Fantasy Baseball: Auction Trends
posted Mar 04 2013, 11:44AM
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posted in MLB, Fantasy

Auction drafts are trending the last few years, and it seems more and more people are leaning towards them rather than traditional leagues. Drafts are more fun, and it causes everyone to be all-in during every pick, or else it could cost you.

After doing a few auction drafts, there seem to be some trends already. As every fantasy baseball owner knows, they do NOT want to overpay. Even for a superstar such as Ryan Braun, or what I like to call a "recognition guy" like Roy Halladay. Ryan Braun is one of the best players in fantasy baseball, leading the league in nearly every statistical category for hitters, and will even swipe a few bases to balance the production. But in a normal auction league (where the salary cap is ($260) is he worth spending $50 on? I would say no, and it sounds crazy, but makes sense. Ryan Braun is always good for hitting .325, 35 HR and 110 RBI. He is a perennial MVP candidate, but in an auction league, $50 is not worth it. You can get Allen Craig for less than $20 and he will hit .300 25 HR and 90 RBI, and there are countless others who can fill in the difference. Most importantly, it will NOT cost you $50. It may look good at first, but later in the draft when your minimum bid is only  $5 and you see your rival snatch up Tim Lincecum for $7, you will remember Ryan Braun. My advice, pass on the superstars, unless you can get them for "face value", it will be worth it in the end. 

Another thing to avoid is overpaying for what I like to call "name guys" is something that could kill you later on in a fantasy draft. In the last few years, people would automatically see Mark Teixeira and start bidding too high for what he produces. Teix has averaged .252 with about 28 HR and 95 RBI over the last few years, not bad. But, not worth spending $20 to $25 to get him in an auction league. In comparison, just last year Chris Davis hit .270 with 33 HR and 85 RBI. I know it was Chris Davis' first season, but in fantasy baseball, it is everyone's first season if you think about it. Chris Davis sold in a league I drafted in today for $7. Similar production, but only 1/4 of the cost! That is what auction baseball leagues are all about. Another guy who seems to have the same effect is Dan Uggla. People seem to see his name, and start bidding higher than what you should pay for him. Dan Uggla has not hit over .233 since 2010 and is a .250 career hitter. He does have some pop, but at the second base slot, if you do not get Robinson Cano, it is not worth spending more than $20 for a second baseman. Aaron Hill has hit .300 in back to back seasons, and is a career .272 hitter with some pop, and he will only cost you between $8 and $12. The key to winning your auction league is simple, more production at a low cost. 

The last thing I noticed today, was a lot of people got their team early, and spent all of their money right away. For example, a team was set in the infield with Yadier Molina, Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Brett Lawrie, and Asdrubal Cabrera, and this was all in the first 3 rounds. It looks like a great team, but this particular owner had spent over half of his alloted salary on 5 players. This comes back to bite you later when you find guys who will produce just as well as the guys listed, but for a fraction of the cost. Prince Fielder is a great hitter, we all know that. But his price is around $27 to $30 in the leagues I saw him bought. Fielder will hit .300 and 35 HR and 100 RBI. Good numbers, but once again, first basemen in fantasy baseball are a lot like QBs in fantasy football. There are a handful of 1B who will hit .300 with 35 and 100, but 1B that hit 30 HR are a dime a dozen. You could buy Ike Davis who is good for 30 HR and 80 RBI for about half of what Fielder costs. Average would suffer a little bit, but you could spend that extra $15 you saved on a guy who will have a good average but maybe not as much power (Billy Butler, Victor Martinez). The bottom line is, you could have Prince Fielder for $30, or you could have Ike Davis AND Victor Martinez for the same price.

To win your auction league, you have to be smarter than your competition, and that is what I am here for, to add another mind and another set of ideas to what you are thinking of already. You could have Molina, Pujols, Cano, Wright, Rollins then 3 so- so guys in the outfield. Or you could be smarter and have Lucroy, Davis, Kipnis, Encarnacion, Tulowitzki then an outfield such as Matt Kemp, Michael Bourn and Jayson Werth. Plus you would have tons of $$ left to spend on pitching. It is all about spreading the wealth.


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