I was asked to participate in The Huddle’s expert auction draft this past Thursday, and I promptly accepted the offer. As anyone who has followed me on Twitter already knows, I’m an auction format extremist. In my perfect world, snake drafts would be a thing of the past and every fantasy football article would revolve around the auction.
So I got together with 11 other fantasy football writers representing different websites and we dueled it out in an online auction hosted by none other than Myfantasyleague.com. As with any auction, a recap can potentially go on forever if you wanted to list out the order each player was nominated and work from there. For the sake of time and space, I will recap the draft on a team by team basis and kick it it off with some general observations.
Our budget was $200 and we had 18 roster spots to fill. The scoring was standard with full PPR and starting lineups were QB: 1, RB: 2-3, WR: 3-4, TE: 1-2, K: 1, D/ST: 1.
It was a much more patient auction than ones I have previously drafted in. Spending in the early rounds was limited and several teams had money at the end to battle with me for mid-tier skill position players. This also resulted in tons of value buy in the top tier of players.
I got into several bidding wars with Jeff Haseley from Footballguys. Bidding wars are inevitable in any auction, and one manager eventually backs down when they feel that a player has exceed their assigned value. Jeff won the majority of these one-on-one bids with me, but the one that cost me the most was letting him win Rob Gronkowski.
I didn’t expect so much of team’s budgets to be allocated to second or third quarterbacks in a league that starts only one quarterback.
I also didn’t expect more than a buck to be spent on defenses and kickers that aren’t named the Seattle Seahawks. A total of 13 D/ST and kickers were drafted for more than $1 including $7 that was spent on the Seahawks D/ST.
My Pre-Draft Strategy:
I’ve always believed that the best way to approach an auction is to create tiered rankings and let the values set themselves with the first 20 or so skill position player nominations. Having said that, there were a few things I wanted to accomplish from the outset.
Based on the weekly scoring advantage and the major drop off that I foresee after the top three-man tier, I knew that I was going to draft Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, or Julius Thomas. I also planned to limit my spending at quarterback. As I outlined in the PFF Fantasy Draft Guide, in auctions one strategy I prefer is to wait for 10 or 11 teams to fill their QB1 spot and then nominate a quarterback when other managers have already spent at the position. Lastly, in the last two seasons I have strategized to add several mid-tier wide receivers because I feel like this allows me to get value, depth, and to increase my chances at finding a breakout player. My roster is as follows:
QB – Russell Wilson $5, Ben Roethlisberger $5
RB – Zac Stacy $27, Joique Bell $16, Ray Rice $16, Trent Richardson $13, Lance Dunbar $5, Stevan Ridley $6, Dexter McCluster $3
WR – Larry Fitzgerald $21, Torrey Smith $14, Rueben Randle $11, Justin Hunter $8, Golden Tate $6
TE – Julius Thomas $26, Ladarius Green $2
K – Nick Novak $2
D/ST – Saints $1
The auction did not go the way I thought it would, and almost every team was patient with their budget. I stopped a dollar or two short on some of my favorite potential RB1’s like Montee Ball, Le’Veon Bell, and others which could come back to haunt me because I may not have a true RB1 on the roster. I also expected Richardson to be bid on for more, and I’m very disappointed I got “stuck” with him. However, I am pleased with my depth at running back—I wrote about why Lance Dunbar and Dexter McCluster make for excellent targets in PPR here, and there’s reason to believe Joique Bell will outscore Reggie Bush. My quarterback strategy went awry when two teams who already had their QB1 decided to bid up and roster a second quarterback—but I am high on both player in my committee. I succeeded in getting one of the “big three” tight ends, but I lost value when compared to Gronkowski’s price. I am very excited about my wide receiver corps as it includes several of my favorite targets. Lastly, I wrote about why I’m targeting the Saints D/ST in every draft here, and I was glad to grab them.
Let’s take a look at the other teams.
The Huddle – David Dorey
QB: Nick Foles $14, Carson Palmer $4, Johnny Manziel $2
RB: Montee Ball $37, Bishop Sankey $24, Chris Johnson 16, James White $4, Stepfan Taylor $1
WR: Alshon Jeffrey $27, Pierre Garcon $19, T.Y. Hilton $14, Brandin Cooks $14, Andre Holmes $7, James Jones $2
TE: Antonio Gates $4, Jared Cook $2
K: Matt Prater $5
D/ST: Broncos $4
I’m personally not very high on David’s team, and several of his main targets are on my avoid list, but disagreement among writers is the beauty of fantasy football. I am never of a proponent of spending on K and D/ST, and I think the $9 he used here was wasteful. His running back depth also scares me. The wide receiver corps is the strength of his team.
