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Selecting Players: The Free Agent Auction

Most traditional fantasy football leagues begin with fantasy owners selecting one NFL player at a time (according to a predetermined draft order) until all team rosters are full. In the simulation, the commissioner conducts a free agent auction to distribute the players. Before the auction all of the student franchise owners are required to finish their business plans, so every franchise has a budget limit for player salaries.

All Fantasy teams must have the following number of contracted players on their roster:

  • 2 Quarterbacks - 1 starts each week
  • 4 Running Backs - 2 start each week
  • 4 Receivers - 2 start each week
  • 2 Kickers - 1 starts each week
  • 2 Teams (Special Teams and Defense) - 1 starts each week

The auction will take a considerable amount of time (at least four hours), and it should occur as an "outside of class time" session. A pizza party is a nice way to motivate students. Even though the exercise entails a sacrifice of students' time, it is usually regarded as the students' favorite exercise in the entire simulation.

The teams take turns placing an NFL player "on the block" by announcing an initial bid for the player. Every team then has an opportunity to sign a contract with the player by being the highest bidder. At this stage, the contracts are simple - the contracts are guaranteed, there are no injury contingencies, and there are no bonuses. Some NFL players may be assigned minimum contract requirements (or they refuse to play), and teams may be advised of these minimum contracts prior to the auction. The auction continues until all owners field their teams.

The auction is an excellent tool by which to discuss collusion in auctions, the winner's curse, the immense size of player salaries (since free agency's inception), and bidding strategies.

Once the auction ends, the commissioner will enter each franchise's total payroll into

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