Auction drafts, Part 2: High Risk, High Reward
Updated: Jun 23, 2020
In my last article, I highlighted different strategies I used during my first auction draft of the year. I was able to get two quality running backs, Joe Mixon, RB CIN and Dalvin Cook, RB MIN for a collective $94 out of my $200 budget. Certainly these running backs are a great foundation for any startup team. Naturally, this to me was more luck. I would expect Mixon to go higher than $41 and Cook for $53 in most other auctions.
What happens if you go into the draft expecting to get the top RBs on your team? Well, naturally you will be spending way more than $94 for two. In fact, if you really want to get Christian McCaffery, RB CAR AND Saquon Barkley, RB NYG you're probably going to be looking to spend roughly $140-$150 out of a $200 budget or 70%-75%. Sure, they act as 2-for-1 players in PPR but you are required to start more than just those two guys. I want to encourage you not to use this method and explain why you'll probably have to trade one away to have a shot at winning the ship.
First off, from my past experiences in both real and mock auction drafts, the top running backs are almost always the first few players to be nominated. This means everyone has their full budget and will have plenty to spend on these guys. They are almost guaranteed to be the priciest of any player. If you choose to spend high on Barkley, McCaffery or Ezekiel Elliot, RB DAL, you're going to be left with only 65% of your starting budget. You are probably going to be unable to "get your guy" in the later nominations when deals are much better.
If you were to spend, say $70 on one, then you will have plenty of money left for the rest of your team. However, you may run into trouble at depth later in the draft if you were focusing on being top heavy to fill your starting roster. The key to winning any league is depth. The foundation of your team comes from your top assets but the championship is won with a deep team full of upside at every position. Although, McCaffery got you 35 PPG during the season, that won't be enough if you're stuck with RB3 level players in your second RB slot.
If you chose to spend big, say $140 on McCaffery and Barkley, you will most likely not be able to bid on any top quarterback, wide receiver, tight end or flex spot. Another disadvantage you have are all the empty roster spots. Unlike snake, where you can trade a couple assets for one during a draft, you must fill out your roster completely in auction.
If you have 15 total roster spots and two are filled by McCaffery and Barkley, your max bid is going to be $13 less than your remaining budget. That means your $60 remaining only allows you to have a max bid $47 for the rest of the roster. That is not going to be enough to be a contender. I am not exaggerating when I say you will very likely have to wait for over an hour to start expecting to win players. This will probably lead to you not wanting to engage in your draft and ending up with a noncompetitive team.
Your depth will most likely be handcuffs and lower tier guys, which is dangerous should either of your star running backs go down. It will be near impossible to win the league, should that happen. My advice is stick to a balanced roster with a mix of tier 1 and tier 2 players. The best values come towards the end of the draft, not the beginning. Those are the players that bring you the “ship”! As I said in part 1, just remember to BE PATIENT!