Fantasy Sports R Us

FANTASY BASEBALL AUCTION DRAFT TIPS by Ryan Hallam

1. Spend early, but not too much...
No fantasy team ever wins the championship without having at least a couple of studs on it and you can’t be the person who sits there and doesn’t spend in the first half hour of the draft. You have to have someone along the lines of Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, or Alex Rodriguez that you pretty much know you can count on to produce. Now, I’m not saying to spend 75% of your budget on four players and sit back and wait for one dollar bargains for the rest of the night, because that person is the one who gives up in early June. However, be sure that you get the cornerstones of your team fairly early. To go one step further I would try to get two star hitters and a star starting pitcher fairly early within reason to get your team off to a good start.

2. Be sure to hit all the categories...
Most auctions are also rotisserie leagues, and while free agency is always an option, I always like to get my team off on the right foot and be sure that I get someone who is going to help me in certain categories. Don’t come out of the auction already looking like you are going to have to punt steals or saves, which are the two most popular categories to give up on. Usually you can get some good bargains late in the night in specialists in those categories and then you just have to be diligent throughout the year maintaining your team. You can have a category or two that you are strong in, but don’t come out of the night with gaping holes in your team.

3. Don’t get into a bidding war...
This is one of the hardest thing to do in an auction. There are always guys that we all like and want to target and are dying to have on our team. The problem is the price tag starts going higher and higher and soon it is higher than you expected. But damn it, you want the guy. Well, the next thing you know you spent ten to fifteen dollars more to get that player than you had thought you should and that could be a huge detriment to your team. While I said earlier it is important to get a few studs, don’t go crazy and go outside of your expectations to get them or else you will be looking like the Monopoly Guy on the Poor Tax card. Keep your head and don’t go chasing a player for way too much. Sometimes someone else is just upping the price tag because they know that you really like that player.

4. Prepare, prepare, prepare...
This is probably the most important point in this article, but one that I have always struggled with in auctions. I would have an idea of a few dozen players that you really want to target and about what you think they are worth. If you have a hard time of trying to put a reasonable price tag on the guys you want there are multiple blogs on the internet as well as fantasy baseball magazines that will give you an idea of what is reasonable to expect. Obviously, you are not going to get everyone that you target so be sure that you have a fairly extensive list. Also, have a list of guys that you want to try to sneak through for one to four dollars and try to be strategic of when you put them to bid.

5. Never put someone up to bid that you want...
This goes right against what I just said in the last point, but unless you are trying to get a sleeper or think that you can get a guy for a really cheap price I will never put a guy up for bid that I want on my team. Now, you have to be sure that you are nominating a player that someone will want or else you will get stuck with them, but I always nominate players that I know I don’t want in order to get someone else in the league to spend their money on them and therefore have that much less money left when guys that I do want are there for the taking.

6. Never be the guy who has no money left after the first half hour...
This goes back to the first point, but most fantasy baseball teams even in the most basic leagues have about 16 starters on them between hitters and pitchers. If you try to get to spend the majority of your money on say the first six guys on your roster and then try to piece things together the rest of the night you will fail. Not only do you need balance in baseball, but it is a very long season and there are always injuries. You will leave yourself no depth and likely be out of the running before the All-Star Break. There is a fine line between smart spending early and killing your chances before your auction is even over. Spend wisely!

7. Never be the guy who has tons of money left with not much time left to go...
On the opposite end of the spectrum there is the person who refuses to spend the money it takes for the top stars and thinks that they can win the league by being patient and put together a team of mostly lower level stars and mid range solid players. This seems like it could work, but every team needs those studs that carry your team in certain times of the year. The worst part about these teams is that there often aren’t players that you feel comfortable dropping so sometimes you will miss out on a hot free agent, like a Carlos Gonzalez last season that turns out to be an absolute stud. Sure this player always has money left towards the end so they might be able to pick off some solid players cheap, but they will lack the star power that is crucial to winning a fantasy baseball league.

8. Have an idea of the worst guy at each position that you will be happy with...
This is a policy that I have in both auctions and in traditional snake drafts. There is always a guy at every position that you are still satisfied with having on your team, but if you go any lower in talent than them you feel like it is a whole on your team. Be sure to identify that guy in your auction because if you start to get close to that you might find that some people are willing to overspend a little bit to avoid going below that threshold. Then, if you nominate that worst guy you are happy with you likely will get sniped in your bidding by the person who still has a ton of money left because they didn’t spend early. Try to either nominate someone else at the same position or nominate the guy you want earlier than expected or else you run the risk of not getting them. Chances are there will be one position that you feel that you are weak at, and if that is the case you did a pretty good job. Very few people come out of a draft feeling that they did a great job across the diamond and then the next challenge is to play that waiver wire very carefully.

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