I initially wanted to write this article for both auctions and drafts, but while I do mock drafts every year in both formats, I only play auctions for my actual leagues so I thought that just focusing
1. PLAN YOUR TEAM OUT IN ADVANCE
In most auctions you have a $260 budget, your job is to distribute it among your players in the best possible way. Find out how much players typically cost through price lists on fantasy sites (Yahoo! is great for this), and participate in mock auctions. Remember to add a couple dollars to the prices you find as people typically bid a little higher. Have a contingency plan for each player, and make sure that you only have a few unassigned dollars left for emergencies. You don’t want to be the person who finishes with $20 that you could’ve used to add that extra star player.
2. DON’T NOMINATE PLAYERS THAT YOU WANT UNTIL THE END
Every time a player is won by an opponent, he or she has less money to bid for the players that you want, and one less position to fill with a player that you want. Of course there are some rules: make sure that these players will go for more than a $1, and that in the worst case scenario of no one bidding, you won’t mind having that player for that price. You can even nominate players who go for $3-4 early in the auction and watch them go for as much as triple their value!
3. DON’T GET INTO BIDDING WARS
It’s OK to bid a little bit over the player’s average price, but don’t go $10 over the price just to beat the other person. In fact have an idea of a limit for each player that you’re willing to pay, and don’t go over it under any circumstances.
4. EXPLOIT YOUR LEAGUE’S RULES
Are you in a rotisserie league with no inning limits to qualify for ERA and WHIP? In that case you can punt wins and strikeouts and stock up on closers and relievers with high strikeout rates to win ERA, WHIP, and saves with ease. You can then stream starting pitchers to catch up on wins and strikeouts. In fact you can get yourself an ace for $2-$3. How?! Get two high strikeout low ERA relievers and together they put up stats of an elite starting pitcher. They will only have less wins than one. Look for any ways that you can use your league’s stats to raise your competitive advantage. Are you in a H2H league? Stock up on power hitters with averages above .270 and forget about stolen bases. Are you in a rotisserie league? Make sure that you’re competitive in most categories.
5. DON’T DO “STARS AND SCRUBS”
Having Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, and Jose Altuve on your team sounds great. Having to surround them with the likes of Logan Forsythe, Josh Reddick and Starlin Castro because you can’t afford anyone better doesn’t sound as great does it? Teams in real life don’t win titles with a few stars surrounded by replacement players, otherwise the Los Angeles Angels would’ve won multiple championships by now simply because they have Mike Trout. Balance out your team to win your league. You can get those superstars, but only if you can afford good players around them too. Besides, risking too much money in one player just isn’t smart. What if they get injured like Trout did last year?
6. PAY FOR PRODUCTION NOT THE POSITION OR NAME
Assign dollar value for production, don’t overpay due to the player’s name or position. A catcher who hits over .300 is great, but if he gives you limited help in every other area, paying $20 for him just isn’t good value (sorry Buster Posey).
7. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OPPONENTS
Is it late in the auction and you want a specific player but one your opponents has more money? Check out his or her roster to see what positions are empty and nominate players that fit those positions. Always be aware of how much money your opponents have and how many roster spots they still have to fill.
8. SPEND MORE ON HITTING THAN PITCHING
Pitchers are more volatile than hitters. One third of closers lose their jobs each season. Pitchers get injured more often and their performance varies more from season to season. Hitters are more consistent, more productive, and get injured less often. Spend 70% of your budget on them.
Follow these tips in your next auction and I guarantee that you will have a good season. Good luck in your league/s and let me know what you thinking the comments.