Ah, auction drafts. My favorite. If I had my way we’d kick snake drafts to the curb (or curb stomp them if you just watched America History X or just played Gears of War – you get those supercool, not at all dated references, amirite?).  I re-read my Auction primer from 2017, and there are some good nuggets in there I suggest you go peruse, either now or at your leisure, I’ll leave it up to you…

But let’s say you chose to ignore my advice and not read my Auction Primer. That’s ok (my feelings can take it), so I’m going to pick out the most important lines, and it wouldn’t be a Razzball post if it wasn’t me quoting me. The biggest takeaways that still and always apply are:

Pricing/Cost

“The pricing of the website you are using to draft is the most important. Because most leaguemates will use the default pricing as a guide and as such won’t typically exceed those values by more than $5. So compare your values to the default site your using is the best way I’ve found to determine pricing.”

Furthermore, to keep it simple, what I’ve done for this season is add $5 for guys I want and take $5 from the guys I don’t. There are auction values all over the interwebs, but what really matters is knowing the costs of the website you are drafting with, since that is the anchor that most, if not all, of your leaguemates will use. If this paragraph reads like different wording but saying basically the same thing as the preceding one know it’s on purpose because that’s how strongly I feel about this.

Psychology

“For nominating: I nominate guys I don’t want until the middle to end of the draft. I want others to spend their money early which makes them more hesitant to go higher on the guys I want. Don’t nominate Kickers and Defense early, because then your leaguemates can budget better knowing they have those positions filled. This has more to do with psychology of auction drafting, which is a real thing and if you’ve been paying attention you’ve already noticed me mentioning it throughout; the psychological aspect comes from experience of doing auction drafts with real people.”

Obviously it’s better to personally know your leaguemates, so you know your one buddy is a Ravens fan who will overpay for them, or your other friend is a Bears fan and he won’t draft Packers, or your one friend bailed at the last minute and someone’s wife had to step in and all she knows is she’ll overpay for this Mahomes guy. Even if you don’t know your leaguemates, they are still people, not bots. If you’ve ever been in a bidding war, that’s a prime example of the psychological aspect of auction drafting. It’s like when you go to pass someone going slow on the freeway and when they see you start to pass them they speed up, you know what I’m saying?

I also can’t stress enough about the Kickers and Defense nominating. Besides being lame, it also doesn’t force people to spend their auction dollars. You want your opponents to spend money on guys you don’t want so you can get more of the guys you want for cheaper. Disagree if you want at your own peril.

My favorite part of auction drafting is getting the guys we want. In a snake draft, that often doesn’t happen. So my best advice is Draft the Team You Want. Fantasy sports are so much more fun when you have guys you like. Go the extra $5 on the guy you want and I promise you in almost all cases you won’t miss that $5 by the time the draft is over and you’ll be happier psychologically rooting for a team you like rather than having a bunch of “value” guys that you aren’t excited about.

I say this from experience, as I’ve noticed that many other managers won’t go the extra dollar since its outside their “value” for the player, and then they get to the end of the draft with $15 left, so they spend $15 on a kicker. How is that fun? You can’t take the money with you, so spend it.

Draft Strategy:

There are so many different draft strategies, from Stars and Scrubs, to zero-RB (which isn’t really zero RB, it’s more like crappy RBs) to spreading that money around. My personal strategy is Stars and Scrubs, but as its your team I won’t tell you how to draft. Just take note of making a solid list of $1 guys. The guys you take with your last few picks probably will be cut week 1 for the hot adds, so don’t waste more than a buck on them. Same with Kickers and Defense (and TE to an extent), don’t spend more than a buck on them either, cause the money you don’t spend on those 3 positions and ending bench spots can be better spent on a top WR or RB.

Lastly, remember every auction draft is different. I’ve been in ones where the top guys (and this dates me too, but I remember after LDT’s huge season the next year we didn’t nominate him until the 3rd round) don’t go until deep into the draft, or ones where the first round was filled with TEs, Kickers and Defenses. Be ready to zig when others zag (a theme I picked up from Grey many years ago) and make changes on the fly. Say you see the top RBs going for $20 more than the top WRs (seems to be happening this year) but in your draft, the top WRs are going for more than the top RBs. So you see this in real time, and adjust your strategy from drafting the top RBs and taking second/third tier WRs to top WRs and second/third tier RBs. Be flexible and embrace the chaos of Auction drafts and you’ll be fine.

