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.