Welcome to the third and final chapter of the Nuthouse draft guide, sponsored by U.S. 95 from Giants Stadium to Camden Yards. If you like traffic for miles, toll plazas and people who drive 60 in the left lane when there is finally some open road, then get on 95 during a summer weekend!
We’re back to see how my auction draft turned out this year. Normally I would’ve rolled this column out earlier, but due to various home improvement projects, you’re getting it now. My final draft prep was conducted before the ride down, examining the following documents:
1) Fantasy Sharks cheat sheet.
Follow it like scripture.
2) Average Auction Values list.
This helps me follow how current bidding compares with overall value from other leagues. Because these are averages, some players’ values might be in cents. Round up for those I like, round down for those I dislike.
3) Tiered rankings.
Making its debut this year to help me further decide which players to bid on.
4) Grid of picks.
For use during the draft.
I got tired of continually looking up at the board to see how much money people had left, or how many players they had drafted. Plus it kept me from drinking. I’m not joking, people were actually doing shots this year during the draft.
Mentally preparing for the actual bidding process is just as important. Auction drafts are fantasy football’s version of poker; however, instead of representing a hand, participants are representing their interest in a player. So the more information you have at your disposal, the better. I go into the draft with this top of mind:
Know your strategy/players:
Will you be stud-centric or depth-centric? Which players do you really want on your squad (and are prepared to pay for)? Just as important, which players do you NOT want, even at good value?
Know your opponents:
Not only what team they root for, but what players they have picked in the past. The guy who drafts Tomlinson every year had to spend $56 this year, crushing all previous records. Also know your opponent’s bidding style. Is he a notorious bidder-upper? There’s a guy in my league who people want to punch in the face because he blatantly bids up players he doesn’t need. Unfortunately for us, the guy could get away with it this year because he was on speakerphone. If your league has a guy like this, you better know how high you are willing to go before shutting down and making his strategy back-fire.
The important numbers before we start: 12-team league, $100 cap, 15 players each team. Note that each franchise must draft an entire team, meaning that they need to select at least one kicker and a defense. This means you can’t hoard backs and receivers as much as you might like. League scoring is standard performance with bonuses for 300-yard passing, 100-yard rushing and 100-yard receiving games, along with 50-yard+ field goals.
So what happened? In a word:
disaster. OK, maybe not disaster, but it sure isn’t good. To start, RB prices went through the roof, while WRs slid to bargain levels. Then the A-bomb dropped – I got caught bidding up Peyton Manning. That’s right, Mr. $10 QB theory ended up with the No. 1 QB for $23. Right at his AAV, but still…ouch.
This affected my entire draft. Had I known that Steve Smith, Chad Johnson and T.O. (my draftee) were going to go for $14, $16 and $13, respectively, I would’ve spent my money on a stud RB. Instead, I became
LORD OF THE TERRIBLE RUNNING BACKS. You laugh, but I have SIX terrible running backs. It’s like I’m the Bizarro Santa of Fantasy Football and instead of reindeer, I have gimpy RBs. Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, Julius Jones, DeShaun Foster, Jerious Norwood and, of course, the Fragile Fred Experience. The over/under on total games missed via groin pull has to be 37. Damn you, Peyton Manning. You better put up 40+ TDs or I’m holding Kenny Chesney for ransom.
Was the draft a total wash? No, there are some glimmers of hope. As the No. 1 QB, Manning only cost $2 more than Carson Palmer, so I’ll take it (along with last year’s resurgence of the QB position due to RBBC). I got both T.O. and Hines Ward cheap, and my RB depth will enable me to trade for one more stud receiver, so I’ll be set at that position. I caught everyone napping with Chris Cooley at TE for $2. This is terrible to say, but I’m one Maurice Jones-Drew, DeAngelo Williams and Warrick Dunn injury away from having a slew of starting NFL running backs. Like last year, I’m trying to turn quantity (depth) into quality (studs).
Therein lies the point: At this juncture, my league has become so fixated on paying top dollar for that stud RB that it’s rare to find a team with zero weaknesses. One team has Steve Smith, Javon Walker, Calvin Johnson and Santana Moss, but the starting RB tandem is Edgerrin James and Brandon Jackson. Another team has MJD and Shaun Alexander, but no No. 3 RB – his backups are backups (that owner is very interested in speaking with me). Another team has Larry Johnson and Joseph Addai, but really nothing else of significance across the board.
So needless to say that most teams in my league are not happy with their squads. And although I had a crappy draft, my season is not over by a long shot. There was already one blockbuster trade made in my league before Week 1: Travis Henry for Deuce McAllister and Adrian Peterson (MIN). I was almost in on Henry for Cadillac and Norwood.
And they still have to play the games, don’t they? Onward Cadillac, DeShaun and Big Ced…onward Julius, Jerious and Fragile Fred…
Fantasy Sharks forum. If requested, I can also type out the entire roster, post it in the Rate My Team section, and you guys can rip me to shreds.