ottoneu How-To: The Auction Draft

Your draft room.

The auction draft is the busiest single event in the ottoneu year.  Our first auction draft has started, and I know a few more are scheduled to start over the next week, including the draft for the original ottoneu league.  I thought it would be helpful, now that the very beginnings of draft season are upon us, to step through what the actual process is of conducting an auction draft using ottoneu’s custom software.


The right column is the most straightforward.  Top-right is your chat window to communicate with everyone else in the room, and bottom right shows you a brief overview of every team’s roster and cap situations, while also indicating if they are online and in the room.  Green teams are there, red teams are not.  There are links to each team’s page to see a more detailed view of who is on each team, what positions they play, etc.

Keeping Track of Players

The center column and left columns are where the magic happens, so to speak.  The center column is where you will find all the players you wish to nominate.  The top half of that window is a watchlist.  This is an easy way to keep your eye on a few targets and quickly nominate them when your turn comes up.  As you can see in the screenshot above, I am keeping tabs on Jhoulys Chacin, my arbitration case for the upcoming draft.  Each player, both in the top half’s watchlist and the bottom half’s search box, will have the links “Nom.” and “W+” or “W-”.  The latter will either add your player to or remove your player  from your personal watchlist.  The former allows you to nominate a player.

Nomination and Bidding

Nominating a player is not quite as simple as clicking the “Nom.” link next to the player – there is one more step.  Once you click this link, you will see, in the top left, the Nominating box become populated and active.  Before the auction for this player can begin, a legal initial bid must be entered.  Now click “Start Auction”, and a player will be nominated to be bid on, with the live auction starting immediately.

The live auction for a single player is simple.  The timer counts down from 15 seconds.  If a new legal bid is placed, either via the +$1 bid button or by entering a bid amount and clicking “Make Bid”, the timer resets to 15 seconds.  Once the timer hits 0, the player is automatically added to the team with the highest bid, the draft history box below is updated, and the next team in the nominating order is given the opportunity to nominate a player.


There are multiple ways in which this auction draft is more flexible than a typical draft.  First and foremost, there is no need to schedule a time slot with ottoneu to complete your draft.  Coordinate with your league mates, not with ottoneu.  Second and almost as important, you are able to pause and resume the auction at your leisure.  These drafts can take a long time, so I recommend stretching it out over a few days.  Third, as long as each team can field a team, you can pause the auction and not return to it for the year.  While we do recommend filling out as close to 40 roster spots as you can, teams are under no obligation to do anything more than fill out a starting lineup.  If all the teams feel satisfied around 35 roster spots filled, feel free to skip the last 60 players until the regular season auctions are live.

I hope this helps you understand the simplicity of running an auction draft.  By far the hardest work will be done once you are all in the room – gathering 12 people together is more challenging than anything you’ll face in the draft!  Going forward, I will be posting regularly on RotoGraphs, both about new features we are adding to the game and answering any questions you might have about the game and the platform.  Please let me know in comments what you would like to see going forward from ottoneu Fantasy Baseball in this space.  And remember, teams are only $9.99 for the first year for 6 more days, so join a league or create a league now!

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39 Responses to “ottoneu How-To: The Auction Draft”

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  1. jaywrong says:

    our draft last night was interesting to say the least (the first Niv is referring to). the makers mark helped, but once things were ironed out, it was a helluva fun time.

    watching pujos go for 6 bucks with no bids allowed and see jason bay tag along with heyward at a 29 dollar price tag (with heyward’s 52) tickled my funny bone.

    good times though. good times.

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  2. Jonathan says:

    The name “ottoneu” may be the most horrible name for a product ever conceived. Yeah, I get it—the fantasy world has been turned upside down by this marvelous invention that’s so effing revolutionary it requires the most inane name possible. Between the vacuous name and the “paradigm-shift” insinuations, it seems that RotoGraphs is borrowing heavily from the pseudoscientific weight-loss plan’s marketing playbook. I find myself torn between wanting to excoriate whoever thought of “ottoneu” and wanting to cut myself because I can apparently count on seeing near-daily advertisements from RotoGraphs masquerading as informative blog posts pop up in my reader.

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  3. doorbot says:

    no kidding about the time involved. less than 100 players took almost three hours. definitely hit our stride in the last hour.

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  4. doorbot says:

    will the export to .xls feature for the rosters only be available once rosters are complete or the season starts?

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  5. short says:

    The amount of time I will have to ignore my offspring to complete this draft is going to be shameful. But at least it can be paused…that’s cool.

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    • jaywrong says:

      The pause feature is really awesome. Our league is making full use as we aren’t all able to draft in one full sitting. Being able to spread it out is a great function.

