Success in fantasy football is dependent upon developing a strategy and being able to execute it. In Snake drafts, unless you are simply going by a list, implementing your draft plan is completely dependent upon what falls to you and hoping, even praying, that the fates smile upon you and that the pieces that were part of your plan are still on the board with it’s your turn to pick. If you are lucky the players you want will be there, if not you are hosed, plain and simple. You will need injuries and luck to help your backup players emerge as contributors.
That is the beauty of auctions. If you don’t get a player it’s your fault. Every piece is in play. Why auctions aren’t the king of the fantasy football mountain remains a mystery that utterly befuddles me. You have control over who you roster, not the fates. Only for a lack of opportunity, I played in just one auction this year. It was a 14 Team NFFC format/scoring. Here is the starting crew I assembled:
Jay Cutler 9
LeSean McCoy 59
Cedric Benson 16
Andre Johnson 37
Brandon Marshall 38
Stephen Hill 1
Antonio Gates 25
Alshon Jeffery 1
Greg Zuerlein 1
My plan was to secure two elite WR’s, one elite RB, one elite TE, and a lower tier starting RB. Then buy the best QB with the ‘change’ left over and fill in with cheap upside picks. Mission accomplished.
I had to overpay for Marshall, McCoy, and Gates.
Slim Shady was actually the most expensive player of the entire auction. I tried to get Foster and Rice, but they went for $58 and $56 respectively. It logically followed that McCoy would be cheaper and that I could use that to upgrade my QB later. The presence of DeMarco Murray, Chris Johnson, and Darren McFadden as viable RB1 plays figured to preclude tier inflation. I figured incorrectly. Still, unlike snake drafts where you are screwed if someone snipes a player from you, in auction you hold the gavel. I got my guy.
Brandon Marshall went for A LOT more than I expected, but paying a little extra was worth it.
Jimmy Graham went for $40, Rob Gronkowski $33, and Aaron Hernandez $26, so I expected to obtain Gates for a shade less, but no real discount came there either.
I was not thrilled paying top dollar and then some for every single one of my targets, but I’ll take that over the ‘kicks to the jimmey’ I received over and over in this weekend’s crazy snake drafts. If I have to overpay on every single player, it still only equates to losing out on ONE quality player in an auction when you add up the $. In a serpentine draft, picks can get stolen from you every single round. You end up chasing and never get caught up.
I also had to overpay for Cedric Benson. He wasn’t a target per se; rather I just needed a reliable plodder to get me 10-12 points per week given the projected edge I had elsewhere. My timing was off as other similar tiered backs (but higher quality) went for more attractive prices (DeAngelo Williams $11, Frank Gore $20, Shonn Greene $11, Donald Brown $17, Law Firm $14), but you just never know exactly how the auction market is going to play out.
Having spent so much early and being completely out of money, I had to sit and watch insane values to go others: Alfred Morris $4, Joe Flacco $3, Nate Washington $4, Rod Streater $1(didn’t have even $2 to outbid), Mikel LeShoure 4, and others. I still was able to slip a couple bargains through at the end with Stephen Hill and Alshon Jeffery. In auctions you will miss out on players too, but the difference is that YOU CHOOSE which players you miss out on by prioritizing AND you can control it enough to ensure that you aren’t void at a particular position. A quarterback run or a tight end run isn’t going to shut you out.
In closing, I implore you to force high stakes game operators to bring auctions to your living room. The software issues plaguing online auctions are a thing of the past. For over a year ESPN and CBS have auction software that runs smooth as silk. Not so much as a hiccup. Email Greg Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich at the NFFC as well as Dave Gerczak and Alex Kaganovsky at the FFPC. Bring online auctions to the people!