MORE: Fantasy Alarm 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft GuideYou obviously don’t have to take everything I say here as gospel. Consider it more of a blueprint than anything else. After all, there is more than one way to have a successful auction. However, if you follow these eight easy steps, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to win your league.DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat SheetFantasy Baseball Auction Strategy, Advice1. Strategy goes a long way, so have a planThis seems easy enough to follow, especially for a beginner. Auctions can be confusing, overwhelming and even a bit intimidating if you don’t have a strategy picked out, so make sure you go in with a plan. You want to pay up for pitching? Go ahead. You want to invest in power and go cheap on speed? By all means. You want to spread your money around rather than using more of a “stars-and-scrubs” approach? For sure. Whichever way you feel you want to attack this auction is fine. Again, there is no one right way. To each his/her own — just do it with purpose and with a methodology intact. The worst thing you can do to yourself is go in blind and just say you want to grab Players X, Y and Z and whatever else happens, happens. That’s not a plan. Set yourself up with a very specific strategy/game plan and follow through with it from start to finish. (More on this in tip No. 4.)2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfielder | Starter | Each team2. Know thy enemyWhen it comes to a fantasy baseball auction, there are two quotes that come to mind:“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” – Sun Tzu from “The Art of War”“If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.” — Mike McDermott from “Rounders”Both apply equally.Having a firm grasp of the player pool and using cleverly calculated spreadsheets will only get you so far. Sure, you know which players are primed for a breakout and who the top “sleepers” are, but guess what? So does everyone else. That crazy Google machine all the kids are talking about these days is readily available to John Q. Public, and with the surplus of fantasy sites out there, few stones are left unturned. But if you know the inner workings of the minds of those with whom you are competing, well, then the battle can be easily won no matter whose spreadsheet has the sexiest algorithm.Think about it: If you’re in an auction and you know your brother-in-law just can’t be without Francisco Lindor, then you bid him up. If you know that your entire league subscribes to the “always wait on starting pitching” philosophy, then steal a few aces early to solidify yourself. You need to know when to zig before they zag. A working knowledge of the subject matter is one thing. A working knowledge of your opponents is what gives you that edge you need to win.2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 3003. Nominate with purposeThis is a big one. Not enough people put the proper thought into their nominations each round. Some just go down their rankings list and throw out the next uncrossed name they see; some don’t even put that much thought into it. Always have a reason for your nomination. If you are looking to get people to eat into their money, start throwing out high-profile, high-cost names you have no interest in, or nominate their favorite players and watch them overbid.Sometimes you can even get away with nominating someone most are undervaluing and get them even cheaper than you should. How many times have you seen a miser in your auction pass up on killer value early because he or she is so focused on holding back his money to stock up on mid-level targets? There are a variety of reasons to nominate players throughout your auction. Just make sure you have one in mind before you throw out a name.MORE: Fantasy Alarm 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide4. Have a plan for your budgetEvery auction has a strict salary cap, and every owner is in the same boat entering their auction (in non-keeper leagues anyway). But you can differentiate yourself by deciding how you want to allocate your money. You can break it up by splitting between pitching and hitting or you can split it up by individual positions. Both will work just fine. Personally, I prefer just a split between hitting and pitching (usually something near a 65/35-percent split in favor of hitting), but that’s me. However, if you don’t set up at least a basic budget, then you could end up blowing all your money on outfielders and leave yourself nothing for starting pitchers (or infielders, or catchers …). That won’t work. Take a look at the potential auction values of players on a few different sites just to get a basic feel. Make sure that those prices are based on the same format and/or criteria and see how they fit in to your budget.Now, when I say “stick to it,” there’s a little bit of wiggle room here. Let’s say you have a $260 budget and you decide to spend 65 percent on hitting ($169) and 35 percent on pitching ($91). If you feel comfortable with your first couple of pitchers and think you can get some supplemental hurlers for cheaper, you can certainly borrow from that budget to kick in a little extra to get the hitters you want. It’s not an exact