Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2013 Fantasy Football Auction Draft Thesis

Fantasy Football Auction Draft 101


What is a Fantasy Football Auction Draft? 

  An auction draft is a fantasy football draft style that uses budgets and a bidding system to decided which NFL players go on which fantasy football team. In most auction style drafts, each team owner is given a $200 budget to spend on the players that they feel will offer them the best chance to win. Each team owner must budget enough money to fill their
entire roster with fantasy football players. 
  
  The draft begins with a randomly selected team owner nominating a player for bid and then every team in the league has the opportunity to participate in the live auction for that player. For instance... Johnny Team Owner #1 nominates Adrian Peterson for $10 and then the bidding begins for the team who wants to pay the most for Adrian Peterson. 
Team #1 bids $10
Team #6 bids $28 
Team #1 bids $31
Team #9 bids $45 
Team #6 bids $49
Team #3 bids $65 
Team #9 bids $68.... Going Once, Going Twice... No other Bids..... Sold to Team #9 for $68. Now Team #9 has Adrian Peterson as their Running Back but only has $132 left to fill their roster.
  
  Auction drafts are typically performed online because sites like espn.com do a great job of managing the draft including the budgets and rosters. Live auction drafts are alot of fun but there is also alot of room for error, especially if you have a league that enjoys some adult beverages. Plus from a league commissioner perspective the stress of a live draft is placed on the software and not on the commissioner.


Benefits of a Fantasy Football Auction Draft vs Snake Draft 

  • Equal Opportunity - Every team owner has an equal opportunity to draft a player they are interested in compared to a standard snake draft where your team is heavily decided on your randomly given draft position. (Learn more about snake drafts here.
  • Strategy - In my opinion there is more strategy involved in an auction draft. You can also really take advantage of other peoples mistakes in an auction draft. By understanding values of players/sleepers you can really benefit from buying players for cheap and also knowing when people are over paying for studs or their favorite players. 
  • Exciting - Have you ever been in a real life auction? They are fricken intense. Now times that by ten because it's fantasy football baby. Your fantasy ego is on the line ladies and gentleman. No excuses. If you don't study your squad will reveal it. 
  • Change of pace- I play in multiple leagues so having some standard snake drafts and a couple auctions always offer a slight change in pace which is good. 


How to Prepare for a Fantasy Football Auction Draft

  Similar to the standard snake style drafts, when it comes to preparation "Knowledge is Power" in fantasy football auction style drafts. Preparation should begin as follows: 

1. Understand your league rules: Are you in a keeper league? Can you trade during the draft? How much is your budget for the draft? When is the draft? all of these things can be very helpful when preparing for your draft. 

2. Know your scoring settings: What is the size of your rosters? How many players at each position? Is it a PPR (Point Per Reception) League? Are QB throwing Td’s 4pts or 6pts. Do offensive players get credit for Kick/punt returns? The more you understand your league scoring settings the better you will understand your own value on certain players. You have to understand that all action values are not created equal.

3. Try a mock draft: Before you do any auction strategy research sign up for a mock draft so you are understanding the draft strategy articles as you read them. (Try a Mock Auction Draft Now) Also a quick tip about mock drafting - Sign up for a free auction league and use that as a mock draft because you will find people take it more serious than others. 

4. Find your source for player auction values: In an auction draft, player auction values are a major resources for you and they need to be consistent with steps 1 and 2 on this list. These values are for reference only. DO NOT live and die by auction values instead use them as reference points to judge how your league is rating certain players. 

5. Create Your Ideal Team: If your auction draft went picture perfect how would your team look? Use the est. auction values from your cheat sheet and create your picture perfect team within your league budget. THEN also place two players in each position behind your ideal player as a back up plan (see example below) using the auction values from our friends over at FFtoolbox.com (2013 FFtoolbox Auction Values

Your Picture Perfect 2013 Auction Draft Team (Example)  
QB - Tom Brady ($21) Matt Ryan$22, Matthew Stafford $23
RB - Ray Rice ($39) C.J. Spiller $37, Trent RIchardson $43
RB - Alfred Morris ($30) Matt Forte $28, David Wilson $27 
WR - Percy Harvin ($30) Randall Cobb $28, Andre Johnson $20 
WR - Vincent Jackson ($20) Hakeem Nicks $23, Roddy White $23
TE - Kyle Rudolph ($10)  or Tony Gonzales $8, Vernon Davis $9

Total = $154 Starters $46 Bench / 5 guys equals roughly $9 per player on your bench. 
What this does is it gives you options and a back up plan when the pressure of the draft comes. Once you understand your ideal team then you can react as the draft moves forward and not feel the stress your competitors WILL because they did not have a plan or even a back up plan.  

