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Dealing with inflation in auctions

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Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby RotoCowboy » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:17 am

I am in a 12 team keeper league (we keep 13 each year), that is moving from draft league to an auction league. We've all come to an agreement on how to assign salaries to the 13 guys each of us will keep this year. And there will definitely be some inflation, about 30% in year 1, though there are going to be raises, so I'm pretty sure that number will come down to 20% or so after this year, but anyway...

I have been in a couple slow auction leagues, and it definitely has seemed to me that drafting from scratch, usually the first group of players taken are somewhat bad values, and that it isn't a good idea to nominate guys you like early. And based on what I've read, that seems to be the general advice. However I am in one deep deep dynasty league where there is crazy inflation (because of rookie contracts and other ways to keep players cheap), and it seems like year after year the "best" values are at the beginning. Everybody hopes that there will be some value later, but there hardly ever is, and people end up overspending on a necessary piece when they could have paid a hefty but relatively reasonable price earlier.

Now this will be my first fast auction draft (we're using ESPN). No one in our league has discussed inflation yet. Some owners I'm sure realize it might happen, and others just aren't thinking about it, I'm sure - they know the 156 kept players are discounted, but might not realize that leads to inflation for everyone else. Also, it isn't a normal 5X5 league (but it is similar), so a lot of people might be at least somewhat relying on the ESPN dollar values for 5X5 or some other 5X5 values, and while they'll know that certain players will be worth more or less based on the differences b/w our league and 5X5 leagues, they might not know quite how to adjust the salaries. I am somewhat confident in my salary projections.

So...should I be looking to nominate players I like early in the draft, and price enforce on guys I kind of like early, before other people catch on that everyone is going to have an inflated salary? It seems like the opposite of the normal advice. On the flip side, if players are going for a little more than expected, other people might just think some owners are falling into the usual trap of overbidding early, while those owners are actually getting good values. If this is the case, then other owners probably won't catch on to the inflation thing until the end, and I can still take advantage in the 3rd, 4th, etc round of players.

Basically, if I see value early, should I definitely take the guy, even though there might be better values later? Should I try to nominate guys early that I am not interested in that normally will go for too much, even though it is quite possible they will end up being good values since many owners will not be fully accounting for inflation?

Any help is useful.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby ayebatter » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:53 am

If I know that my keepers are projected bring me $100 in value by yrs end and I've only paid $50 for them, then by all means I'll price enforce on players I like, but remember you must have paid no more than 80% of 'your' projected value on your complete roster (including keepers), or you'll finish in the middle of the pack..and don't leave any money on the table...meaning spend the extra dollar for a player you want.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby Sticky Spice » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:10 am

In the earlier days of fantasy auctions, it seemed like all the bargains were in the middle and late rounds because people would blow their money early and not be as well studied. The internet has made almost everyone well-studied.

I feel like in the auctions I've participated in that there is less inflation in the very first round. People are just getting the feel for the room, they don't feel comfortable bidding high yet, and there are not as many positional and categorical shortages yet.

I've noticed that now you can shell out early and still have enough for some bargain hunting later. THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO is be that guy with a load of money for bargain hunting in the middle rounds only to realize only a precious few decent players are left on the board. Suddenly you wish you had bid $22 on Chipper Jones as you bid $29 on Edwin Encarnacion.

Don't sit on your sleeper in a keeper league auction - with so much undervalue going into the draft people will have money to outbid you later. There will be people with too much money to spend and suddenly your sleeper is going for way more than you budgeted for - not because they like that player, but because they have no choice but to spend their money. If you like a guy, bring him out EARLY. Especially if he's a mid-level guy when all the big boys are still in the pool.

I say in a keeper league auction with draft inflation to shell out early and bargain hunt later. Sit back and laugh at the ridiculous prices in the middle rounds.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby Matthias » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:46 am

Calculate your values. Include inflation. Stick to them.

If that means you buy the first five players or don't buy anyone from the first 80, it doesn't matter.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby PGEMF » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:53 pm

The most common misconception in auctions is that inflation is only what it is before the auction. Values are not static, because there is 30% inflation at the start of the auction, doesn't mean there can't be 35% inflation 10 picks in, or even 25% inflation. It adjusts with each pick, and it is upto you to recognize that.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby baseballspliffs » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:01 am

What a great thread, thanks OP, I had this very same issue and have been mulling over this for some time.

This isnt the most scientific method, but here's what I've been doing in my league (12 team auction keeper, 6 keepers)

I average out the dollar value per keeper (add the dollar value for the keepers and divided it by 6). In my case, I kept Pujols($35), Size($41), Billingsley ($1), and 3 other players who chooses to remain anonymous(league GMs might be lurking here, but they were all for $1).

