This year I took part in my first auction draft league. Along with the auction draft aspect of the league, it is also the first time I’ve played with the free agent auction budget waiver wire system. While I’ve heard about both of these aspects of fantasy football for a while, this was the first year I was able to take part in a league that incorporated them. Let me tell you that I am sold on both of these methods and will probably not return to snake drafts or any other type of waiver system for a competitive league ever again. Not only am I 7-0 in my auction league, I’m outscoring the rest of the league in total points by a large margin.
I like having a level playing field in fantasy football. Most of the time my football knowledge greatly exceeds most of the other people in my league (not to toot my own horn, but writing for a fantasy football site does help keep me up to date and digging deeper on things that not a lot of other people pay attention to). Other methods of drafting and waiver wires allow casual players to have a respectable team, but with these two aspects casual players are typically not teams that perform well.
I like competitive leagues, and I think these two features help make them more competitive. Now if you are a casual player, then the snake draft and simple waiver wire methods are great for you, and have fun with it. But if you want to be in a competitive league, you need to get into a league that has these two things as part of their setup. Here are the things that I’ve found I really like about these styles, and I’m sure there are more that I haven’t noticed as well.
In an auction draft league, each participant is given the same amount of money to bid on all the players until every team has a full roster. The key part of this format is that everyone gets to bid on every player. No more complaining about who gets the first pick in the draft, and that you’re at the bottom of Round 1. If you want Adrian Peterson, you just have to put up the most money to get him. In a snake draft, I always get to a point where I don’t feel like there is a single player that I want near my draft position. In an auction draft, if I don’t want to bid on a player, I don’t have to.
Also, in a snake draft league, if you’ve got a player you’re eyeing as a sleeper in the later rounds, it only takes one other guy in your league to value him one round earlier than you and your plans for that player are out the window. In an auction draft league, this means that you are only bidding against one or two other guys for that sleeper. I found myself grabbing a ton of my late round sleeper picks, and that doesn’t happen in my snake draft leagues.
For the free agent auction budget (FAAB) waiver system, everyone is given a set amount of blind bidding dollars to acquire free agents all season. In this system, again, everyone gets a shot at all of the free agents available. It doesn’t matter if you are the best team in the league or the worst, you just have to bid the most for a player to get him. If I have my two starting running backs get hurt in the same week, you bet I’m going to be bidding high for the top two running backs on the waiver wire. In any other format, my chances of getting both of those guys are almost zilch. Sometimes I may not even get one of them.
With the FAAB system, when a big name player goes down everyone has a chance to get their backup. On the flip side of things, if a guy in your league doesn’t pay much attention, odds are that he can’t slide by just picking the top guy available. He has to put some thought into who he wants to pick up and how much he values that player. He does have the chance of being outbid.
These two aspects of fantasy football help to differentiate the good fantasy football players from the bad ones. In a competitive league, you want your knowledge and skills of this game to shine through, not just luck of the draw. These two aspects can help make your knowledge shine through, and I highly suggest you get in a league that integrates these facets. Now on to the calls for the week.
Matt Hasselbeck has thrown a touchdown in every game this year. He has also had at least one turnover in every game. That was for the tough part of his schedule where he has had to run through a gauntlet of teams (Jacksonville, Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Houston). This week, and for the rest of the season, his schedule gets much easier. His game against Indianapolis should allow him to have some good passing numbers since Chris Johnson isn’t getting it done on the ground.
In the last five weeks, Indianapolis has averaged 300 passing yards allowed per game, and the Colts haven’t gotten a quarterback turnover since Week 3. Hasselbeck should be a great start this week. The only way he doesn’t put up great numbers is if Johnson decides to finally play football, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The last quarterback facing Buffalo that didn’t gain more than 290 passing yards was Matt Cassel back in Week 1. John Beck has a nice opportunity to put up some good numbers in his second start of the season. Beck has run in a touchdown in each of the last two games, the only two games all year that he has seen any action. I think the Rex Grossman experiment in Washington is over.
Buffalo gives up an average of 334 passing yards at home, and at least two touchdowns per game as well. Even though this game is in Toronto – and not in Buffalo – Beck should be a nice bye week fill-in and a guy to watch going forward. Putting him your lineup would be a good call this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a hot start to the season with nine touchdowns in three weeks, but in his last three games he has cooled off a bit with only three touchdowns. His game this week against Washington will be another tough one for him. Washington hasn’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 268 yards all season, and the most they’ve allowed touchdown-wise from a quarterback is two. Fitzpatrick has a rough schedule coming up in the next five weeks with two games against the New York Jets and another in Dallas. Now is probably the time to trade Fitzpatrick if you can find a buyer.
Statistically, Matt Schaub’s two weakest games of the season were Pittsburgh (14-for-21, 138 yards, 1 TD) and Baltimore (21-for-37, 220 yards, 1 TD) who both rank in the Top 10 against quarterbacks. This week he plays another team ranked in the Top 10, Jacksonville. The Jaguars have held five of the seven quarterbacks they’ve faced to 200 passing yards or less, and no quarterback has thrown for more than two touchdowns against them. Andre Johnson will be back this week, but not at 100 percent, so Schaub’s options will be limited. Schaub is another quarterback with a brutal schedule in the next few games, as well. How you deal with that is up to you.