6. Perform several more Mock Drafts with your strategy in hand. (You will learn more about specific auction draft strategies below). Also Mock draft with a buzz. If you are a guy who likes to get silly at your fantasy football draft make sure you mock draft with a little buzz going on so that you again are prepared when the buzzer sounds. 

7. Simplify your draft kit: Don't be that guy who walks into the draft with 5 rankings sheets, a strength of schedule sheet, a magazine and player profiles. If you have done your preparation with the previous 6 steps you will not need more than one standard cheat sheet for your draft. 

8. Know your opponents: Are they balls out kind of guys? If so they will not be afraid to raise all auction player values with that attitude. Are they reserved? If so take advantage of them and be the first guy to bid out the others as long as the values match up with your draft plan. If they like beer make sure to buy them a pitcher to get them off their game. I mean don't date rape their fantasy football auction draft but make sure to get them feeling loosey goosey for the big draft. Heck if it is the right guy make sure to buy him a shot of tequila for kicking his butt last year. OK maybe I crossed the line but hopefully you get the point of knowing who you are auctioning with. 

9. Ask dumb questions to your league mates: If you are a first time auciton participant make sure to ask the commissioner some simple questions to see if he can reveal his cards any. Also NEVER be afraid to throw them some curve balls and say stuff like" man I wonder if anyone else is willing to go up to $65+ for Peterson this year, dude is a beast." or if you think a player is a bust make sure to find one good stat on him and bring in up in conversation with your league mates hinting  that you really like this guy.

10. Have fun. Be ready to have some fun. League drafts are one of the funnest parts of the season so make sure to enjoy it because this may be the only time that you will be in first place all year. 


Fantasy Football Auction Draft Strategies

Balanced Budget Auction Draft Strategy

The balanced budget auction draft strategy in a fantasy football auction draft is pretty simple and the most common approach amongst drafters. You simply layout your strategy by placing a balanced amount of your budget (typically $200) across your roster focusing a majority of your budget on your starters. Here is an example of a balanced budget:

Auction Draft Budget Example #1           
QB: $25
RB: $45
RB: $20
WR: $35
WR: $15 
TE: $8
K: $1
D: $1
Bench 1: $14
Bench 2: $12
Bench 3: $9
Bench 4: $8
Bench 5: $4
Bench 6: $3 
$148 on your 6 main starters 
$52 on the remaining 8. Keep in mind you will only need $2 for your D and Kicker so essentially you will have $50 to build a solid bench. 

With this strategy you will want to budget out your picture perfect starting team by using estimated auction values like those found at fftoolbox.com which again would look like this: 

Auction Draft Balanced Budget Example #2 
QB - Tom Brady ($21) Matt Ryan$22, Matthew Stafford $23
RB - Ray Rice ($39) C.J. Spiller $37, Trent RIchardson $43
RB - Alfred Morris ($30) Matt Forte $28, David Wilson $27 
WR - Percy Harvin ($30) Randall Cobb $28, Andre Johnson $20 
WR - Vincent Jackson ($20) Hakeem Nicks $23, Roddy White $23
TE - Kyle Rudolph ($10)  or Tony Gonzales $8, Vernon Davis $9
Total = $154 Starters $46 Bench

As you may have noticed the percentages changed from example #1 to example #2 which is on purpose to show you the flexibility in this strategy. 

The Pros of a Balanced Budget 

  • With this strategy you are able to gain a real understanding of what your squad will look like. 
  • Consistency is key in fantasy so instead of taking huge risks on a couple studs you have yourself a balanced team with some cash to hit on a couple sleepers. 
  • Go with the flow. With the balanced budget you are able to have two or three players lined up so you do not over spend on certain guys because you feel pressured. 
  • You have the chance to buy low on guys when you set a budget limit on a position. For instance if you originally budget $30 for Percy Harvin and Julio Jones is up for Bid (Est auction value $40)  you can bid him all the way up to your budget max of $30 and may get him if guys are sleeping on him. So don's be afraid to bid on guys with higher value then your budget but when the bid passes your budget stop the bidding. HINT- Don't show your cards though. Be very selective on who you do this for. 

The Cons of a Balanced Budget 

  • You may not land any Top 5 Players. 
  • Could be too balanced. 
  • To distracted on your budget and have to pass on a GREAT undervalued player. 

