Auction draft vs snake draft

Auction draft vs snake draft DEFAULT

Auction Domination: 5 reasons why a fantasy football auction is better than a snake draft

Hello everybody, my name is Trader Tim and I’m going to give you 5 reasons today why you should consider trying out a fantasy football auction this year. Snake drafts are fine and they can be easy, but if you’re a real fantasy football guy then auctions are the only way to go. Here’s why:

1. No Waiting Around

In a snake draft, you can spend upwards of 25-30 minutes just sitting around and scratching yourself. If you have the first or last pick in the draft, you get your pick(s) and then do literally nothing for 20 or so picks in between. You’re forced to sit there and watch others fill out their rosters while you do nothing other than play with your phone or drink. While that may be fine for some, it is not how real drafting is meant to go. In an auction every player is live, so the action never dies down. You have the option of bidding on any and every player (until you run out of money) so you have a reason to be engaged and pay attention the whole draft. There is no better feeling than capitalizing on your buddies’ mistakes when they let you snag a player on the cheap because they weren’t focused and you were. With every single pick opening up a battlefield you can readily jump in, auctions literally take the boring out of drafting.

2. You Can Use Actual Strategy

In a snake draft there is very minimal strategy. You can try to plan ahead as far as who you might like to target or what positions you want to go after or avoid, but really, you only have limited control over how that works out. If you really want a certain player and he gets picked one spot before you, then your strategy can get disrupted at no fault of your own. Realistically, it usually comes down to pick the best player at your highest position of need every round, which isn’t much strategy at all. Auctions change all of that! You can budget each position differently, you can target certain guys / tiers and guarantee you get them, you can choose to bust your friends’ balls and bid their favorite players up. There are almost infinite strategies you can concoct in an auction format whether it involves roster construction, budgeting, bidding plans, etc. This is just not an option in a regular snake draft.

3. Literally Everyone is Available (at least to start)

To quote the Million Dollar Man, “Everybody’s got a price”. Unlike a snake draft, if you want a player badly enough, you can have that player. If you get stuck with pick 5 but you really wanted David Johnson then you’re shit out of luck this year. In an auction, you are guaranteed to get Johnson as long as you’re willing to pay more than the next guy for him. In fact, if you want Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott, then have at it. Generally, I would caution against spending too much for one or two guys, but at least you have the option.

4. You Get Rewarded More For Being Prepared

If you’re that lazy ass in the league who likes to roll into a draft completely unprepared and pull out a magazine for the first time at the draft, then auctions probably are not for you. However, if you’re reading this article right now then you are obviously intelligent and you should use your preparedness to your advantage. While any monkey can slog through a snake draft and end up with a relatively decent team, this is not the case in an auction. You must be prepared enough to know how much players should be valued, maintain a budget, and bid with a plan. Since you will be prepared to do those things, you can gain a sizable advantage on the slugs in your league who are not.

5. The Draft Lasts A Bit Longer

Let’s face it, the best part about any fantasy sport is the draft. There’s always the excitement about who you’re going to be able to roster and the bargains you’re going to be able to exploit and how stacked your team is going to be. Then the season starts and most of your plans go to hell and by week 3, you’ll be swearing at the tv screen because some scrub is going off against you for your opponent while your first rounder rolled his ankle only 5 minutes into the game. Why not savor the good stuff? In many cases I only see certain people in my life once a year, on draft day. I want to spend more time with those friends and I want to soak in more draft time and an auction lets me do both of those things. A longer draft is not usually better when it’s a snake draft because it just means that people are taking too long to make their picks and that can be maddening. A longer draft in an auction just means that the bidding is fast and furious and everybody is engaged and having fun. Give me the auction please!

I imagine some of these points resonated with those of you who have participated in an auction draft before. If you have never had the pleasure, I hope these reasons are enough to urge you towards giving it a try. I’ll be back soon with 5 strategies to dominate your auction but until then, don’t be a stranger on the message board below!


  • TraderTim

    As a 20 year veteran of fantasy sports, I have seen everything and tried every strategy. I have learned that the keys to winning are preparation and focus. I am here to share my experience and preparation with all of you! My biggest strengths are drafting, trading and add/drops because they all require good preparation and knowledge of what you are doing. I will share my advice and my reasoning while hopefully sprinkling a little entertainment along with it.

