Categorized | Football, NFL

5 Simple Ways You’re Hosting Your Fantasy Football Auction Wrong


Fantasy Football auction room

Easy tweaks that will dramatically increase your enjoyment of this exciting fantasy football format.

It’s been said that snake drafts are like checkers, and auctions are like chess. Honestly we wish chess were more like football, where the lines of pawns smash into each other, but that’s neither here nor there.

This checkers-chess metaphor is quite true in the sense that snake drafts have predictable patterns: You can get in a lot of practice doing mock snake drafts, even if the people you mock with are complete strangers to your regular league. But with auctions, not everything can be rehearsed. You and your opponents are essentially setting price points in a vacuum. I’ve often had a season where my in-real-life auction was absolutely nothing like any of the dozens of mock auctions I practiced, except I was just as wasted. That’s the beauty of auction: There is so much room for in-auction strategy.

In the eight years of my league auction, things have changed dramatically for the better. If you are holding an auction, especially one where everyone has to show up in person, good job. But watch out: Here are five simple tips to dramatically improve the quality of the big event event:

1. Take Turns Bidding: If You Pass Once Then You’re Out

FF auction bidding

This is the top tip we have for all auctioneers. Our auctions used to last 5-6 hours, as we would constantly sit through “going once, going twice,” before someone came in to bid. Then we started taking turns bidding or passing, and if you pass you’re out.

This makes everything way more orderly and tops the auction off at about 3 hours. To do this, our draft bought ping pong paddles. After a player is nominated, each person holds up their paddle (or puts it in their beer bottle). When it’s their turn, they can either bid or take their paddle down. Once the paddle comes down, they are out. This is especially enforceable if you:

2. Make Everyone Sit in a Circle, Preferably at a Large Table

FF auction big table

People wandering around the house (or conference room, or strip club) makes for a chaotic auction. Make everyone sit in a giant circle around a table. This makes it easier for everyone to take turns bidding as in (1), we usually just go clockwise. It also prevents people from wandering in after a player has been purchased screaming “I wanted that guy, you guys waited until I was out of the room.”

Corralling distraction is a big part of our auction day party planning.

3. Make a Penalty System

Centenario Tequila

There’s a lot of procedure that goes on during an auction. That means there’s a lot of opportunity to screw up: Bidding out of turn, bidding more money than you actually have, stopping the auction while you make a beer run, etc. It’s important to have a system of penalties.

Our league has a standard penalty for minor infractions: A double-shot of Centenario tequila. Bid out of turn? Double shot. Spill carne asada on someone else’s notes? Double shot. Drank your penalty double shot in ten small sips? Double shot.

Naturally, a separate penalty is required for people who use up more money than they actually have. It’s easy to stop this if you catch it during the bidding, but it’s often not until the next day that we study the draft board with a clear head and say, “wait a minute, that guy spent $203 not $200.”

For our league it’s easy to enforce a penalty, because we also have an auction budget for free agenct. I believe the penalty is for every dollar overspent at the auction, that person loses 10% of their free agent auction budget.

4. Have a Separate Table for Food

Separate Food Table for Fantasy Football Auction

Also, plan for food ahead of time. Nothing gums up a draft like a bunch of people trying to bid and take notes while scarfing down a plate of pizza in their laps. A good spread on the side that people can pick at when their not interested in the currently nominated player will keep the auction running smoothly.

5. Have a Non-Playing Person Handle the Sticker Board

FF auction board assistant

In a snake draft, it’s often more convenient to have each player put up the sticker of the player they are currently drafting. However, in the auction league, that person also has to adjust their budget, add the player to their own notes, etc. For someone to walk up to the board, find the sticker, write the winning auction bid amount on the sticker, put it up, walk back to their seat, and adjust their notes takes about an extra 20 seconds. Multiply that by 180 rounds of an auction and you’re looking at an extra hour just waiting for people to stand up and sit down. Find a buddy (preferably a hot one of the gender in which you prefer hotness), bribe them with free food and beer, and have them run the sticker board.

We are sure that these five simple tips could double the enjoyment of your already-exciting fantasy auction. Got any more tips for hosting a fantasy football auction? Tell us in the comments section.

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