Tradition has a lot to do with it, and the answer that many draft fans will give for not changing is that the draft works fine. That is perfectly true, but the auction also works fine, and also better. It is fairer and also a lot more interesting, and demands more thought when buying players because it introduces the concept of spend capping. You all start with the same pot to spend, and have to balance your stud players with the rest.
Quite frankly there nothing wrong with the old serpentine draft apart from the fairness and the fact that you don’t have to know much about football! If you are happy with that then there might be no need to change. However, the auction format demands a bit more knowledge about the game and the players, and an ability to look ahead at what is expected once the season starts. Kickers, for example, often don’t show their merit until a few games have been played. If they start hot they generally stay hot for the season, so you could get a great deal if you wait before buying your kicker.
You could spend the bulk of your allowed cash on a great player that gets injured in the first game, and your second choice might suddenly assume a lot of importance. The auction format is definitely a lot more interesting and more fun. Some fans of the draft claim that the auction takes longer, but it actually doesn’t. They take about the same time on average, and even if it did, so what? It’s supposed to be fun, not boring where you want it over as quickly as possible.
To those that claim that the auction format takes more thought, if you don’t want to use any thought then you should get out of fantasy football altogether. Again, it’s meant to be fun and the more you have to think about it the better. If you are undecided about draft or auction in your fantasy football league, and are not sure about how the auction is carried out, here is how it goes: and this will demonstrated the fairness of the system in comparison with the good old serpentine draft.
At auction time there are two ways of doing it, one taking longer than the other, but both equally as fair in the selecting of players. Each owner starts of with the same pot of money, say $250. Each owner is allowed to nominate one player for auction, and there are then two ways of proceeding:
1. The auction is carried out like a normal auction, and everybody can make a bid or not bid whenever they choose. The owner states a minimum bid for the player concerned, say $3, and that is where the bidding must start. Bidding continues until the highest bid is reached. You can wait until that stage is reached before making your own bid to win the player concerned if you want.
2. The auction is conducted as a ’round table’, each person being given a position. The first person makes the opening mandatory bid for the player as stated by the owner, and the bidding then goes to the next in line. The next person has two options: either to increase the bid or to pass. If you pass you cannot bid again on that player, and so it goes on until every but one bidder has passed.
There is something unfair about a system that does not allow every owner an equal chance of signing each player, and if you find yourself low.
The second method takes a bit longer, but is also more fun and demands more skill and player knowledge. In both you can stick to a budget for each player if you wish, and not bid above that, or you can decide that there are certain players you must have. The problem with that is if two of you have the same idea, you can overpay for certain stud players and leave yourself short for the rest of the team.
On the other hand you might get some players in your list for less than you budgeted, and are able to afford a bit more for the star players that are put up for auction later. To do this properly, and plan for it, you have to know what player each owner intends to propose. There’s no point in waiting for a player that is going to be made available before others in your list.
The secret is to keep your main bids for any stud players being offered later in the auction when others have run low in money, and then you could get them for a really good price. However, you also have the rest of the team to think about, and nobody wins a fantasy football league with only two or three half decent players.
Irrespective of whether the draft is working OK for you or not, that’s not the point. The point is that the vast majority that tries the auction also find it works OK, but prefers it because of its inherent fairness, knowledge of the game that it needs and the fun and thought needed to do it well. So, fantasy football – draft or auction? I know my answer, and where the smart money is for the future. See you at the auction!