  In summary, the balanced budget is one of the safest ways to strategize for your upcoming fantasy football auction draft. Again you MUST mock draft several times with this strategy for it to be effective. Mock drafting will get your toes wet and you will be a fricken rockstar come draft day. 
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Balls to The Walls - The Gambler Auction Draft Strategy 

  Another auction draft strategy to consider for your 2013 fantasy football auction draft is "The Gambler" style draft strategy. Using this strategy you will be gambling your season on a couple studs, hints the name
©FantasyfootballBeasthouse.com. This strategy is commonly seen although most fantasy football players are too conservative and don't care to risk their entire season on a couple big name players. The gambler strategy can be very effective but a few things need to happen in order for you to see success. 
  •  You MUST HIT on 2 or 3 of the players you gun for. 
  •  You MUST be active on the waiver wire during the season and hit on a couple studs off the wire. 
  •  Your top 3 players need to stay healthy. 

  Details: In 2013 you can plan on spending about 77% of your budget on your top three players. 
2013 Implementation: (going off of 2013 Fantasy Football Auction Values from http://gridironexperts.com)

$60 Adrian Peterson
$56 Arian Foster 
$38 Aaron Rodgers 
Total Spent = $154

Now here is where it gets interesting. This year with the depth at wide receiver you have an excellent opportunity to make this work. If you were to use the remaining  $46 and land a BIG #1 WR all you have to do is then nail a couple consistent WR's  off the Waiver wire come weeks 3 and 4. Another key to this strategy is to land your Studs back ups for a dollar or two with your last picks. This is key because if anything happens, you have their back up. For instance in this case Ben Tate and Toby Gerhart. If there is a year to try this strategy I think this may be the year. The key in 2013 is the limited stud RBs and the crazy depth at WR and QB. Going back to the same auction values from gridironexperts.com here are a couple examples of what your team could look like: 


Example A: 

QB1 $38 Aaron Rodgers
RB1 $60 Adrian Peterson
RB2 $56 Arian Foster
WR1 $26 Vincent Jackson
WR2 $5 Sidney Rice
TE1 $3 Greg Olsen
K $1 Who Cares
D $1 Who Cares
Bench 1: $3 Aaron Dobson               
Bench 2: $3 Brian Hartline
Bench 3: $1 Toby Gerhart 
Bench 4: $1 Ben Tate 
Bench 5: $1
Bench 6: $1

Example B

QB1 $32 Drew Brees 
RB1 $60 Adrian Peterson
RB2 $54 Doug Martin
WR1 $38 Brandon Marshall         
WR2 $4
TE1 $2
K $1 Who Cares
D $1 Who Cares
Bench 1: $2
Bench 2: $2
Bench 3: $1 
Bench 4: $1 
Bench 5: $1
Bench 6: $1


Pretty intriguing huh.... Another key to this strategy is if you get nominated early and have the chance to nominate before your three studs make sure to throw out Ben Tate or toby Gerhart for $1 to see if anyone is planning on grabbing them. Most likely early in the draft people will have no idea what you are doing and will not want to fill their roster with Ben Tate or Toby Gerhart in their first buy. In the case that you do have a bidder going after your first nomination of a back up ALWAYS have a back up plan and either let him over pay for the back up and still try to get your studs or just bid up your stud to your max budget and reorganize your strategy and take RB's 2 and 3 or 3 and 4 and go with a higher valued WR1. This can get confusing and I am trying my best to keep it simple but if you have any questions please email beasthousecrew@yahoo.com directly. 

If you know anything about the Fantasy Football Beasthouse we truly respect and value other industry professionals in the fantasy football community so we asked a couple other Beasthouses' to weigh in and offer some of their fantasy football auction tips and draft strategies. 


Fantasy Football Auction Draft Tips from the Experts


Fantasy Taz - Jim Day 

For any new players to auctions there are definitely a few things to keep in mind. Here are a few of my basic strategies for dealing with Auction leagues.

1. If you are new to Auctions then spend some time and do as many mock auctions as you can. ESPN has a very good mock auction setup and they are free to do and you can do them almost any time. The more mocks you do the better prepared you will be when your real Auction starts.

2. Early on nominate players that have a lot of hype surrounding them at the point of the draft. Usually these are players I do not want to win, just get others to throw money at them to deplete their bank. For 2013 several of these players for me are Torrey Smith, Colin Kaepernick, and Montee Ball.

