With The Fantasy Man's 2009 Starting Pitchers Rankings and Closer rankings Podcasts due out this week, we'll start to move more rapidly into auction draft strategies. However, in case I can't get my act together, let's get the process going here at Fantasy Baseball Express as far as dealing with the Auction.
So let's keep it simple. Below are a few of the basics, mostly for you beginner Auction artists but some that the experienced can learn from or work off of. Let's assume a $270 budget, 23 man roster, mixed league, with a $1 minimum bid. As usual, don't be shy about commenting or sharing your hatred for my work...
Auction Strategies for the Beginner
1. The Plan - Have a clue before you get to the auction in general. Know how much (give or take a few bucks) you want to spend on certain players, positions, etc. Go in with a plan and stick to it!
2. Know the Players - If you don't have a rough idea as to how much a player should typically go for, you are not ready for an auction draft and you need more research time. Put it this way, if I throw out a player......Jose Reyes for example. If you don't know how much Reyes will typically go for in an auction, you need more research time. How about someone like...... Ubaldo Jimenez? Same thing. Know your players. Know how much they go for, know who gets the most hype/bidding wars, know what type of numbers you can expect from all players on an individual basis. If you know how much players go for, you can create a more effective plan from the beginning and target specific players. You don't want to be the guy at the draft when a fellow manager yells out, "Tommy Hanson, one dollar!"....and be sitting there saying to yourself, "Who?"
3. Talk It Up - Chat up your fellow managers, see who they like. Exploit the players on their favorite team. Find the players you don't necessarily care about and throw them out when it's your turn! When it's early, I'd advise you to never throw out a player you actually want! The longer you wait, the longer another manager may wait on a specific player. Sometimes a player comes out so late, that most managers can't afford to bid and takes them out of the bidding altogether. The more teams you can take out of the bidding of a specific player, the better chance of getting that player at market price or less.
4. Bidding - It's okay to overpay! Overpay here, go cheap over there. You can always compensate for a bad move or an expensive move. In a typical bidding war, if it's only you and another manager and the two of you just bid $5 straight on top of each other with no other bidders, you've started to drastically over pay and is an indicator as a good time to drop out. Jay Bruce is typically a $20-$25 player. If you bid that $25 for market value, another guy bids $1, you top it at $27, he bids another $1, then you topping at $29 is where you should stop. Once you hit that $30 mark, you better start praying Bruce has a monster break out year. That's just an example. With 1st round type players.... Hanley, Reyes, Pujols, Wright, etc.... No one should ever pay more than $55 in a $270/23 roster league, and even $55 is too high. My personal cutoff is $54 for a guy like Jose Reyes or Albert Pujols and even that for me is stretching it.
5. Be Realistic - Some of you may look at paying $54 for a player and crucify me. First of all, I have won doing that and second, it's really what you are paying for the top players. Let's be realistic here. ALL fantasy baseball magazines at the local Farnes and Zoble have ridiculously low auction values. These magazines have auction values based on stat crunching and numbers and NOT what people are actually paying in real auctions whether live or online. For example, one magazine, let's call it PhotoWorld has Grady Sizemore at $32 for a 5x5 league. Now who can seriously tell me that they've paid anywhere close to $32 in an auction draft for Sizemore? Another mag has it a little closer, let's call this one BLAHOO? has Sizemore at $37 in a mixed league, but still way off. It also has Ryan Braun at $36, ugh. Typical for Sizemore in 2009 as he is one of the most hyped players in drafts this year is anywhere between $45-$52 depending on homerism in your league in mixed leagues. I have seen it over and over in mocks and my own real league auctions this year. It's the same for pretty much all the top players. I'd say the magazines are dead wrong for maybe the top 100 players in a draft. I am sure the numbers they use to pump out these values can be justified, but they just don't have a clue when it comes to "real" value, which is the real value real people are paying in auctions. If you need more "real" values as to what people are actually paying, take a look at purchasing The Fantasy Man FEED so you can get my Draft Guide with the "real" values. Point is, either do your own research or do mock drafts to get an idea as to how much people are really paying!
6. Most Important - NEVER leave money on the table at the end of the draft. You may feel like you're overpaying for a potential star by going that extra buck or two. Don't sweat it, there will be plenty of $1 potential break out players at the end of the auction....and you'll be happy you got your man!
In the next post, we'll start to break down the auction and use specific players to get you ready to make a run at your championship, so stick around!
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