go for $30 then this is when you jump in and make a bid.  You can kind of see how it would relate in a snake draft… Oh Rondo is still here in round 4, it’d be great value to take him here considering he’s the last available in this tier.
  3. Don’t overpay for a position that is getting “scarce”.  If the top 10 PG’s are taken and you’re sitting there without one, don’t get in a $30 bidding war for Raymond Felton.  Allocate your funds to get deals at other positions and take a bunch of cheap flyers on guys like Isaiah Thomas.  At worst you can work a trade when the season starts.  Plus, you never know what will turn up on the waiver wire (i.e. Jeremy Lin).
  4. Don’t turn bidding wars into a personal vendetta.  In other words, do not spite bid.  “How dare you outbid me on my favorite breakout Brandon Jennings!  I’ll show you by paying $40 for Joe Johnson!  TAKE THAT! HA!”  The other dude will just be laughing at you because you paid $40 for Joe Johnson.  Just like the rest of the league laughed at the Hawks when that contract happened.
  5. Patience is a virtue.  There are going to be more than a few guys that you will groan about because they go $10 cheaper than you think they are worth.  If you decide to go stars/scrubs… let’s say LeBron James for $80 and Josh Smith for $60… then sit there and wait.  It’s the hardest thing to do.  You see all this sexy talent on the board and you want to throw dollar bills at them like they’re strippers.  Dude, don’t waste the money.  You got your top two guys, so now wait for the bargains.  As a general rule, once I make a big purchase or two I wait until everyone’s money is around where mine is (unless the deal is SO ridiculous).
  6. Mix it up.  Nominate guys you hate and guys you love.  Don’t let anyone get a read on you.  The last thing you want are managers driving up the price on players you are high on.  Also, when you nominate guys you hate, always nominate the one that will suck as much cash from other owners as possible.  Blake Griffin is my personal hoover vacuum.
  7. At the end of the auction, make sure you wield the hammer.  This can be tied into rule #5.  You want to outbid most of the other managers on sleepers (the under $10 kind… not the $15-30 breakout players).  This will start to happen when the most money someone has is around $20-30 left.
  8. Don’t be idle.  There’s more than just nominating and bidding.  If you are waiting around for bargains, start typing in the chat.  See if you can get people to drive up prices just by giving positive stats about the nominated player (that YOU won’t be bidding on, of course).  “Did you see Player X in that preseason game?  He was lighting it up.”  This quote is obviously pretty lame and cheesy.  I’m sure you can improvise better.
  9. Have fun.  Man, that’s even more cheesy than the quote from #8.

If you want a more detailed post of the different strategies (the two I highlighted in the column), mention it in the comments and I’ll write-up another post this week to talk about them.  Feel free to mention any “rules” you abide by or if you disagree with any of mine.

  1. Pavel says:

    I was doing some auction drafts and I see that there are a lot of pgs to be had later (personal favorite is isiah thomas, but also vasquez, nelson, lillard, george hill, stuckey). Does that affect your auction draft in any way?

    To account for this I try to generally stay away from the top 3-4 pgs and focus on trying to get those dominating sf/pf/c types early on. (Like pairing durant+jsmith, lebron+horford, etc). What do you think?

    Lastly here are the top 3 teams in a very competitive league from last year and these were their drafts:
    Team 1:
    Budget $200
    1. (2) Derrick Rose
    (Chi – PG)
    2. (16) Russell Westbrook
    (OKC – PG)
    3. (19) Al Horford
    (Atl – PF,C)
    4. (33) John Salmons
    (Sac – SG,SF)
    5. (36) Serge Ibaka
    (OKC – PF,C)
    6. (97) Chuck Hayes
    (Sac – PF,C)
    7. (152) Brandon Knight
    (Det – PG,SG)
    8. (160) Tayshaun Prince
    (Det – SF,PF)
    9. (166) Derrick Favors
    (Uta – PF,C)
    10. (171) Shannon Brown
    (Pho – SG,SF)
    11. (174) Al Harrington
    (Orl – PF,C)
    12. (177) Tracy McGrady
    (Atl – PG,SG)
    13. (180) Richard Jefferson
    (GS – SF)
    (later dropped players to pick up andre miller, dragic, glen davis)

    Team 2:
    Budget $200
    1. (4) LeBron James
    (Mia – SF,PF)
    2. (7) Chris Paul
    (LAC – PG)
    3. (13) Dirk Nowitzki
    (Dal – PF)
    4. (95) Hedo Turkoglu
    (Orl – SF,PF)
    5. (135) Jodie Meeks
    (LAL – SG)
    6. (157) Jerryd Bayless
    (Mem – PG,SG)
    7. (163) Drew Gooden
    (Mil – PF,C)
    8. (169) Mehmet Okur
    (Por – C)
    9. (172) Baron Davis
    (NY – PG)
    10. (175) Leandro Barbosa
    (Ind – PG,SG)
    11. (178) Andris Biedrins
    (GS – C)
    12. (181) Chris Andersen
    (Den – PF,C)
    13. (182) Gilbert Arenas
    (Mem – PG,SG)

    Team 3:
    1. (1) Kevin Durant
    (OKC – SF)
    2. (23) Deron Williams
    (Bkn – PG)
    3. (48) Jason Terry
    (Bos – PG,SG)
    4. (61) Jordan Crawford
    (Was – PG,SG)
    5. (68) Stephen Jackson
    (SA – SG,SF)
    6. (70) Tyreke Evans
    (Sac – PG,SG,SF)
    7. (79) Lamar Odom
    (LAC – SF,PF)
    8. (83) DeAndre Jordan
    (LAC – PF,C)
    9. (123) Samuel Dalembert
    (Mil – C)
    10. (131) Ed Davis
    (Tor – PF,C)
    11. (137) Shawn Marion
    (Dal – SF,PF)
    12. (162) Richard Hamilton
    (Chi – SG,SF)
    13. (168) Udonis Haslem
    (Mia – PF,C)

    So in the end it seems though as the teams that spent their money early got the biggest payoff later on

    • Pavel says:

      @Pavel, That was a 14 team league btw

    • James Redacted

      James Redacted says:

      @Pavel, In my opinion, Stars and Scrubs is the way to go as long as the prices on Bron/Durant aren’t TOO ridiculous (like >$80). Yea, there’s injury risk there but they are just so much better than everybody else. Also, it is alot easier to add/drop guys if you have a bunch of $1 players. You increase your chance of finding and keeping that stud (or studs) that ALWAYS appears on the waiver wire every year.