3. Outside of 3-4 studs to anchor your team, the key word for any new auction player is PATIENCE! Don’t get caught bidding on players just because they are there. Saving a decent percentage of your money for the end of the auction will always land you some very good players at much reduced prices. This actually allows you to be able to spend a little more to get the studs you really do want at the beginning of the auction.

4. Dont be the Bid Police! If a player you DON'T want is on the board and you feel the price is too cheap, resist the urge to bid him up. Too often you will get caught having a player you never wanted and less money to spend on the players you do want.

- Jim Day @Fantasy Taz  Owner of www.fantasytaz.com and a featured columnist at Bleacher Report
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Dynasty Football Warehouse - Dan Heins

You Have To Know Where The Value Lies


How do you do that?  
You need to have knowledge and an educated opinion on every player.  IT’S THAT SIMPLE.  Falling value happens in every draft and you need to realize it without thinking.  The only way you can be that dominant is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK.  The kid who studies gets the “A” and the kid who out works his competition is usually standing on top in the end. 

Learn How to Meditate

In other words, you need to CAAAaaallllmmm Down.  You don’t HAVE to have anyone in an auction.  You have to have “preferences”.  Don’t mistake the two. And have enough preferences to leave yourself an “out”.  We are all guilty of getting all riled up at the start of the draft when we see Dez Bryant hit the board.  Going ape shit on a player is just never worth it.  Not even Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson guarantees you anything in this game.  Be patient and be smart. 
 
Dan Heins @Dan_DFW Co-owner of  DynastyFootballWarehouse.com (DFW)  & FantasyFootballWarehouse.com (FFW)
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FFToolbox.com -Scott Atkins 

  Auction drafts should be the here and now of fantasy football. It is the only drafting format that gives you the ability to select anyone you want. Say you wanted both Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster, why shouldn't that be possible? In an auction, you can. What an auction does require is a little more preparation on your part as an owner. You may not use a budget in real life, but you'll certainly need one for your auction. Dropping too much money on a single pick will hamstring you until you can get a couple picks on the cheap. Say you just dropped a big winning bid on Aaron Rodgers, you might want to nominate another quarterback in order to get another owner to spend his money. The best way to learn the tips and tricks of an auction is to simply participate.

Scott Atkins - Site Manager for FFToolbox.com
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Pro Football Focus - Alessandro Miglio

  When participating in an auction draft, my biggest advice would be to stay flexible. You should be prepared with a budget on a per-position basis, but you never know what other owners are going to bid. Your best bet to stay loose is to practice plenty. The more mock drafts the better; you will be presented with different situations every time, giving you practice for when things don't go your way.

  Another big piece of advice: don't bid on players you don't want or need. If you have two quarterbacks, don't bid on a third just to drive up the price. Don't put down a bid on a running back you hate for the same reason. You don't want to be stuck with a player you don't need or want.

Alessandro Miglio - The Huddle at USA Today Staff Writer,  Bleacher Report Featured Columnist, Pro Football Focus Senior Staff Writer
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Fantasy Football Beasthouse - Jason Kaz 

1. Study. Do your research and learn as much as you can about what is trending in auction drafts in 2013 and also what is happening around the NFL. Be aware of the most recent injuries and position battles. 

2. Find a good auction value ranking sheet and make sure to write down what players are being sold for you as a reference point. But don't get distracted by it. Remember all action values are not created equal find one that closely resembles your league settings. 

3. Keep an eye on what other league owners are doing so you are aware if they are just bidding guys up or if they are really looking for that player. 

4. Spend all of your money. I think it is always smart to conserve for the tail end of the draft because that is when you can muscle yourself a couple solid sleepers. 

5. Don't bid on guys you don't want. Plain and simple. Stay Away. 

6. Don't get pressured by other players talking about your money. Too often guys will get flustered and make dumb purchases because other owners are razzing them. That said make sure to razz others about their money and strategy. haha. 

7. Do have fun. Remember it's just a game and so much can happen, so enjoy the heck out of the draft and spending time with guys and gals who enjoy the same thing you do. Fantasy Football is a great hobby and make sure it does not become more than that. 

Jason Kaz @Iamjasonkaz  Owner of Fantasy Football Beasthouse
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In summary I truly hope you found great value in this article and it helped you in one way or another. Please contact me on twitter @beasthousecrew with any of your auction questions. We are here to help you. Thank you very much for reading. 

By: +Jason Kaz

A BIG Thank you to special guests Jim Day, Dan Heins, Alex Miglio, and Scott Atkins. I respect both of these fantasy football experts greatly and appreciate them taking the time to offer some tips for our readers. 
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