    View all posts


Stock Breakdown

Individual Talent17/30
Surrounding Talent9/15
Coaching Scheme1/15


Stock Breakdown

Individual Talent/30
Surrounding Talent/15
Coaching Scheme/15

Auction DraftFantasy Football AuctionFantasy Football CultureFeaturedSnake Draft


10 Reasons to Change Your Fantasy Sports Draft Into an Auction Via

Fantasy sports have exploded in popularity over the last decade and a half. They involve drafting a set of real-life players in a sport and adding them to a fictional team the manager creates. The most popular way of distributing these players is through the use of a snaking draft where managers follow a pre-determined order and select players (just like teams do in real life). Once everyone has selected, the next round begins and the player who chose last will select first. This form of draft, while still highly enjoyable, is archaic compared to an auction style of draft. In an auction, managers arrive with a set amount of money and bid against each other for a player’s rights. Here are 10 reasons to move a fantasy draft into an auction-based style of draft.

10. Everyone Begins On An Even Playing Field

In an auction, everyone has the same amount of money and the same right to every player. Consequently, in a snake draft, every manager is placed in a separate draft slot. During some seasons, it may be better to draft near the top if the high-end talent has a significant dropoff. During this scenario, drafting at the bottom would be disadvantageous as potentially making two picks in a row could prove less beneficial than having the one early pick. On the other hand, some seasons there is no consensus number one pick and therefore being saddled with the first pick can be frustrating. After an auction, there can be no complaints about draft position because everyone entered on an even playing field. Fantasy sports represent a game meant for fun but it is a highly competitive. Fantasy would not be fun if some managers held an advantage over others prior to the year even beginning. Via

9. Less Luck

With an auction, winning a league is more of an accomplishment as the level of luck is greatly reduced. Managers are in charge of their full decisions, not relying on pre-determined draft slots or on default pre-ranks. An auction requires far greater knowledge of fantasy values as managers are vying against one another for talent while trying to maintain value. It is far less likely that an uninformed manager will stumble into the victory in a league that used an auction draft over a league that used a snake draft. Auction values are affected by numerous factors such as the number of teams competing and the weight of each scoring category. The values even change in real-time as a position run during the draft affecting scarcity will change values. This requires managers to constantly be on their toes and is the emphasis for determining that auction leagues have less random variation affecting the winner. Via

8. Economics

An auction draft allows managers to learn economic skills such as money management that transcend fantasy sports. No manager goes into an auction prepared to waste their money early with little leftover when the true values emerge. However, not every manager is able to contain themselves when the big names names are announced early at the auction. Learning how to save is frankly a life lesson and one that can be aided through the use of auction drafts. Pre-ranking player values and then bidding a maximum of 80% of that value during the early portion of the auction is an excellent way to test mental fortitude. A further economic lesson presented during auction drafts is the upside-down bellcurve. What that means is people overpay early (when managers have plenty of cash to begin with), overpay late (when some people have too much money leftover), and underpay in the middle of the auction when managers are still trying to save. This is where managers can swoop in for the steals. Via

7. Rewards Active Managers

During an auction, managers must constantly be at the top of their game. Having every relevant player valued in a dollar amount is essential as pre-ranks are more important than ever. Those who didn’t study do not have rankings to fall back onto. Conversely, during a snake draft, there are auto rankings. While having individually-created rankings for your league is far superior, these auto-ranks do get the job done as a last-ditch alternative. Unprepared managers can enter a snake draft and do reasonably well drafting based on these pre-populated rankings. In an auction, there are pre-populated dollar values but these will prove inconsequential as the values are constantly shifting. An active manager who is well-prepared has a massive advantage over someone not taking the game seriously in an auction draft. A fantasy season is a long, often grueling game. It is satisfying knowing that preparation is rewarded in this format and can give an edge to the manager. Via

6. Trades

In an auction, when managers are bidding against each other, it is possible to note potential future trades. A manager bidding on a certain player generally likes them (unless they are simply attempting to drive the price up). This is useful to know throughout the season. As an example, Manager A and Manager B engage in a bidding war during a fantasy baseball auction for the services of Billy Hamilton. The other 10 managers did not come close to matching the winning bid Manager A eventually settled with. Billy Hamilton provides elite speed with little else, so if Manager A lands several other stolen base threats and no longer has use for Hamilton, he may place him on the trading block. Manager A still values Hamilton quite highly; he simply has more pressing needs for his resources. Offering Hamilton to the other 10 managers would not net him the value he desires. However, with an auction, the knowledge is there to show Manager B should be relatively interested in acquiring Hamilton’s services. Via

5. Equality

A fantasy baseball snake draft is about to commence and the draft order has been randomly determined. Managers log in and 11 disappointed faces see that they do not have the opportunity to draft the consensus number one ranked player, Mike Trout. Trout is as safe a commodity as possible, with the upside to shatter multiple records. Any manager would be thrilled to own him. Yet in a snake draft, his ownership is generally determined randomly 45 minutes prior to the commencement of the draft to whoever receives the first overall selection. In an auction, this problem is non-existent. Anyone who wants Trout can pay for Trout. This feeling of equality adds a supreme level of fairness to the league. A player’s ownership should be determined by how much a manager is willing to spend to acquire their services, not by which draft slot they were assigned. Via