Yahoo! Values Section

Now let’s get on with 2019. This is for Yahoo! values only, so if you’re in ESPN or Fantrax or CBS or another host site, the dollar values won’t be applicable to those leagues, but the overall message can be applied to any auction draft.

Pricing/Cost

Note: The values above as of 8/23/19 with a $200 budget, 1 QB 2 RBs, 2WRs, 1 Flex, K, D.

Yahoo uses projected values and average cost, which I think is kind of silly, as average cost for auctions is primarily determined by when a player is nominated. Since you can nominate any player when it’s your turn, this can lead to guys drafted late having a really low average cost, but if they’re thrown out early, they go for closer to their projected values. It’s an imperfect system, but how much can we really complain about a free site?

Anyhoo, let me talk about my strategy for 2019 and Yahoo! Dollar values, which is what you’re really here for. I’m going with stars and scrubs strategy, ideally looking for one of the top RBs, and pairing him with a high tier two RB and a top tier WR, or two top tier two WRs.

Running backs are up first. This season (especially in PPR) I want one of Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara.  I’ll take whoever is cheaper, but I’m getting one of them. Even if I have to “overpay.” Quotation marks there because value is relative, but regardless the likelihood of them going much more than $5 over their average cost is slim, and I can make a good team with them even with a slight overpay. The floor is so high for both that I can’t see going wrong with either to start a team.  Currently Kamara is at $68 and McCaffrey is at $67, and I’d pay $70ish for them. However, if you like Saquon Barkely better, go get him. I’m just not going to as his floor isn’t as high as the other two and Zeke I’m avoiding since who knows about his holdout (as of this writing).

Next I want to pair my top RB with a Tier Two, $50ish RB. Here we have David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Nick Chubb, Melvin Gordon and Joe Mixon. Of this group, who are going for an average cost of $45-58, I am only considering Conner. The others have too many questions and too low of floors for me to consider at their prices. Gordon’s situation especially worries me. If Conner goes for too much, I’m looking at Todd Gurley and his $36 average cost. That value for his ceiling is worthwhile enough, and I can use the extra money saved to put toward my flex or get a better WR1 or WR2.

The rest of Tier 3 RBs, I see are Damien Williams at $35, Aaron Jones at $24, Devonta Freeman at $23, Kerryon Johnson at $20. All are good value plays for an RB2 or Flex spot. Williams especially is undervalued and has a reasonably high floor, same with Freeman. Depending on how the draft goes, you may be able to get a lot of the following RBs for less than even these costs:

Sony Michel $10

David Montgomery $9

Phillip Lindsay $9

Chris Carson $8

Tevin Coleman $4

James White $4

Tarik Cohen $4

Lamar Miller $4

Miles Sanders $3

Darrell Henderson $3

Adrian Peterson $2

Latavius Murray $3

Devin Singletary $2

Royce Freeman $2

Peyton Barber $2

Wide Receivers at the top seem undervalued compared to their RB counterparts, but we can use that to our advantage. Going off of Average Cost, the top tier of DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr, and Michael Thomas; coming in with values between $49-57. No problem with any of those guys in that price range. JuJu Smith-Schuster falls right in between tier one and tier two pricing-wise at $44, and he’s the guy I want most this year.

With that being said I am really liking tier two and hope to get two guys from the group of: Tyreek Hill, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper and Adam Thielen. Their costs are between $28-36, and I may very well get two of them; I highly advise doing the same if possible.

