My very first fantasy basketball mock auction draft*

Auction draft

Acid test, indeed. I just wish more real people were around to test the acid with me. Wait, that's not -- oh, nevermind. (dok1/Flickr)

I’ve been a big fan of Yahoo’s Fantasy Basketball platform for nearly my entire fantasy basketball life, so when they unveiled the auction draft format this year, I was quite intrigued. I’ve always wondered about auction drafts and imagined that they’d be lots of fun, but I just never got around to them.

But since Yahoo introduced it and after reading Patrick’s case for auction drafts at Give Me The Rock, I just had to try one. So tonight, I entered a mock auction draft — $200 to spend, 12 owners (six real, six automated), head-to-head format and 13 roster spots (PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C, Util, Util, BN, BN, BN). It started out well but around 20 minutes into it, the other five real owners set themselves on autobid and I was left all alone, which explains why I still had $15 after I filled out my roster, was able to nab Paul Pierce, O.J. Mayo, Andrew Bogut and Blake Griffin at such insanely low prices, and kind of lost focus with my last batch of picks. So yes, the results below must have one o’ these bad boys appended to it:

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My knee-jerk takeaways:

  1. Auction drafts take a lot more patience and discipline than good ol’ snake drafts. Why? Mostly because you can’t finish a pick in two seconds flat. This consequently causes you to feel antsy if you haven’t bought a player in the past few minutes, which might lead to hasty bidding and regrettable purchases.
  2. Computers will overbid on mediocrity early on, which is why an owner in this mock draft suggested that us real owners should nominate scrubs in the beginning so the computers would spend their money foolishly. This simple proposition proved to be true, and I wonder if the same fishing strategy can be used on newbies — like me.
  3. It appears wise to nominate players that you have little or no interest in actually buying.
  4. There seems to be three basic strategies: 1) burn most of your cash on the big boys early on, then rely on your fantasy smarts to land you very cheap players (ideally with solid value or upside) to fill out the rest of your roster; 2) splurge on one or two studs, then attempt to fill out the rest of your roster with talent similar to what you’d end up with in a snake draft (i.e., from best to worst); 3) wait patiently for other owners to dump their coffers, then try to fill out most, if not all, of your spots with medium-priced talent.
  5. Keeping an eye on other owners’ remaining funds seems smart.
  6. Owners may pay more for a player they just plain want than for one that actually deserves that amount of money.
  7. I like the fact that I have a shot at every single player, no matter how small that shot actually is.
  8. I like how one overzealous owner’s bid can be compounded with another overzealous owner’s n+1 bid — let the dummies pay more for Josh Smith than Pau Gasol.
  9. I like and don’t like how a smart pick is a lot more vulnerable — meaning, picking Danilo Gallinari at No. 50 overall isn’t as simple as waiting for others to pass on him before clicking the “Draft” button and stashing him away on your roster unchallenged. Every pick, whether smart or dumb, is open for all to see and dare.
  10. I wish an electronic auctioneer’s voice would narrate these drafts, and I wish you had the option of choosing the voice’s language/accent, like you can on GPS devices. I also wish that one of those options were “Antoine Dodson.”

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