Rules: Auction Draft Overview

NOTE: For Fantasy Basketball 2009, the "Auction" draft option is available to all leagues types (Standard, Prize-Eligible and Custom). The option for "Live Auction Draft" will appear on the DRAFT SETTINGS page only after all teams have been joined by their respective owners (see instructions below).


Auction Draft Screenshot
Click to view demo screenshot
Auction Drafts are based on a bidding format and differ considerably from standard drafts. In standard Online and Autopick drafts, Team Owners take turns picking players from an available pool. In an Auction draft, Team Owners have a fixed budget (200 fantasy dollars) to spend on a set number of players (a roster of 13 NBA players - 10 active and 3 bench).

The players to be auctioned are ranked (highest to lowest) by predicted dollar value (based on past performance) on a predetermined list. Instead of selecting a player outright, each Team Owner will take turns selecting a player to go up for auction.

Once the player is nominated for auction, the bidding begins. Team Owners are free to bid however much they feel that particular player is worth (predicted value is only a guide). Bidding continues until there is a single remaining high bid. At that point the player is awarded to the team of the highest bidder, and the bid amount is deducted from the Team Owner's funds. This process repeats until every team's roster is filled.

During an Auction draft, the system will display the nominated player's name and allow each Team Owner to bid or pass on that player. Warning, the bidding can be fast and furious for top quality players! Once the highest bidder acquires that player the system moves on to the next player on the list. What makes an Auction draft so unique, fun and challenging is that each Team Owner must juggle player talent consideration, competitive bidding strategy and solid accounting to ensure every roster slot is filled without exceeding one's budget.

Let's look at some of the recommended parameters of the ESPN FBA09 Auction draft.

Leagues fitting the following parameters make for a good starting point for an Auction draft type:

  • Teams = 10
  • Roster = 13 player slots (1PG, 1SG, 1SF, 1PF, 1C, 1G, 1F, 3UTIL and 3 Bench)
  • Scoring = 8 total categories (FG%, FT%, 3PM, REB, AST, STL, BLK, PTS)

Scoring Type options available to an Auction draft league are: 

  • Rotisserie (Roto)
  • Points-Based
  • Head-to-Head Points
  • Head-to-Head: Each Category
  • Head-to-Head; Most Categories
Other specific Custom league settings such as multiple Team Owners, Keepers, Waiver Rules, etc. will also be supported.

Each team in an Auction draft league will have an "Edit Auction Draft Values" link available on the top-right of their main My Team page. On this page each NBA player has a predetermined value (based on projected performance), which can be customized and saved. If no values are submitted pre-draft, the system recognizes the default ESPN Experts Auction Values. When the draft begins, the values are imported into the draft application.

NOTE: If you have set your values and are NOT online when the Auction is in progress, the system will bid up to that approximate value on every player. If you have NOT set your values, the default value will be used. In both cases, these values will only be used if you are on Autobid, in which case, the system will randomly vary between 50% and 110% of the set/default values.

Auction draft leagues MUST have all teams with owners (who have joined) or the league(s) will not convert into draft mode. All teams in your league MUST have an owner a minimum of 1-hour (60 minutes) prior to the scheduled Auction Draft. Unfilled leagues will not convert into draft mode and the League Manager will have to reschedule another draft time. This does not mean all owners must be online 1-hour prior to the draft; rather, they just have to have joined their league prior to that time.

IN-DRAFT (Convert to Draft Mode)
A "Launch Auction Draft" link will be available to access off your "My Team" page 1-hour (60 minutes) prior to the scheduled start time.

Each team is given a fixed amount of $200 to fill all 13 roster slots (including bench).

A countdown clock will appear displaying the time until the first player is open for bidding.

Teams are randomly assigned in the nomination order (1-10). Nomination means when each Team Owner is required to select and submit a player to be openly bid on. Note that unlike traditional snake drafts, the nomination order will work in a straight, left-to-right (1-10, 1-10, 1-10, etc.) order.

While there are some minor strategies in player nomination, the order is mostly irrelevant in Auction drafts (since all teams can bid on any player).

Across the top of the draft app each team is represented with an icon. Your team is highlighted and the $ dollar amount displayed below each icon is the team's current balance. You can mouse over each team to get more information about them (i.e. team & owner name, maximum bid).

At any time in the draft, players can be added to the "Nominate Player" panel by highlighting that player in the PLAYERS tab and dragging/dropping them into the Nominate Player panel to right.

IN-DRAFT (The Auction Begins)
Teams have 30 seconds to nominate a player to be put up for auction. Players are nominated by selecting them in the main PLAYERS table (doing this will display the player's image and name in the Nominate Player area) and then clicking the "Nominate Player" submit button. Alternatively, you may drag a player to the "Player Queue" box. When it is your turn to nominate a player, the system will take your top player from the Player Queue instead of the main list.

