Are you considering your first auction draft? Or better yet, did you read my article back in April – that you can find here if you haven’t yet – and convince your redraft league to switch to auction?

If you said yes to either of these, you came to the right place as I will help you get prepared for your auction draft!

You yourself are getting one step ahead of the rest of your league and are starting to prepare in July for something you won’t do for another month or so, so good for you! The first thing I like to do is go to the site you will be playing on and get the rules, scoring format, roster size and starting lineup for your upcoming fantasy draft.

Just like normal snake drafts you have average draft positions. With auction you have average auction value or AAV to help give you a range of what player’s value is at that given budget.

It’s time to get to work. I like to go to Fantasy Pros and take their average auction values (AAV) and print them out and look over the list. Now depending on your league size and budget to spend, these values won’t be exactly like you think.

You’re looking over the cost and you see in a 12-team, $200-auction that you can get Saquon Barkley for $64 and Christian McCaffrey for $60. That’s great and all, but you just spent $124 out of your $200 or 62% of your budget on two players and you still need a QB, WR’s, TE, a kicker and a defense.

Hard to get a good team around that and you may find yourself sitting around waiting to bid on other players for quite a while. But I myself do not live by these AAV. These values are just and idea of the range they can cost. You may be able to get them for less, you might have to pay more. Every auction draft is different.

Enter code LOADED when you register to earn $5 towards an auction item!

Just like your snake redraft league, it’s always good to come prepared on draft day. We’ve already touched on auction values, but there are other ways to prepare for your auction draft, and that involves setting a budget to spend at given positions.

Here’s a sample positional budget to start with:

QB: $5
RB1: $50
RB2: $35
WR1: $45
WR2: $30
TE: $10
Flex: $15
Kicker: $1
DST: $1
Bench: $2
Bench: $2
Bench: $1
Bench: $1
Bench: $1
Bench: $1
Total: $200

Now if you go in with this kind of budget, don’t live by it. If that RB1 or WR1 that you want is costing more than you expected, adjust your budget accordingly.

There are many strategies that you could go in on. You could spend high on two running backs or two wide receivers or even spend on quarterback and tight end (going for one of the big three). This is your team, build it how you want.

Practice with mock drafts on different websites to get familiar with different strategies. It’s not 100%, but it will give you some sort of idea as to what you can expect come draft day.

Another way to build a budget is to put your players into a tier system. You can print off tier sheets from multiple platforms, but I like to make my own and compare them to others around the industry. This is a good way to figure out what you’re comfortable with at your RB1, RB2, etc., along with WR1 and WR2 and your QB and tight end.

For example, you could say for tight end “tier 1” is Travis Kelce, “tier 2” is Zach Ertz and George Kittle, and so on and so forth. There is no wrong way in doing this because the gut feeling you have is the feeling you should go with.

What this strategy also helps you with is pricing in that tier. During the draft Marlon Mack went for $23, but in that same tier that you have, you were able to get Leonard Fournette for $18, while someone else spent $25 on Derrick Henry. Based on your tier rankings, you just saved $5-$7 compared to others in your draft and now how a little more spending power.

Leading into one of, if not the most important part of your auction draft, is keeping track of your spending. If you are drafting on a website, the site keeps track of it, but if you are doing a live, in-person draft (which I highly prefer and do), I use my laptop and create an excel document to make it 100% accurate.

You constantly have to keep adjusting throughout the draft with every player you win because you may have spent more than expected on your RB1, but got a great deal on your WR1, giving you the option to spend more on your RB2, WR2 or even a tight end. Spending that extra dollar or two won’t kill you if you adjust your cost somewhere else.

Another important piece of advice is to stay flexible during your draft. If you start thinking that you should have stayed in the bid for Player X because he went for $2 more than you wanted to spend, but then you see players you have ranked after Player X going for more than what he was going for (I have done this a couple times), keep bidding so you get your player. Just adjust.

I cannot stress the importance of adjusting more than anything. Auction drafts are fun, but can get very chaotic.

Maybe the first four running backs go in the $70-$80 range, or a certain position is going for much higher than what you prepared for. Relax, adjust, and if people spending freely at the running back position turns into fellow drafters buying the likes of Nick Chubb and Aaron Jones for a similar price or close to that of a running back like Barkley, you are ahead of the curve as you now have the ability to get a top wide receiver thanks to those spending to get those work-horse RB’s while you sat back and stole Davante Adams for “less” than what his AAV was.

Your team is starting to come together, but you are noticing there is still a lot of money on the table and a lot of big names out there. The top QB’s are still on the board.

One of my favorite things to do is finish getting those high-dollar players out there and get that money off the board. The more they spend, the more likely you are to land “values” during the draft. But if you sit back too long, you are going to have too much money left over and spend too much on someone who shouldn’t have cost you that much.

Just like I said above, stay focused, stay calm, but also pay attention to what other teams are doing and what their team looks like. They might look at the board and see you are weak at a position and get into a bidding war just to get you to spend more. Try to stick with the plans you’ve executed earlier in the offseason in your practice mock drafts. If you cant “afford” to go higher than an X amount, then let that player go and move on. The majority of the time they will be pissed that you “dumped” that player on them and in turn got a running back or a wide receiver for a steal.

Final thing is to make sure you spend all of your budget and have fun doing it. No one wants to leave the draft with money on the board, that’s just gross.

Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as the guys discuss their top sleepers and busts from the NFC for the upcoming fantasy football season!

Ryan Miner is a featured blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast. Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook