The majority of fantasy football leagues are still snake, but in all honesty, you are missing out if you’re not playing in a single auction league. I’ve been playing in auction leagues for over 10 years and once I did my first one, I was hooked for life.

The bidding wars, seeing someone spend a high percentage of their budget on one or two players, the sleeper players going for cheap or even minimum bids… This type of drafting takes you to a whole new level of fantasy football, and trust me, once you do your first one, you will be addicted.

What is an Auction Draft?

Just like the draft order in your typical snake draft, you have a nomination order that allows owners to take turns making a starting bid on players. All managers are given an imaginary salary cap ($50, $100, etc.) to construct their fantasy teams. Just like a real life auction, the highest bidder wins the player, and that amount of money is deducted from their available cap space.

All managers will continue to nominate and bid on players until all rosters are filled in line with your league’s format. Just like snake, the players who are not drafted will be available on waivers. Your league may choose to have set dollar value for waiver players (could be $1) or everyone, just like snake, is available at no cost outside of waiver priority or FAAB.

The benefit of an auction draft over a snake draft is that you have a chance to get EVERY PLAYER in your draft. You want Christian McCaffrey? No Problem! Well, there is a problem because you have to be the highest bidder on him, and if you pay a lot to get him on your team, you have that much less cap space, or remaining salary, to fill your remaining starting and bench spots. Say goodbye to that feeling of having your targeted players selected right before you; when you play in an auction league, you’re in complete control.

Best Part of Auctions: The Draft!

The main part of going into an auction draft is preparation. Unlike snake, where you just get what player falls to you or you “reach” a round early for, auction is a new level of fantasy. I like to call it the separation of the men from boys or women from the girls. In auction, you can make a list of players you want and don’t want, or build a tier system and budget a dollar range you are willing to spend. Another way to also prepare for your draft is come up with a range of what you are willing to spend on your starters. Be sure to keep up with the latest values at to help dominate your draft. Below is an example that you can come up with, but don’t have to live by. It’s your team, YOU build it the way YOU want.


Building a chart like the one above is very beneficial because as you build your team, if you spend more at one position, you have to take away from another. Also, if you spend less on any of the positions that you had budgeted at a position, say your RB1, you can now spend more at another position. You build it how you want, and use this template as an example.

As the bidding starts, you will realize this draft will take longer than your standard snake draft. That’s the excitement about auctions because who wants draft day to end? With snake drafts, you just wait for your next pick. In auction, you are involved in every pick. You’re making bids, sneaking in cheap players, and driving up the costs of others. How else would you rather spend a fantasy draft then being constantly involved in 100% of the players nominated? It’s truly the Christmas morning of fantasy football.

You will notice more engagement from yourself and everyone else in your leagues as you are putting together your rosters. It is well above that of a snake draft as you will see the other managers looking at their rosters constantly and comparing them to yours as bidding goes up. Some will spend fast, others will attempt to save their money, but that is the fun part on draft day as the words “steal” and “damn I spent too much too fast” will more than likely be said.


What happens once the season starts?

Glad you asked, because once you have your rosters constructed, it plays just like normal fantasy. The weekly trash talking, the weekly upsets, the push for the playoffs, it’s all still present with auction leagues. The only difference is now you get to talk shit to the guy who spent $43 on a wide receiver that didn’t have as good of a week as your two wide receivers who totaled $43. In my opinion, the trash talking is more fun in auction because it’s a whole different skill set being used compared to your snake drafts.

What about waivers?

No matter what kind of fantasy league you are in, we all know championships are not won at the draft. Having a great draft and getting cheap studs during the draft doesn’t mean you stop there. As soon as you build your team, you have to manage it just like snake. You, just like everyone else, will be hitting waivers to find replacements for your injured player or cutting ties with that “sleeper” who looks like they will never break out.

Based on your league’s settings you can go one of two ways. Some auction leagues are a salary cap league. These kind of leagues mean the players cost stays with them. These players values are usually minimum price of $1. So if you are dropping a $1, you will be able to pick them up. If someone drops a player who has a value of $14 because they’re out for a few weeks and they cant afford to have them, you have to try and drop someone at least equal value to get them.

The second kind is just normal waivers. You have your players, just like you do in a snake league, and you can add/drop like normal with no consequences.

I prefer the first option personally because it makes you work to get that waiver-wire stud on your team. You can do it with a rotating waiver priority or Free Agent Acquisition Budget known as FAAB.


This is a big move in fantasy leagues. Going from your standard snake draft to an auction-style draft is easier than you may think. It might seem intimidating at first, but luck plays the same standard as a snake draft. The main difference here is, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! You have to be just as prepared for a auction draft as you do a snake draft. Don’t be that person who shows up with a magazine that is outdated, or just a Top-300 list and cross names off.

Ask some people in the fantasy industry what type of league they prefer, and I bet a good percentage of them will say auction. It’s time for you and your league mates to try auction, because I know once you do it once, you will be SOLD!

Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as we wrapped up our Dynasty Shark Tank series with our Dealer’s Choice episode!

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