Tier Three Value plays:

Stefon Diggs $22

Robert Woods $18

Brandin Cooks $13

Julian Edelman $15

Cooper Kupp $9

Rest of the Wideout Value Plays:

Calvin Ridley $6

Tyler Boyd $6

DJ Moore $6

Christian Kirk $3

Will Fuller $3

Jarvis Landry $5

Emmanuel Sanders $2

John Brown $1

Tyrell Williams $1

Demaryius Thomas $1

Curtis Samuel $1

Anthony Miller $1

Josh Gordon $1

Mark Andrews $1

Tight End is a position I already said I don’t want to spend more than a buck on; however I see Kelce as a Gronk type of Tight End as he’s the number one option on the Chiefs and could see spending $50 on him; doing that just means your #2 wide receiver is going to be a value guy and not a tier two or three guy. But that can work, just know that is your strategy going in. An easier way to do this may be to go after the cheaper George Kittle, who also is his team’s number one option and is about $20 cheaper than Kelce. I am passing on Ertz, Howard, Henry and Engram as I don’t see them as head and shoulders above the cheaper options. If you don’t do the Kelce/Kittle strategy, here are the value TEs and getting one for a buck shouldn’t be difficult, just can’t be choosey on which one:

David Njoku $3

Vance McDonald $3

Austin Hooper $2

TJ Hoeckenson $2

Kyle Rudolph $2

Trey Burton $2

Saving Quarterbacks for last makes sense in my mind, as there are so many value plays here it is silly to pay more than $5 for any of them, and in most cases a dollar should be all you need to spend. I did manage to draft Mahomes and Kelce in a league and added Gurley and Jones as my starting RBs, but I was left with Tier 3 and beyond wideouts. If you can stomach that, getting the Chiefs juggernaut combo may be worth it. I recommend drafting two QBs for less than $5 total, knowing that the odds are good one will work out, and possibly both. Here are the value plays at Quarterback:

Cam Newton $3

Drew Brees $3

Dak Prescott $2

Russell Wilson $4

Lamar Jackson $2

Matt Ryan $4

Philip Rivers $2

Jared Goff $2

Mitchell Trubisky $2

Kirk Cousins $2

Sam Darnold $1

So that’s it, and if you’ve made it this far know that I appreciate you, and have blessed you with the most fantasy luck I can give. Now go dominate your drafts Razzballers!

  1. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    16 teamer dynasty with IDP, PPR. we have to in season have at least 7 players from our team names. it’s fantrax and we have infinite RES/IR slots and during byes we can put them in there too, pretty much any reason a player can’t or might not play he can be stashed. due to this nobody can add suspended/inactive/long term injured off of FA to stash. slow draft for about 3-4 rounds before an online to clean up anybody that still wants FA players. i won this mother and always have been a top 3ish season scoring team, other 2 years got unlucky in playoffs, but lucky for draft picks considering how good team is. almost no chance k.murray falls to 1.16 (but i wouldn’t have thought he’d still be there at 1.9 and he’s still there). non snake draft, i get the shitty pick in all rounds.
    roster (some of these are in RES/IR slots, max 25 active healthy at a time)
    QB: trubisky/rosen (max 2 QB’s active, i got screwed by ARI drafting this guy high then giving up early)
    RB (2): DJ, d.will (KC), drake, breida, gus the bus, samuel, hyde, 6 max RB healthy
    WR: evans, kirk, r.foster, d.hamilton, doctson, j.reynolds, t-will (OAK), m-will (LAC, works out for both my williams’ for t-will to leave town), 7 max WR healthy
    TE: ertz, RSJ (ARI)
    1 flex
    LB (2, max 4): vander esch, cunningham, trevathan, burfict
    DB (2, max 4): swearinger (SWIDGEN!), baker, mcdougald
    DL (2, max 4): campbell, c.jones
    K (1): badgley
    DEF: (1) MIN

    so i need at least one more ARI player and will have to drop some amount of my RB/WR depth if they all get healthy. h.butler in like round 3 or later can probably be stashed (highest draft grade out of the 3 ARI WR rookies: butler, isabella, k.johnson (the latter is supposedly having the best camp)). but RSJ clogs up a spot and is completely useless, so getting more of them isn’t an awful idea.

    what youse think about trading one of z.cunningham/burfict/trevathan (trevathan ranked a bit behind j.hicks by best IDP site, not tons though) + 1 of d.hamilton/foster/reynolds/doctson + 1 of gus the bus/samuels/hyde (doubt anybody wants hyde just now anyway) for j.hicks LB (ranked higher than any of my LB not named vander esch and ranked right at cunningham and is ARI player). i’d mostly have all ARI useful IDP guys.

