I have an auction draft coming up, so I wanted to share the players I will be targeting. Normally I’m all OPS, all the time, but I signed up for a Yahoo! Avg pay league, so I used my Avg league projections. This league has 3 OFs, no MI or CI, two UTIL, $260 Budget.  Here’s some auction draft strategy (hopefully your league hasn’t drafted yet…if so, bookmark this page and come back to it next year, and make a comment, and by then I’ll have totally forgotten writing this post, and I’ll be like, “why you commenting on a post from last year?” But I’ll still respond. I’m cool like that…) because of the aforementioned auction I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the mind of a madman. It’s a pay league on Yahoo!, so the prices I’m quoting come from their site (as of Thursday; Yahoo lists three prices – League Value, Projected Value and Average Cost – I go with the highest of the three).

First of all, auctions are LONG. Plan on three-to-four hours and make sure you have everything prepared BEFORE the draft starts (I don’t like using all CAPS, but I’m super serial, please know I’m not screaming at you, I just have a loud voice). I’m not even talking about your draft sheet or spreadsheet; I’m talking about make sure you have your beverage of choice already poured (there’s something about fantasy drafts that almost require beer drinking, or maybe that’s just me), you already had a snack/meal, and you used the bathroom. Seems silly, I know, but once the auction has started you’re IN IT(That’s it, no more CAPS, tried it, didn’t like it), and there’s no stopping.

At an early auction I did I really wanted one guy (in this instance it was Randal Grichuk) because there weren’t many outfielders left and I wanted him as my fourth. So of course I had to go to the bathroom, and of course he went while I was in there, less than a minute. So I guess the lesson is don’t take breaks, or take your computer in the bathroom with you, or something. Just be ready.

The next step is to enter your dollar values. I suggest doing your own values because it’s more fun and can highlight values. That’s my strategy for this draft. I entered my prices then looked position-by-position to see where the “values” are. Now this can be very subjective; that’s the point. The reason I like auctions better than snake drafts is I can plan my whole draft, since any and all players are available to me. In snake drafts, you can only draft who is available when it’s your turn, which is harder to plan for.

Now, do a mock. See if you can make it all the way through. If it’s your first of the season, you probably can’t (I couldn’t and there’s no shame in my game).  Most owners quit after the first few rounds but it’s worth seeing what type of team you can put together. My approach is typically known as the stars and scrubs approach. Drafting a lot of high dollar guys then supplementing them with one and two dollar guys at the end of the draft. My first mock had me drafting eight players in the top 30 picks (nominations is probably more appropriate) and then ten of the last 30.

Catcher first; I’m going to spend one dollar on a catcher, then play the waiver wire from there. I might take Wilson Ramos, DL him, and add another post-draft. Easy peasy.

At first base is where I want to spend a good chunk of money. Specifically on any of Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Miggy or Joey Votto. I have them all grouped together at around $40; when I look at Yahoo prices I’m seeing Rizzo the most at $39.7, Miggy at $38.5, Votto at $32.6 and Freeman at $26.4. So Freddie it is (I’ll budget $35 for him). As a backup I’m looking at Greg Bird, Tommy Joseph and Josh Bell, all listed at one dollar. I’ll budget $3 and get one of them (probably Bell).

You and I and Grey and all of Razzball loves Rougned Odor but I’m not drafting him (most likely, I have him valued at $30 while Y! has a high of $24.8; I still doubt I get him). I usually go cheap at 2B, and this year will be no different. I’m looking at Jonathan Schoop or Logan Forsythe, both guys should be there at most for five bucks (Schoop is $3.1, Forsyth $1.2) and I’ll look to back them up with utility knife Jedd Gyorko or Yangervis Solarte (both guys less than $2).

Two guys I see as really good values at third base are Maikel Franco and Jake Lamb. Franco has a cost on Yahoo! of $4.3 and Lamb $5, so I can budget one of them at $10 even and make him my starter. Maybe I’ll even own all three; but I also want my guy, Ryon Healy, as my UTIL. So he’s at $3, and I’ll budget $5 for him.

Shortstop is one of those positions where the one guy I have right below the top tier is such a value that he’s easily going to be my guy: Addison Russell. He’s at $5.4 in Yahoo!, which is nuts. I’ll budget $10 and get him for less probably.

For Outfield I’m going after Mookie Betts; he’s got power, speed and he’s my number one OF (after Trout of course). I’m budgeting $60 for him while Y! has him at $51.4. Outfielder Two I want Yoenis Cespedes that Y! has for $20.5 I have budgeted at $25.

Outfielder Three is saved for the Rookie-of-the-Year, Andrew Benintendi. Unless someone else in the league has a fantasy-crush on him like I do (and it’s totally possible what with all the Red Sox fans out there) I’m going to get him at, at most, $15 or so (Y! has him at $7.4). The hard part is when to throw him out there. Too early, and he’s going to go for too much; too late, and I might not have enough. So if he doesn’t go out sooner, I’ll aim to nominate him in the fifth or sixth rounds.

Since I already have one Utility spot filled, the other I want to fill with an outfielder, specifically Yasmany Tomas. I do not understand the lack of love this guy is getting this year, OPS leagues or not. To echo the supreme leader of Razzball, Grey said that if Tomas was Puig he’d be way higher ranked. I agree. He hit 31 homers, knocked in 83, .820 OPS, .272 Avg in 2016. If Puig did that, he’d be a first rounder. So with that known, I want Tomas on every team in every league. Yahoo! has him at $3.1; I’m budgeting $10 to get him. I also want one or both of upside power guys Randall Grichuk and Hunter Renfroe. Hopefully I won’t have to spend more than a couple bucks on either (Y! has them both at $2).