4. Fun Factor

Fairness, strategy, and economics are all areas that an auction draft provides. These can present elements of fun for various people and make the league more enjoyable, yet it is the dollar values in an auction that improve the element of fun compared to that of a standard snake draft. A manager saying he “stole” a hugely underappreciated sleeper for just a dollar sounds much more impressive than saying he drafted said sleeper in round 17. On the other spectrum, a manager saying he “wasted” $55 on a gigantic bust has much more of an impact than saying he was drafted in the second round. Adding dollar values allows for easy comparisons and evaluations. This creates a level of enjoyment that is unable to be reproduced in a snake draft. The fun factor is greater in an auction than in a snake, both during the draft and after its completion. Via

3. Always Active

A 12-team snake draft includes a pause of 23 selections between rounds for those drafting on each end. With average pick times ranging anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute, managers could be looking at a 20 minute break between picks if they are drafting in the first slot or in the 12th slot. This break becomes longer with more managers in the draft. A manager drafting 12th must first wait 12 selections, then make two consecutive picks, then wait another 23 selections where another two consecutive picks are made. This wait could prove quite boring, an unfortunate effect of a snake draft. A fantasy draft should be one of the highlights of the season. It should be a ton of fun. Yet, the problem inherent in snake drafts is the tiresome wait. In an auction, the draft is always active. Managers must constantly be in the room or potentially miss bidding on a desired player. Via

2. Flexibility

Similar to the point of equality, flexibility entails not being tied down to a specific draft slot. Unlike equality, which we defined as everyone received a fair shake at a specific player, flexibility is meant for the later portions of a snake draft. With a snake, the auto-ranks define a significant portion of a player’s average draft position. If a manager has the 24th and 25th selections in the draft, this can create problems. For example, the manager wants player X who is pre-ranked 55th overall. The manager feels the player is greatly undervalued and would feel comfortable drafting him at 24th. However, with the way the pre-rankings play out, that is viewed as a reach and the manager is sacrificing perceived value if he wants him. However, if he doesn’t take him with one of those picks, the wait is long enough that there is a chance the player will be gone, which is a risk the manager may not be willing to take. This dilemma is no longer an issue in an auction as a manger does not need to reach for the players he wants. The draft flows naturally and when that name is announced, then he can bid. Via

1. Different Strategies

A fun aspect of an auction draft is the ability to use a different strategy. For example, a manger can draft the number 1, 2 and 3 ranked players, thus using their entire budget, and then fill out the remainder of the roster with free agent-caliber players. This can be a fun exercise to view the importance of depth in a league. Depending on the size of the league, this strategy is generally not advisable. Foregoing depth entirely is difficult to overcome. However, creating this super-team is undeniably fun and gives managers an aspect of control unable to be replicated in a snake draft. For upcoming baseball drafts, this can include drafting Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper all on the same team. This exciting prospect can only be done in an auction. Many other strategies can be toyed around with in an auction and these add yet another layer of intrigue and discovery to an auction. Via

Colin Anderson

DWitzman has been writing about video games, movies, tv and more for Goliath since 2016.

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Preparing for your fantasy football draft? Before you dive into cheat sheets and player rankings, make sure you know the rules first.

That's stating the obvious, but it's worth mentioning, as there's more than one kind of fantasy draft. In fact, the two most prominent types of fantasy drafts -- snake and auction -- are significantly different and require vastly different strategies for managers.

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Below, we'll explain what both snake drafts and auction drafts are and how you should approach each draft to maximize your success.

Snake drafts

Considered the "traditional" format, the snake draft is pretty straightforward. It's the same general setup as the real-life NFL Draft: Managers pick from a pool of players in rounds based on a set draft order until each roster is full.

There's one twist, though: The draft order is reversed after each round. So, the manager who picked last in Round 1 picks first in Round 2, followed by the manager who picked second-to last in Round 1, and so on.

Here's an example of how the first two rounds look in a 10-team snake draft:

Round 1

1Manager 1
2Manager 2
3Manager 3
4Manager 4
5Manager 5
6Manager 6
7Manager 7
8Manager 8
9Manager 9
10Manager 10

Round 2

11Manager 10
12Manager 9
13Manager 8
14Manager 7
15Manager 6
16Manager 5
17Manager 4
18Manager 3
19Manager 2
20Manager 1

So, if you have the first pick in your snake draft, you can land the top player, but you won't pick again until No. 20. (You'll have another pick right after at No. 21, too.) And the last pick in the first round isn't all that bad, since you get to pick two players in a row.

