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Here’s Who I’m Buying In Auctions

Over the past two weeks I’ve participated in six auctions, all triple-digit buy-ins. These are not mocks; I will play out each of these rosters. When given the chance to buy any player for 2017, these are the players I just can’t get enough of.

These are all full PPR, $200 budget auctions. Some require three starting WRs with a flex, some require two, so there are some slight starting lineup variations. Otherwise, there are very standard league settings. One more difference is six-point passing TDs.

I didn’t come into these auctions with an intention for my rosters to overlap significantly, but I certainly left the auction having achieved that. There are just some players I can’t understand the cost on, and have ranked so substantially higher from their price, that it’s hard to let them go in any situation.

So I haven’t been. I’ve basically just been buying my guys. Here they are, from left to right chronologically with an August 17th auction starting at far left and one I wrapped up last night at far right.

2017 Auction Drafts

A few quick things, then I’m going to highlight some players:

  • I’ve only gone over $40 on four players across six drafts and never more than once in the same auction. Standard drafts are relatively flat from about the second or third round through to the ninth or 10th this year, and I’m loading up on players in those ranges. In my first draft, 15 of my 18 buys had ADPs in the 10th round or better.1
  • The appropriate way to leverage the perception drafts are flat in the middle rounds would be to chase first-round picks and then players in the latter part of the flat area (i.e. rounds 7-10). I’ve gone into a lot of drafts planning this way, but top-end pricing has been pretty steep, and I’ve adjusted accordingly.
  • Generally speaking, I’m employing the three strategies I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.
  • Obviously I don’t think paying for a quarterback makes any sense in an auction, though I’ve bought Andrew Luck for cheap, given the six-point passing TD structure. He has the potential to be a difference maker later in the season if he gets right, and the cost wasn’t prohibitive.
  • These numbers are sometimes a bit higher than the price I’d pay on a player due to constraints applied by auctions. For instance, last night2 Andy Dalton and Eric Ebron were both late buys in a draft where the top-end names had gone way higher than I’ve seen, which gave me more flexibility than most of my competitors. As I built depth at both RB and WR with some value buys, I realized it was worthwhile to pay a bit more than I’d allocated at QB and my backup TE spot for names I had a tier higher than everyone else who had yet to be nominated.3
  • The prices I paid don’t always reflect how high I’d go – just how high my competitors would.

Naturally, where I see the biggest disparity between market value and my personal value, I’ve bought in many leagues. Let’s highlight players I’ve bought multiple times, starting with who I’ve grabbed in three or more leagues. The different colors indicate how many leagues I own the player in, with orange being three, yellow being four, and Ebron and Stefon Diggs getting their own colors.

2017 Auction Drafts 2

  • I have Amari Cooper ranked in my top-eight WRs and Keenan Allen and Diggs in my top 12. I believe these players should be second rounders in 2017 drafts4 based on their profiles, and think the fact they are not is an inequity in the market. Rather than trying to play the “How long can I wait?” game from snake drafts, in an auction you can just set your personal price point and wind up buying them everywhere.5
  •  As I move across my drafts, I’m aware of the guys I’m building ownership on, and less willing to continue buying them if reasonable alternatives exist. In other words, I’m altering my prices as I buy players. I like Terrance West but let him go last night for cheaper than I’ve paid for him before. As I mentioned, there was plenty of value in last night’s draft, and one constraint is you can only draft a finite number of players per team. Sometimes I will make conscious decisions to allow players I like go to other teams at significant values.
  • T.Y. Hilton is a name I wish I had less exposure to. 14TeamMocker wrote about his cost recently. Most top-12 WRs have been going in the $40 range, and guys outside the top three like Mike Evans, A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, and Michael Thomas have all reached $49 or more in at least one of these drafts. My number on Hilton was $35, and a couple of times I’ve grabbed him as essentially the only discount to my listed values among top WRs – at least outside Allen and Diggs. It’s not a coincidence I’ve also gotten Allen and Diggs in nearly all my Hilton auctions. When the top names have gone high, I’ve resorted to the same reliable values to build the all-important WR depth.

Let’s add in players I’ve drafted in two or more leagues before wrapping this up. This visual now looks like a rainbow, hence the buildup.6

2017 Auction Drafts 3

  • David Johnson has been a priority target early in every auction. His price has varied significantly, but the cheapest I’ve let him go was $65 in my first auction. He’s been over $75 twice. My price for him was $69,7 but if you’ve created modified values, there’s something to be said about getting discounts to those rates. Since I set my own pricing, it’s going to differ from the market. If I was looking to maximize value relative to my own pricing, I’d wind up with a roster with a total valuation well over $200.8 Of course, there’s a balance, and you can’t always expect to get a few dollars’ worth of discounts, especially on elite talent. One rule of thumb is I try not to pay full price for assets early in drafts before I know what pricing will look like, and yet that first draft is a situation where I would have gone to $66 and even $68 for Johnson if I could do it again. More broadly than Johnson, my rule of thumb left me with little exposure to the other top five players in ADP (i.e. I’ve let players like Julio Jones go at my listed price early in drafts).
  • One thing my strategy has prevented is accumulating more shares of my preferred fliers. I go into auctions willing to make $1 buys for at least a third of my roster, and probably my biggest self criticism here is that I haven’t gotten my money in early. I’ve often found myself in position to rack up a lot of $2-$5 buys, which isn’t the end of the world.
  • I wrote about Theo Riddick, Shane Vereen, Giovani Bernard, and C.J. Prosise yesterday. I have at least two of them on every roster, save my auction last night, where I paid up for Bilal Powell late as my third or fourth RB buy. I love me some cheap, pass-catching backs.
  • I’m down with RotoDoc’s two TE1 strategy. With an influx of young TE talent creating a lot of situations that could easily prevent a single TE from emerging, I’m not high on a lot of late-round TEs.9 I’m targeting TEs earlier in 2017 drafts and auctions.
  • A few players I wish I had more of, at cost: Jeremy Maclin, Theo Riddick, Jeremy Hill, Marqise Lee, John Ross.
  • A few players I’ve targeted and regret having no exposure to at the prices they’ve gone: Jamison Crowder (has gone in the low- and mid-teens),  Thomas Rawls, Wendell Smallwood, Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Charles, Kenny Britt, Jonathan Williams, Patriots RBs, Robert Turbin, Marlon Mack.

Alright, that’s all I have. Let me know what you think of my drafts in the comments!

  1. I only tracked the first one that way, but it looks like I’ve done similar in subsequent drafts.  (back)
  2. The far-right team.  (back)
  3. I did this with Ebron more than once.  (back)
  4. Cooper a late first.  (back)
  5. There’s nothing worse than letting a player you have valued in the second fall in a draft because ADP says trying to get him in the fourth is worth the gamble, and then getting sniped. In an auction, every owner’s valuations are all laid bare, and it’s frankly a lot less stressful.  (back)
  6. I couldn’t just throw the below at you.  (back)
  7. Nice.  (back)
  8. Probably at least $50 over.  (back)
  9. Despite the multi-year trend of late-round TE being a solid move.  (back)

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