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Auction rookie needs help

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Auction rookie needs help

Postby Ed Whitson » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:37 am

OK guys, I'm a veteran in fantasy baseball but have always played a straight draft league. This year I'm going to throw my hat into an auction league. I need some draft philosophy, bidding strategy, and any major differences in approach between auction and straight draft setups. League is a 6x6 H2H keeper league. Cats are 5x5 plus OBP and Batting avg. against. 12 teams. Thanks
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Postby Amazinz » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:21 pm


This is a broad topic and there are probably one-hundred strategies that all work if applied correctly. I will outline what I feel are the most important points for the new person to recognize prior to their first auction.

In a straight draft you go round-by-round selecting the best player available based on your values and the only real management that you have to perform is making sure that you field a valid team. Here’s a contrived example: Let’s say that you select 1st overall and draft Pujols. Fear of a chronic back condition has caused Vlad to drop and he drops so far that he makes it back to you at pick #24. What to do you do? The answer is simple: You take Vlad with your 2nd pick and pat yourself on the back because you now have a serious leg up on your competition.

The reason I outlined such a crazy scenario is because in an auction draft the possibility of having two or even three “1st-rounders” on your team is very possible. Not only is it possible but it may be the quickest way to guarantee that you lose your league. I think that may be the hardest aspect to wrap our heads around when transitioning from straight draft to auction. Every purchase you make has repercussions because it can severely limit your ability down the road. It is much more critical to have a big picture while participating in an auction.

Track your opponents’ teams like you do your own. This is something I do for straight drafting as well (except during Yahoo!-style fast drafts) but it is critical for auction drafting. You need to be aware of the state of your league’s economy at any given time. How much money do I and my opponent’s have left? If this was a roto league how do we currently sit in the standings assuming my projections are 100% accurate? It doesn’t matter that they won’t be. What statistical categories are scarce? Which are abundant? This is going to allow you to inflate and deflate the value you’re willing to pay as the draft progresses. Setting this all up in Excel, for instance, can be a lot of work but having this information available to you will pay huge dividends as the draft unfolds.

You didn’t mention what your league cap was so I am going to assume $260 and approximately 23 roster spots. Here are two golden rules that have been around forever: the $30 rule and the 75% rule. You will eventually adapt these rules to your style as you become more familiar with auction drafting but I think they can be very helpful to new auctioneers. You’re bound to make mistakes, we all do, but these will help you avoid the big ones.

The $30 rule simply means that you are going to attempt and have no +$30 players on your team. In reality you’ll probably end up with 1 or 2 players at +$30 but the reason you want to highlight this amount in your mind is because this is the point of diminishing returns. A player like Pujols is a necessary evil because you have to guarantee X in any given category to win but you have to overpay for him so you’re actually losing money on the investment. Look at RotoTimes values for last year and notice the number of players at or above $30; the “good” choices at +$30 tend to give you only a couple of dollars in return. You want to get the largest return possible on the majority of your line-up. This brings me to the 75%-rule.

After you have anchored your roster with a stud or two, you want to attempt and pay 75% of the dollar amount you evaluated the player at. If you value "player A" as $20 then avoid paying more than $15. This is somewhat of a Holy Grail since you won’t be able to pull this off across the board. The idea is this: if you get a 25% return from every player on your roster you will win your league. You can Google this and find some essays on the 75%-rule that go further in depth on why this make sense mathematically.

Leftover money: If you finish an auction draft with money leftover you dropped the ball. It’s a balancing act which is sometimes easier said then done but every dollar you have at your disposal is power; it’s your ability to influence the draft. Even if you have made mistakes and find yourself nearing the end with excess money then: 1. Do not be afraid to break all the rules and throw your muscle around and take the players you want. 2. Paying to screw the competition can be just as valid a strategy as paying to improve your team.

One last thing about the actual bidding process: Assuming that your league has a mandatory $1 entry bid, do not nominate the players you want most. In every auction money gets thrown around early and the deals begin to show up in the middle and ends when people tighten the purse strings. Normally, the later in a draft that you purchase a player the better the deal will be. On the other hand, do not nominate a player you absolutely do not want just for the sake of putting the player on the market. It may not seem like much but every bit counts and sacrificing $1 and a roster spot could cost you much more in a competitive league.

Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much and gave you some pointers that will help in your first auction. If you have any specific questions that I didn't touch on let me know.
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Postby Thursday » Tue Jan 31, 2006 2:33 pm

Auction sure beats straight drafting.

I would try to convince my commish to go to an auction, but that guy's set in stone.

Amazinz gave you all the info you would need on auctioning. Each purchase affects every other purchase, and spending must be kept under control. Getting Pujols or A-Rod might not be the best budget decision.
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Postby swyck » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:30 pm

I like Amazinz advice. I'm just did my first auction and its a blast. Some things I noticed as a rook.

IMO the advice to pass on the early stud bids and concentrate on value during the mid draft is sound. You should have lots of money to spend and should be able to get who you want. Know who that is, and how much you will spend for them. Not sure that I implemented the strategy correctly or that its right. Well see how it turns out.

One problem that I found, when waiting later to fill a key position, is that I wasn't the only one left with money. If someone else starts pushing you up higher then where you want to go, you may not have that player you were targeting after all. Late in the draft, there may be meager pickings once he's gone.

I managed to get most of the players I really wanted, but there were a couple of times where I was at my max bid, there was no more money. If I didnt get my guy I was going to wind up with much less talent at that spot. So I would say dont wait too long to go after the players you want, and have a backup plan if you dont get them.

Remember that every slot will take at least $1 so you need to have that counted as already spent when you evaluate how much you have left.

I'd like to see more posts regarding auctions. Most that talk about drafting are about straight drafts. The way it works is so different, but it is a lot of fun.
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I have some advice

Postby johnwesleyharding » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:44 pm

Give up, cuz I am gonna wup up on you...
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Postby Dawgpound 1613 » Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:12 pm

Hard to add much to what Amazin said - a very good outline on auction basics.

One thing to add in conjunction with the 75% rule (some sites go with 78%, btw) - do not be afraid to price-enforce, even with a player you don't really want or aren't targeting.

Using the $20 example, if bidding stops at $13, go to $14, even if you don't want the player or need his stats, etc. Depending on how my auction was going, I may try and push the player to $18. While you're goal is to get 75-78%, it is much harder when other teams are getting players at 70%. For every player you get under value, there must be a corresponding player or players who are overvalue. Letting your opponent get a steal hurts you two ways 1) inflation for the other players goes up and 2) your opponent is much stronger.

Now, if you end up with someone you don't want, but you got him at 70% of value, you have a much stronger team and can use this player (or others) later on in trades.

Which leads to my last point - you MUST trust your values. If players are going for $3-5 above what you have them valued at, you have to let most of them go. Getting 1 or 2 if needed at a key position or for certain stats is fine. But consistently paying over your value is a sure way to lose. You have to trust that if your opponents are overpaying based on your values, then the time will come when you'll be able to get other players at less than you value. $3120 of salary will be used to buy $3120 in value (12 team league, $260 cap). For every dollar spent above value for a player, another player can be had for a dollar less than value.
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