If no player is selected within the 30-second time frame the system will automatically nominate a player in the following order of priority 1) the top player in the Player Queue module (if any) and 2) the highest priced player still available.

The default for all player nominations is $1. This amount can be raised by the nominating team before submitting if they want.

A successfully nominated player appears (with profile and stats) in the "On the Block" area, and the auction clock commences. The auction clock will countdown from 30 seconds. Once the clock shows 10 seconds or less remaining, any bids inside of 10 seconds remaining will reset the clock back to 10 seconds, until a bid is won.

Bids can be made on a "+1" basis (default), or by manually entering a dollar amount. There are two buttons in the application to submit a bid. The "Bid History" module displays a running log of all active bids made on the current player.

Teams can only bid to a dollar amount which allows them at least $1 for any remaining roster slots. So when the draft first begins, the maximum bid is $187 ($200 - 13 other roster slots). A team's maximum bid is viewable by hovering over the team jerseys. Once the bid max has been reached, the draft app will no longer let you submit a bid; the bid buttons will be grayed out.

Teams must draft a player to all 10 Active or "starting" roster slots. If all bench slots are full, the only players available to bid on are from unfilled active roster slots. Likewise, if any position maximum has been reached you can not bid on a player from that position (the system will not allow it).

IN-DRAFT: AUTO-BIDDING (Absentee Team Owners)
Due to the interactive nature of the Auction draft, it is highly recommended that ALL Team Owners are present when the draft begins. If you're missing 1 or 2 owners at the beginning of the draft, we recommend the LM pauses the draft until all owners can be contacted and connected. If more than 3 or 4 owners are missing, we recommend you reset the draft time to a time when all owners are available.

Each team whose owner is not present will be considered on "Autobid" and the system will actively draft for them.

The Autobid system will bid up to a randomly determined % of the player's pre-set value. As stated earlier, the bidding range for this is 50% to 110% of the set/default value. This means if a player's preset draft value is $40 the autopilot system could bid up to $44, or only just to $20. This feature was built into to allow for bargains to still be obtained in a draft with absent owners, yet still field each one a competitive team.

NOTE: At anytime during the draft, if a team is disconnected, they will automatically go on Autobid.

League Managers have the ability to pause the draft at anytime during the draft. If this happens, the bidding clock will stop and the draft will display a "Draft is Paused" message. Once the draft begins again, the clock will reset to 30 seconds for the current bid.

League Managers have the ability to "Undo" draft picks at anytime during the draft. If this happens, the draft pick will be reversed, the player returned to the pool and bid refunded.

NOTE: If a single pick is "undone", all picks AFTER the undone pick will be undone as well. For example, if after 10 picks, the 5th pick is undone, picks 6-10 will also be undone.

League Managers also have the ability to "Reset" the draft at anytime during the draft. If this happens, all previous draft picks will be reset, all players released, and all bids refunded. The Auction draft will start over from scratch.

For the best possible performance, we recommend using a direct connection to the Internet. Users connecting from behind a firewall and/or through a proxy (such as a corporate network) should be able to participate in the auction but may experience some performance issues.

It is not recommended to use the Auction Draft on a dialup connection. Broadband access is preferred for a better user experience.

If you open the draft application and take no action, your team will NOT automatically go on Autobid. Rather the draft system thinks you are currently connected and will not make any bids (or nominations) for you. The end result of this will be that your team is completely filled with $1 players (not good!).

The entire frame of the Auction draft app can be resized, but has minimum settings to ensure proper spacing. Certain panels/windows within the draft app can be expanded and minimized.

The draft application is only supported on IE6, IE7, Firefox 2+ and Safari 3+ browsers.

NOTE: Due to internet connectivity, it is not a wise strategy to wait until there is only 1 or 2 seconds left on the clock to try to "snipe" a player. Any bid made with less than 10 seconds will reset the clock to 10 seconds remaining. More importantly, it is possible that a bid with one second left on the clock will not register due to latency on the internet, and you will lose that auction. So a word to the wise - bid for players you want but don't wait until the last second to do it.

It is not recommended, but is possible for two owners to use the same computer to participate in the Auction draft. In order to do this, both users would have to be signed in with different accounts and using different browsers to launch the draft application.

For example, one owner could be logged into a team on IE and the other on Firefox, and both could alternate nominating/bidding. Likewise, it is possible for the League Manager to make picks for another team if logged in with the absent owner's account and using a different browser to click the Nominate/Bid buttons.