2012 Fantasy Football: 10-Team Auction League Mock With Advice
There generally are very few rules when you enter into an auction fantasy football league. You obviously have your amount of teams (we’ll use a basic 10-team format for this article), your scoring settings (again, standard, no ppr), and your price limit (we’ll roll with $200).
I have a very basic strategy going into auction league, and unless the rosters or settings are all out of whack, it rarely deviates from this: draft the players you trust, and don’t blow all your money on 1-2 picks.
No matter the league in fantasy football, I constantly tell my readers that balance and depth are extremely important to a successful fantasy year. It’s awesome to have a big-name superstar, or even 2-3, but anyone can get hurt, so you really need to make sure you have quality players filling out your entire roster. Or that if they’re not budding stars yet, they’re on the verge of becoming just that.
This strategy holds true and works in standard leagues, but is ironically most evident in auction leagues. Some owners tend to go crazy and drop a bunch of cash on the first big name, but I’ve got a few things I prefer doing, instead:
Don’t draft the first guy on the board. Maybe not even the second or third, either. That doesn’t mean you can’t play around and make sure the bid goes up to your limit, first. In this particular mock auction, I was content with passing on Aaron Rodgers, but I also would have bitten the bullet and spent $45 to get him. I pushed the price to $45, and it actually went up to $60. I didn’t care about getting A-Rod anyways, but I still was involved in that selection.
But it’s not just about refraining from getting the first guy you see. It’s about fighting a little bit of boredom during the stretches where you just tell yourself you don’t need certain players, no matter how awesome their name sounds. I went 5-6 rounds at a time without even bidding on guys, and I still got the roster I was aiming for. You just need to be persistent with your patience, and wait for other teams to buy their way out of the running later in the draft. That’s when the fire sale goes off, and you reap all the remaining benefits.
2. Choose Your Nominations Carefully
Don’t always nominate guys you have to have. Save your sneaky sleepers for later in the draft when everyone is strapped for cash and you can afford to spend $10-15 bucks freely on whoever you want. In that same breath, be sure to nominate guys you wouldn’t mind getting stuck with for a lousy buck, too.
3. Don’t Get Bullied/ Be The Bully
If people are drafting like jackasses, sometimes you can read it and you can force them into over-paying for a player. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is over-bully, but if you know a guy like LeSean McCoy or Calvin Johnson are going to garner big cash via earlier picks, you can probably push them up to at least $45 and let the other owners do the bidding from there. That way you’re playing a helping hand in cutting into their roster cash, which will free up a load of quality players for you to choose from later on.
4. Know Your Limit
You can switch it up as you’d like, but in a $200 auction league, I won’t spend over $50 on any one player, and really will try my best to keep it to $30-40 at a max. That means I won’t get the absolute studs, but in the end I’ll have one of the deepest and most solid rosters in my league.
5. Take the Cheap Guys When You Can
You know those “scrubs” people nominate just so someone has to take them (see 2.)? Yeah, well sometimes one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and those guys can actually be solid sleepers. If they’re on your sleeper list, play it cool and grab a Jake Locker, Ryan Williams, Kendall Wright or Jacob Tamme on the cheap.
With these tips in mind, I managed to secure the following roster via the following price tags in a recent 10-team auction draft mock:
Note: I know this isn’t every auction league. You’ll have a budget a little lower or much higher than $200, and you might have up to 20 teams. Regardless, these tips can translate to any league size or auction price limit.
QB Matt Ryan ($13)
Ryan isn’t a top-five fantasy quarterback, but he’s in my top-10. I’m cool with getting a top-10 guy for $13 bucks, as opposed to a top-five guy for $30+.
QB Peyton Manning ($12)
Manning could potentially be a top-five fantasy option if he can return to his 2010 form. That’s no given, but I’ll certainly take him as Ryan’s backup for a buck less than I paid for Ryan. I spent $26 bucks on two quality quarterbacks, where several teams spent $30+ on one guy.
RB Matt Forte ($26)
Arian Foster went for $50 and LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice both went for $45. I think Forte is a stellar value at just $26, considering. In addition, Maurice Jones-Drew (who is still holding out), went for $41.
RB Jamaal Charles ($23)
Another high quality back with nice versatility and loads of potential. Charles is my second player off the board (Forte was my first), and he solidifies my starting lineup for the running back position. He looks to be close to 100% and he’s at half the price of most of the top backs.
RB Steven Jackson ($21)
I nail down my third running back to give me excellent depth with a strong rotation at the position. Jackson is somehow my cheapest back of the three, and I truly wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the back to have the best season in 2012. Either way you look at it, I nailed down three solid fantasy backs for $70 total, while Arian Foster went for $50 by himself. I prefer the depth.
RB Peyton Hillis ($9)
Hillis is a quality RB3 or Flex play. He’ll share the load with Jamaal Charles, while taking over as the Chiefs’ top red-zone back. He’s a solid fantasy option on his own, but he’s a must-have as Charles’ handcuff, as well.
RB Shonn Greene ($2)
I’m not a fan of Greene and his lack of explosiveness, but if the Jets really intend on giving him the ball 15-20 times per game, he clearly has a little value. He’s surely worth $2 to toss onto my bench.
WR Julio Jones ($31)
Here is a case where you have to spend for the guy you want every now and then. I am extremely high on Jones, so I break my normal barrier of $30 by one dollar to get my hands on him. My highest price ceiling is $50, so I’m pretty comfortable with him here.
Considering I have him #2 to Calvin Johnson this year and I got him $12 cheaper than Megatron, I feel good about the pick. Also worth noting is the fact that Roddy White (Jones’ teammate) went for $7 more than Jones.
WR Vincent Jackson ($14)
V-Jax has new scenery in Tampa Bay, but I think he’ll be totally fine. He doesn’t depend on a to of targets, so it’s not the biggest deal in the world for him that the Buccaneers plan on running a lot. You can do a lot worse for your WR2 spot.
WR Torrey Smith ($11)
Smith looks so explosive this year, I would not be shocked at all if he ended the season with WR1 value. A safe bet is WR2 value, though, and I’m sliding him in here as my WR3 and at just $11. I’ll take that.
WR Justin Blackmon ($1)
Everyone is strapped so there is no competition for my nomination. I land Blackmon, who could be a very solid WR3 as a rookie.
WR Titus Young ($1)
Young enters his second year with loads of potential in a pass-happy Lions offense. With defenses focusing solely on stopping Megatron, Young could run wild.
TE Antonio Gates ($21)
I was contemplating waiting on a tight end, but I thought this was a very reasonable price for what I perceive to be fantasy’s #3 tight end going into 2012. As long as Gates is healthy, he’s in for a big season.
K Stephen Gostkowski ($3)
Kickers were being nominated like crazy for some reason (only in auction leagues – literally), so I decided to nab one of the elite ones while the chaos was going down. The Patriots are a well oiled machine, so Gostkowski will always be solid.
DEF/ST San Francisco 49ers ($4)
Defenses were starting to fly off the board in the middle of this auction, so I snatched the 49ers up for a lame $4. I don’t like that Frisco’ has to battle the explosive Packers in week one, but they’re otherwise an elite unit and a joy to have on my roster.