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I’m not sure if this is going to be a cautionary tale or a story you can aspire to try and repeat. Last season I sat in an auction draft room for the first time and I’ll be honest, it was terrifying. Why? Because people (I) look at auction drafts as a more advanced way to draft a Fantasy Baseball team.

When you do a snake draft and your pick comes up you can choose anyone you want, but the draft pick is your and yours alone. Tell ’em Olmec! In an auction, everyone can fight for every player. I assumed everyone knew everything there was to know about every player since you could bid on anyone. That was my first problem.

Hidden Side Of An Auction Draft

1. The Rest of the League Isn’t Smarter Than You

You know what sucks? Drafting a bad Fantasy Baseball team. And if you go into the draft room expecting that all the other managers are going to dominate you, then you’re not going to end up with a great team.

But guess what? Every year someone’s team sucks and ends up with a total of 45 roto points. Someone always has to be last. You’ve prepared just as much as everyone else and odds are if you have pre-draft anxiety, you’re probably going to study longer and harder than anyone else.

Here’s what I want you to remember – you’re the man. Or woman. You are the best. Watch video of Kanye West talking about himself or of Goku going Super Saiyan. Hell, dress up like Goku and show up to the draft. Listen to Kendrick Lamar massacre other rappers. You’re not just going to be a God you are God.

If you’ve signed up for an auction draft, I’m hoping you’ve already read Doug “RotoDaddy” Anderson’s tips on auction strategy. That should give you a nice bag of tricks to pull from. But you’re going to need confidence to draft the type of team you want. I was too hesitant last year and didn’t jump in for some big guns when I should have.

I knew I wanted to get Adam Jones last year. When he came up on the auction block, I had already gotten my star outfielder in Bryce Harper so I laid off. I didn’t take any risks last year, like adding Jones, because I was sure these other guys in the league would exploit my mistakes.

They didn’t. I wouldn’t realize that for another three hours but once I did, I started to make my presence known in the room. Oh ya, my dad was there too so I guess I should say “our presence,” but all he wanted to do was watch the NCAA tournament. He’s the money. It’s sort of like a Pinky and the Brain scenario.

Anyway, my point it that you need to…

2. Say It Loud

I already drafted Troy Tulowitzki, but Ian Desmond is on the auction block? Throw out a bid. The other managers are definitely going to take notice that you’re trying to corner the shortstop market. If you stay quiet you’re not establishing your influence on the room. The more you speak up the more other managers will recognize your Fantasy Baseball acumen.

Another benefit is the more you hear yourself speak the more comfortable you’ll be shouting out a bid louder and quicker. Get that first bid in and set the tone. This is your world and the other managers just JUST LIVE IN IT!

Sorry I get worked up thinking about controlling draft rooms.

For me, as I got more comfortable in the room I was bidding on every one I had even a slight interest in. I began to notice that other managers were reacting to my bids more and more as they got used to hearing my voice. They took notice of who I was bidding and my bids carried some weight on whether this player was going to be good.

Once you’re feeling at home in the auction start…

3. Breaking The Pattern

In my draft last year the first six to eight picks went exactly as your typical snake draft goes. Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, blah, blah blah. This is so stupid to me. It’s an auction draft and you can throw out any player you want, so why the hell are you going to go in order? I think the second or third person I put on the block last year was Masahiro Tanaka. I didn’t have any interest in him (dumb, I know) but I just wanted to see what would happen.

I get if you are willing to pay any price for Kershaw, throw him out to make sure you can purchase him. But if your not dead set on getting one of those top ranked players, why not change things up? It’ll give you a chance to see how people react. There’s no rule that says the best players need to go on the auction block first. You’re a big fan of Marcus Stroman (so sad) Marcell Ozuna? Throw him out early. Managers might be holding back funds to get a Giancarlo Stanton or a Jose Abreu. They might be hesitant bidding and you can steal Ozuna for below market value. Usually these guys are a nice value since no one understands how the market for these guys will shake out.

Just because everyone else is going in order doesn’t mean you have to fall in line.

This doesn’t only have to happen at the top of the draft. I noticed last year that everyone started throwing out catchers. I threw out a pitcher I liked (Tyson Ross) and ended up getting him for the minimum because everyone’s mind was on which catcher to get. When everyone is slanting too far one way, catch them in that over pursuit and cut back.

You may know all the strategies in the world but if you’re not prepared for the auction draft environment, it can overwhelm and destroy you. I ended up finishing second last year, but a bit more aggression may have been what pushed me to the championship.

Adam Jones Photo credit – Keith Allison/Flickr

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