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My (Advanced) Fantasy Football Auction Strategy (Part 1)
By request from a comment on my earlier column, Fantasy Football Auction Tips, I am going to share with you my strategy for Fantasy Football Auctions. (Note: you will have to read that previous article to understand the references and strategy tips below.)
In a short, unsatisfying reply: my strategy depends. But, what it depends on is different than you'd think!!
We all know that there are too many variables in individual leagues to give one strategy. Is it a re-draft or keeper league? What is the roster size and scoring system? How many players do you start? Does unused auction money have value after the auction or get wasted?
(As an aside, you'll often hear people tell you to play your other league-mates. This is not untrue, but I don't recommend it as a wise primary strategy. While you certainly can manipulate another league-mates' trends and bidding style to your advantage (and/or to their disadvantage), just as you have learned to adapt year-to-year, your league-mates will, too. So, definitely use what you know about them during the auction, but don't build your entire auction strategy around predicting what the other people in your league will do.)
So, the questions above explain why my initial response is "my strategy depends." There is no way to give my one strategy recommendation for Auctions without knowing the answers to these questions. (If you do want my strategy advice for a specific league, simply let me know in the Comments section below how I can help).
Is your Auction style most like a...
If I am not giving you my auction strategy based on league parameters, then on what does it depend? It's actually pretty simple, and it's only two things. First, my own style. Speaking personally, I am comfortable employing any style (see Part 2 of this Hub for examples). If you know that you are only comfortable with one style, though, then adjust your auction board accordingly. For instance, if you know that you're a Dan Snyder (see my first Hub, linked above), then increase how much you are willing to pay for studs knowing that you are comfortable filling out your team with whatever $1 players are available. If you're a Ted Thompson, (again, see my previous Hub), then be sure to price out every single player to the dollar, knowing that -- by getting bargains at every position -- your $200 team will really be worth as much as $250! And, you shouldn't care which players are on your roster. If you are a Bill Belichick (final reminder to read that first Hub), then adjust your player values to make sure that you get the couple of guys that you absolutely want and then confidently wait for the value players to fall your way.
I trust, though, that most of you reading this are not so rigid. So, the second factor -- and really the only one that consequently matters -- that determines my auction strategy is my pre-auction player rankings. That's it. No big "secret" (sorry, Big J!). But, it's quite intricate.
We all see things differently.
To start, let's look at QBs for 2012 as an example. And, let's accept for this example that there are three elite QBs (Brady, Brees, Rodgers), two guys in the next tier who are certainly above the rest (Netwon, Stafford), and then another, say, 6-8 QBs in the third tier (i.e., both Mannings, Rivers, Romo, etc.). If you believe that the difference between those top three and rest is MASSIVE, then you gotta go get one, whatever it costs (Snyder approach). If you believe that one of those guys is going to really outplay his predicted stats, then you simply go and get him (Belichick approach). If you believe that, given the depth at QB, at least one of those guys will fall to you for far below market value, then you simply buy him (Thompson approach), and it doesn't matter which QB you get.
The RBs in 2012 provide another great example. There only about a half-dozen that are likely full-time players. Do you need to have one (or two) of them? Then Snyder it. Is there one particular player in a lower tier, for instance, that you think will produce like a top-5 RB? Then Belichick it. Do you not care if you points come from elite RBs or mix-and-match talent at various positions? Then Thompson it.
In other words, your personal player rankings make all the difference!
All this, though, is a generalization of my more advanced strategy, and, as you can see, it is all based on my pre-auction player evaluation. In Part 2 of this Hub, I will walk you through three different auctions of mine over the past couple of years. In each of those auctions, I employed a different strategy (Snyder, Belichick and Thompson), and I will explain why I chose that strategy for each auction given my personal player rankings for that year.