So I have an auction draft coming up in a couple weeks with a league of 12 guys, and I'm trying to figure out what strategy to go with. One thing that's interesting about our league though is that you can spend your money at will because you don't have to keep all of your money. Once all of the money is spent among all of the owners, it turns into a snake-style draft with the remaining players, so my question is what auction strategy should I go with?
1. Balanced: This means that I'm not drafting for all talent or all value. I get about 1 player each round. So I just sit until I hear a name that I like or see a good deal and then pounce on it, and then wait another round to do the same thing. I try not to spend too early and try not to overbid on too many players. This style is most typical and gives you a good balance of talent and depth.
QB: Kevin Kolb $20 RB: Ray Rice $50 RB: Laurence Maroney $10 WR: DeSean Jackson $30 WR: Braylon Edwards $14 TE: Vernon Davis $19 K: Joe Nedney $2 DST: Vikings $6
2. Spend, spend, and spend some more: This means that my team has 2 or 3 superstars and I spend every dollar I can on them early. This could work now in my league because of the drafting format (turns into a draft once all of the money is gone), but I'm still not a fan of it. Say I spend all of my money on Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson and say Peterson gets injured and Rice goes into a slump, then my team is done. Also, it requires that you know how to find the sleepers and the steals late in the draft and a lot of work to do from week to week during the season. I sort of tried this last year with Frank Gore and Steve Slaton, but Slaton didn't pan out like I thought he would, and my team suffered as a result.
QB: Brett Favre $11 RB: Adrian Peterson $50 RB: Maurice Jones-Drew $49 WR: Derrick Mason $9 WR: Donald Driver $8 TE: Tony Gonzalez $12 K: Matt Prater $1 DST: Patriots $1
3. Sit and wait: This means that I sit back and watch everybody overspend for their favorite players and then grab anyone that goes for cheap. This is a good way to stack a roster and have a pretty solid team all around. I wanted to do this last year, but didn't realize what the draft format was until draft day. I think this one could work because I noticed last year that there was a lot of deals, but I couldn't act on them because I didn't have enough money. The only problem with this strategy is that you pretty much have to be inactive for the first round or two, which means all the good RB's will probably be gone by time I pick up my first guy.
QB: Peyton Manning $28 RB: Joseph Addai $24 RB: Pierre Thomas $29 WR: Anquan Boldin $26 WR: Mike Wallace $13 TE: Dallas Clark $23 K: Garret Hartley $3 DST: Saints $6
Of the three examples, which are a result of a mock auction, the third one is by far my favorite and I plan on incorporating a hybrid of the balanced and the sit and wait strategy. Like maybe get a couple of decent players, and then let them spend, because once all the teams have like $5 left in their budget, I can just pick up whoever I want simply by outbidding them. I am, however, fairly inexperienced with the auction style drafting and don't know what kind of strategies have the most success. So for you auction veterans out there, I'd like to know, what has given you guys the most success. Also, what positions should I invest in. Should I invest in a decent RB or two since there's so few workhorse backs? Should I get a QB that can carry my time each week and won't get hurt? Or should I get take a look at Andre Johnson or Randy Moss since you know they'll put up some stats compared to the rest at the position? Also, remember that I can spend as much money as I want until I run out and then it turns into a snake draft when everyone is out. And a trend that I noticed last year was that my league was overspending on QB's (especially the top 3) and weren't spending a whole lot on WR's.
I was in 2 auction leagues, one in 2002 and one in 2008. I actually won them both but I'd say that's way more coincidence than brilliance. In both instances I landed key WW acquisitions to propel my team. Both were 8 team leagues. In the 2002 league I played the "balanced" strategy. This was a H2H league.
In 2008 I played the sit and wait strategy mostly. $200 draft cap, $260 hard cap. This was a total points league AND a START ENTIRE ROSTER league. I think we allowed 2 injury bench spots. This one I remember better because it was only 2 years ago. My biggest payroll guys were Andre Johnson for like $28, Jacobs for $21, and Portis for $26, Gates for $15, real good players but not super studs. I think Peterson and LT went in the $60-65 range. The other thing I knew about this is that everybody was going to use a cheat sheet that factored starters and bench, which meant people were going to overspend. Since there was no bench, I needed production from everyone. I grabbed Johnson, Jacobs, and Portis here and there and really sat for alot of the draft. I ended up getting Marshall for $12, Calvin for $7, Maroney I got cheap but ended up cutting him and picking up Slaton. My QBs kinda sucked. I can't remember who I had. I think Palmer was one and he didn't cost me alot and I think Schaub but he was hurt a few games that year I think. Then I cut Palmer and picked up Ryan.
Most important thing is know your league and try to figure out how it's best to play it. Maybe you want to make sure you get a bunch of good backs and 1 elite QB because there will be a bunch of draftable WRs, TEs, and starting QBs left when the money is gone...just a thought.
