Rules: Auction Draft Overview

Rules Index


New to ESPN's draft options is the long-awaited auction draft! The auction draft option is available for both custom and standard leagues. Auction drafts are based on a bidding format and differ considerably from traditional live "snake" drafts. In live drafts, teams take turns drafting players from a fixed order in a back-and-forth snake format (i.e., 1-10, 10-1, 1-10, 10-1, etc). Players disappear from the draft board and teams can do nothing about it. In auction drafts, teams have the chance to draft any player as long as they have the available funds. As such, the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson and Peyton Manning could be drafted by the same team, which would rarely happen in a snake draft.

Leagues that use an auction draft are set up with a preset budget ($200) to spend on a set number of players (16-man roster). Before the draft begins, teams have the option to preset the player's default auction values to be loaded in the draft app. This page can be accessed via the Edit Auction Draft Values link on the main My Team page.

Once a player is nominated for auction, the bidding begins. Team owners are free to bid whatever amount they feel that particular player is worth (the preset 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 available funds. This process repeats until every team's roster is completely filled.

When the draft is finished, the league will move into in-season mode, where teams can start making roster moves, waiver claims, trades, etc. Please note that auction salaries do not in any way carry over into in-season mode. As such, there is no advantage in finishing the draft with any remaining budget.

Once the league has "auction" as its draft setting, each team has an Edit Auction Draft Values link available on the top right of the main My Team page. On this page, each NFL 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 preset values. When the draft begins, the values are imported into the draft app.

NOTE: In auction draft leagues, every team MUST have an owner who has officially joined the league, or the league will not convert into draft mode (the number of teams is determined by the person who created the league). All teams in your league MUST have an owner a minimum of one hour (60 minutes) prior to the scheduled auction draft. Unfilled leagues will not convert into draft mode, and the league will have to reschedule its draft time. This does not mean all owners must be online one hour prior to the draft; rather, they just have to have joined the league prior to that time.

IN-DRAFT (Convert to Draft Mode)
A Launch Auction Draft link will be available on each team's main My Team page one hour (60 minutes) prior to the scheduled start time.

Each team is given a fixed amount of $200 to fill all 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 works 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 owners can bid on any player).

Across the top of the draft app, each team is represented with a colored football graphic/icon. Your team is highlighted, and the dollar amount displayed below each icon is the team's current balance or the team's maximum bid (depending on which option is set). The icons of teams without an owner currently connected are grayed out. You can mouse over each icon to get more information about them (i.e., team name and owner name, maximum bid).

Anytime during the draft, players can be added to the "player queue" panel by selecting them and then dragging and dropping them into the panel to the right.

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 2007 stats) and then clicking the "nominate player" button. 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" panel (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 so desired.

A nominated player appears (with profile and stats) in the "on the block" area, and the auction clock commences. The auction clock will count down from 30 seconds. Any bids inside of 10 seconds remaining will reset the clock 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 draft app to submit a bid. The "bid history" panel displays a running log of all active bids made on the current player.

Teams can bid only 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 $185 ($200 minus $15 for the other roster slots). A team's maximum bid can be viewed by hovering over the team icon. The maximum bid can also be set as an option in the "options" tab. 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 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 cannot 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.

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 percentage of the player's preset value. The bidding range for this is 60 percent to 110 percent of the set/default value. This means if Peyton Manning's preset draft value is $40, the autopilot system could bid up to $44, or only to $24. This feature was built in to allow for bargains to still be obtained in a draft with absent owners, yet still field each owner a competitive team.

NOTE: Anytime during the draft, if a team is disconnected, it will automatically go on autobid.


League managers of custom leagues have the ability to perform a number of draft admin functions anytime during the draft. These can be done on the League Manager tab in the main window (this tab only appears for LMs). Only if the draft is paused can the LM perform these admin functions.

PAUSE DRAFT: LMs have the ability to pause the draft at any time. If this happens, the bidding clock will stop and the app will display a "Draft is Paused" message. Once the draft is resumed, the clock will start for the current bid.

CONFIGURE TIME: LMs have the ability to set the time per nomination and bid. The system default for both is 30 seconds, and these can be changed to other five-second increments. Once the draft is resumed, these new time configurations will be in place.

UNDO PICK(S): LMs have the ability to undo draft picks anytime during the draft. If this happens, the draft pick(s) will be reversed, the player(s) returned to the available pool and bid(s) 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 fifth pick is undone, picks 6-10 will also be undone.

RESET DRAFT: LMs also have the ability to reset the draft at any time. 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 dial-up connection. Broadband access is preferred for a better user experience.

If you open the draft app 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 app is supported only on IE6, IE7, Firefox 2+ and Safari 3+ browsers.

NOTE: Due to Internet connectivity, it is not a wise strategy to wait until only 1 or 2 seconds are left on the clock to try to "snipe" a player. Any bid made under 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 app.

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.