Every auction draft different, each one is unique. There is no universal protocol you should use to auction draft. I don't even go into these drafts with dollar values assigned to players. All you need is your player rankings and a loose set of guidelines. The following piece is not the ten commandments of auction drafting, these are just some things you should keep in mind while assembling your make believe teams.
Know the Settings I hope everyone knows they need to check out their league scoring system before the draft (duh). I also like to figure out how many starting players will be employed based on the number of positions and teams. I think it's important to understand where the divide between starters and bench players begins in your rankings.
Know the Player Pool Always pay attention to how many and specifically, who is left in the player pool. Especially when nearing the end of a tier. This way you can forecast changes in the flow of the auction. Expect the bidding to get a little out of hand when nearing the end of the top remaining tier. I have seen MJD end up being the most expensive RB on numerous occasions, simply because everyone was upset about missing out on CJ, AP and Rice.
Spend it All Don't leave money on the table. That just means your team could have been better. You don't want to admit that to yourself. It's OK if you end up with a couple bucks left over because an expected mini-bidding war doesn't end up happening. I saved some money (maybe $4-$5) for Mike Williams, but when I finally nominated him, no one put it up to $2. We won't persecute you if your opponents are caught napping.
Mix It Up Sure it's fun to nominate players you do not want, but keep in mind, sometimes it's a good idea to nominate players you do wish to acquire. This goes back to the end of a tier statement. If Cutler and Kolb are the only two QB options left in the middle tier and you don't want Cutler, but covet Kolb; don't wait until Cutler is nominated to go after Kolb. You're just limiting the supply for a high demand. Instead of nominating players you don't want, early in the draft; try waiting until they are the last players left in a tier. That way the low supply will drive up the price. In a PPR league, I wouldn't nominate Michael Turner until a bunch of RB are gone. That way a small group of people will fight for Turner (effectively driving up his price) instead of deciding to go after another RB.
Go with the Flow The goal of nominating players is to acquire players at a good price while making others acquire players at bad prices.This is done by paying attention to the flow of the draft. When a player is purchased, I cross out their name on my cheat sheet and jot down the price next to their name. That way you'll know when people are overpaying and underpaying. Obviously you want to nominate desired players when the prices are low and the cast aways when the prices are high.
This isn't the Dollar Store Don't be the guy who only looks for steals and deals, just to end up with a grip load of money and no quality players to spend it on. Don't be afraid to spend a little extra on the players you want. This is why I won't bother will pre-draft dollar values. I let the draft determine the market prices and make my decisions during the festivities.
Display the Badge Don't be afraid to be the sheriff, driving up prices so people don't get steals. The only thing worse than getting stuck with a player you didn't intend to draft is seeing people walk away from the table with great buys. It sucks when I'm the only one who has the balls to take this risk, but someone has to do it. If I was watching someone play the role of the sheriff, I would be happy to settle in as the deputy, helping the sheriff do his work when need be. If there is a sheriff and deputy on duty, you'll find me at the saloon causing a ruckus.
Slap on the Cuffs Nominate a handcuff right after the main attraction is drafted. Matt Forte just went for $35? Nominate Chester Taylor! Chester is already overrated, just wait until a Forte owner mistakenly decides to handcuff him and tries to fend off the Superfans. If you're playing with an intelligent group, nominate Julian Edelman after Wes Welker goes. You get the idea.
Wear Out the Position After you acquire a QB/TE, start nominating those suckers. If you're not going to spend any more money on the position, start making others do it. I am always on the hunt for RB depth and WR sleepers so you won't find me nominating those positions just for the sake of doing so.
K/DEF If I was drafting today, I wouldn't even draft a kicker. You're much better off selecting a super sleeper in hopes of a camp breakout/injury. However, if I was drafting within a week of the season opener, I wouldn't mind being the first person to nominate a Kicker. Throw out the top kickers for $1 and let people overspend if they want. You won't find me spending $2 on a kicker (that would be embarrassing). Kickers are easier to stream than Defenses. When nominating a Team Defense, I'll usually open the bidding at the highest price I am willing to go (usually between $3-$5, depending on the league settings). I'm not going to open the bidding at $1 just to get into a little mini-spat with someone. Open it at $2 if you don't want to spend $3. Minor stuff there.End Game The final few rounds of an auction draft go fast. Most of the bidding wars are over, some teams are already done and your turn to nominate comes quickly. Do not get caught sleeping. Make sure to have your queue filled and have an idea of who you want to nominate. Otherwise you could be left scrambling, only to find yourself posting a total scrub and having to roster him.