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Participating in an auction style draft is a completely different animal than the more common snake version. It takes a different type of preparation. You also need an auction draft strategy.

With a snake draft, you have to put a pick number value on each player to rank them by where you would take them. With an auction you have to have a monetary value on every player.

That is the key: every player. Every player should have a value, even if you have no intention of putting him on your team.

Think about it this way: if you want nothing to do with Kevin Durant and his injuries, so you definitely are not spending $55+ to get him in an auction. But what if everyone in your league feels the same way, and then you can have him for $30? Or maybe even $15? Would you not take him then?

That is the way I approach an auction, by finding that value that I would feel is a good amount to get that player. What this usually means is I miss out on the super-elite players, but I cash in on a large amount of second tier guys.

Auction Draft Strategy

So that is the way I attacked the ESPN Experts League that I participated in this past week. The format is 11 teams in rotosierre style with categories of: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, three pointers made, field goal percentage and free throw percentage.

My Roster

Pos. Player Price
PG Eric Bledsoe $36
SG Monta Ellis $21
SF Markieff Morris $7
PF Al Jefferson $13
C Nikola Vucevic $31
G Ty Lawson $13
F Dirk Nowitzki $8
UTIL Andre Drummond $22
UTIL DeAndre Jordan $21
UTIL Tobias Harris $8
BENCH J.J. Redick $12
BENCH Deron Williams $5
BENCH Wesley Matthews $3

Overall Analysis

The first thing to note is that the highest amount I spent on a player was just $36. With an 11-team league and $200 budget this seems quite low. He was the 18th highest paid for player and no other team spent less on their highest buy.

Yet, I feel great about it. I like having five guys at $21 or more (which only one other team had) and seven at the $12 mark.

Favorite Picks

My favorite pick was Andre Drummond at just $22. I have him as my 10th best player overall, but was able to buy him for the 37th most money. DeAndre Jordan may be a flip-flopper but he will put up monster rebound/block/FG % numbers just like Drummond.

With both of them in the bag, I was pretty much set in the rebounds department. I needed to get more three pointers and better free throw percentage, so I snagged Dirk and Redick to balance out those categories.

I think Eric Bledsoe is under-valued in both Fantasy and real basketball. If he played on a more high-profile team then he would get more credit.

Ty Lawson as my other point guard was a solid steal. Houston is going to be running and gunning with Lawson as the trigger man. He will help bring up my assists total with lobs to Dwight Howard and kick outs to the plethora of 3-point shooters the Rockets have.

Missed Opportunities

Speaking of Dwight Howard, he was the one player that I really wanted but missed out on. Ray Kuhn of the Roto Professors and I had the most money left, but he had one more dollar than me to swipe Howard late.

By waiting and hoping for Howard, I missed possibly the steal of the draft with DeMar DeRozan going for just $1. I wanted to pick him up but had only one roster spot left and was waiting for Dwight Howard.

Budget Stars

I picked up the two injured Mavericks for cheap, possibly high upside bench players. Matthews, when healthy, is a solid small forward in Fantasy Basketball and should get plenty of open looks with Dirk and Chandler Parsons on the floor.

If Deron Williams can have a hometown revitalization, then I snagged another top point guard. If he continues playing at replacement level, then I can part ways and did not invest too much in him.

I drafted Nikola Vucevic early because I just thought his value was too low for my 5th best center. I had him as being worth $40 or more as a top-20 overall player, but got him for the right price.

Al Jefferson and Markieff Morris give me a couple of more solid and consistent forwards and Tobias Harris gives me some small forward depth.

The one spot I am worried about is overall scoring. I have Monta Ellis because his price tag seemed too cheap but I will need to lean on him to put up twenty a night.


Overall, I like the way my team worked out. While it would be awesome to spend and get Anthony Davis and Step Curry, I would rather have a lineup full of dependable starters rather than a smorgasbord of $1 players.

Just like with Fantasy Football auctions, waiting really pays off. If you exercise some patience, then you can really find value with the second tier of top players. It also frees up the back end of your roster to have depth all the way to your last player.


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