Dominate Your Fantasy Football Auction/Salary Cap Leagues
There is no real set plan in how to spend your cap money, other then you need to be prepared to spend big coin for the games top stars. The bigger the league the more important it is for you to land at least one top player. Leagues with 16 teams or more dramatically increase the effect a mega-star can have on your team since the scoring is spread very thin throughout the league.
Many leagues have an assigned dollar value for the opening draft which you have little control over, other than you can trade to move up or down the draft. The larger the league, the stronger it is to move up in a draft. Sure you'll find yourself very tight to the cap total you're allowed to spend but you'll also have some fantastic players at your core.
Leagues that have salary cap and contract years caps create a second situation you must account for and that is timing your team to be active in free agency. With your initial draft and on each subsequent year with rookie drafts and free agency do NOT leave a ton of extra cap money unspent. Leave a little bit of money, or be flexible enough in your roster that you can clear cap money to land a hot free agent or pick players up if you get injuries. Too much money lying around is a waste since most leagues don't allow you to move that unspend money forward to next season.
Assigning contracts is one of the most important things you'll have to do in a salary cap league. If you're careless in this process you'll end up in a very tough spot that could ruin your team for many years.
Before assigning contract years, make sure you know the rules. In leagues that have cap penalties for cutting guys with remaining years you must do your best to not get tied up too long in marginal talent. Also by knowing the rules you'll make yourself very aware and focused on how your leagues free agency works. Some leagues allow you to match bids on your own free agents, other leagues have it where once a player is out of contract years anyone can bid on him. Be aware of this. If you have studs in a league where you can match bids, it's not a bad thing to have them to expensive, short-term contracts. If the player proves to be not worth the money you can get out of the deal without a cap hit and if he's still very good you won't lose him because you can match the highest bid.
These leagues really need an owner who is aggressive. Salary cap and contract leagues can make trading a bit difficult at times since you need to always factor in the other owners cap situation in addition to the players and positions they need. That means free agency is paramount. While trading isn't impossible in salary cap leagues, it can be quicker and easier to be aggressive in free agency. Knowing how much to spend and who to spend it on involves a ton of research. So know your stuff before you join the league.
By being aggressive, that doesn't mean you should spend foolishly on subpar players. But it does mean that you should never allow a potential stud go past your team without some degree of interest. Any player who appears to be going cheap in the bidding that could help you, you need to create a way to get a bid on him. Whether or not you follow that bid up with more bids if someone trumps your bid is up to you, but you should never let players go cheap to other owners. This helps your opponent in two ways. First, they get a player added to their team, second that player, if he becomes good is a double threat for that owner. That player is now huge trade bait, plus he has more cap room to sign other players away from you down the road. While it's impossible to try and win every bid, you must be active enough in your league to see when someone is trying to get a steal, and "sneak" someone through waivers. This type of league is not for the passive, or casual FF player.
In summary, a well-run salary cap league can be the most fun you'll ever have playing FF. It can also be the worst nightmare if you're not prepared or if the league isn't run. Before joining a salary cap league, see how committed and active the owners are going to be and how experienced everyone is. Also find out the rules and look them over compared to other, well-reputed leagues you can search on the net. If the rules in the league you're looking at look to be comparable to those of other quality leagues, go for it. You may never play a re-draft league again.
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