One of the mocks I participated in a week back was the Rotoworld auction, hosted by Seth Trachtman.
The league setup was 12-team mixed league, with a $260 Salary Cap, meaning there would be some over-spending to begin with, and some bargains at the end.
Such auctions can be tricky animals, and would seem to favor the "stars and scrubs" approach, where allocating $150 for three absolute top players, and then meting out a buck here and there to fill out a roster is the way to go. Truth is, when there are $1 deals, like Billy Butler and Chris Tillman, at the bottom of the nominations, that strategy does make sense.
And, the one thing taking such an approach means is that you probably will indeed spend all your money, which ostensibly is a good thing.
Among the participants, our host, Mr. Trachtman, came the closest to going with the stars, bagging three (Clayton Kershaw, $37; Jose Abreu, $35; and Jose Altuve, $32) high-priced players, although of course Mike Trout drew the most bids and bucks, at $50. Note that Kershaw was the second most costly player.
Where the conundrum of auctions like this lies, is that while it is considered a sin to leave money on the table, doing so is not such a death knell. While it is true, you do want to use all your financial resources as efficiently as permits, but if I think that Marcell Ozuna will produce as well as Justin Upton--and thus have targeted Ozuna--should I try to grab Upton if the price is right?
Well, in this mock, Upton went for $22, while I grabbed Ozuna later for $11, and then Leonys Martin for another $11, meaning I filled two slots more efficiently with respect to total offensive production, at the same cost as Upton alone.
Personally, I prefer to try and split the middle of stars and scrubs by doing just that, although what this means is not being afraid to push a player or two for more than you perceive the dollar cost should be.
The trick is such money management has to be handled with a lot of focus during your auction. And, you should have some guidelines, such as:
-Have a mythical roster of players and ideal set of projected costs for them ready before the draft.
-Make a split decision as soon as players are nominated as to whether you are serious about acquiring the nominated player.
-Bearing in mind the previous suggestion, always be prepared to jump on a bargain, even if you had not originally intended on rostering the nominee.
-Don't wait too long to get players. I have a tendency in single-league auctions to wait a spell for some money to be spent, but that approach will not work in a mixed format. Go ahead and get players, even if the first few are $5 or so more than you projected. By the end rounds, things should balance out.
-Get an ace--in my case Sale--but target about $6 for all your remaining starting pitchers on average. If a few cost a bit more, again, that will balance out (as in Tillman for $1 and Tanner Roark for $4).
-After you have filled out roughly two-thirds of your roster, try to sit on money, holding out $30-$35 for your last handful of players. This will allow you to control the board, and get the guys you want.
-Remember, closer is a deep slot in such a league. I got Fernando Rodney and Joe Nathan for a collective $6, and while I realize these might not be your first choices to close, both have the job going into camp, got 83 saves last year collectively, and cost me almost nothing. By contrast, Craig Kimbrel cost Rick Wolf $19.
-Don't freak if you don't spend all your money. In such a shallow format, if you get the players you targeted, that should do it. That is because if the players you prefer produce as you anticipate, it won't matter what they cost.
Auctions are tricky animals, but they are indeed a lot of fun. The results and analysis will be part of the Rotoworld Draft Kit.