So breaking down the math, I landed 2 first round talent for $38 per player (based on average). If you average the cost for all keepers, it comes to a ridiculous $13.333 per player. Its not the most scientific thing to do, but I have all the confidence that the remaining 3 keepers will pull their weight, and kick all sorts of @$$ this year.

So the moral of the story? Go after 1st rounders and don't be afraid to spend a little extra, because you can always average down the $ by keeping $1 players. One dude in my league went $50+ for Jose Reyes, but he made it up by getting Braun for real cheap, Hamilton for under 10 bucks and Pedroia off the WW for a buck.


And there's plenty of players on the WW that break out.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby brtnsbs » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:48 am

PGEMF wrote:The most common misconception in auctions is that inflation is only what it is before the auction. Values are not static, because there is 30% inflation at the start of the auction, doesn't mean there can't be 35% inflation 10 picks in, or even 25% inflation. It adjusts with each pick, and it is upto you to recognize that.


100% agree. I think the best thing that helped me in my keeper auction league this year was keeping an updated spreadsheet showing inflation or deflation ongoing throughout the draft. Nothing like knowing that inflation started at 20% but raised to 40% only 10 players in.
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby BillyHallDisciple » Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:51 pm

Don't sit on your sleeper in a keeper league auction - with so much undervalue going into the draft people will have money to outbid you later. There will be people with too much money to spend and suddenly your sleeper is going for way more than you budgeted for - not because they like that player, but because they have no choice but to spend their money. If you like a guy, bring him out EARLY. Especially if he's a mid-level guy when all the big boys are still in the pool.


I like this idea, but I'm wondering about something as I have an auction tomorrow and I'm getting more nervous by the minute...

Let's say I want to throw out Matt Wieters' name (which I do). I'm afraid if I do it too early then people will think, "Hey I've got a lot of money to spend" and they'll bid more aggressively than they would a little later on (when they're running lower on money). So I worry about having to spend too much to get him in that case. I guess I wonder if you'd throw out a name like that immediately as the auction starts or if you'd wait until the middle part of the auction. I'm pretty familiar with the dynamics of auctions, but don't really have a feel for this piece of it yet.

I agree though, if you wait till the very end of an auction and throw out your guys you were hoping to get for $1 you might be outbid by a guy for $2 on that sleeper (let's say, Hank Blalock for example).
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby Trainer of Dolphins » Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:00 pm

If you want Weiters I think the way to play it is not to nominate him right away. Maybe nominate McCann or Martin (high dollar guys you aren't targeting) and wait a while. The thing you want to do is make sure you nominate Weiters while there are still plenty of options left. You don't want people to be targeting him for their catcher, or targeting a specific catcher at all yet.

In summation I would say don't nominate your target right away, but don't wait too long either. Oh, and don't get too attached to a guy you don't own yet. If you love him chances are someone else does too!
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Re: Dealing with inflation in auctions

Postby NCAARules » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:57 am

This has been a great discussion so far ... just wanted to add my two cents and then bring up some things we saw develop in our auction last night.

Based on my experience - if you have a prospect or untested rookie, you are definitely best to wait until you are near the dollar days before nominating them (and then only if you are in position to go get them). Those types of players have almost always gotten bid up especially by the more discerning owners.

I understand the theory of calling them out while more proven options are still on the board, but in my league in years past that did not help to keep the price down - quite the opposite - owners bid the youngsters up knowing they could put a dent in the winners wallet, and still have reasonable fallbacks if they decided to fall out.

Last night we had our 12-team NL-only auction. Inflation was running about 25% coming into the auction. The first hour worth of available players went for FAR MORE than projected - bringing inflation back to nearly nothing. From there we saw talent scarcity rule the day - with prices inflating at RP, OF, 1B, 3B and SS. Deflating at 2B and SP. And catcher held steady at exactly its value. We didn't see any real bargins until the first 75 players were off the board.

Coming out of it, many of us were surprised by the aggressiveness of some of the owners to go spend $40 on lower first-tier guys. We set a record for $40+ players this year: Oswalt, Haren, Peavy, Santana, K-Rod, Berkman, Pujols, Rollins.

For the record - prospect/sleepers who went last night ... Josh Anderson - $9; Justin Upton - $16; Nick Hundley - $5; Jordan Zimmerman - $7; Andrew McCutchen - $3; Jordan Schafer - $4; Micah Hoffpaiur - $1; Cameron Maybin - $17.

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