More and more leagues are abandoning the round-by-round draft in favor of auction style play. This type of play allows everyone in the league to have a shot at every single player in the draft. If you want Tom Brady, Julio Jones, David Johnson, and Rob Gronkowski and are successful at outbidding everyone for these players, then you get them on your roster. You will probably not get much else, but you get the idea. This article isn't going to debate the merits of auction leagues, but simply attempt to explain the art of succeeding in one.
The following assumptions will be used in the analysis that follows:
- 12 team league that starts 1 QB, 2 RB, 3WR, 1 TE, 1 DEF/ST and 1 K
- Scoring is performance based
- $200 salary cap per team, $2,400 dollars available league wide
- Bids are whole numbers only
- Draft will last 20 rounds for a total of 240 players selected
- Teams are allowed to pick up free agents during the season (with a different cap or waiver system)
Some people seem to think the Principles of Value-Based Drafting (VBD) don't apply to an auction draft...that you can just show up with a cheat sheet and write down the values as they get determined, then pay a little more for a better position player and a little less for a worse one. I am not going to deny that you could do that, but that won't lead you to maximize value in an auction draft.
To maximize value in an auction draft you need to accomplish these things:
- Predict what players will cost
- Value what players are worth
- Get value with the majority of selected players
1. Predicting What Players Cost
I used average draft position and my PPR Draftlist to determine prices. I then normalized this data based on the auction curves I have created in my VBD app to reflect approximately $2400 spent on the top 240 players.
2. Value What Players are Worth
Using the VBD App, I calculated worth and projected fantasy points for all of the players I expected to get purchased.
3. Getting Value with Most Selections
This is pretty easy to do. Simply don't pay more than a player is worth. I say most selections here because sometimes it does make sense to target a certain player that will make your team very dominant. And if you get value up to that selection, overpaying slightly could likely make the most sense.
I have provided a table that attempts to explain my thought processes that are in play during an auction. I have ranked the players according to my worth by position. I have provided the "normalized" pricing as a guide on what this player will typically go for. I have provided what I view as this player's value and a 75% value number that I generally make sure the top players sell for unless he ends up on my team.
All of this is visible here. I show this to work through the example, but if you are serious about dominating your auction, you are crazy to use old school methods when our Draft Dominator software will do all the calculations necessary. This includes establishing prices and modifying those prices based on money spent and your own team needs.
Let's have the perfect auction...
This article is going to jump around a bit because there are a few dynamic strategies that are taking place. Namely, the early auction pricing (and what players you get here) and your overall positional spending plan. Both are dynamic based on the players you get making this article very difficult to write to handle every possible scenario.