    2. what about if opp asks for drake or rosen here? he’s MIA and probably is going to try that. getting hicks is good but dropping 1 or 2 out of trevathan/burfict is a value loss since at least one of those are better than most teams’ 2nd LB. this might depend on who i can get with my 1.16 pick (but it’s gone 5/8th RB so far, maybe that depth is going to be thinner this year in this league for drafting). this opp has absolutely horrible RB and somewhat WR depth issues though, might be exactly the kind of guy that’ll do a 3 for 1. he also might only want 2 of this group of players, and might be able to throw in like a 4th rounder (a very good 4th rounder if so) along with j.hicks for 2 of that group. he just now got his 2nd RB starter with jacobs at 1.1. we’re nearing my pick at 1.16.

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      To win and be close multiple times is impressive in such a format; even moreso when I see your QBs going in. Though I love them both, especially keeperwise(don’t give up on Rosen yet). I do like that ownership of actual team’s players, that’s a trip.
      1. I can see that trade; but seems like a lot to give up, but does cover the ARI requirement better. So if you can do it with Hyde, hopefully not Trevathan, and any of those 4 WRs I’d say do it. Offer Trevathan if initial offer rejected.
      2. I like how you’re putting yourself in his team’s shoes. I don’t know why he wouldn’t overpay for Drake, and that and Trevathan, with him sending back something else for your team, should be enough (like you said, a draft pick might do it, but I’d want a decently high one for Drake, better than a 4th)

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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        hyde is just out. even though the opp has shitty depth (seriously as of this minute he has jacobs/ajayi in his RB slots, and still drafted d.jones QB NYG with his 2.1 pick). he wants to do rosen for j.hicks straight up and might give back a shitty pick. doesn’t seem to be interested in drake for some reason even though he’s MIA, needs MIA players, and even more badly needs RB’s. and now with d.jones he can’t even trade for rosen (unless he just drops d.jones or has a trade to move him off, which he might).

        oh, i got aj brown WR TEN with my 1.16. could’ve gone haskins or d.jones with intent to move rosen off. haskins is only this year QB left with nearly identical draft grade score (k.murray was obv more, but also picked in middle 1st round). Bdon/donkey teeth’s prospect rankings compiled together had aj brown the highest overall player left (i could’ve gone one of the big LB rookie devins too, but we’re probably not deep enough (and certainly i’m ALREADY LB deep enough) to not do that though).

        • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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          not only those 2 RB’s in starting slots, NO other RB’s.

          • Phil B.

            Phil B. says:
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            So weird he doesn’t want Drake. Can you move Trevathan or Burfict first? Or move Drake with them to someone else? I like AJ at that puck, not sure why even take DJones. Anyway, I don’t see why, if you can move one of those other LBs, to not take Rosen for Hicks.

            • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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              i might also be able to
              1. grab haskins at 2.16
              2. trade what he wants, rosen for j.hicks
              3. later draft/stash h.butler (ARI’s best draft graded rookie WR, who’s out either all year or close). butler will be around MANY rounds later from being out all year.

              then i could drop RSJ to improve rest of team. i have been holding him for years to get to minimums, and he’s awful. there are better TE’s in FA constantly. and i’d have 2 long term QB’s. we’re at 2.8 now so no guarantee that’ll work, but it might. i’d have to drop a good LB after (or trade).

              • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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                this is what happened. drafted haskins at 2.16 and immediately accepted his rosen for j.hicks, now he’s stuck with 3 QB’s since for some reason he drafted d.jones at 2.1 when he NEEDS RB depth (he got j.richard handcuff to his jacobs at 3.4). got lucky on RSJ being traded away so i don’t have to hold him anymore but now i need another ARI guy (probably at least one of: k.johnson, isabella and/or stash h.butler in injury slot). he’ll either have to trade his way out of that or drop one by season starting time.

                • Phil B.

                  Phil B. says:
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                  RSJ is awful.Like your moves there. K Johnson is my add from ARI. Can I ask, how did you determine the teams you get? Did you guys do a draft to start?