The snake format continues throughout the draft, with Manager 1 making the first pick of Round 3, Manager 10 selecting first in Round 4 and so on. If you have 15 roster spots, your draft will be 15 rounds.

You should know your draft position at least an hour before your draft starts, so it's a good idea to see which picks you'll make in each round and start to think about which players will be available based on their average draft position, or ADP.

Auction drafts

Auction drafts are relatively new compared to snake drafts (and a bit more complicated) but still very popular.

As the name suggests, the draft works like an auction. Each manager starts with a pool of hypothetical money (usually $200) to "bid" on players. Unlike snake drafts, the draft order doesn't reverse each round. And you're not just picking a player.

The manager with the top draft pick will choose a player to "nominate" -- let's say Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. After that, any manager can "bid" on McCaffrey during a set amount of time, usually one minute. The manager who bids the most money on McCaffrey in that minute gets to pick him.

The manager with the second pick will choose another player to nominate, and the process will continue until all rosters are full.

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The key to auction drafts is knowing how much each player is worth, so you can fill out your roster without going over budget. Instead of ADP, auction draft guides will have average values for players: McCaffrey is worth around $70 while Damien Harris is worth about $20, and so on.

If you've ever played daily fantasy leagues, it's a similar format -- with the major difference of having to compete in a bidding process with other managers, who may drive up the "price" of a player with their bids.

Auction drafts allow you to fill out your roster any way you like based on your budget, so if you want to feel like an NFL general manager mastering the salary cap, this is the way to go.

Episode 1 - Auction Drafts vs Snake Draft - Eat Sleep Fantasy

Fantasy Football Auction Tips 2021: Best strategy advice for getting the most value in your draft

Being slotted in a specific spot in a fantasy football snake draft allows you only so much control. Even in a 10-team snake draft for a redraft league, you’re not getting Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley no matter where you're picking, and you're likely not getting either one if you're at the end of the first round. You could have the best draft strategy in the world, but it doesn't matter if you randomly get assigned the No. 9 pick. What if I told you there is a way to get both McCaffrey and Barkley on the same team, and it's actually pretty easy? All you have to do is join an auction league and follow the tips below.

For those unfamiliar, in auction drafts, each team gets a budget of hypothetical money to bid on players. The standard is a $200 budget per team. The snake draft format is replaced with a nomination order that goes from top to bottom each round. The nominator gets 20-30 seconds to select a player, and once the bidding begins, a running clock starts which determines how long the player is up for nomination. Once the clock is inside 10 seconds, every raised bid will add more time that the player stays on the table. Once the clock hits zero, the highest bidder gets the player.

MORE FANTASY ALARM: 2021 Draft Guide | Ultimate All-Sports Fantasy Package

Quick side note: Everyone must show up on time when the auction begins. Unlike auto-drafting in snake drafts, "auto-bidding" doesn’t work as well on league websites, and the absent owner will auto-bid as much as it takes to acquire the first few players put up for nomination until their budget is maxed out. It sucks and ruins the auction!

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

There’s a lot of strategy behind fantasy football auctions, from the player nomination process to the bidding to the roster construction. The auction continues until every team has filled their open slots all the way down the bench. If you want Barkley and McCaffrey on your team, go after them! Top players could cost 60-70 dollars each, a huge chunk of a $200 budget. However, you’ll notice that a lot of players go for under 10 dollars that would otherwise be drafted in the middle to later rounds of snake drafts.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

The bottom line is auctions, as frustrating as they can be when seemingly similar players go for noticeably different amounts, give you more control over your team’s destiny. Yes, they take more focus and time to complete than snake drafts, but if you have the ability to fight for certain players who are brought up consecutively, why not protect your investment and get the players you truly want?

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Each team

Below, we'll highlight some of our favorite strategies and tips for dominating your auction drafts!

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet

20201 Fantasy Football Auction Tips, Draft Strategy

Auction Budgeting Tips

As said in Spiderman, "With great power, comes great responsibility," and while fantasy football auctions give you the power to go after whoever you want, you have to keep yourself in check. It’s easy to want to keep spending and feed into the emotions and pressure during these drafts. With help from our draft guide combined with your general player interest, make a list of 15-20 players and the amount you would be willing to spend on each. Make your own evaluations for each player and on cornerstone players that you want to spend big on, then add a plus-$5 valuation. Spend on who you want! Have players listed who would be drafted in different parts of a snake draft and check Fantasy Alarm’s ADP to help you compile your list.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Overall

Auction Nominating Tips

When it comes to nominating players, I’ve noticed that in my casual leagues, there is hesitation on spending right away because of the notion that there is a ton of great talent on the board. Why spend right away when you could wait until there's less money in play? Don’t hesitate early if one of your major draft targets is nominated, though. Get that player because other top targets disappear quickly. To get your opponents to spend early, nominate bigger-named players who you don’t want. If you are someone who opts to budget $8 total for your tight end position, nominate Travis Kelce in the first round of bidding to get the spending going. Someone will spend at least $30 on him.

