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Auction Draft Strategy: Five Key Mistakes to Avoid at the Auction Table

There are many ways your auction can blow up before your eyes. Part Two of my strategy for auction drafts is focused around five key mistakes to avoid making in auction drafts.

This list of five is comes from my own experience at the auction table in more than a few auction leagues over the years. These are very common mistakes owners make and ones that can be avoided.

Editor's Note: you can click here to read more auction draft strategies and other fantasy baseball draft strategies & tips for various league formats including points leagues.


Have a plan and stick with it

My first article in this series covers how important having a plan is and suggests ways of sticking with it throughout the draft. In the heat of the auction, every owner’s plan will need to adjust. You can overcome the insanity by having a solid draft plan and sticking with it while giving yourself just enough freedom to adjust to changing market conditions..

Winning every player you wanted just won't happen. By having a solid strategy for how much money to spend on different positions and holding true to it, you'll net the best results when the chaos is over. For example, if you have both 1B and CI slots to fill and you miss out on a big-name bopper, you can overcome that by by drafting two middle-to-high-end replacements.

If in the same example you decided to spend the same amount of money on a single player at a different position, then you've diminished your 1B budget by spending it in a place you'd already budgeted for.  I’m not suggesting that this would necessarily net poor results, but what it will do is send your plan into chaos, and you'll find yourself scrambling to plan out the rest of your allowance while drafting.


Do not bid on players you do not want

This is a much easier rule to follow. Simply do not bid on players you have no intention on owning. I know you are saying to yourself, “Why would I do that?” Well, you'll notice that from time to time that you can start a bidding war with another owner will take place. You're driving up his price and he's driving up yours. If you're in this war under the assumption that the other owner will outbid you, you'll eventually get caught paying the premium. If it is over a player whom you didn't really want in the first place, you just got owned.

Running up the price on another owner can be good old-fashioned fun. However, I would absolutely avoid bidding on players you flat-out don't want. As fun as it can be to see another owner pay a ridiculous price for a player, it is not fun looking like an idiot when he was planning on sticking you with the bill at the end of dinner.


Do not overspend on every player

Overspending on any one player isn't necessarily the worst thing. If you're 100% certain that this is the guy for your team, go get him. However, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Every dollar you overspend on a single player will take away a dollar from another.

Splurging on multiple players will net you a couple of high-end players and leave you with more low-end players filling your roster. Of course, having Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera would be awesome. If you spend over $100 to get them, though, you only have $160 left for the other 23 or so players you need to fill your team. As much as you might like to go extreme stars and scrubs, that's a tough way to win your fantasy baseball championship.


Do not blow your budget in the first hour

As exciting and entertaining as auctions are, not having any money to spend for the majority of the draft is not. Unless, of course, every single player you've planned on owning has been nominated in the first hour and you've won them all at your budget. Unfortunately, that will not happen.

Part three of my four-part strategy guide will be  a deep dive into budgeting how to avoid blowing your wad early, so stay tuned.


Do not tip your hand

You may find that auctions are very similar to a game of Texas Hold’em. Reading the other owners can be as crucial as your ability to keep your own hand a secret. Before drafting, avoid naming your team after your favorite player or team. This can help mask who you are going after or what your preferences are. Also, try to avoid general fandom in your draft chats or message boards. If other owners know what who you like, they can and will take advantage of it.

Another good option is to randomize your player nominations, bouncing irregularly between players you want and guys you'd rather not roster. If you're constantly nominating players you don't want and the others notice you aren’t bidding, that could come back to bite you. On the flipside, if you're always throwing out names of guy you're going hard aftre, that will encourage owners to drive up those prices on your nominations, secure in the knowledge that you will reach deep.

Stay tuned for Part 3: The Importance of Auction Budgeting


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