Friday - Aug 23, 2019

Home / Auction / The Auction Nuthouse — Part 3

The Auction Nuthouse — Part 3

Welcome to an abbreviated third chapter of the Auction Nuthouse draft guide, which this year is sponsored by Amtrak, home of the delay due to failing infrastructure. I swear that if I hear the words “switch problem,” “disabled train” or “downed cables” this year, I’m pulling an Under Siege 2 on our national rail system.


Due to the earlier schedule than in years past, we won’t include a recap of my auction draft, to be held this Saturday (maybe next week, if I can remember any of it). However, this week we will talk about the actual hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield – taking it to your opponents during the draft and coming out with the team that you wanted.


I cooked up a new cheat sheet this year, hoping to create a one-stop resource for drafting players and bidding up those I don’t want. This recipe for success – but probably mediocrity – contains the following ingredients:


1) Fantasy Sharks cheat sheet.

Follow it like scripture. Tony’s site finished third out of like 100,000 sites that do projections/rankings. And it’s free. How many times do I have to repeat this?


2) Average Auction Values list.

This helps you follow how the current bidding in your league compares with completed drafts in other leagues. Really underrated resource, especially for those in $200 cap leagues.


3) Tiered rankings.

This one’s up to your discretion. I tier players to ensure that I have their proper sense of value compared with their peers. If you can get a player you ranked as a Tier 1 for the price of one ranked as second tier, wouldn’t you do it?


4) Last year’s owners.

New for 2008, I included a column telling me who owned what player last year, an integral piece of information when getting into bidding wars. If I want Joseph Addai at a certain price, I’ll probably have to bid against the guy who had him last year. Either I’m getting him at a target price, or the other guy’s getting him for $5-$10 more than the AAV.


All of this information has been transmogrified into a single Excel spreadsheet, which means all I have to do is scan for a player, know my level of interest in drafting him, see who else will probably be in the running for him and at the expected cost. Done and done. That’s not to say you can’t bring any other cheat sheets or data with you. I will tote an additional Sportsline or ESPN cheat sheet for the simple fact that a) many participants are likely to use one of those rankings, and b) the AAV list is just that – an average. It doesn’t give you a measure of how much a player could cost, especially in a market that will be inflated by competitive bidding.


As you can see, I’m already getting riled up to draft. And mentally preparing yourself for the bidding process is just as important as putting rankings to paper. Auction drafts are fantasy football’s version of poker. However, instead of representing a hand, participants are representing their interest in a player. Here are the important topics you should run through in your head:


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? Getting a guy like T.O. for a low price is what this game is about. Getting caught betting up a player you want absolutely no part of STINKS. Don’t try to outsmart everyone and get in a bunch of bidding wars. Stick to your game plan.


Know your opponents:

Not only what team they root for, but what players they have picked in the past – hence the addition of the owner column. My league has one guy who drafts Tomlinson every year, and it costs him more and more each year because we know it. Others continually draft similar players and endure similar inflation. Just as important is knowing your opponents’ bidding style. Is your opponent a notorious bidder-upper? If so, you better know how high are you willing to go before shutting down and making the bidder-upper’s strategy backfire. If you face a time when you need a player at a certain position, there’s nothing more infuriating than having a guy bid you up for a player he doesn’t need, let alone want. You know what? Stomp on him. Cut out when he thinks the getting is good, and let him squirm with precious little funds to fill out a quality roster.


As always, make sure you take personal and regional tendencies into account. Every year I draft with a whole crew from


, and I throw out every Ravens player, then sit and watch as the real big homers wilt under the pressure and take guys like Todd Heap for more money than should ever be accepted. Use that fandom to your advantage. Believe me, you may be in a league with people you think are your buddies, but those savages will be merciless in bidding you up when the best player on your favorite team is named.


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