Auction Drafts, Part 3: Balling On A Budget
In part two, I discussed the likeliest outcome for going top-heavy and spending most of your budget on two to three guys. Part three is an introduction of going into a draft with a mindset of getting tier two players for a majority of your starting team. When I use the term "tier two," I am speaking of players you will normally get in the third - sixth round in a typical snake draft. Give or take a round.
In my last auction draft, with a budget of $200, my foundation was built around Dalvin Cook, RB MIN and Joe Mixon, RB CIN. They were my most expensive buys at $54 and $41, respectively. After those buys, I bought Kittle at $28. The rest of my team, I went for cheaper buys to get players with high upside. This included Cooper Kupp, WR LAR ($24), Stefon Diggs, WR BUF ($20), Tyler Boyd ($9!) and the underrated Michael Gallup, WR DAL ($4!!). All of these players are normally drafted in the third - sixth round. As you can see, all of these players are very capable of being week-winners at any given time.
As I mentioned in the first two parts, the most important piece of advice I can enforce is BE PATIENT! Going into the draft, find players you do NOT want to draft and nominate them first. I didn't want to get Nick Chubb, RB CLE for what his price could potentially be, which ended up being $43. If you're a believer that Kareem Hunt, RB CLE, won't eat into his workload, this was a great price. After a few more cycles, I started nominating players I wanted. This strategy is used to acquire players I want to bid on against owners with depleted budgets. Eventually, you'll find hidden gems for dirt cheap.
To pull off this balanced strategy effectively, you will need to enter the draft with a strategy and always set a queue. A queue is used to make a list of players you want to specifically target. It is also great for keeping track of who is still available for bidding. You'll find a lot of owners bid on players according to their average auction bid. This is equivalent to a snake draft’s average draft position (ADP). After eight to nine cycles, you'll find that there are still several wide receivers with great upside going for chump change. I encourage you not to blow your budget this year on top tier wide receivers. Instead, spend $25 or less on each of your wide receivers.
Here are a few of the top values on wide receivers in my last auction:
Amari Cooper, WR DAL ($25)
Keenan Allen, WR LAC ($23)
Calvin Ridley, WR ATL ($21)
Jarvis Landry, WR CLE ($16)
T.Y. Hilton, WR IND ($11)
Deebo Samuel, WR SF ($11)
Marvin Jones Jr., WR DET ($9)
All of the aforementioned wide receivers are capable of being WR1 caliber players on any given Sunday. I encourage you to save your money and wait until the end of the draft to go for players like this. Once you have finished your starting roster, scroll down and find quality depth to add. Hint: rookies in redraft auctions almost always go later for a dirt cheap value compared to proven veterans. With the exception of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB KC, who went for $25, every rookie went for $20 or less. Jonathan Taylor, RB IND, went for only $20 while a few nominations later J.K. Dobbins, RB BAL, went for an incredible value of only $2 as a rookie running back. For rookie wide receivers, CeeDee Lamb, WR DAL, and Jerry Juedy, WR DEN, went for $3.
After 10 cycles of bidding, you'll find that most budgets are going to be $30 or less. My next biggest piece of advice is to keep $30-$40 left to fill your bench. This is crucial so you can get the hidden gems at a great value. Damien Williams, RB KC, went for $1 in my draft. Rookie fever side effects must've included forgetting the current starting running back in Kansas City. Since this was a redraft league, this may have been one of the top buys in the whole draft. Williams is capable of blowing up and winning a week for the price of 1/200 of your budget. I guarantee you'll be aghast at the amount of thievery during the last few cycles.
Finally, my last piece of advice for balancing your budget is simply wait on your quarterback situation. With a shallow bench of five or less, just wait. Don't spend on Lamar Jackson, QB BAL or Patrick Mahomes, QB KC. They're going to go for over $30, easily. Wait to get a guy like Matthew Stafford, QB DET, like I did for $2. Even $2 is "a lot" since more than half of the QBs go for $1 or undrafted. Quarterbacks, quite simply, are not worth the reach in a single quarterback auction. Spend that Mahomes money on one or two wide receivers or running backs.
In conclusion, balanced budgeting is my recommendation to be a contender throughout the season. Spend a little more on better running backs and a little less on great wide receivers. Value in auction drafts can be attained with patience and planning. Don't forget to wait on nominating your top targets and get the depth you want. If you are sick with rookie fever, then be prepared to wait for the best values. Your hour of patience can lead to a season of winning!