After nominating players you don’t want for the first half of the draft, nominate one of your mid-range players and go after him. Changing up the strategy a bit midway through will throw your opponents off who are looking for bidding patterns and teams needs. Auctions involve a lot of psychology when it comes to getting money off the table. The appropriate time to nominate a player you want early is if you have the very first player nomination. The hesitation spending that often occurs at the start of the auction draft could work to your benefit. Once the rest of the league sees the minor discount you got on bigger-named players, the aggressiveness of spending will quickly rise.

Mock Draft Simulator | Position battles | Bye weeks | Best team names

Auction Bidding Tips

Again, don’t be afraid to spend big on a couple of players early. You’ll make up for it later in "dollar days." After a lot of players normally drafted in the first and second rounds of snake drafts are off the board, you’ll notice the prices of players will drop very quickly. You’ll only have to pay $1-3 for a certain team’s second-prioritized wide receiver late in the auction.

Remember that list of players we talked about earlier? Having it in front of you will encourage you to spend and not get wiped out during bidding wars. Additionally, it will keep you from pressure spending (spending out of fear). Seeing the list will serve as a reminder that there are guys you want who you won’t need to spend much on later.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end

That being said, if you miss on your early targets, don’t panic. When a bidding war ensues in a one-on-one situation, feel free to raise the bid by $2 instead of the customary $1. This throws off your opponent and likely gets them to hesitate on raising the bid further. Your opponent is in a pattern mentally, and raising the bid by a different amount takes them out of rhythm.

Another way to take advantage of bidding is by "focusing on the 9s." I’ve seen owners hesitate to raise the bid to the next decade of numbers. It looks daunting on paper and you can take advantage. As the bidding goes up, ($24, $25, $26, etc.), raise it to $29 and there could be a pause from the opposing bidder. Often, you end up with that player as the time clock hits zero. With a lot of moving pieces and quick reactions happening during the auction, every dollar raised seems like a huge deal and seeing “$29” vs. “$30” means a world of difference from the naked eye’s perspective during this pressure situation.

Snake Draft | Best Ball | Dynasty/Keeper | IDP

In fantasy sports auctions, you’ll often hear the phrase, “having the hammer”. What this represents is when someone has the most money left. When that owner "drops the hammer," they essentially set the price so high no one else can/will bid it up. Don’t let that be your strategy going in.

The strategy of not spending early just to "have the hammer" later is often flawed in fantasy football. In fantasy baseball, there are a lot more players and positions in which having more money midway through the auction would be beneficial. In football, you only have so many options. I've made that mistake before, thinking I was being smarter than everyone else and nobody in the auction room knows who I truly want. When I tried that, I ended up with horrible running backs and an unbalanced team.

With only four positions commanding high-dollar bids (and realistically, only a handful of QBs and TEs can even make that claim), by the time an hour of bidding passes and you’re ready to “drop the hammer”, the running back position could be depleted. You have to spend at certain times and make sure you spend your whole budget. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it and there’s no merit being the team with $12 left on the table.

Superflex Top 200 | Superflex Top 200 PPR | IDP | Rookies | O-lines

For cheap ($1-4) late auction targets, make sure you keep a strong max bid so when you want a player in that range, you can start at $2 rather than $1 to scare off other bidders in the same budget range as you. Most kickers and team defenses go for $1. A top defense could be a good first or second-round nomination because if your leaguemates don’t spend, you’ll get a top defense for $1. If they do, you could get $5 off the table early. Every dollar counts.

Finally, if you want to be an auction bully and bid up leaguemates, pace is everything. As the pace slows drastically, it should be a warning sign that if you’re too greedy. Don't be reckless and get caught holding the bag on a player you don’t want.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST

Fantasy Football Auction Advice

I. Pre-Auction

  1. Talk to leaguemates, trying to get them to spill the beans on which players they like and take notes. Don’t be too obvious!
  2. Make tiers of active targets with values of your choosing to keep with you during the auction. Look at ADP and projected dollar values to create your own tiers.
  3. Make sure everyone knows the starting time of the auction.

