Fantasy Football Auction Strategy
Another way to check values to make sure you have not over or under valued a particular position is to compare the total money spent by position and compare the percentages with last year's or prior year's auctions. If you do not have that luxury, I can tell you that generally the split ends up as follows: RBs - 42-44 percent; WRs - 29-32 percent; QBs - 20-23 percent; and 3-4 percent K and DT. Once your list is complete, it is not a bad idea to confirm that the total money value given to the top 140 players (based on a 14-man roster and $100) adds up to $1200.
Of course in a keeper league, you have to adjust for inflation. Once you have all values set, insert keeper prices next to keepers. Then, add up the difference and subtract it from the $1200. Take that number and divide it into 1200 to establish an inflation factor. Here is an example. Let's say once you insert the keeper prices and subtract the difference from 1200, you end up with 1060, so you calculate 1200/1060 = 1.1 inflation factor. That means that on average, the prices of non-keepers paid at auction should be 1.1 percent higher than the initial values. Obviously, you cannot just multiply every value by 1.1 because the extra money will not be spent in even proportions across all players. While I am sure that some guy with an abacus and a slide rule has a better way to do this, what I would do is take the extra $140 and distribute it over the about the top quarter or half of all players in each category of RB, QB and WR by the percentages shown above (let's just say RBs 43%, WRs 30% and QBs - 22%).
Bob and Weave
If your league allows trades during the auction, take advantage of it. Our league has always had a very loose rule on trading - basically any time, anywhere except between week 11 and the championship game. Last year I had protected William Green and Matt Hasselbeck at low prices. Early in the auction I snagged a few too many QBs. In very short order, all the decent QBs were gone. Another team was stacked at RB but had no QB at all. They had shown considerable interest in both Green and Hasselbeck before the auction. They had Jamal Lewis, a lot of cash and no QB. I had three QBs, was a little shallow at RB and had very little cash. The best RB left on the board was Duce Staley but I knew he would go higher than what I could afford. I told the owner that if he could get Staley, I would give him Hasselbeck and Green for Jamal and Duce. Based on what happened during the auction, the deal made sense for both of us. Getting Jamal (and getting rid of Green) ultimately got me into the championship game. The point is to keep a cheat sheet on all teams with who they have, at what price, and how much auction money they have left. You may spot similar trends and be able to take advantage of a mid-auction trade.
Remember You Can Start Only Three WRs
The worst mistake I ever made in an auction was getting six good valued, but mediocre wide receivers. I think a team needs to have at least one marquis wideout such as Owens, Moss, Holt, Harrison or Hines Ward. After that, go for value and watch the free agent market very closely in the first few weeks of the season. Every year a few new receivers come on the scene that no one bought at auction (i.e., A. Boldin was last year's prime pick up). You may think to yourself, "Boy, I have 6 receivers who are all starters and surely two or more will break out this year." What is more likely to happen is that each week you will leave too much value sitting on your bench. Overall, you may have the most value in your 14 roster spots combined, but what matters is how much value you can put on the field each week in those eight starting positions. If you find yourself in this predicament, do the logical thing - trade up in your starting positions. Try to trade two or three mediocre WRs for one really good one. While having "depth" is good in the pros, it rarely wins fantasy football championships.
Know Your Competition
After playing in the same league for over ten years, certain trends have emerged among owners. You may notice that the team calling themselves the "Hurricanes" always overpays for Miami graduates. In our league, there are a few Texas fans that bleed orange and will always overpay for t-sip players. The year Ricky Williams was a rookie was a perfect example. He went for over $30 - unheard of for any rookie. There are also certain owners who will almost always horde their cash for late auction bargains. If you get a bidding war with them early, you should win it. Also, watch for the owners who like to bid up players who they really have no interest in. I have been guilty of this technique myself. Last year it cost me $22 and having a lump of coal on my roster named Kurt Warner (remember all those QBs I got early?). While our league has always drank responsibly, at least during the auction, your league may have some heavy drinkers whose judgment may be affected in the late bidding. Know who they are and "keep 'em comin.'"
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