Footballguys – Jeff Hasely
QB: Tony Romo $8,
RB: Lamar Miller $18, Devonta Freeman $15, Terrance West $10, Steven Jackson $9, Darren Sproles $9, Theo Riddick $1
WR: Calvin Johnson $38, Demaryius Thomas $34, Kelvin Benjamin $9, Danny Amendola $6, Tavon Austin $4, Marvin Jones $2
TE: Rob Gronkowski $26, Martellus Bennett $5, Zach Ertz $4
K: Dan Bailey $1
D/ST: Steelers $1
I like the way that Jeff constructed his roster, but if Tony Romo was my QB1 I would prefer to roster another quarterback. Jeff used the Shawn Siegele zero-RB approach and added seven cheaper backs who fit the mold. I’m not a believer in Freeman and I explained why here, but Jeff may have gotten the steal of the draft with Benjamin. Ideally, Johnson, Thomas, and Gronkowski will carry him most weeks.
FF Today – Doug Orth
QB: Andrew Luck $16, Ryan Tannehill $1
RB: Adrian Peterson $46, Arian Foster $26, Jonathan Stewart $3, Khiry Robinson $2, Chris Ivory $2, Ronnie Hillman $2, Roy Helu $1, Mike Tolbert $1
WR: Jordy Nelson $35, Roddy White $22, Wes Welker $22, Anquan Boldin $4, John Brown $1
TE: Kyle Rudolph $14
K: Mason Crosby $1
D/ST: Ravens $1
Doug used the studs and duds approach, which is common to auction drafts, and he racked up some pretty good starters across the board. He may struggle to find starters at running back if Foster’s injuries linger. Otherwise, Doug likely boasts one of the soundest teams at each starting position across the board.
Football Diehards – Emil Kadlec
QB: Robert Griffin $19, Matt Ryan $12
RB: Reggie Bush $23, Frank Gore $19, Rashad Jennings $19, Carlos Hyde $11, Bernard Pierce $9, Maurice Jones-Drew $7
WR: Keenan Allen $21, Cordarelle Patterson $18, Terrance Williams $8, Kenny Britt $3, Riley Cooper $3, Robert Woods $3
TE: Greg Olsen $11, Dwayne Allen $3
K: Steve Hauschka $2
D/ST: Chiefs $2
Emil took the balanced approach and likely got some of his personal favorite targets. I like the value he got especially with Allen, Jennings, Hyde, and Pierce. I’m not sure I would have spent so much on a second quarterback or Gore, but I can understand each decision based on who else he drafted.
FF Mastermind – Steve Yerger
QB: Aaron Rodgers $27, Phillip Rivers $4
RB: Doug Martin $24, Alfred Morris $22, Ahmad Bradshaw $7, Fred Jackson $6, Latavius Murray $1
WR: A.J. Green $34, Deandre Hopkins $10, Cecil Shorts $7, Jordan Matthews $6, Mike Evans $6, Odell Beckham $1
TE: Jimmy Graham $35, Delanie Walker $3, Austin Seferian-Jenkins $2
K: Phil Dawson $3
D/ST: Cardinals $2
Steve gains a huge positional advantage week to week with Rodgers and Graham. His roster includes four rookies, so you might expect a slow start on the weeks where Rodgers and Graham don’t go off. Beckham could end up being a steal because the Giants count on him. If Richardson holds down the job for the Colts, he is shallow at running back.
USA Today Fantasy – Cory Bonini
QB: Tom Brady $14, Cam Newton $10
RB: Eddie Lacy $36, Marshawn Lynch $30, Tre Mason $11, Andre Williams $8, Christine Michael $5, Darren McFadden $4, Kadeem Carey $2
WR: Victor Cruz $20, Andre Johnson $16, Emanuel Sanders $11, Doug Baldwin $7, Josh Gordon $6, Hakeem Nicks $5
TE: Dennis Pitta $12
K: Adam Vinatieri $1
D/ST: Rams $2
Cory grabbed a good combination at quarterback, but it doesn’t compare to his RB1-RB2 combination which is the second-best in the league with Lacy and Lynch. He must know something I don’t about Mason’s playing time, but I like McFadden in a PPR at this low value. Cruz and Johnson were two of the best values at wide receiver, but he may struggle to find production from the rest of his corps. Pitta has massive upside in Kubiak’s offense and in this format. Overall, this is one of my favorite teams.
