By: Kyle Richardson (Twitter: @krich1532)
The Guide To Auction Dominance
One of the best parts to fantasy football is the ability to customize your leagues. You could play in a thousand different leagues, and they could all be different. 2QB, Superflex, Standard, PPR and more. Apart from the settings of your league, is the startup. Several years ago I was introduced to auctions. Most think that auctions are common place in fantasy football today, but over the past couple of weeks, I have received quite a few questions on how to go about an auction. Lots of people still prefer the standard or snake draft method. Auctions in my opinion are the only way to go.
Because leagues vary so much these days, consider this quick tips and bullet points on an auction. I will be talking in terms of a standard PPR league with no frills. These notes can go much more in depth, but let’s hit the basics first.
It’s always a good idea to put in the prep work for an auction, especially if this is the first time you are doing one. It’s important to know the dollar amounts you may be spending on individual players. Leagues can use different types of dollar amounts, so if this is a league that has been running for more than 1 year, take a look at the players on all rosters and determine where players stand. If this is a new startup, check with your commish to see if the league settings are being replicated from a different league. If they are not, then the good news everyone is going in blind together.
I am not a fan of ranking players in order (1,2,3, etc.) I like to build tiers for each position prior to the auction. I would be really happy with Ezekiel Elliot, David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell, so they would be in tier 1. At this point, it would be wise to start assigning dollar amounts to each tier to determine what your overall prices point is.
Price Points And Budgets
It’s very important to know your budget for different positions and try to stick to that. If you get caught in a bidding war, it could cause you to move from the plan you had set before the auction started and you could miss out on some targets. Keep track of the money you spend as you go and what you currently have bid on players. If you are currently the high bidder on 4 players, but someone outbids you on Zeke, don’t forget about the other players you have bids on and go all out to win Zeke. Next thing you know, your budget is crunched and you are trying to trade players for nothing to gain cap room.
Unless this is a superflex or 2 QB league, you do not need to spend a ton of money on a QB. Save your money and spend on other positions. A guy like Matthew Stafford will give you top 10 numbers at half the price of Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson.
You’ll spend a pretty penny on the top 3 players. After that, I recommend looking for young bargains. Grabbing guys with high upside but that don’t have the established track record can let you build a little more depth at RB while saving money for another position.
This is where the big dollars will be spent, especially in a dynasty format. Receivers last longer, so people want to grab them for as long as possible. As you’ve probably read from me before, I tend to lean more towards running backs. With receivers, I recommend spending big on one guy to be your WR1, then waiting. This position is so deep that you can wait to grab bargains later on and spend big on backs instead.
This position has started to become deeper as well. You don’t need to reach for guys anymore. If you really do like someone here, then go for it. Rob Gronkowski isn’t worth wide receiver money to me. I would rather wait on a guy like Eric Ebron or even Tyler Eifert who has seen his value decrease due to injuries.
For a detailed breakdown on what to look for at each IDP position, check out my Deep IDP Manifesto
DT and CB should be the lowest paid positions on your team. On average, they will typically score the least amount of points.
DE will require more cash, but it’s worth it if you sign the right guys. Always have at least one stud DE on your team, and grab two if your budget allows.
S will cost less than DE, but you can grab great value here. Look for bargains in this area if you can’t afford the top end players.
LB is the bread and butter of the IDP scoring. Have enough cash stashed away to really nail down this position. I always carry at least two stud LBs and try to grab a third at times. Be ready to pay up at this position.
Aggressive Vs Slow Bidding
Each owner has a different take on the best way to bid. Go all out for the guys you want right away or sit back and let others fight over the top players. In my experience, slow bidding is the best way to go. Find yourself a few of the top candidates and set a budget on them. Go after them to start, but go slowly. You don’t need to drop a $20 million bid on Zeke right away, let the others bid him up and when the bidding slows down, then jump in. By bidding slowly, you can adjust your targets as the auction gets under way while seeing where others value a certain player.
If you are not familiar with auctions, then you may not be familiar with this. An owner who is sniping, is one that will wait to bid on players at the very last second. For instance, if your league uses a 24 hour timer, whenever someone places a high bid the clock will reset to another 24 hours. Most leagues have at least one person who will wait to reset the clock on players, just for the purpose of resetting the clock. DO NOT BE THIS PERSON! For two reasons, the first being that it just annoys people. The feeling of closing in on a player and then at the last second, he’s gone. There is no reason to drive up the prices on players because it will come back to haunt you. The second reason, is getting caught owning players you did not want. You could snipe someone at the last second, just to learn that owner was not going highe. If a player has a huge contract, it may be difficult to trade him later.
Resetting The Clock
Now, there is a fine line between sniping and resetting the clock. Resetting the clock can be a very useful strategy. I use this strategy when I have several players on the board that I want. Resetting the clock on players allows me to keep biding while the timer ticks on another, so I don’t miss out. To reset the clock, you just bid the minimum over the current high bid. No more than that. If no one outbids you, then you win the player. If someone outbids you, then the timer sets again and you continue on with the process. Don’t wait till the last minute to bid though, because then you become the sniper. For example, you have high bid on Zeke, but Bell is winding down as well. If you bid over the minimum on Bell, reset him for another 24 hours, then this would give you time to monitor the going price on Zeke as well.
Keeping An Eye On Bargains
Just because you’ve set your auction board, doesn’t mean you can’t change it. Keep a close eye on players when the bidding slows down. If bidding slows, it may mean some owners are out and you could sneak in last minute. Keep an eye on guys who have multiple bids on players currently on the board. If someone has several high priced bids and some low priced bids, trying to sneak those low priced bids away could work. While they are concentrating on winning different players or in a bidding way, they may elect to let you take the other players so they don’t have more money wrapped up.
Bid On Lesser Players First
If you take a look at the board and see Zeke, Bell, Johnson, Jay Ajayi and LeSean Mccoy, but your more worried about spending big dollars on receivers, don’t be afraid to nominate some guys like Frank Gore or Ty Montgomery. While other owners are more worried about the top backs right now, you can try and sneak a couple in while the bidding is high elsewhere. This way, you don’t have to worry about competing with them later when someone potentially missed out on Zeke, so now they are willing to pump that money into Montgomery instead. Putting up some lower ends guys in the beginning could help you get them at a better bargain.
If you are doing a slow auction like this, it can take quite some time, especially if it’s a startup. Some owners can tend to grow impatient and want to fill up their rosters as quick as possible. Don’t let that happen to you. Wait out the storm and get the players that you want at the price you want. You will miss out on some players, it always happens, but when you miss out on someone it opens the door for a different player. If guys blow a bunch of money early loading up on high end guys, it will allow you the opportunity to hit the middle tier guys at a great discount.
Auctions give you the opportunity to put together a team you truly want. No more picks in the middle of round 4 with no one you’re interested in drafting. You get to target your players. Keep in mind that your first or even second auction will not go as planned. If this is your first one, reach out to others for more advice on the best routes to go. They may not agree with the tips I wrote here, but it gives you the chance to hear different viewpoints and determine what is best for you. If you have more detailed questions about your auction, follow me on Twitter, @krich1532, and feel free to DM me anything you want to know more about.