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did an Auction last year and would have won had i not sat Roddy White (vs NYJ and Revis) for Kevin Faulk in the semi's
anyway, my strategy is to set a budget for each roster spot (QB1, QB2, RB1, etc) and then pick some targets for each spot i.e. QB1 - Eli, McNabb, Kolb QB2 - Henne, Stafford, V. Young
generally i like to nominate and/or go after who i think will be my most expensive targets right away (usually RB1 and WR1), that way i know if i can afford to maybe get 2 guys in my WR2 tier instead of 1 WR2 and 1 WR3 (or if i overspend go the other way and settle for 2 WR3)
most important you need to be flexible as no 2 auctions are the same and you need to react to how other people are bidding as well
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ive never done football auction..but have done a few baseball ones
what ive seen done very well and i like is to get a few superstars early...then completely dissapear until clsoe to the end...then get those late round steals w your available money. there are always a few guys at the end that go for less than projected bc either everyone's roster is filled or they are outof money
it sucks as you have to wait, and it takes will power not to go and spend money...but ive seen it be very effective
plus...i was in a league one time where you didnt have to fill your roster w bought players...just like your league....and it completely inflated everyone's price. which makes sense...why would i save money if i can just fill roster spots for free after the auction. teh last couple bench spots usually are used for FA turnover anyways...so why not get them for free
Prep work: I create a spreadsheet (or just piece of paper) with every guy I need to know for the auction, and each guy gets three columns. The first has his "book value" (some estimated value of what he will go for; I usually just use some dude's rankings like CBS or something; ideally it's a cheat sheet that you think others in your league will use), what "my value" of him is, and then what my "max value" for him is; i.e., the most I'm willing to take him for if I end up in an extreme situation (usually 10 . Max value is very important because it's not always smart to ONLY take a guy at a price that you "like". Depending on the draft, it may be wise for you to overspend on a few guys, as you can probably get guys for prices "underneath" your value. The converse is also true (just because you get a good price doesn't necessarily mean you want a player). As another note, I generally go semi-deep with this part of the sheet (for the last few players on my team, I just list sleepers in the order that I will want them, and figure I'm wiling to give up a dollar or two for each.
Next, I look for "targets" (guys where I have my value above book value). I do the same for guys who are "avoids" (though I'll take these guys at the right price; I just don't expect them to be available for that price). The avoids are very important; they are the guys that I'll put up for auction when it's my turn. To check my "prep work", I then develop different teams with different styles (for instance, 2 stud RB team, "balanced" team, stud QB team, etc.). I develop these teams using the "book value", and only 90% of the cap. This checks my prep work and gives me a good idea of teams that I can get. I look at these teams and try to figure out which teams I like/don't like relative to the others, but this isn't critical. You also probably won't love any of your teams; that's OK, remember you have more money to actually spend at the auction so you can probably jump up a tier at one position, but just make sure you know what you're doing. Finally, the last thing I do for prep work is I put the player into "tiers" based on what I think they'll go for.
Now, it's draft day: Here's what I bring: my sheet, with each position tiered and having the three "columns" of values. You can also bring a sheet telling you who each team has at what prices, but I don't think that's too critical really and usually just ends up distracting you, depending on the pace of the auction.
Two parts to the draft: buying guys and putting players up for auction. I'll do the less important one first. When you're putting guys up, you have a few goals. Early in the draft, personally I want to make guys burn money on players who I don't think will do that well. The other thing you want to try and do is find out what guys are going to be worth. Think of how much easier it is to do an auction draft when you know what guys will go for. So early in the draft, I put guys up who are going to burn up other guys' money (high-priced guys I don't want). So I like to be that guy to put the first QB up for auction, or the first WR. In the middle of the auction, my primary goal is to figure out what guys in different tiers will go for, but I'm still looking for new tiers. I'll even put up semi-sleepers (guys who will definitely end up on teams, but might be a #4 WR or something), just to see what these are going to go for later in the draft. Late in the draft, I usually take sleepers who I want since usually you can steal these guys at a minimal bid price anyways.
OK, now the most important things: How do I build my team? The biggest question to ask is, how do I account for different things that might happen at the auction? The most important thing is, concentrate on building your own team first. Don't try to "price raise" players you don't want (though if you end up in a situation where you know you won't be doing too much serious bidding for a while, like you spent 3/4 of your cap on 3-4 stud players [not always a bad strategy btw]). You don't want other teams to know what your strategy is. Rule #2 is that you should tend to not take the first guy put up in a tier, though this rule can be broken if what you feel like you're getting is a great buy, and this rule can be broken more as the draft wears on.
So here's what you do: When a guy goes, you mark down his price. After a few guys in a "tier" go, you should have a pretty good idea of what the rest of those guys in that tier will go for. Here's where your prep work comes in: You now should look at the different teams that you put together. Once you see what players in "tiers" go for, you can figure out what guys "actual prices" will be. If you find that you'll be able to get RB in the "second tier" for about $10 cheaper than you originally thought, you can now think about spending a few extra bucks (either by moving up a tier or being willing to spend the extra couple bucks for a guy [maybe up to your max value]).
Basically, do good prep work, make sure you spend your cap, and don't hurt yourself by worrying too much about price raising. Do these things, and you should be in good shape at your auction...
For most fantasy football leauges, I've found studs and scrubs to be the most effective. Yes, it's great that you got Reggie Bush for $6 instead of the $12 he's projected to be worth but at the end of the day he's not going to be a difference maker and you will probably be able to find someone to match or exceed his stats on the WW once injuries start happening.
Draft guys you believe in. And then hope that they don't get hurt.
Dan Lambskin wrote:be careful if you are trying to drive up the price on a player...you just might get stuck with them now hopefully someone bails me out
I've gotten burned driving prices up one time too many (I believe the last straw was DeShawn Foster in 2007?), so I avoid this one. My dollars and roster spots are too valuable to end up with dead weight. In my mind, one of the best things about auctions is that you can get the players you want, so I don't take chances goofing around with players I don't.