2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Strategies you'll use to dominate your auction

Need Fantasy Football draft advice? Talk to CBS Sports on your Google Assistant to get insights on the best sleepers and to help decide between players. Just start with, "Hey Google, talk to CBS Sports."  

If it's not too late, float the idea to your league to change your usual boring snake draft to an auction. That's when you use fictional dollars to bid on player's Fantasy services for as long as you have them.

It's the most fun and most fair way to build a Fantasy team. We did one recently, and it provides so many different team-building strategies.

You have no shot at Todd Gurley if you pick 10th in a snake format, and you'll get laughed out of the room if you take Saquon Barkley with a top-three pick. In an auction, draft spot does not matter — it comes down to who wants a player the most. And if you want Gurley, you can outbid everyone for him. You could even get Gurley and Barkley if you so desire.

That's another fun thing about auctions — you can build rosters you otherwise wouldn't be able to in a snake draft. Want to have three first-round players on your team? You can do it ... though you might not be happy with the rest of your roster.

Auctions take Fantasy Football to a whole new level, and with it come whole new strategies you'll need to incorporate into your team-building plans. Here are six you'll need to know before you start your spending.

1. Use Tiers

Tiers have become commonplace in Fantasy Football draft prep. They're especially good for auctions because they'll give you a baseline of which players share a given expectation. Once you see what prices players in a certain tier go for, you'll know what to expect to spend on a player with similar projections. It's like having a GPS for your Fantasy draft.

Here's an example with top-tier running backs using the 10-team, $100 budget mock auction we did on August 2.

Alvin Kamara $26
Kareem Hunt $30
David Johnson $33
Ezekiel Elliott $35
Todd Gurley $40

All of these rushers were gone when Saquon Barkley was nominated. Using the values based on players in the elite tier, you'd reasonably expect to spend somewhere between $25 and maybe $30 for him. He wound up going for $29. Maybe that was too rich for your blood, in which case you'd probably have waited to land Melvin Gordon for $27 ... or Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook for $26. Point is, the market was created and smart owners were able to figure out how to apply it using their tiers.

2. The 20/50 rule

Bargains are a huge part of auctions, more so than snake drafts. But you'll rarely find a genuine deal in the first 60-plus nominations — that's when impatient and inexperienced owners will burn through their cash. That's where the 20/50 rule comes into play — save at least 20 percent of your budget for the last 50 percent of your auction's nominations. You'll have some moolah to spend then and pick up some incredible bargains -- players who might be top 50 or 60 picks in a snake draft could be yours for just a couple of shekels. This is truly the second-best piece of auction strategy you'll get behind the tiers. That's why it's second. Duh.

3. Nominations count

In an auction, everyone takes turns nominating a player up for bid. In the beginning stages of an auction, you should nominate players you do not want. This will give everyone else in the league a chance to pick up a player you have no intention of choosing while they have currency to splurge on.

As the auction moves along, you'll find yourself set at a certain position. That's when you can nominate players you do not need. Other folks will then spend their dough on players you have no desire for and they'll drain their wallets while you kick back and smile like the evil genius you are. 

Once you get to that second half of the auction, you have to shift to nominating players you do want. You'll also want to use those nominations intelligently — if you put a player on the block for $2 instead of the typical $1, it will mean someone else will have to spend $3, and late in auctions, people can't afford to spend that much. It's the perfect time to snag players who would otherwise go in Round 8 or later.

4. Spend wisely

As mentioned when discussing the 20/50 rule, letting your bills escape your palms too soon will cost you some steals in the long run. But you can't just sit there and not spend!

This is exactly what CBS Sports Senior Manager and overall great guy Michael Kiser did. He actually went into the auction with the bright idea of not overspending. As a result he left a whopping $45 on the table! Oddly enough, he did something similar last year (which we mocked him for) and he still made the playoffs. No, that does not make this a good idea.

Leaving a buck, MAYBE TWO, on the table at the end of an auction is acceptable. Anything more than that and you're only hurting yourself by giving the rest of the league more chances at landing players. 

Kiser's starting lineup looks like this ...

QBDeshaun Watson, HOU$6
RBMarshawn Lynch, OAK$5
RBTevin Coleman, ATL$4
WRStefon Diggs, MIN$8
WRAllen Robinson, CHI$4
FLEXLarry Fitzgerald, ARI$3
TEJimmy Graham, GB$4
KHarrison Butker, KC$1
DSTBroncos$1

But it could have looked like this ...

QB Deshaun Watson, HOU $6
RB Derrick Henry, TEN $11
RB Joe Mixon, CIN $12
WR A.J. Green, CIN $11
WR Mike Evans, TB $11
FLEX Davante Adams, GB $11
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE $15
K Harrison Butker, KC $1
DST Broncos $1

... and still had $5 left to make it rain to pad his bench. And damn, receivers went wayyy too cheap in our auction.

We know the results from our auction are a little wacky, but the lessons on what to do and not do in an auction shouldn't be lost on anyone. 

What sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And what big-name running back could ruin your season? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories