Fantasy Football Auction Strategy
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Fantasy Football Auction Strategy

To drink or not to drink? if this is really the first question you ask yourself in preparing for auction, then you need a drink a lot more than the rest of us - make it a double. I love those articles that seriously tell people things like, "Let your buddies do the drinkin' while you do the thinking." If you are truly concerned that since you will calculate dollar values while sober that it might be harmful to then bid in an intoxicated state, consider the alternatives - one, you could be drunk while calculating the dollar values (math and beer do not mix), or two, you could be sober while preparing values and while bidding at the auction (and that's not good for anyone). In the end, the only alcohol related question that should come to mind is, "Do I bring a twelve or a six?" knowing that if you bring a twelve-pack, you most assuredly will be providing someone with free beer. In the end, that may not be a bad thing - go ahead and take the twelve.

The Basics

In an auction-style draft, each team has $100 play money to fill his roster - typically 14 spots. The auction begins when a pre-selected team (often last place from the year before) puts a player "on the block." For example, team Suxalot bids $1 for Priest Holmes...and the bidding goes from there. At some point, there will only be one team willing to pay the final bid for Holmes, let's say $42. In the auction world, that is his free market value. Only one guy thought he was worth that much. In a draft league, everyone would like to have Priest, but only the guy who is "lucky" enough to get the first or second pick gets him. That is the beauty of an auction - the market decides which owner gets what player, not the luck of the draft.

If possible, get a non-playing friend to serve as auctioneer and another friend to keep up with the rosters and money left. Even if they cannot pronounce or spell "Vanderjagt" or "Zereoue," they can still be an auctioneer. Always give them free booze and food - it's an otherwise thankless job. Most people who ever try auction instead of draft swear by it. I have been in an auction-style league for about ten years and in my opinion, it's the only way to go. Another option I highly recommend is making your auction league a keeper league too. You can allow a set number (usually up to 4) of players from your previous year's roster to be protected by adding a set amount to the salary (usually $4 or $5). For example, I have Lee Suggs at $1 from last year and you can bet I will be keeping him at $5. While I'm bragging, I also have Rudi Johnson at $3 who is sure to be a steal this year at $7.

So that's the easy part...anyone can bid at an auction until the auctioneer proclaims, "Going once...going twice...sold." But, developing and sticking to a strategy that makes you come out the winner at your auction is where you get an edge out of the gate in your league and feel like a genius doing it. The truth is that after any auction, probably half the owners feel like they won the auction (i.e., got the most value for the $100). In theory, if they stuck with their predetermined dollar values and their strategy, they should feel like a genius - they did exactly what they thought was best to come out ahead. In reality, even a team that appears stronger than others after the auction is often not the ultimate champion. Injuries, trades, free agent moves, and pure luck more often than not will determine the winner. Still, there are some things you should know in an auction league to make sure you at least don't start out behind the pack.

Due Diligence - Do the Math

In one sense, I admire the guys who buy a magazine the night before the auction and spend the moments before the auction for free information around the room on who is injured, holding out, or just got signed to a new team. My admiration is only in their calm, not in their managing abilities. Personally, I am just not wired that way. If you are reading this article, I suspect you are also one who requires preparation. In my opinion, you have to crunch some numbers and read, read, read ...drink, sleep, ...read some more. When you start noticing the news you are reading from different sources is becoming repetitive, stop reading ...and pull out your calculator.

You first should make a list by position of all the players who will be drafted and add a few super sleeper picks near the end just so you don't forget about them near the end of the auction. Next, place a dollar value to each player. The values of all the players must add up to the total amount of money that all teams spend. For example, with 12 teams and $100 per team, it is only possible for $1200 to be spent. This sheet is your primary bidding tool at the auction. A good way to test your values is to compare different combinations of players that add up to the same amount. If you wouldn't care which combination of players you got, then your values are secure based on what you think of the players.

 


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