Patience, gamesmanship crucial to navigating NFL fantasy auction
Have you ever gone to an estate sale? Where a speedy-talking auctioneer sells pieces of furniture and antiques one by one to the highest bidders? If you have, you most likely walked out of there with an elephant table, a bent Pete Rose baseball card and a pair of bookends from the 1920s.
You'll also know that fantasy football auctions get your blood flowing and are much more intense than a regular straight draft.
Fantasy football auction strategies are much different from straight drafts -- especially if you are doing a live, in-person auction rather than online. Several services are offering auctions as a way to fill your rosters, and while it can be more convenient to do it online, it's definitely not as fun as in person.
In a straight draft, you're only able to draft the players that are available to you when your pick comes up. But in a fantasy football auction draft, you can purchase the top two players in the league if you want. Granted, you'll have a bunch of $1 players (scrubs) filling the other six or seven spots in your lineup, but still. You have the freedom to bid on whomever you like -- it's like going to a restaurant and ordering the lobster as an appetizer, the steak for the entrée and sushi for dessert.
(I'm so bad at analogies, it's like I'm a giraffe bouncing on a trampoline. (See!?!))
If you are thinking of starting up a second league to go with your straight draft league -- definitely consider making it a fantasy football auction league.
Set what you think is a reasonable price for the top 168 players (14 players, 12 teams) you expect to get drafted, and try to use that as a gauge, or you can use fantasy football auction values found at several web sites, some big and some smaller.
Remember that once the first few players go off the board, you should mentally adjust your values. If the stars are more expensive than you initially expected, then you know there will be more bargains later on in the draft.
Try to separate players at each position into tiers, and then work on getting the cheapest players (not always the lowest-rated) in the highest tiers possible at each position. You'll notice in my fantasy football position rankings, I've already
For each dollar you save in one of these tiers, you can pick up a better bargain later in the draft. You'll begin to see a shift in prices after about 40-50 players are off the board (about four of five players on each team). That's what I call the "Fantasy Fulcrum" -- when the player values shift and some of the stars that slipped through begin to go at cheaper rates. Try to save money so you can take advantage when this happens, but make sure you still get at least a couple high-price players for around the money you budgeted early on.
Are you good with Excel? Set up a spreadsheet for your league -- or at least one for your team -- that keeps track of how much you have left in your budget for each position. Some league services will even show you how much your maximum bid is for any player. That's calculated by subtracting $1 from your total available salary dollars for every player open roster spot, then adding $1. In other words, if you had five open roster spots and $10 left, your max bid would be $6 or ($10-$5)+$1.
Getting a seventh Chicken McNugget is almost as exciting as playing in a fantasy football auction draft. Here are some dos and don'ts you should consider before your auction.
A fantasy football auction is like a poker game, full of strategy and unsavory people! Keep your cards close to the vest and don't go all in on a rookie!