      When there’s a plethora of talent at a certain position, I do like to scoop up the premier talent at other positions so that I hold an advantage over the competition. If there’s a deal sitting there at PG though… I don’t hesitate to go after it.

  2. Moe says:

    I spent 20 on Eric Gordon( maybe it was 23) and after I felt silly, I kinda was drilling the price higher on someone that obv wanted him so it looked good on me but..
    feel a little better seeing u have him in the high 30’s?
    Do do u like Jsmith better then LMA?
    5 keepers, I have LMA/Curry/B-lopez/lin( boo) and horf 12cat/

    • James Redacted

      James Redacted says:

      @Moe, The prices listed for the two teams are from LAST year. Gordon for $20 should yield you an excellent return (provided he stays healthy!).

      I do like Josh Smith better than LMA (Smith top 12, LMA top 20).

  3. Zebo says:

    I am in a H2H keeper league (keep 6), 9 cat. Here is the team I ended up with

    PG: Jennings
    SG: Manu
    SF: Paul George
    PF: Millsap
    C: Al Jefferson
    G: Jrue
    G/F: GWall
    F: Tristan Thompson
    F/C: Horford
    Util: Brandon Knight

    Bench: Deandre Jordan
    Bench: Shumpert

    What type of player (as in big, small, shot blocker, trey specialist, steals) should I target to pick up for Shumpert? (brain fart didn’t realize he is hurt) Thank you.

    • James Redacted

      James Redacted says:

      @Zebo, Hmmm. How many teams? Also, at this point in the season I’d pick up the FA with the most potential. Don’t worry about a type of player just yet and try to get the best lottery ticket you can cash in on. A couple weeks into the season you can reevaluate your team and start making some moves to make you stronger. (If you just want me to answer the question, it looks like assists would be the weak point of this team)

      • Zebo says:

        @James Redacted, 12 teams. Thanks. Yeah, there are not many elite guards who give you a ton of assists. Those guys were all keepers. So year after year, I have had to deal with having scoring point guards. One of these years, I am going to draft a rookie that hopefully will turn into a traditional point man. Assists on the waiver wire come in the form of Jose Calderon. But he doesn’t start anymore, and doesn’t give you much other than assists and occasional trey.

  4. Mr. Ballistik says:

    I’m about to trade my #5 overall + 12th round pick for the #4 overall. I wasn’t enamoured with my options at #5. I did this in order to get Love.

    However, I soon realized that I might get “stuck” with Paul. In an attempt to mitigate, I have sent out feelers to trade my picks for the 10th and final position in the draft.

    Do you think the injury risk to CP3 is great enough to warrant this move?

    • James Redacted

      James Redacted says:

      @Mr. Ballistik, He last missed significant time due to injury in the 09′-10′ season. This includes last year’s crammed schedule and he handled it fine. In other words, I wouldn’t be worried. Enjoy the ride.

  5. Tony says:

    yes! an auction post…. by far auctions are the most interesting, exciting format to any fantasy sport. I was basically out of basketball until I was “allowed” into a 20 year running keeper league, 18 teams, and it hosts a live auction…. I will say by far it’s my favorite day of the year, yes even over Columbus Day.

    My take on auctions is go in KNOWING who you want, have options, but get one of the guys outta your groupings.

    In my first year I was intimidated and shy’d away. 2nd year I’d say I walked out a winner, but then the seasons fate didn’t go my way (amare sucked balls, dorell wright was a one year wonder, Scola sucked, and shump got hurt) but go for who you want, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra. I know my first year I believe I stopped bidding on a few guys I wanted then ended up leaving $15 on the table! NEVER LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE, unless it just happens….

    Our league we keep 4, buy 4 at the auction then we snake 5 more players… its a very complex system, but the key is to have cheap keepers that produce, then use your draft cash to buy complimenting pieces and hope to hit maybe a few cheap guys that can replace your more expensive keeps. Last year Durant went back in and I had ENOUGH money to buy him but it would have essentially crippled me for the rest of the draft, but in the end how did my 4 guys above pan out! HAHA… do what ya gotta do, don’t be intimidated and don’t ever leave cash on the table….

    *** (afterthought here) another good rule of thumb, don’t go too wild on rookies, keeper leagues I see the appeal, in our league guys were spending as much for Kyrie Irving last yr as they were for established players who you KNEW would give you solid stats…. rooks almost never put up huge #’s their first year, my take on rookies now after a few of these auctions is wait til your last few picks/buys and snag a couple guys that have breakout potential or guys that have an opportunity to play in maybe the 2nd half or if an injury occurs, otherwise, don’t blow your wad on a guy that’s most likely not gonna lead you to the promised land!

    • James Redacted

      James Redacted says:

      @Tony, Yea I hear ya. Blowing money on rookies is just like drafting them 3 rounds ahead of where they should go. I usually stay away from them myself. Let someone else shoulder the risk.

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