By: Steve DeAngelo
I prefer Auctions because they allow you to target whatever player you like. If you are in an Auction keeper league then you won’t be able to target certain players because they will be under contract on another team, but in either case you have to act like a real GM and keep all these players under a certain budget. I have been doing these auction leagues since I started playing Fantasy Football back in 97 and I have always enjoyed it more than a regular draft. More and more leagues are starting to switch to the Auction style and some are combining it with the Keeper format. This league style may be new to you, so I am going to provide you with some tips that I have learned over the years.
Confidence and Clarity
Two very important things to attack your auction with. You know football, you’ve been watching it most of your life and you have a knack for what players are going to be effective and what players aren’t. This has to be your attitude. If you want a certain player, buy him, don’t be outbid by another owner, go get him and don’t be passive. Have a plan on what players in particular you definitely want and go get em. If this isn’t a keeper league, then you will have your choice of whatever player you like, or if it is a keeper league then target the best free agents and make sure you get some of the best ones available, granted you have enough money to spend.
Always look for value in Auctions. You may not want a particular player, but if he is going cheap and you have a the money to spend go get him. If Tim Hightower is going for $7-9 bucks that is solid value. He’s not the sexiest pick, but he has looked great this preseason and looks like he will be the starter this year. Throughout your auction there will be value, it could come at the start when owners don’t know how much money to spend on their players yet; It could come in the middle after all the top guys have gone or it could come at the end when people have run out of money. I have been noticing that most of the value comes during the middle of the auction, but it really could vary from league to league depending on if it’s keeper or not and how many keepers are allowed. The key is to identify this value, pay attention and take advantage when the opportunity presents itself.
Don’t get trapped
A lot of times there will be one really good player at a certain position left. You waited to long, passed on value and now are forced to bid on this player. This happens most often in keeper leagues when the market is lacking a lot of talent. What usually happens is that this last good player ends up getting bid up way too much and since you really need the player you are forced to pay for him. Don’t get caught in this trap, if this is a player you want, then throw him out when it’s your turn to call out a player before he becomes the last really good player at his position. An example of this was last year in one of my Auctions when Running Backs were getting slim and Maurice Jones-Drew was the last stud back left. I was forced to pay $73 dollars for him and severely overpaid, while other more talented backs like Adrian Peterson only went for around $60 earlier on. Again all about timing and gauging value.
Make sure you are crossing players off as they go, if it’s a keeper league please have all players that are protected crossed off prior to the Auction!!! Don’t think you can just wing it. Make sure you always keep track of how much money you have left as well as keeping a good idea of what your fellow owners have. You can get real serious and keep it all in your own form on a spreadsheet or you could just simply write down how much money they have. Every league usually does a money check periodically, or if you are doing it online then you can see it all right from your computer. Just make sure you are crossing all players off that are taken, you don’t want to be the guy that is calling out a player that is taken already and you want to know exactly how much depth at each position is left. As the Auction goes on write down what players you want to target on a sheet a paper, and cross them out as they get selected. Again if you’re doing this online, then it will keep track of everything for you.
Bidding and Calling out Players
Usually each league has their owners take turns calling out players as they go around in a circle. When it’s your turn to call out a player you can do a couple different things depending on how far you are into the auction and how much money you have. In the beginning what I usually like to do is make owners spend as much money as possible, so I call out high-priced players I want no part of. Steven Jackson is a RB I have always stayed away from because of his team and his lack of TD’s over the past few years. He will definitely go for more than $20 and that is much more than I am willing to spend for him, so good riddance that he limits another owners pockets. Now if it’s early in the Auction and there is a talented player I really want then I want to make sure he gets called out before he becomes one of the top players at his position left, I don’t want to get trapped. So I will call out this player before this happens, like I mentioned earlier.
We all want those sleepers and a lot of the times we want to wait until the end of the draft when nobody has any money to spend. But a lot of times other owners have been saving their money for him as well. So there is really no good time to call out a sleeper, you could wait, but if other owners really want him then they will have money saved to get that player, just like you did. Sometimes it’s a good strategy to call this player real early in the Auction, before anybody knows how much to spend on him, because their teams haven’t really shaped out yet.
Again looking for value, if you see a player is going for cheap, bid on him and even if you don’t get him at least you are driving up to what his actual market price should be. Also if you sense a certain owner wants a player real bad, you could drive his price up, while watching that owner continue to bid higher and higher, but be careful you could get burnt and end up with a player you don’t want or can’t really afford!
Be Bold, Stay Focused
Auctions tend to last longer than drafts, so be prepared for that. Stay focused and if you’re doing this offline always make sure your list has all players that have been taken crossed out. Know the depth at each position. Don’t get trapped into taking that last great player at his position. If you want a player, go get him, don’t get pushed around. You want to feel confident when you are done, you don’t want to leave the auction knowing that you really didn’t get what you wanted. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra if you really want that player. Remember to always look for value. But out of all things, be confident, be bold and be poised. This has to be in your mindset, I always see a few owners who look tentative, look flustered and their team looks terrible at the end of the Auction. If your draft is offline, then make sure to bring a CPU or a good magazine to check on key things such as last years stats, career averages, schedules, bye weeks and game logs. That’s really it, if you guys have any other questions feel free to email me at SteveDeAngelo@gmail.com and make sure to listen to our radio show at Blogtalkradio.com/FantasySavvy during the season.