FPL Auction Drafts – A How To Guide
Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer and first published on BangAverage
One article which is not included in the FPL Draft Guide is how to use the information in the guide if you play in an auction league. For those completely new to draft and/or auction, an auction is exactly what it sounds like. Each turn an EPL player is nominated by a fantasy manager – then the league bids on that player until the final price is realize.
Just like draft, each EPL player can only be owned on one fantasy manager’s roster. Unlike a traditional snake draft where fantasy managers draft in a pre-set order, in an auction any EPL player can be nominated at any time and the only constraint on you landing a player you want is your willingness to pay top dollar (any make sure not to run out of funds)!
Keep in mind, having a plan is vital to a successful draft. If you’re in a 10-team league with $100 each, there are $1000 total dollars in the pool. Know how much you have, and how much your opponents have, before you nominate or big.
Gaffer’s Tip: If you’re playing a 10-team or larger Auction make sure your league is set to use $200 budgets. As you’ll see, when you use $100 budgets there are a lot of $1 picks at the end of the draft.
Auction strategy is slightly different that a snake draft for two main reasons. 1: you have the opportunity to nominate players for bidding and you should use that power strategically and 2. you have a set budget (many leagues are $100 or $200) and you’ll need to buy a full roster for that amount, this means if you have 5 open roster spots and only $5 left in your budget you can only buy $1 players. For purposes of this article I’ll assume a $200 total budget, so a bid of $30 represents 15% of your total budget. At the start of your draft you have an average purchase price of $12. If your first player is $40 you have $160 remaining for 15 spots, or an APP of $10.50. Since most leagues only allow whole dollar bidding, that APP is really $10. Keep this in mind as your draft unfolds.
Freeze bids are numbers you put on a player that are intended to scare off other players or to entice them to over bid you by $1, as they try to drive up the price on you. These bids typically take two forms: nominating a player for a high amount – let’s say with $200 you nominate Felipe Anderson for $20. That’s 10% of your total budget. If another manager wants to risk bidding $21 to drive up the price or steal him from you, they’ll be paying a decent premium. Keep in mind, a freeze bid doesn’t have to be a “big” big, just big for the player. When Schmeichel gets nominated for $2, if you ‘jump’ to $5 that’s a freeze bid. Now other players have to consider $6 on a GK and weigh just how serious you are.
Identify $1 Players
Ahead of your draft you’ll need to identify which players you want to nominate at $1. Sometimes these are players you don’t want but you want to get off the board. I like to nominate lots of GK at $1. If no one else bids, that’s great I just bought my GK for $1! If someone else does bid, that’s great! They just spent more than $1 on their GK plus they used up one of their 16 roster spots. Sometimes I like to nominate a ‘depth’ player earlier to get them for a good value. Nominating someone like Mahrez for $1 early – who has a lot of question marks – lets you try to buy him for less than he’s worth. If his price trips up over your threshold, you can stop bidding and see where the market is. Once his price is established, look for other players in his tier you expect to cost the same amount. He won’t cost $1, but if you can buy him for $15 while Sane and Sterling go later in the draft for $20+, you’ve made good use of your funds.
Not all players ranked in RD12-16 of the FPL Draft Guide will be $1 players; everyone has their favorites and saving $4 to spend on Lucas Moura at the end of a draft is a great value play. Keep in mind, other managers will also have $1 nomination lists so if you want those $1 guys, so will cost you a minimum of $2. Typically, I like to save $8-12 for the final four picks. Maybe I buy a couple for $1, but if someone I like is nominated late, I preserved the flexibility to bid up to $5 to secure their services.
Cheat Sheet Rank Conversion
The top of the draft is anyone’s guess. If you have two players who love Aubameyang and he’s the first player nominated, you might see him cost $30, $35 or even $40. In fact, most of the players in the Top 10 will command super-premium prices that vastly outstrip the rest of the draft. For a simple conversion I would group the “tiers” of players into your own “price tiers” A Tier 1 GK shouldn’t cost the same as a Tier 1 DEF, etc. just like DDG isn’t a first round pick. Use the cheat sheet in conjunction with typical ’round draft position’ to find a good price.
For an example, we’ve just run a $100/budget auction and the top two players cost $30 (Alexis; Hazard) while 15 costs $20+. If you’re in a $200/budget auction expect to see high-flyers like KDB, Salah and Kane all command $35 or more. On the other end? Well, once the big names and big dollars are off the board there are a lot of $1 picks. In this one only 1 of the final 40 picks cost more than $1!
Keep in mind the tiers I created in the FPL Draft Guide are just that, tiers. Most of those players are roughly equivalent in my mind so if you’re seeing most of them come off the board at $12 and one of them is sitting on the board for $6 – that is a substantial value and you’d be smart to go $7 and lock-up a few dollars savings.
MOCK MOCK MOCK
If you’ve never done an auction style draft you NEED to do a mock auction. In the 10-team auction we ran on 28 July there were plenty of new auction participants. Learning the flow of the auction, where the buttons are to bid, remembering to set a queue for your nominations and keeping track of those players off the board (with their price if you’re able) will keep you ahead of the game. How important is it to just *remember* that a player is available to nominate? Well, in this draft Pedro, Shaqiri, Maddison and van Aanholt all cost just $1. Why? Because they were not nominated until most of the teams had just $1/$2 per pick remaining to fill out their rosters. Saavy managers will have a list of those big names who have been hidden – Andre Schurrle, Naby Keita, Felipe Anderson – by the draft software because they didn’t score any points last year.
Once you’ve done a mock draft, take out your FPL Draft Guide and update the players you felt cost too much, the players you thought were great bargains and identify which tiers of players – particularly defenders – all seemed to cost $2/$3 less than you thought. That is a good sign that you can spend a little more on your top guys, knowing you have plenty of value options later in the draft.
Plan Your Strategy
After you’ve read the Guide, ranked your tiers and done a mock draft, pick a strategy. Are you a “Galacticos” manager who will spend big on three or four players and fill in 12 spots with $1 options? That’s great; now manage the top of the auction like a pro and try to steal a dollar or two of value to leave yourself a bit more room later.
Do you think you want to sign 16 players for $12 each? You could – but you’ll need to check names at the door and be on the lookout for every single value. If you do this you’ll need to not get ‘stuck’ with a player you’re trying to big up on a competitor and you’ll need to pay careful attention across the draft. Making astute nominations will let you control when some of the players you are targeting come up. If you want Andros Townsend for $12 you’ll need to either nominate him very early, when lots of big names are still available, or very late when most of the money is gone.
The easiest/hardest way to draft is to simply bid on every player until they exceed the value you have set for them. Of course, you might quickly find yourself out of money or left completely out of the running on players you covet because you’ve underestimate their auction cost. Simply turning up has been known to produce a decent roster but more often than not, not a roster than can win a title.
The key is not to make a bid you can’t live with. If you’re driving up the price on Jesse Lingard because your league mate sang Its Coming One a few hundred too many times, great. But if they pull out of the bidding after you’ve gone to $21 – you’re left with Lingard and $21 you can’t use to execute your pre-auction plan.
Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer
Many of you may have seen or purchased John @FantasyGaffer‘s FPL draft guide in previous seasons. It is back for a fourth summer, priced at £5 with all the insight and analysis you need to help succeed in a draft league, even if it’s your first year. To get you ready for victory, the Guide has compiled the 2018-19 FPL Draft Guide which includes position ranks:
- Top 20 GK
- Top 50 MID
- Top 60 DEF
- Top 40 FWD
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