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Monday 16th Oct 2017

Last June, I met Niv Shah at the summer Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) conclave in New York, drafting against him in the Industry B League of experts, exchanging cards and pleasantries in between the old savage sniping of picks one expects from such an event.

A month after the conference, Niv contacted me and asked if I would be interested in joining a new Dynasty Auction football league that did not involve defense but did allow for the drafting of college players to use as an eventual farm system.

Niv and long-time mate Pete Schoenke of RotoWire assembled the league, hosted by--and brilliantly named Ottoneu--Niv's company which provides custom baseball and football formats for the "serious" competitor. Ottoneu is essentially the commissioner end of Fangraphs, so that should also tell you the level of love, interest, and detail any proposed league set-up receives.

For this league, we had a $400 salary cap for 20 players with no defense, as noted, and a pair of flex spots (not super) in a 12-team league that also allows for the drafting of college players.

This is indeed a strange draft to me. Of course, my instincts are to analogize with baseball, trying to correlate $260 into a team of which 23 guys will play (hopefully) as opposed to a football team of 20 guys for $400 of which 11 will play. And, the two are not really analogous although I am sure my math mate Todd could figure out a way to quantify the two.

Even so, in baseball I know that if Roberto Osuna goes for $18 as the first closer auctioned in an AL-only format, followed by Craig Kimbrel for $21, that the baseline for closers has been set for the most part, with the lesser guys going for a few bucks less.

But, in this league, things seem all whacked out in this regard, making it hard to get a real feel of player value. For example, let's look at the Top 5 costliesteach of Quarterbacks and Running Backs and Wide Receivers (thus far, the draft is still in online auction mode as we complete it).

Quarterbacks

  1. Aaron Rodgers $50
  2. Drew Brees $44
  3. Tom Brady $33
  4. Jameis Winston $23
  5. Russell Wilson $22

Running Backs

  1. David Johnson $118
  2. Le'Veon Bell $112
  3. Melvin Gordon $67
  4. Leonard Fournette $66
  5. Todd Gurley $65

Wide Receivers

  1. Antonio Brown $90
  2. A.J. Green $79
  3. Julio Jones $78
  4. Dez Bryant $72
  5. Odell Beckham, Jr. $71
  6. Mike Evans $71
  7. Brandin Cooks $71

When looking, the prices did largely fall, so the most talented/highest-point-potential player did indeed draw the most bucks, for surely Rodgers, Johnson and Brown are the cream of their respective spots. But, is the $18 drop to Bryant reflective of the end result of their respective seasons, assuming both players play an equal number of games? Note that Amari Cooper drew $61, Jordy Nelson $64, but Alshon Jeffery just $31.

Same at Running Back, where surely Johnson and Bell are the "bell weathers," but are each worth a 33% salary cap commitment on draft day? More to the point, Justin Vibber, owner of the Massillons, thought it logical to grab both Bell and Johnson along with Rodgers, and then simply bottom feed with his remaining $116 for the final 17 roster spots.

So, the question is will that work, or is a more balanced approach of Carson Palmer ($6) and Jordy Nelson ($64), along with Bryant and Jay Ajayi ($60) for a collective $202, as purchased by Schoenke, more rational? 

Truth is I don't know at this juncture as I have only done a couple of football auctions, but never a dynasty league, and never one like this. But, it is still hard to get my head around what the Massillons did, though I suspect it might work pretty well. I have employed a like strategy in 12-team mixed baseball auction leagues before with pretty good success.

It just did not occur to me to apply this to a football auction, so there is clearly some observational learning opportunities here. As for how the season turns out, that is why we draft, no?

To see the auction results, you can click here.

 Remember to go to the Tout Wars site for our Friday picks. And, tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Thursday night at 9 PM ET. 

Follow me @lawrmichaels.

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