II. Start of Auction

  1. Show pp to the auction on time. (I repeat) Show up to the auction on time! Auctions are ruined if someone is auto-auctioning. Please show up on time or ideally 10 minutes before!
  2. Nominate players/defenses that you don’t want early.
  3. To speed up the auction a bit, instead of putting Christian McCaffrey up for $1, start the bidding at $30 or $40. You can do this for all top-level players.
  4. Find the players you want and put them in your queue. Getting to the draft early will help avoid rush jobs.

III. During Auction

  1. Cycle through your opponents’ rosters during the bidding of players you don’t want and write down team needs if they are obvious. It will help you bid up players without getting caught.
  2. Add a +$5 valuation to top-tier players on your draft target list.
  3. Keep message board chatter to a minimum. Don’t give away your secrets and strategy. React to value purchases you like or dislike, but keep it short and sweet.
  4. Don’t hold your whole budget for too long, aka "Have The Hammer." If you haven’t won a player an hour into your auction (in 12-team leagues), become more aggressive. Adjust values of active draft targets from a budget standpoint and be more open to spending.
  5. There will be viable starting tight ends, quarterbacks, and wide receivers that you can spend $1-$3 for late in your auctions, so don’t be afraid to spend early.
  6. Keep a high maximum bid at all times. $30, $15, $10, and $5 are good maximum-bid benchmarks to have during the various stages of an auction. Don’t nominate your mid-to-late draft sleepers until most teams have a similar budget to yours.

IV. Late Auction

  1. Prioritize RB depth when down to "dollar days."
  2. If you’re only starting one QB and one TE, you don’t need to bid on another.
  3. Spend $1 on your kicker and defense.
  4. If you have a maximum bid of $2 at the tail end of your auction and there’s a player you want at your turn to nominate, nominate the player for $2 instead of $1. Even if you’re at $3 and really want the player, just start the bidding at $3.
  5. Spend all of your money! There's zero reason not to!

Draft draft auction vs snake

The majority of fantasy football leagues are still snake, but in all honesty, you are missing out if you’re not playing in a single auction league. I’ve been playing in auction leagues for over 10 years and once I did my first one, I was hooked for life.

The bidding wars, seeing someone spend a high percentage of their budget on one or two players, the sleeper players going for cheap or even minimum bids… This type of drafting takes you to a whole new level of fantasy football, and trust me, once you do your first one, you will be addicted.

What is an Auction Draft?

Just like the draft order in your typical snake draft, you have a nomination order that allows owners to take turns making a starting bid on players. All managers are given an imaginary salary cap ($50, $100, etc.) to construct their fantasy teams. Just like a real life auction, the highest bidder wins the player, and that amount of money is deducted from their available cap space.

All managers will continue to nominate and bid on players until all rosters are filled in line with your league’s format. Just like snake, the players who are not drafted will be available on waivers. Your league may choose to have set dollar value for waiver players (could be $1) or everyone, just like snake, is available at no cost outside of waiver priority or FAAB.

The benefit of an auction draft over a snake draft is that you have a chance to get EVERY PLAYER in your draft. You want Christian McCaffrey? No Problem! Well, there is a problem because you have to be the highest bidder on him, and if you pay a lot to get him on your team, you have that much less cap space, or remaining salary, to fill your remaining starting and bench spots. Say goodbye to that feeling of having your targeted players selected right before you; when you play in an auction league, you’re in complete control.

Best Part of Auctions: The Draft!

The main part of going into an auction draft is preparation. Unlike snake, where you just get what player falls to you or you “reach” a round early for, auction is a new level of fantasy. I like to call it the separation of the men from boys or women from the girls. In auction, you can make a list of players you want and don’t want, or build a tier system and budget a dollar range you are willing to spend. Another way to also prepare for your draft is come up with a range of what you are willing to spend on your starters. Be sure to keep up with the latest values at to help dominate your draft. Below is an example that you can come up with, but don’t have to live by. It’s your team, YOU build it the way YOU want.


Building a chart like the one above is very beneficial because as you build your team, if you spend more at one position, you have to take away from another. Also, if you spend less on any of the positions that you had budgeted at a position, say your RB1, you can now spend more at another position. You build it how you want, and use this template as an example.

As the bidding starts, you will realize this draft will take longer than your standard snake draft. That’s the excitement about auctions because who wants draft day to end? With snake drafts, you just wait for your next pick. In auction, you are involved in every pick. You’re making bids, sneaking in cheap players, and driving up the costs of others. How else would you rather spend a fantasy draft then being constantly involved in 100% of the players nominated? It’s truly the Christmas morning of fantasy football.

You will notice more engagement from yourself and everyone else in your leagues as you are putting together your rosters. It is well above that of a snake draft as you will see the other managers looking at their rosters constantly and comparing them to yours as bidding goes up. Some will spend fast, others will attempt to save their money, but that is the fun part on draft day as the words “steal” and “damn I spent too much too fast” will more than likely be said.