  2. Steve Anus says:
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    12 teamer standard league. dynasty. weird league though since it’s front loaded some owners keep very few players in order to attempt to get entire draft rounds to themselves. last year 1 or 2 guys kept like 2 total players to try to get barkley, it only worked out for one of them, and i’m sure both got worse overall than they were by doing that.
    keep max 15 here and since i got zeke AND melgor i’ll shortly be likely needing more RB’s than i would’ve hoped for.
    QB RW3 (SEA), mayfield
    RB (2) zeke, melgor, both MIA guys (so i’m in trouble here, possibly all year, long term i’m fine though)
    WR (3): (here i’m too stacked): AB, MT (NO), hilton, boyd, kirk (also could keep samuel)
    TE (1): ertz, cook
    K (1): NE kicker
    DEF (1): none yet

    could throw back cook or an extra WR here i guess (hilton or kirk, hilton’s entire career just took a completely disgusting turn, esp if we remember what his stats looked like the last time luck was out) or RW3 maybe. do have 1 IR slot in case drake isn’t ready to start year, but i’d have to keep him as active player now. pretty clearly i need RB’s quick if i expect to compete while zeke/melgor sit and do nothing and melgor loses money.

    • Steve Anus says:
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      oops, it’s 15 kept max, and no flex here.

      • Phil B.

        Phil B. says:
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        That strategy is interesting; but if too many managers do it I assume it backfires kind of, like you said, it only worked out for 1 last year, if that.

        Anyway, I’d bounce Cook. What about moving Hilton? And AB really? AB has low value in my mind, but I’ve done enough mocks where he goes for #2 WR value consistently that another owner might pay, and net you a decent RB. Can you trade picks? Might just try and move both, and take some young RBs.

        If time, let me know how it works out

        • Steve Anus says:
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          no, one of those basic yahoo leagues with no predraft trading allowed unless the comish wants to do the work, and here i don’t comish (i always do that work) and comish isn’t doing it here. there’s a reason why backloaded keepers is the way to go UNLESS say you had some team that’s just completely awful. like say 5 or more teams are having to throw away better players prekeepers than the bad team has as it’s 2nd player at whichever position.

          • Phil B.

            Phil B. says:
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            Seems like a league that you have to compete every year, and tanking would only work if the tanking team is the only one to tank, right?

            • Steve Anus says:
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              sounds about right. last year was a weird example due to barkley, but some of these guys look at their roster, see it’s not a top 5ish team than think keeper tanking will help them far more than it actually does. plus a lot of these guys probably just like the chaos of having almost completely different players every year.

  3. Alcesto says:
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    I want to be in your league where I can get Tyler Boyd for $6 and Chris Carson for $8. Ridiculous

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      If they go when no one has much money left is how Yahoo got to that price. Carson is lowly rated, so that combined with the fact that most mock auction drafts are abandoned by the time he comes to be nominated, gives him that value. There are usually a few guys who go for really cheap toward the middle-end of an auction; its just never the same guys (that’s where tiers really help).

    • Eric the Waiter with Hands for Hands says:
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      yeah, mock auctions are eventually less useful to compare to real drafts than even regular mock drafts are.

      • Phil B.

        Phil B. says:
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        In both cases guys quit the draft after the first couple rounds, true that.

        But looking at average cost, and how that translates to When guys are nominated, is useful. So are doing a mock auction, especially for those that have never done one.

        If I know that I may not get the Exact RB I want for a few bucks, but know there will be 5 in that range, I can plan for that. Late in Auctions I don’t really care exactly who I get, just that I get a bunch of guys, and hope that 1 or 2 work out.

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:
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          For example, I just had a real draft last Fri, and got Michel for $9 after first 4 rounds. Yahoo avg cost is $10, $18 is his projected value

          If he gets thrown out in the first 2 rounds, he goes for $18ish. Timing is everything

        • Eric the Waiter with Hands for Hands says:
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          i’m not saying there isn’t ANY value in doing auction mocks, oh no, def is. i’m saying that stuff after people leave (just like a standard mock) isn’t valuable, sinc e it wasn’t done by an actual human.

          • Phil B.

            Phil B. says:
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            Solid point, though sometimes those bots draft better than actual humans…at least the some humans in my leagues :)

            • Eric the Waiter with Hands for Hands says:
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              true, but more often the bots draft a lot worse, at least in yahoo where it’s AI would have owners draft backup kickers in dynasty leagues ahead of RB/WR since it’s programed to think backup K is needed.

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