Dynasty Football Auction Draft Strategies

Hero QB | Studs and Duds | Priority Pass Catchers

by Jordan Schultz
Dynasty Football Auction Draft Strategies

If you and your league mates are dynasty degenerates like myself the normal snake draft start-up can get a little boring after a while. After you play in a few leagues with some of the same guys they start to pick up on your normal tricks and tendencies and it can be harder and harder to gain an upper hand. When this happens it might be time to switch over and give an Auction Draft a try. Below I'm going to give you a brief breakdown of a few of my favorite Dynasty Football Auction Draft Strategies.

Auction drafting is arguably the fairest way to draft as every team has the chance to acquire any player they want and aren't constricted by their draft slot. It also opens up the door for so many more strategies to be employed during the initial startup. Along with discussing the strategies, I will provide an example of what that build could look like in 2024.

Dynasty Football Auction Draft Strategies

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Hero QB

The Hero QB strategy focuses on acquiring two elite QBs during your auction draft. The goal is to dominate the QB and Superflex (SF) spots, allowing these elite players to carry your team.

This approach can compensate for weaknesses in other areas, as two top-tier QBs provide a significant weekly advantage. However, dedicating a large portion of your salary cap to these positions means you must find value in the rest of your draft to fill out your roster. It often takes you out of the running for elite running backs or wide receivers but can pair well with Zero-RB or Bully-TE builds.

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2024 Example: Spending 50% or more of your overall budget on two of the following: Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, C.J. Stroud, Lamar Jackson, Caleb Williams, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Kyler Murray, Anthony Richardson.

Zero RB

Zero RB is a strategy where you avoid drafting RBs in your first 5-8 picks. This mirrors the current NFL landscape, where RB value is often seen as lower compared to other positions.

This approach allows you to focus the majority of your auction budget on premium position players to anchor your team. Once that core is locked in, you start grabbing as many RBs left that have a path to work in a committee or are one injury away from being the bell cow in a high-scoring offense. This strategy relies on hitting on your future rookie picks to make up for the lack of star power in your backfield coming out of the draft.

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2024 Example: Based on the latest ADP, you can wait until round 7 before selecting your first RB and realistically come away with James Cook, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, and David Montgomery if you go RB in each of rounds 7-10. You can expect all of these players to go for 30+% less than the elite RBs ahead of them in an auction draft.

Anchor RB

The Anchor RB strategy involves securing one of the elite young RBs early in the draft who you believe can be a cornerstone for at least two seasons, and ideally three or more. After securing this anchor, you adopt a Zero-RB approach to fill out the rest of your running back positions.

This is a favorite approach of mine if the cost for top-tier running backs is reasonable. The key is to identify the few RBs (excluding aging stars like Christian McCaffrey) who can reliably deliver over multiple seasons.

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2024 Example: Spending big on one of Bijan Robinson, Breece Hall, Jahmyr Gibbs, or Jonathan Taylor early and then ignoring RBs until late outside of extreme bargains.

Bully RB

A throwback to traditional fantasy football drafting, the Bully RB strategy involves focusing on acquiring three of the top-12 RBs. This creates a strong positional advantage, especially in leagues where many teams are focused on long-term builds or avoid spending heavily on running backs. RBs, irrespective of age, often cost less than elite QBs, WRs, and TEs, allowing you to secure strong anchors for 10-20% less of your overall budget.

This strategy has gained traction for me over the last two offseasons as the overall market trend shifts towards prioritizing QB and WRs, thus lowering the competition for top RBs.

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2024 Example: Spending heavily to ensure your top three RBs consist of some combo of Bijan Robinson, Breece Hall, Jahmyr Gibbs, Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Taylor, James Cook, Travis Etienne Jr., Jonathon Brooks, Isiah Pacheco, De'Von Achane, Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Kyren Williams.

Priority Pass Catchers

Priority Pass Catchers is a strategy where you allocate 75% or more of your auction budget to elite WRs and TEs in the startup. This approach offers a stable and predictable long-term outlook if you can hit on your rookie picks down the road.

The idea here is to lock in the assets that generally produce the longest before addressing QB and RB in future rookie drafts or through trades, using the depth and potential of your pass-catching core you’ve accumulated. It’s particularly effective in auction drafts where you can secure multiple top-tier pass catchers who would otherwise be selected early in snake drafts.

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2024 Example: Spending heavily on four or more elite pass catchers that should produce for three or more seasons like Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Ja’Marr Chase, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Harrison, A.J. Brown, Garrett Wilson, Puka Nacua, Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid, Trey McBride, Brock Bowers, and Mark Andrews.

Studs and Duds

In this build, you are allocating the majority of your budget (80+%) on three or four big stars, ideally at least one at each position, before filling out the rest of your roster with dollar players or guys that go for an extreme discount in the heat of bidding. If I’m going to do this build in a dynasty startup, I am avoiding any over the age of 27 in my core group and making sure I still have a favorable long-term outlook if I am hit with a few injuries in year one.

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2024 Example: Spending heavily on a group of guys like C.J. Stroud, Bijan Robinson, Justin Jefferson, and Sam LaPorta before hitting the bargain bin for the rest of your roster.

Bully TE

With the rise of TE-premium leagues, the Bully TE strategy is becoming increasingly profitable for those who are willing to ignore conventional wisdom surrounding the TE position.

This approach mirrors the Bully RB strategy but focuses on acquiring elite TEs early and often. It pairs well with a heavy-QB approach since top tight ends are often the cheapest elite players across the main fantasy positions.

In leagues with 10 or 11 starting spots and a TE-premium scoring boost, starting 2-3 TEs each week can provide a significant advantage and provide more consistency every week. As this strategy is not yet mainstream, it offers a major competitive edge in startup drafts if you lock in a group of elite TEs.

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2024 Example: Spending roughly 30-40% of your overall budget on three or more of Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid, Trey McBride, Brock Bowers, Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, Kyle Pitts, David Njoku, George Kittle, Jake Ferguson, and Evan Engram.

Productive Struggle

Productive Struggle is a long-term strategy where your immediate win-loss record is not a priority. Instead, you focus on acquiring assets that will maintain or increase in value over the next few years.

This approach works well in auction drafts with rookie picks available, especially when multiple years of picks are included. Post-draft, you should avoid rostering players older than 27, and those who are should be traded for future picks or younger talent with potential upside. While this used to be a preferred strategy of mine, its growing popularity means that the discounts on youth and picks are not as significant as they once were, which has pushed me back toward other builds.

2024 Example: Spending 80% or more of your budget on rookie picks and players under the age of 25 with absolutely zero intention of being competitive in year one. Sometimes you get lucky and can do both, but this build is focused on building a dynasty in years two, three, and beyond.

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