What happens once the season starts?

Glad you asked, because once you have your rosters constructed, it plays just like normal fantasy. The weekly trash talking, the weekly upsets, the push for the playoffs, it’s all still present with auction leagues. The only difference is now you get to talk shit to the guy who spent $43 on a wide receiver that didn’t have as good of a week as your two wide receivers who totaled $43. In my opinion, the trash talking is more fun in auction because it’s a whole different skill set being used compared to your snake drafts.

What about waivers?

No matter what kind of fantasy league you are in, we all know championships are not won at the draft. Having a great draft and getting cheap studs during the draft doesn’t mean you stop there. As soon as you build your team, you have to manage it just like snake. You, just like everyone else, will be hitting waivers to find replacements for your injured player or cutting ties with that “sleeper” who looks like they will never break out.

Based on your league’s settings you can go one of two ways. Some auction leagues are a salary cap league. These kind of leagues mean the players cost stays with them. These players values are usually minimum price of $1. So if you are dropping a $1, you will be able to pick them up. If someone drops a player who has a value of $14 because they’re out for a few weeks and they cant afford to have them, you have to try and drop someone at least equal value to get them.

The second kind is just normal waivers. You have your players, just like you do in a snake league, and you can add/drop like normal with no consequences.

I prefer the first option personally because it makes you work to get that waiver-wire stud on your team. You can do it with a rotating waiver priority or Free Agent Acquisition Budget known as FAAB.


This is a big move in fantasy leagues. Going from your standard snake draft to an auction-style draft is easier than you may think. It might seem intimidating at first, but luck plays the same standard as a snake draft. The main difference here is, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! You have to be just as prepared for a auction draft as you do a snake draft. Don’t be that person who shows up with a magazine that is outdated, or just a Top-300 list and cross names off.

Ask some people in the fantasy industry what type of league they prefer, and I bet a good percentage of them will say auction. It’s time for you and your league mates to try auction, because I know once you do it once, you will be SOLD!

Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as we wrapped up our Dynasty Shark Tank series with our Dealer’s Choice episode!

Ryan Miner is a featured blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast. Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook

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“Life comes at you pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”– Jeff Spicoli View all posts by ryanminer84

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You're Not Hardcore Unless You Auction Draft

Hey Fantasy Football owners, do you hunger for more control over your fictitious team? Do you feel like crying when Destiny gives you last pick in a 12 team league? Do you give backhand compliments to your buddy who won your league because he auto-drafted? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then it's time for you to switch over to fantasy football auction drafts.

Standard drafts are out of fashion; it's time to usher in a new era of fantasy football. This fantasy football revolution starts with auction drafts. The time to transition is now as ESPN has decided to make auction drafts available for free. Before this year, auction drafts typically had to be done in a paid league (gross), or manually with all your buddies in one room (exceedingly tedious).

It's pretty simple, comparing standard drafts to auction drafts is like comparing a horse and buggy to a car. It's a VCR to TiVo, a dustpan to a Roomba, Tropicana to Simply Orange (I'm an orange juice snob). I guarantee you that five years from now, everyone will be using auction drafts.

Standard drafts work in a snake order, with the draft order picked randomly. The snake part comes into effect by forcing teams to draft in reverse order every other round. Thus if a team picks first in the first round, they will pick last in the 2nd.

This system is antiquated; you have to take whatever draft position is given to you. Sure, the snaking order balances out the draft, but you are essentially forced into drafting players based on their ranked value and your draft position. Auctions eliminate this issue.

In an auction draft each team is given the same amount of currency, let's say 200 dollars. Every player is available for auction, and you bid to win players. The highest bidder wins, however the only limitation is that you can not spend more than your allotted 200 dollars total.

Auctions are free of limitations, you can get any player you desire by being the highest bidder. Adrian Peterson isn't reserved for only the person with the first overall pick, anyone can get him but at the cost of putting too many eggs in one basket. You spend too much money on one player, you limit your ability to purchase others.

Auctions are the fairest system of them all and end up requiring much more skill than a standard draft. Unleash your inner Warren Buffet by grabbing undervalued players. You can a couple studs or a team full of sleepers. You have full control over the shaping of your team as there are no random factors like in standard drafts.

There's another brilliant aspect to auction drafts that separate it from standard drafts: subterfuge. You can actively attempt to undermine your friends by raising the bid price on players you have no intention of buying.

