Well, my favorite draft has come and gone… and it’s not even a draft after all. It’s and auction. I guess I should have said “draft night” has come and gone for my favorite league. It’s called the 2011 SOFA Expert’s Auction League, and it’s a straight, 18-round, $200 cap auction without IDPs.
Each year I play this league, I try a different strategy to see which one seems to be the most foolproof. Last year I stocked my team with one “stud” at each of the four major positions. I was trying for a pre-season top 5 player at QB, RB, WR, and TE. I succeeded. Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Antonio Gates were atop my roster, and led me to an 8-0 record out of the gates.
Problem is… when Gates went down with injury, my team went down in flames. I didn’t win another game in the regular season, limped into the playoffs, and got beat in the first round. As great as my roster was, it was thin. I was one injury away from suffering several defeats and, unfortunately, it happened.
Two years ago I decided to stock up on stud wide receivers while spending no more than $30 on any RB and no more than $10 on any QB. That strategy sucked, or at least it didn’t work that year… so I haven’t tried it again since.
Fast forward to 2011 and last night’s SOFA (Site Owners Fantasy Association) Auction… and a new-and-improved strategy. I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to load up on RBs, much the way I loaded up on WRs a few years ago. However, I was going to tweak my strategy a little in that I wasn’t going to limit the amount of money I would spend on QBs and WRs. In fact, as I began to tweak my strategy even further, I included a top 5 QB with two very cheap backups instead of the usual one backup QB that most people draft.
My goal was to get two of the top 5 pre-season RBs, and three of the top 15 pre-season RBs, and then build around that, and considering most of the stud RBs are nominated early, I knew I was going to have to act fast.
I figured Arian Foster was going to cost too much, so I crossed him off my list. My targets were Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice, and LeSean McCoy. Because I crossed Foster off the list, my personal list was down to 4 guys. Peterson and Charles were two of the first three guys nominated, and although some nervousness set in, I stuck to my strategy and joined the bidding.
To my surprise I was able to get both Peterson and Charles for less than $60, and considering they had been going for between $61 and $71 in previous auctions, I felt like I was getting a small bargain. Peterson cost me $57 and Charles cost me $51, and now I knew I was likely going to have to sit back and wait for a while. Two players were more than 50% of my budget, but I was sticking to my strategy as research is more important to me than winning this league.
After watching these owners overspend for guys like Arian Foster ($60), Tom Brady ($28), Aaron Rodgers ($34), and even Andre Johnson ($41), I felt like I was still in pretty good shape, even though I had less than $100 to spend on 16 players.
All I had left to do was to lock up one more top 15 RB and a top 5 QB. Since Rodgers, Vick, Brees, and Brady were already gone, I knew I was likely going to be forced to spend more money on Philip Rivers than I wanted to, but since I was sticking to my strategy I was willing to pay whatever it took.
To my utter shock, the bidding stopped at a mere $23 and Rivers was mine. Are you kidding me??? Rodgers went for $34 and I got Rivers for $23?? I’ll take that every time. To put it in comparison, Tony Romo and Rivers cost the exact same thing in this auction. Now don’t get me wrong… I love Romo because I’m a Cowboys fan, but I don’t believe he’s going to finish with close to the same numbers as Rivers… but that’s just me.
As the RBs continued to go off the board, I wasn’t getting the value I wanted in any of the remaining final top 15 RBs… until Ahmad Bradshaw came up for bid. I had him pegged as around a $33 RB. So I can’t tell you how excited I was to win him (in a PPR league no less) for just $26.
So let’s recap: My first four players were Rivers, Peterson, Charles, and Bradshaw, but I had to spend $157 on less than 25% of my roster, so I knew I was going to have to fill in a bunch of receivers as $1 players. I was alright with that, as long as I could stick to my strategy. The rest of my roster is as follows:
QB Philip Rivers 23
RB Adrian Peterson 57
RB Jamaal Charles 51
Flex (RB/WR) Ahmad Bradshaw 26
WR Plaxico Burress 5
WR A.J. Green 5
WR Johnny Knox 8
Flex (WR/TE) Zach Miller 2
TE Kellen Winslow 7
D/ST Ravens D/ST 2
K Josh Brown 1
BE C.J. Spiller 6
BE Jason Campbell 2
BE Eddie Royal 1
BE Brian Robiskie 1
BE Jason Hill 1
BE Bernard Scott 1
BE David Garrard 1
Yes, I spent all $200 and was the last one in the draft room. It was quite a long night, but I was able to stick to my draft strategy and now I have some great research to be able to pass on to you. Keep checking here at FantasyFootball.com for updates to how I’m doing in all my leagues.
Below is a list of players that, based on tonight’s auction, I believe are going to start trending upward, based on where I had them ranked in comparison to how much money was spent on them.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona — Fitz is still my 5th ranked WR this year, but after these experts deemed his value at $41, I might have to reconsider. Andre Johnson is the only other receiver to go for more than $40… and he, too, went for $41.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit — I’ve seen him go anywhere from $5 to $7 in most auctions, but tonight he went for $10. That’s the same price tag as Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh — It took $38 for the bidding to stop on Mendy. Considering Bradshaw went for $26, MJD went for $30, Matt Forte went for $27, Darren McFadden went for $36, and even Chris Johnson went for $39… it’s safe to say people are really starting to buy into the Mendenhall hype.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans — The rookie from Alabama went for $22 tonight, an average of around $5 to $7 more than the players in the same tier. At one point it appeared he was going to go for $14, but at the last minute a bidding war began and the winner had to spend $22.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville — Either the owner was smoking crack or he was the owner of MJD (or maybe both). Upon further review, he was the owner of MJD and I have a feeling a few other owners drove the price up on him. $11 is ridiculously high for Jennings, but I also know how brittle sources claim MJD is this year.
Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Arizona — $16 today. $5 last week. Beanie says “thank you” to rookie Ryan Williams.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay — Final asking price: $21… or $3 higher than Antonio Gates. Sometimes it’s how late (or early) a player gets nominated that sometimes can determine his ultimate asking price.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay — These owners either believe Jennings is an easy top 6 WR or it was simply a stubborn bidding war in which neither owner wanted to lose. Jennings is solid, but I just don’t see he can draw $7 to $9 more than those in his tier.
Below is a list of players that, based on tonight’s auction, I believe are going to start trending downward, based on where I had them ranked in comparison to how much money was spent on them.
Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay — Am I the only one who has faith in this guy? One bad game against the Pats in pre-season and everyone is writing him off. So be it. Freeman barely drew $10 while the rest of the QBs around him were bringing in near (or over) $20.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee — Two weeks ago this guy was going, on average, for $55 to $60 in this type of auction. Today he went for $39 and I”m surprised he drew that much. There’s a good chance he sits out half the season (or more) and $39 will even be too much.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay — Apparently the rest of the country didn’t get the memo about Ryan Grant being a possible roster casualty, because Starks was dirt cheap in tonight’s auction ($8) while Grant went for twice that. Great value here.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami — My projections have him right in the middle of guys like Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Grant, Mark Ingram, Joseph Addai, etc. And all of them were easily drawing double figures tonight. Not Thomas… and I’m not sure why.
Zach Miller, TE, Seattle — This has value written all over it. I nominated Miller for $2 and no one else bid. If he were still in Oakland we wouldn’t be talking about him in this section.
Braylon Edwards, WR, San Francisco — I have Edwards mixed in with a bunch of $9 and $10 WRs… so why did he go for a mere $3? It could be due, in large part, to the fact that Alex Smith sucks!!