I’m a big fan of auction drafts, especially when it comes to fantasy football. Missing out on Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout in a snake draft baseball league is a bummer, but you can easily make up for it by building a well-balanced and deep roster. In other words, you don’t need a top-5 pick to win your league. Can you win your football league without a top-5 pick? Sure. But it’s a challenge, especially this season, when snagging at least one, or preferably two high-end running backs is so vital due to the utter lack of depth at the position. Auctions are the way to go in football, and I don’t even think it’s up for debate. That said, when you’re in multiple auction draft leagues, things could get tricky. You do all the prep work, identify the guys you want to target as well as the guys you will stay away from regardless of the cost. That’s all fine and dandy. But do you really want to draft virtually identical rosters in all of your auctions? I mean, what fun is that? If your target list turns out to be full of busts, do you really want all of your teams to suffer?
This past week, I participated in two separate auctions, one of which was the draft that fellow Mastersballer Ryan Carey wrote about in his Wednesday column. The two leagues have very similar scoring systems and the only starting roster difference is that the former uses three wide receivers while the latter requires only two. So I actually went into my second draft, which was held on Thursday night, with the full intention of mixing things up. And I succeeded, managing to assemble an entirely different team. Not a single player resides on both rosters. Am I satisfied with the results? Yes and no. Here’s a look at a few players who I purchased in the second draft ($200 budget) with this strategy in mind.
Larry Fitzgerald ($41)
My first draft WR1: Roddy White ($32)
Yeah, I know. I’m very high on Fitz as a major bounce back candidate this year, but I got caught up in a bidding war here and ended up spending a lot more than I had planned for my top wideout. White was nominated before Fitzgerald and went for the exact same $32 price tag as I paid for him in my first draft. Thinking that I could get Fitz for less and rigidly sticking to my all-important strategy, I waited. Big mistake. Wide receivers in general were going for a lot more in this draft and Fitzgerald was really the last bona fide #1 left on the board, but $41 is still way too much.
Antonio Brown ($15)
My first draft WR2: Marques Colston ($19)
The Fitzgerald blunder came back to haunt me here as I didn’t feel comfortable going into the 20’s for safer PPR options like Wes Welker ($25) or Reggie Wayne ($27). 15 bucks is a fair price for Brown but he wasn’t on my radar at all as I don’t really trust that Steelers’ offense to put up big numbers. The good news is that Colston went for a hefty $27. Oh yeah, and I was somehow able to snag Jordy Nelson for a mere five bucks. Injury risk or not, I could easily see a scenario where Nelson supplants Brown as my every-week WR2.
Shane Vereen ($15)
My first draft Flex: Eddie Lacy ($19)
Vereen carries a great deal of PPR value thanks to the departure of Wes Welker, the shaky health status of Rob Gronkowski and the stupidity of Aaron Hernandez. I’m expecting Vereen to be the recipient of plenty of short passes from Tom Brady and consider $15 to be a fine price for him. Lacy won’t be much of a factor in the Packers’ passing game even if he does start, so this was a case where avoiding players who I drafted in my first league actually paid off.
Eli Manning ($11)
My first draft QB: Tony Romo ($26)
I’m a firm believer in the “Go cheap at quarterback” philosophy this year, as there are so many quality options at the position. I’m fairly confident that Manning will be well worth the $11 investment, and a healthy Hakeem Nicks would go a long way. Yeah, Romo is the safer pick, but I opted to go after him in my first draft only because I had some extra money to spend. Instead, give me Eli at the $15 discount.
With my third and final live online auction coming up tonight, could I possibly draft yet another completely different team?
Could I possibly draft a completely different team that I’d actually feel good about?
But will I try anyway?