Lastly, people who forget to attend live auctions or decide to auto-draft are punished. Auto-drafting in auction drafts rely on preset auction values for players or values the auto-drafter sets before the draft. Either way, the auto-drafter is crippled and can't really expect to contend at all unlike someone who auto-drafts in a standard league.

Auction drafts have no weaknesses now that they are offered for free. If your friends already set a standard league, tell them they can easily switch over to ESPN and do an auction draft with little hassle. Tell them they will be trendsetters by adopting auction drafts before auctions become the norm. If they still don't agree, be reasonable and question their testicular fortitude. It's alright, peer pressure every now and then is good for the soul. Convince your buddies to switch to an auction draft, you won't regret it.


Now discussing:

It is an exciting time of year for fantasy football fans. With the 2021 NFL season around the corner, the fantasy football season is even closer. That means it is past time to start doing homework for your draft. But no amount of homework will matter if you do not enter your draft with one vital thing.

A solid fantasy football draft strategy, preferably one you can stick to.

Of course, the type of strategy will depend on the kind of draft. Strategies that work for snake drafts will not be too practical for auction drafts and vice versa. However, it is not too hard to build a championship-caliber team in either with the right strategy.

Assuming you have done your homework, that is.

Fantasy Football Draft Strategies– Auction

There is more to it than just know who is starting for who and how well they played last year when it comes to doing your fantasy football draft homework. For an auction draft, you are going to also need to know their expected auction value. Some sites will tell you what a player is going for in drafts. Otherwise, look for cheat sheets off a few fantasy sites. That way, you have an idea if a price is getting too high or if a guy is a bargain.

Knowing their values will make it possible for you to have a budget in mind heading into your draft? How much will it take to acquire two stud running backs? Can you afford a stud running back, wide receiver, and tight end? How cheap can you go at quarterback?

As for a specific strategy, there are two primary plans that most auction drafters use. Now, they will augment them using various tips and moves aimed to sabotage everyone else’s draft—but more on those later.

The two basic strategies everyone uses in auction drafts are:

  • Studs/Scrubs: Spend most of your budget on 2-4 superstars, and then fill out your roster with the best of whatever remains at the end of your draft. Hopefully, your superstars will be good enough to carry your team as you try to find value via free agency and the waiver wire.
  • Wait and See: Let your opponents overbid on the biggest superstars early in the draft. Once their budgets get depleted, stock your roster with the remaining good players they cannot afford. You may not have a superstar, but you are likely to have more quality players on your roster.

Both can be sound strategies if appropriately executed. Part of that execution involves knowing which tips will best augment your strategy. It will also depend on how much leg work you want to do before Draft Day.

Fantasy Football Draft Strategies– Snake

Auction drafts are great because they give everyone a shot at the best players in the league; you just need to be willing to pay more than the next guy. But with snake drafts, everyone will get at least one or two superstars, 3-5 good players, and a few longshots/rookies.

The trick to winning a snake draft is figuring out how to get more quality players than everyone else—which you can do with the right strategy. But keep in mind, you will need to be somewhat flexible because you cannot know what everyone else in your league will do.

These are some of the more common snake draft strategies:

  • Early and often on running backs: Most scoring systems are running back-friendly, making quality running backs one of the keys to success. But if you take this route, you need to do your homework on wide receivers, quarterbacks, and tight ends. That way, you know which remaining guys have value.
  • Four wide receivers: Most fantasy players will go with running backs in the first couple of rounds, making it easier for you to get two superstar wide receivers. Follow them up with two really good ones in the third and fourth round, and half your roster is set for the season. However, you may end up having to roll the dice at running back.
  • Late Round QB: In the first six rounds, focus on getting the best running backs, wide receivers, and a tight end worth starting. With six of nine positions (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 DST, and 1 KR) quality players, you can afford to take a chance on your QB in the later rounds.


There are, of course, several ways in which you can augment your fantasy football draft strategy, whether you are in a snake or auction draft. Gathering more knowledge is good. Knowing everyone else’s typical draft strategies, being aware of their needs during the draft, position tiers, etc., can only help you in the end.

But there is one thing you can do (several things actually) that will benefit you in the end and just make the draft more fun— sabotage.

If you see two guys in a bidding war, throw in a couple of rogue bids to drive the price up even more. When you see someone bummed about missing out on a particular player, nominate the next best at the position. Chances are the guy who missed out will be determined to get this one—and will overbid to do so.

To help induce panic and inflate prices, make a bid that is a few dollars higher rather than going by a single increment. Your opponents will think you are serious about requiring that player and may bid higher to keep you from getting him. Above all else, keep your cool. If you get emotional or panic, there is an increased chance you will make a rash decision that you will regret later.

Oh—and minimize your alcohol intake. Nothing encourages poor decisions quite like a few too many beers.


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