Dissecting the auction-based fantasy baseball draft, Part 1: The Paris Hilton strategy

I’ve always hated clowns. There are pictures of me as a baby at a Ringling Bros. circus crying hysterically while sitting with a clown.

I have never met a clown that I liked. Then again … I’ve never really known a clown.

Cue the Aesopian moral of the story: People fear the unknown.

If your unknown involves fantasy baseball auction drafts, you aren’t alone. But you also need not be afraid. Here is the first of a series in which I share everything you need to know about auction fantasy baseball drafts, including some common auction-based drafting styles, and the pros and cons of each.

First, let’s talk about the general layout of an auction draft. Every team has a set amount of money. Sort of like a salary cap, you have $X to bid on players until you fill your roster. Highest bid gets each player.

In most standard league formats, including through ESPN and other major sites, teams have a salary of $260 to spend on players. Be sure before you ever take part in a draft just how much money you’ll have to spend. It is critical for determining your draft strategy.

Auction drafts have quickly become my favorite way to select players in a fantasy league … both baseball and football. There are so many more strategies to consider. You have the ability to draft whoever you want if you are willing to pay the price. Too many times in snake or serpentine drafts, you are limited by your draft position as to who which players will be available.

So how do you attack an auction fantasy draft? There are countless ways. I’ve participated in a growing number of auction drafts, and have noticed some well-defined methods to the auction drafting madness among fellow leaguemates. Here is the first of several strategies that I’ll share in a series of posts on the topic. Check back in soon for more.

The Paris Hilton strategy: Call her spoiled. Call her a brat. But when push comes to shove, Hilton gets what she wants. New $1,000 pair of shoes? No problem.

In each auction draft I’ve been in, there is always someone who attacks the draft early and often and doesn’t back down when the price seems to spiral upwards. They know which players they want, and they keep bidding until they get them.

In an eight-team league auction draft recently, one team spent $80 of its $260 budget on Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez and Chase Utley. Three stud players at three of the shallower positions. Who wouldn’t want to build a roster around a core like that? He also spent $24 on Carl Crawford and $19 each on Jayson Werth and CC Sabathia. Now, remember that this is an eight-team league. It would be much harder to draft a team like that in a 10- or 12-team league.

The pros, obviously, to this drafting style is that you get to pick and choose, mostly, who will be anchoring your squad and at what positions. Another plus, from my personal experiences, is that certain stud players seem to go cheaper at the start of a draft.

For example, using the team above again as an illustration, he was able to snag A-Rod for $25. Considering that Matt Holliday went for $24, Tim Lincecum went for $26 and Ryan Braun went for $32, A-Rod was a very good value.

On the flip side, this strategy involves you spending a decent amount of money early. It takes a determined and confident individual to spend large sums of money early and plan on super value picks later. I’ve seen many people start with the Paris Hilton strategy and then panic part-way into their draft and blow the whole scheme.

Unfortunately, when it comes to fantasy auction drafting, none of us are truly Paris Hilton … we all have a budget governing the bottom line.

Therefore, the key to successfully using the PH strategy is to have a decent idea of what you want to pay for your big-name players early and to do your homework on players you can get late for smaller sums that can fill out your roster while still providing solid stat potential.

Don’t miss any of the three-part series on fantasy auction drafting strategies:

Part 1: The Paris Hilton strategy

Part 2:  The Adolf Hitler strategy

Part 3: The Kirk Hinrich strategy

4 Responses to “Dissecting the auction-based fantasy baseball draft, Part 1: The Paris Hilton strategy”


  1. Dissecting the auction-based fantasy baseball draft, Part 2: The Adolf Hitler strategy at Chinstrap Ninjas

    [...] you read further, however, it is suggested that you read the series introduction on what an auction draft is and about the first strategy to drafting via an auction … my [...]

  2. Dissecting the auction-based fantasy baseball draft, Part 3: The Kirk Hinrich strategy and series wrapup at Chinstrap Ninjas

    [...] have learned that like Paris Hilton, one way to attack an auction draft is to spend big on the toys you most savor, filling out your [...]

  3. Kendall Zettlemoyer

    Paris Hilton has worked hard to get where she is, although few people believe that.

  4. Fantasy Baseball Auction Draft Strategies to Use: A Fan's Take « Auto Autcion

    [...] Chinstrap ninjas has a nice 3-article series on auction-based fantasy drafts. It’s a couple of years old but still very relevant and might help you some more as you decide on a draft strategy this season. [...]