Fantasy baseball auction drafters will find themselves inevitably in a situation where the room is rocketing past their auction value estimates. This post provides some auction draft strategy when that occurs.
While most of our auction drafts avoid devolving into ‘Stars ‘n Scrubs mania’, we play in a 14-team Pro-Am league run by Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! that reliably blows past our $ estimates for star players.
Below is how we handle it (Full disclosure: The results have been mixed. We finished in 2nd two years ago and a really disappointing 9th last year due to a pitching collapse.):
1) Be patient and have faith in your auction values - Assuming you have auction values designed for your draft format, every wild overpay means greater purchasing power for your $260. The tide will turn and suddenly you will getting players at fair value and, later in the draft, players at significant value.
2) Feed the overpay engine when it is your time to nominate - No need to get tricky and try to sneak in a non-star player. If the mob is going crazy for OFs, send them another one.
3) If you are going to go the ‘Stars ‘n Scrubs’ approach, do not spend heavily on C/2B/SS - In most mixed-league formats, there will be MLB starting players available in the $1 round at these positions. In addition, there will be less competition on the waiver wire at these positions since most teams are committed to their selections. You do not want to be starving for 1B/OF/SP/Closer help in the $1 round and waivers when EVERYONE in your league is on alert for players in these positions.
4) The more drafters who use the ‘Stars ‘n Scrubs’ approach, the less effective the strategy is for each team - Not only are you having to pay more for the stars but there is a ton of competition for the $1 players as well.
5) In mixed leagues, the biggest late draft bargains are going to be closers – We like to hoard relievers in that case, bypassing marginal SPs and offensive bench players. We can then trade from this closer depth in the pre-season or stock up on Saves in the beginning of the year and trade closers during the season.
I could probably come up with more but it gets repetitive. See below for our team and here is a Google Doc with the full draft as well as my $ figures per player and for each drafted team. I have our team with 30% more value than the average team in the league. Only two other teams are at more than 10% value.
(Note: Seems like my $ estimates might have been a bit low as the average team is < $260. Also, the Catcher values are purposefully low because I estimate as if there is 1 catcher per team instead of 2. Just an easy way for Grey and I to avoid the temptation of paying top dollar for catchers)