Auction drafts can eat you alive and spit you out before you even knew you were in the belly of the whale. Unlike the snake draft, an auction has no rhythm, no real sense of order. It takes hours of complete focus and the ability to gauge the consequences of spending or not spending your money early, with regard to what will happen later. Auction drafts are ever-evolving as well as extremely addictive. Here are a few of the tips that I like to use when approaching an auction.
Do not bid on players that you do not want, no matter what perceived bargain is being had
Do you think Joe Mauer is a risk injury and would rather not draft him this season? Yes? Then don't even think about it. Maybe that injury risk causes Mauer to be sitting as the nominated player with 20 seconds on the clock and a mere $10 bid to his name. Why should your opinion suddenly change from, "I'm staying away from this injury riddled player," to "Man, what a bargain, now I like him." In the end, you're going to end up spending $12 on a player you might value at $15, but move on without that $12 worth of funds to get another player that you really wanted. There will almost always be perceived bargains during an auction draft, don't feel like it's your duty to get in on every one of them.
Actually, the only players on your draft list should be ones that you want to bid on
This helps to keep things simple and keeps players from starting to look better than you perceived them to be before the draft.
Adjust to the market
Your draft guide says that Jose Bautista is a $40 player, but someone just paid $51 to snag him. Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki have also gone for around $50, oh my! While your draft guide suggests that you shouldn't pay this much for a first round talent, the market might suggest otherwise. If everyone is spending big-time money early, everyone will be running low on funds late. That might seem like good news for you if you hold of on spending on big names, but players go for $1-5 because they are less likely to have a big impact on one's fantasy team. I'm not suggesting spending $90 on two players, but unless you plan on avoiding the top-end players altogether, feel free to grab at least one, even if their price seems a bit high. There are sure to be a few bargains later on in the draft.
Spend the extra dollar to get your man
You're going to get into more than one bidding war and there will come a point where you have to ask yourself, "How bad do I really want this guy?" If the answer is, "Reeeeeeeeeally bad," then don't be scared to push forward with an extra dollar or two. If you let Hanley Ramirez get away at $35 just because you only wanted to pay $32, you'll never forgive yourself when he goes on to hit .300 with 20 home runs and 35 steals.
Do not leave any money on the table
You have $260, spend it all. When it comes down to those final few rounds and you have one roster spot left, go get that one big sleeper that you were hoping to land, even if you have to pay $8 to get him when your draft guide says he's only a $2 player. In other words, who cares how much you spend on your last few players if you have the ability to outbid everyone else and get the guy you want.