I recently had the opportunity to partake in a dynasty auction for the first time over the last few weeks. In comparison to a traditional snake draft, there are so many differences in an auction. There are similarities in strategies but auction drafts open up an entirely new world of emotions that snake drafts just can’t offer. Emotions ranging from hope and fear to joy and anger as well as several more explained below.
The specific draft I was in was unique to start with by comparison to any other fantasy football league. If you have listened to the Dynasty Life Podcast then you would have heard Travis and I talk about the Power Hungry League and what that entails. In a nutshell, there are 14 powers introduced to the league that functions as an additional player on rosters. Acquiring a power is the same as any other player and it costs money in the startup auction. These powers range in abilities from Time Travel, the ability to substitute a player from your bench for an underperforming player on your roster after that week’s games are over essentially buying a win, to as simple as Waiver Block, the ability to block another owner from winning their waiver bid that week.
Adding these powers to the league certainly plays havoc on strategies and budgets from the beginning. No one had a firm grasp on how to value the powers in comparison to players as they have different rules limiting them on top of the league format and scoring. 14 team Superflex, 6 points per TD and .75 PPR. Needless to say, emotions run deep when plans are blown up the way they were in this league.
It became apparent quickly that this draft was not a proxy draft. A proxy auction draft allows owners to set top bids they would like on a player while automatically placing the minimum needed bid to remain high bidder. One owner set what he thought was a proxy bid and we immediately had Andrew Luck priced at $101, 10.1% of a $1,000 budget. As a side note, dollar amounts in auction drafts are usually irrelevant because many auctions draft with different total budgets. Speaking in terms of percentage of your budget is a transferable way to visit player value in an auction league.
This league provided examples for each of the emotions found below. If you’d like to hear more about the league feel free to contact me on Twitter.
The start of an auction is exciting much like the beginning of a snake draft, but in an auction you can bid on multiple first and second round players without the trouble of trading draft picks. This auction joy is only surpassed by the joy felt when actually winning a player you’ve bid on in an auction. A player can take multiple days to finally settle at a winning bid during a slow auction draft. The only feeling in a snake draft that is comparable to the joy felt winning an auction player you’ve targeted for multiple days is that of a target falling in a draft further than they should have and you getting a bargain. Take that feeling and double it because there is much more work involved in acquiring a player by auction. Durig the time it takes you to win a high-value player you will typically experience many of the other auction emotions while bidding on them and other players.
Anxiety in a draft is something I don’t experience much when snake drafting. There’s a certain finality of having little control over who your opponent picks before you, but that is all different in an auction draft. Consider this draft with an 18-hour timer where a simple bid of 1 additional dollar can reset the clock. When you’re staring down an hour left on the timer after putting time and energy into a high bid on a player there’s a certain level of anxiety that can wash over you. This anxiety can either be alleviated and turned back into auction joy, or it can morph into our next auction emotion.
Inciting auction rage can be a real strategy where your goal is to cause a player to go on tilt thereby blowing their budget, making foolish bids they never intended to make. This can present itself in revenge bidding, price enforcing, or simply a bidding war. Any one of these things is unique to auction drafting and can only be experienced in that format. There are times where a player is bid up in the final minutes and it’s for good reason, sometimes you’re that bidder. Whether you have been away from the draft, didn’t recognize the value on a player, or realize they are the last in a player position or tier these can cause our next auction emotion.
Auction regret can manifest itself in several ways but I’ve experienced it most in two ways. First, regret from winning a player I price enforced with no intention of winning. This is a necessary evil, to a point, in an auction league to keep value parity between rosters and players. The second regret would be bidding on a player with limited time left with no malice intended (not a revenge bid). It can be a very difficult feeling knowing you just ripped a player from someone after such a long wait, but the feeling passes quickly knowing the favor will be returned or that it’s already happened to you.
These are only a few of the emotions that can be experienced playing fantasy football with an auction draft rather than a snake. If you haven’t branched out and experienced an auction draft I would highly recommend you do so. The one recommendation I would make from my limited experience in this format would be to make sure your draft is proxy. This can speed things along and avoid a lot of heartache non-proxy leaves to chaos.