science, and if your 169/91 split ends up 160/100, that’s fine. You’ll also find that you’ll get players for less than you expected and can always throw money back that you borrowed earlier. Again, it’s just a guideline. Don’t go crazy and suddenly flip $20 to one side or the other, but a couple of bucks here and there is acceptable.More 2020 Fantasy Baseball: Auction Values | Mock Draft Simulator5. Tier your rankings and be realistic about your targetsPlayer rankings are great for discerning between the No. 5 outfielder and the No. 40 outfielder, but how much of a difference is there between the fifth-ranked outfielder and the ninth? Maybe the No. 5 guy hits a few more home runs while No. 9 steals a few more bases; maybe No. 5 drives in 20 more runs but No. 9 hits 30 points higher in batting average. Sometimes, the difference in value is negligible, as each guy can help you differently. That’s why you group them into tiers.Player A may have an estimated value of $25 and Player B checks in at $22. Both do roughly similar things for you with respect to the raw numbers, and while Player B may be considered cheaper, their overall values are extremely similar. Sure, taking one over the other may require you to target the categories you’ve slighted with one over the other, but for the most part, both players are likely to provide a similar return. Breaking up your rankings into tiers will allow you to pivot much more easily if someone is overbidding on a guy you originally wanted.As for being sensible, make sure you’re not just targeting the top guy at each position. You’ll never win them all. If you want a top-tier 1B, then know you’re going to have to downgrade elsewhere. If the top-tier 1B is all about the HRs and RBIs, then target a lower-tiered SS whose strength lies with SBs and runs. Even if you’re trying a “stars-and-scrubs” approach, you have to be very specific with your lower-tiered bargains. Don’t just haphazardly grab guys to fill out your roster.Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategies: Keeper/Dynasty | Points6. Sometimes, you just have to let goYes, I know — you really want Blake Snell on your team. Who wouldn’t? He’s a stud pitcher and you have a bunch of puns about his name at your disposal. But as much as you may want him, if you have budgeted just $30 for him and your idiot friend is jacking the price up to $40, you just might have to let your idiot friend have him. As tough as that is, you really don’t want is to blow up your budget to the point where you’re going to hurt yourself in the long run. Again, veering away from your planned budget by a few bucks here and there is fine, but maybe that $30 you budgeted for Snell can be flipped into acquiring someone like Chris Paddack, who many consider to be in the same tier.DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet7. ABC (Always Be Calculating)If you’re doing your auction online, most web sites will show you how much money you have left and what your maximum bid can be. It does not, however, show you how much money you have left based on your budget and potential allotments for hitting/pitching/individual positions. Do the math. Yes, even if you’re down to just a few bucks, having the correct numbers in front of you is a must. The only thing worse than being the idiot who bids more than he or she is able to is the person who leaves money on the table (and missed out on a big-named player earlier because you didn’t spend $5 more).MORE: Fantasy Alarm 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide Before I get into offering up tips and draft strategy advice for 2020 fantasy baseball auctions, I have to admit that I’ve always been more of a “do as I say, not as I do” type of guy. I like to take risks. I often go with gut feelings and instincts as much as I rely on empirical data. I always remain informed, but on many occasions, I take a left even when the directions point to the right. It might not be the most sensible way to go about my business, but I tend to end up in the right place.The way I go about my own fantasy auctions is not how I would advise beginners to tackle theirs. Generally speaking, it’s better to play it safe than go outside the box with overly bold or unconventional methods. Obviously, you have to take chances in regards to player selection, but this isn’t an article about choosing players. This is an article about how you go about acquiring those players in an auction. 8. Pay attention!Unless there’s a life-or-death emergency or you’re looking up a player’s stats, put your damn phone away. Text your significant other on your own time. There’s absolutely nothing worse than the flow of your draft being screwed up because someone isn’t paying attention. We’ve seen it a million times: Someone nominates players who have already been taken or, as we said earlier, loses track of his or her bid money and starts flashing money they don’t have. An auction is long enough without some nimrod extending your stay because of incompetence.Again, this is all just a guideline — but it’s a sensible one. Adhering to these eight simple steps will not only help you succeed at your auction, but your whole league will probably have a much better time. Good luck, and I’ll see you all in the money this year!