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  6. Latos Intolerant says:

    how do i look up when my draft is? or does not being able to find it mean my commissioner hasn’t set a date yet?

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    • Niv Shah says:

      The commissioner and league owners do not need to coordinate with ottoneu about when the draft happens. I would suggest using your league message board and coordinate with the rest of the owners on a draft date.

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  7. wfporter says:

    Any chance I can get a copy of the draft results? I’m curious (as are the rest of my league members) about examples of pricing — most of the example pricing you see on the net is catered more to 23 man rosters, not 40 man . . .

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  8. wfporter says:

    I have my own analysis, but other people’s data points are always interesting

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  9. Ben says:

    If i joined, is there any way to guarantee that a couple of friends could join the same league? Or is it kind of a free for all with league placement…

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    • Niv Shah says:

      You can create a private league to allow your friends to join you in a league and prevent strangers from joining. In a public league, those spots are first-come, first-serve.

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    • manuscript says:


      we have openings for you and a couple friends. email me at johnmurn at gmail.

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  10. LuckyStrikes says:

    Niv, any update on when the message board might be used to email all league owners automatically? This is a key communication feature that really would help before the draft. Even better, if it can be redesigned to either select one team owner or all, it’s always easier to go through the message board that to switch back to email to send out to the entire league. Just a thought…

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  11. TheSportsManiac28 says:

    Honest question, and I don’t mean to be rude, but with sites like ESPN, Yahoo and CBS offering free fantasy baseball, how is ottoneu better? As in, why should I pay $9.99 here instead of getting free fantasy baseball there?

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  12. punte says:

    My two cents: 15 seconds between bids is way too long.

    With everyone staring at their screens (and most owners possessing quick reflexes from all those video games) 5-7 seconds would seem ideal.

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    • Niv Shah says:

      This is a setting that we wanted feedback on, before making it a number too small or too large. Definitely noted.

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    • doorbot says:

      A quick scenario…

      Due to lag in your browser rendering the javascript, you see the name of the nominated player, comprehend it and watch the counter flip down to 12 seconds. The initial bid seems to value the player pretty similarly to your own perception of his worth, so you don’t immediately hit +$1. You alt-tab to check your cheatsheet for how far you’re willing to go. After you find said player and see that you could probably safely pay a little more, you swap back and no one else bid, you scramble to hit that bid button as the timer slips from 1 to 0, meaning you lost out.

      Happened a few times already, and we’re not all just drinking our way through the auction…just saying.

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      • punte says:

        That’s fair, but let me give you an argument.

        How many times have you sat through an auction where the bid was sufficient and everyone was just picking their noses for 15 seconds? Over the course of selecting 400-plus players, that time accumulates and can make your auction an hour longer or more.

        If I were to put on my programming pants (which I outgrew a long time ago), I’d make that initial bid period 15 seconds, and then maybe 8 or 10 seconds thereafter. That’s enough time for the alt-tab without time wasted, in my opinion.

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  13. tbill87 says:

    I actually found out my league was drafting tonight 2 hours after the draft began. I tried to enter the auction, but could not even find the above screen to see what was going on. What am I missing?

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  14. Niv says:

    Should see a link on your league home page.

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  15. schneidler says:

    tbill87, go to your league home, and toward the top beneath the green tab labelled “trade wizard” there would be the words “Auction Draft (IN PROGRESS).” Niv this could be in bright yellow highlight or something so it sticks out a little more. Not to nitpick but it took me a while to find it too.

    I just picked up a “dead” team and joined a league that has drafted well over 120 players already but is currently paused. If you are scrambling and trying to figure out how many players have gone or are left at the different positions as I was, I discovered that you do this by selecting the position you want from the drop down box and leave the name field blank. Niv, one suggestion I have would be to add a checkbox to ONLY view “drafted” players, to quickly see who is off the board.

    Also, I’m having no luck in adding players to my watchlist. I click the “W+” and nothing happens.

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  16. ealtman says:

    1. Can the draft be done on an iPad?

    2. How early does the draft room open before the draft? I don’t want to miss out on the first few players nominated.

    3. f-me… I’ve never done an auction before and now I’m going straight to ottonue… Like someone else said, is there any “ADP” for ottonue I can look at tonight before my draft tomorrow?

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  17. gramsalot says:

    Hey I ahve two teams in a an auction draft that can bid on players but cannot nominate this is ahuge problem! what is going on and as a commisioner how can i fix it. Spelling problems are not my concern now.

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  18. gramsalot says:

    Never mind fixed it

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