So you're trying an auction draft. Good choice. It's infinitely more exciting than a snake draft. But it does come with some nuances. Here's how to do it right this year.
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Avoid the Antonio Brown bidding war
It’s going to happen. Avoid it. Put chairs between you and your computer. Your league opponents are not your friends. They want you to bid on Antonio Brown and die, in that order. Do not fall for their treachery. Let the overeager throw themselves into the breach until it fills like a moat. Then march over their inert bodies to fantasy victory.
Getty ImagesDylan Buell
Do not bid on Antonio Brown
We’re clear on this, right?
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Being shrewd is the cornerstone of not sucking up an auction draft because the quickest way to shoot yourself out of the game is going Wolf of Wall Street on a big name you’re not 100 percent in on. You will have to overspend a bit to get a centerpiece or two to anchor your team, but if you’re going to do it, do it on a running back or position of scarcity. Don’t overpay for a wide receiver. There will be 500 or so perfectly good ones lying around in piles in the middle rounds.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
Be a jerk
Bid up players you have no interest in. Use your friends’ weaknesses against them. You know these guys — pick on their irrational loyalties. If they put Adrian Peterson on the block, and they have an Adrian Peterson Fathead in their room — PUMP UP THE JAMS, BABY. Throw in some dummy bids and make them pay room and board for that dude. Just don't get caught trying to milk a few extra dollars out of your boy with a bid in the dying seconds of the clock. It's a great way to get stuck with your middle finger in the cookie jar. Don’t get too stonesy.
Getty ImagesJonathan Ferrey
Don’t be a fan
See: above advice. Acting like a fan means falling prey to your baser urges. Like we said, people will use your love against you in auction drafts, and while you’ll never not be biased by your fanship, you can at least be aware of your bias. Come into the draft with hard and fast spending limits for your pet players and sick to those numbers. You’re not a businessman, you’re a business, man. Now handle your business.
Getty ImagesMaddie Meyer
The most annoying part of auction drafts is also the most compelling, and that is the outbidding of others on the clock. Depending on your league’s specifications, every player will spend between 30 seconds and one minute on the block. The clock will refresh back to a certain time if the standing bid is surpassed in in the final moments. It can be draining, particularly if the player being nickel-and-dimed over is a garbage omelette like Riley Cooper. But losing composure leads to losing focus, which brings us to our next point.
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In snake drafts, you can walk away from your computer and commit felonies and be fine as long as you post bail in time to pick. With auction drafts, you have to be engaged moment to moment through most of the auction — because anyone can nominate any player to the auction block, and there’s far more gamesmanship that goes into each moment than in traditional fantasy formats. In snake drafts, people pick players they want. In auction drafts, people nominate players and a dinner murder/mystery ensues. No one can be trusted. About that ...
You don’t have to nominate your favorite guy to the block. In fact, early in the goings, you should never nominate your favorite to the block, unless you’re in a rush to pay a hefty luxury tax. You can keep people off-balance with your nominations, just don’t nominate a total toilet onion as a joke or else you’ll get stuck with the bill. I did that with Tebow one year. No one bid and he went to me for a dollar by default. What an idiot.
Getty ImagesDarren McCollester
Have a rainy day fund
It doesn’t have to be much and it shouldn’t be much, but stashing a few bucks away for the bitter end can help you land less garbage-y players in the back half of the auction. It can also give you a trump card if someone tries to make off with that sleeper you’ve been sandbagging on all night.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY SportsKyle Terada
Have fun and tell everyone they’re inept fools
Remember that fantasy football is fun for two weeks and then mostly pain until February. Try to enjoy yourself and make use of the auction draft’s weirdness and flexibility. It’s an infinitely more engaging format than the cut-and-dry snake draft, and any player can be yours for the right price. And regardless of whether you’re nominating, you can always be affecting the game, and every nomination is a Machiavellian knife-fight waiting to happen. Just be sure to have fun and remind your friends that they’re seedy and shiftless individuals you can barely deign to do business with but will take their money regardless. Dan is on Twitter. His league will feature at least five Harambe-related team names.