Rotowire – Howard Bender
QB: Matthews Stafford $19, Andy Dalton $4
RB: Matt Forte $45, Andre Ellington $23, Pierre Thomas $14, Shonn Greene $1
WR: Antonio Brown $32, Michael Crabtree $17, Julian Edelman $12, Eric Decker $11, Kenny Stills $5, Aaron Dobson $1, Rod Streater $1, Miles Austin $1
TE: Charles Clay $5, Eric Ebron $4
K: Blair Walsh $1
D/ST: Panthers $4
Howard went very top heavy but still managed to build a receiver corps that goes five deep. Stills and Ellington are two of my favorite values in the draft. Thomas is a safe bet in PPR leagues. Crabtree and Decker could end up returning excellent value. If Clay’s breakout season was truly due to Sherman’s offense, Howard could struggle to find production at tight end.
FF Spin/ FF toolbox – Rob Warner
QB: Drew Brees $24, Matt Schaub $1
RB: LeSean McCoy $49, DeMarco Murray $35, Jeremy Hill $8, Mark Ingram $3, Chris Polk $2, Bryce Brown $1, James Starks $1
WR: Julio Jones $25, Mike Wallace $14, Marques Colston $10, DeSean Jackson $10, Greg Jennings $1
TE: Jordan Reed $9, Heath Milller $2
K: Greg Zuerlein $1
D/ST: Browns $1
If this team stays relatively healthy and Rob does well for himself in free agency, it is my odds on favorite to win this league by a wide margin. Rob has the best RB1-RB2 combination in the league and players like Jones, Wallace, Jackson, Reed, and Hill carry a ton of upside. Jennings for a buck is a steal. I’m very impressed looking back at this team.
Fantasy Sharks – TC Cannon
QB: Peyton Manning $30, Joe Flacco $2, Geno Smith $1
RB: Toby Gerhart $26, Shane Vereen $24, Knowshon Moreno $4, Charles Sims $4
WR: Dez Bryant $40, Brandon Marshall $36, Jerricho Cotchery $4, Markus Wheaton $4, Chris Givens $2
TE: Jordan Cameron $15, Garrett Graham $1
K: Justin Tucker $2, Stephen Gostkowski $2
D/ST: Patriots $2, 49ers $2
This was the hardest team for me to evaluate. On one hand, I love the approach targeting PPR plays in Vereen, Moreno, Cameron, Sims, and potentially even Gerhart to go along with his “big three”. On the other, I hate his roster construction. Despite adding Manning, he drafted two other quarterbacks and a backup D/ST and kicker. This construction resulted in a lack of depth at running back and wide receiver.
David Gonos – David Gonos
QB: Colin Kaepernick $13, Josh McCown $1
RB: Jamaal Charles $46, Ryan Matthews $19, C.J. Spiller $16, Ben Tate $11, Knile Davis $4, Andre Brown $2
WR: Randall Cobb $27, Vincent Jackson $18, Kendall Wright $17, Dwayne Bowe $8, Cody Latimer $5, Jarrett Boykin $1
TE: Vernon Davis $7, Tyler Eifert $2
K: Matt Bryant $1
D/ST: Bengals $2
David took a balanced approach and landed with some players with upside. I’m personally down on Matthews and Spiller in PPR, but Cobb and Wright are perfect for this format. Eifert has breakout potential with the Marvin Jones injury. Solid team all around.
FFConsistency – Bob Lung
QB: Jay Cutler $9, Eli Manning $4
RB: Le’Veon Bell $38, Gio Bernard $31, Danny Woodhead $8, Deangelo Williams $4, LeGarrette Blount $1,
WR: Percy Harvin $22, Jeremy Maclin $19, Michael Floyd $18, Reggie Wayne $12, Sammy Watkins $9, Steve Smith $7, Brian Hartline $2
TE: Jason Witten $13, Coby Fleener $1
K: Shayne Graham $1
D/ST: Seahawks $7
Bob beat me out for Cutler, who I think might be the best quarterback value in the draft, because I wanted to wait for value that never came. I think that Woodhead is due to regress based on his high touchdown total and the addition of Donald Brown. Bob has a lot of depth and potential at wide receiver, two studs at running back, and a tight end who might eat in this format. It’s a very well balanced team.
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If you want to know any of my other evaluations on skill position players, continue the conversation, or yell at me for something I missed, you can find me on Twitter @DanSchneier_NFL. You can also add me to your network on Google+ to find all of my past material.