Creating a budget is one of the keys to success in an auction draft. It is important for each manager to develop what they think each player may be worth, so you can be prepared to buy them when the time is right. There is no one right way to prepare for your auction, and having multiple plans to attack your auction draft is wise. You can have one plan where you pay up for a quarterback, and spend less elsewhere, or another plan to pay up for a tight end, and not at quarterback. You may want to go one a couple of higher end running backs and go with a bunch of cheaper wide receivers and hope one or two out performs their cost. How the auction begins and what players you can buy at certain prices will then determine which path you need to follow.
Auction drafts are similar to snake drafts in that it is difficult to actually end up with more than one first round talent, as the cost should be too high. You do want to end up with a first round talent on your team. While it is not impossible to do get two first round talents, this will most likely knock you out from buying any other top players. You may be able to get three second round talents on your team for more reasonable prices, and if you think one or two of those is really worth a first round pick, you will be a head of the game. The benefit of which ever way you go is that get to choose with of the first or second or any round player you want to bid on, and then get a chance to get some under-priced players in the mid to late rounds. The chart shows a rough conversion of snake draft rounds to auction values. Obviously, the #1 overall pick is worth more than the 12th pick in the first round. These values are only a guide as different leagues develop various bidding patterns where they may pay more or less for the top players than average.
Below is a sample spreadsheet you can create before participating in an auction draft. There is no need to include kickers and defenses, as you should never pay more than $1 for a kicker, or $2 for a defense, in my opinion. The key is to look at all positions and realize you can really only afford to buy one or two players every two or three tiers. There are plenty of ways to make this work if you want to spend on a QB or TE, as opposed to a RB or WR. The key is to prepare before your draft to make it work for you. (Love Over the Cap.com as a way to see how actual NFL teams use their cap money - see the Positional Spending page). I find
Building A Budget
Building A Budget
Stars and Scrubs. This is a popular option for building your team where you spend a lot of money on a couple of top tier players, and then wait to build the rest of your team with cheap players at the end of the auction.
Balanced Budget. This option for building your team is where you try not to spend too much money on any one player. This allows you to be able to buy a lot of medium range players to build your team more evenly. The theory here is to let other managers over spend on the top few players at each position, while you buy ones slightly below the top tier at a reduced price. This will also typically allow you to have more money at the end of your auction to purchase bench players.
Position Trade Off. This option is a mix of the other two. This is where you want to spend up at on or two positions, but then try to make that up by being frugal at another position. Often times this will mean you will pay up at QB, and then punt at TE, or spend up for RB's, and try to find value WR's. If you believe that there is a lot of depth at a certain position, or a certain tier within a position, then you can try to save money at that position, which then allows you to spend more at another one you prefer.