The prices I’ve budgeted are all more than Yahoo! has them going for, so I should get most of these guys, probably less than I’ve budgeted. So with that surplus, I’m going to use that toward Pitching.
Usually aim to spend about 30% of your overall budget on Pitchers. If you’ve read this site before, you know we all tolerate pitching, but don’t pay for it. Read the results of the Razzball Writers League here; I’ve never seen so many pitchers fall so far. So I want one SP at around $22, another around $10, and then five more $1 or $2 upside guys. I’m not going to go through all the upside cheap pitchers, check out JB’s pitching primer here for more on those guys.

For my Ace I’m looking at Johnny Cueto (Y! $22.4), Carlos Carrasco (Y! $20.1) or Yu Darvish (Y! $24.3). I’m budgeting $25, so I doubt three of them come to me, but one of them should go for about that. Danny Duffy is who I want for my #2, he’s at $8.9 in Y! and I’m budgeting $15 for him. If I can get two of the five aforementioned pitchers for $35 total ($5 under budget) I’ll be sitting pretty with a fancy cocktail watching Cocktail.

For relief pitchers I want three closers: one top guy, one middle tier, one low tier. Doesn’t matter who, that’s why they’re tiered. I’ll also take a set-up guy or two for a buck at the end. Let’s say $20 on Zach Britton (Y! $16.4), $8 on Sam Dyson (Y! $2.9), and $4 on Jim Johnson (Y! $1.7).

Here’s the team:
C: Some $1 one
1B: Freddie Freeman ($35)
2B: Jonthan Schoop ($5)
3B: Maikel Franco ($10)
SS: Addison Russell ($10)
OF1: Mookie Betts ($60)
OF2: Yoenis Cespedes ($25)
UTIL1: Yasmany Tomas ($10)
UTIL2: Ryon Healy ($5)
B: Josh Bell ($1)
B: Jedd Gyorko ($2)
B: Hunter Renfroe ($2)
SP1: Yu Darvish ($25)
SP2: Danny Duffy ($15)
RP1: Zach Britton ($20)
RP2: Sam Dyson ($8)
RP3: Jim Johnson ($4)

I feel pretty good about this group; maybe a little light on steals, but SAGNOF and all that. Since I over-estimated my values, I should have a little extra to play with, and maybe even enough to have a $15-or-so utility player, then move Healy to the bench.

Lastly, in all seriousness, take a few deep breaths before you start an auction draft. I’m a newer SoCal resident and the hippie-dippie has not infected my brain (yet), but being in a calm state when the craziness of the auction begins only helps. Any auction strategies you use? Feel free to share and I’ll borrow them (read: steal and use against you), thanks. I’ll let you know next week or in the comments how the team turned out.  Wish me luck Razzballers and Razzballettes!

  1. Trubull says:

    I suggest NOT editing the dollar values on yahoo/espn/whatever

    Anchoring effect exists in auctions where people are highly influenced by whatever price ESPN spits out, and I’d like to know what other people see and bid accordingly, with my own values elsewhere.

    Also nominate catchers first to force everyone to buy one

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:

      @Trubull: Really? Not editing them? What i did was edit them, then make a list and compare where I saw the deals. If you draft on a computer you can see your values compared to Yahoo’s values. I think it works the same on ESPN, but I didn’t do an ESPN auction this year.

      I definitely agree with nominating catchers, especially the expensive ones.

      Thanks for sharing good advice!

      • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:

        @Phil B.: espn no longer shows espn’s own rankings once you’ve input your own, i don’t know if this same principle applies to their auction prices though. when doing an espn draft the only marker of where you think people will go is they at least do show the ADP’s, BUT EVEN THEN those stop at 260. funny espn is starting to catch up to yahoo in being lazy in shit like this.

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:

          @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: That does suck about ESPN, I do recall that (this year I only did RCL leagues, so snake drafts, in ESPN). Both of them are lazy AF. They do the bare minimum, and yahoo “updates” are usually worse than before.

  2. Moneyball says:

    Healy >>> Franco so Franco should hit the bench. I got Healy for $11 in my $300, 14 team league.
    Good luck @ $5.

    If you wait for all the lower tier guys you have picked out and over-budgeted for, you’re going to miss out on another stud at the beginning, like Arenado instead of Franco (Franco’s $10 plus all the other budgeted overage).

    Your post has really good timing. Season starts in like… what, 45 hours?
    Also, do you think the Groundhog is going to see his shadow this year?

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:

      @Moneyball: Wow thanks brother. Healy’s my guy, and I agree with you, can budget more for him compared to Franco. I have two drafts this weekend, and I doubt it’s just me so hopefully it helps a few out there.

  3. Sport says:

    Thanks for the OPS look! I’m in a 10 team dynasty (6×6 w/OPS) that uses four outfielders. After Betts, my OF drops off with Fowler, Ozuna, Benentindi, and Odubel Herrera. Would you drop any of those four for Haniger?

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:

      @Sport: Nope, not w/OPS. However if Ozuna or Herrera conitnue to start slow, I’d understand dropping one of them first. I like Fowler and love Benintendi, so hold them fo sho

  4. Rising Son says:

    How’s my team? 12tm h2h with ops
    C Voght
    1b Rizzo
    2b Turner
    Ss Villar
    3b Lamb
    Of Harper
    OF Springer
    Of Bautista
    U Benintendi
    Be Mazara
    Be J peraza
    Be To Jo

    Any deficits that you see?

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:

      @Rising Son: Not to me. Team after my own heart. Anything I think of you’ve got covered. Steals, power, avg/OPS, counting stats. You should finish top 3 in every hitting category, injuries aside.

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