You know what they call a 90 reception Punt Returner in Paris? They call him Royal with cheese. I just completed my first auction draft of the 2010 football season and there was one main theme ringing throughout the draft: supply and demand. This was no standard league auction draft. This was about as far from standard as you can get. Deviations included PPR (point-per-reception), IDP (individual defensive players), return yards, a revamped point system for team defenses, two Flex positions (one you could use a QB) and we had 16 teams competing for the same players. If you're stuck in a rut, playing 10-12 team leagues with standard scoring and settings, do yourself a favor and mix it up.
You know what is the worst part of auction drafting? It's not having to be the sheriff (price enforcing), it's getting caught price enforcing (bidding up the price, just to make sure others don't get a steal and then getting stuck with someone you didn't want), it's not leaving a couple bucks on the table and it's not watching someone outbid you for your favorite players. The worst thing that can happen to a manager is realizing he has a lot of money left and no one to spend it on. I was witness to someone spending $43 on Troy Polamalu (his last player) because he didn't spend it earlier in the draft when the premiere players were still available. He was trying to be thrifty and lost out on all the top talent. He paid $45 for Ryan Mathews and his next most expensive player was $17 (Hines Ward).
You know what is the second worst part of auction drafting? When you and a handful of others realize they have a lot of money and the talent pool in thinning quickly. This is how I would explain spending $28 for Kevin Kolb when Tom Brady went for the same price 90 minutes beforehand. When Jahvid Best and Steve Slaton go for the same price, you can only explain it with supply and demand. I didn't feel so bad about spending so much on Kolb when Big Ben went for $24, Chad Henne went for $22 and when Kyle Orton went for $20. Kolb was the last good QB left. I try to think of it this way... I spent $23 on Kolb and I donated $5 so I didn't have to roster Carson Palmer (who went for $23 later). I didn't spend over $39 for any RB, so I wanted needed two good Quarterbacks.
You know what is the third worst part of auction drafting? Being a marked man. I made the commissioner meet three demands for me to grace the league with my glowing presence. First, the league would be renamed: the Roto Arcade Boohoo Gurus. This league was for everyone who wanted an invite to the Roto Arcade blog league, but was not invited. We all cried about it, it's true. Second demand, I get my own division, all to myself. The other 15 managers must be kept separate from MDS, for I am royalty, and split into three divisions of five. Third, the draft must be an auction draft. When I did enter the league, I found the message board was full of posts about me... and they weren't love letters. There was a lot of trash talk leading up to the draft. One day, there was literally 80 messages posted. Swear words, threats of litigation, talk of incest, sexual misconduct with co-managers named Virgil, helmets, and trailer parks filled the message board. We were a dysfunctional group and I had a target on my back.
Do you know what happens in an auction draft when you're a marked man? Everyone starts bidding when they think you're after someone. I had to wait awhile to take my initial plunge into the expensive players. Prices quickly became inflated with the sheer volume of managers, talent pool and every one's desire to see me miss out on all the good players. People made it loud and clear, they were after me. I think I know how Joe Jackson feels. Those little Michaels and Titos were benefiting from my strong hand and then trying to hate on me for it! When they eventually lose to me, it'll be for the better. Losing to MDS is a rewarding, learning experience. It's talk like that, that landed me in the dog house. I eventually became the sheriff, doing most of the price enforcing, trying to throw off my scent. Sometimes when I wanted a player, I wouldn't enter the bidding until the end. Sometimes I would jump in early and go to town. Neither worked better than the other. Whenever I bid, a crowd of people gathered.
My favorite part of the draft was when Chester Taylor was nominated. I had purchased Matt Forte earlier for $35 (17th most expensive RB). Forte was the 14th best RB in these settings last season and he was playing on a bum leg. Forte left a bad impression on most last year, basically because he was ranked as high as fourth overall and stunk outside of PPR leagues. When I claimed him, everyone started mouthing off about how he is a part-timer now and how great Chester Taylor will be. The typical rubbish you hear from anti-Fortites. So when Chester came up, I bid on him. I did want him... for about $4. Chester crawled in around 50th in my RB ranks for this league, I wasn't going to spend much for him. I noticed one person trying to price enforce on me and he was insta-bidding (bidding instantly with no thoughts of remorse). He must have thought I needed Chester and would do anything for him. I eventually bumped it up to $9, he went to $10 and I filled the chat box with LOL's. He threw a few F bombs my way and paid $10 for a backup RB. We all had a few laughs at his expense. Fun times.
I could go on and on about auction drafting. They're immensely entertaining, challenging and they give everyone a fair shake at the entire player pool. It just doesn't get any better than that. Every single auction draft is different, each one is unique. You never know who is going to go for what and only the people who can balance their budget with the remaining player pool will succeed. Trying to be thrifty with every pick doesn't work. Sometimes you have to overspend to keep your team from being a middle of the pack, ordinary lump. It takes a lot of common sense and intelligence to do well in auction drafts. This isn't a simple "pick the best player" spiel, it's all about assessing your team, managing your budget and gauging the supply and demand.