Make your league better!

Updated: August 30, 2013

It’s the end of August which means a couple of things – the start of football season and fantasy football draft season.  Just about everyone is or has participated in a fantasy football league. Everyone is talking about sleepers and keepers, studs and duds.  I love it.  I am probably following too many fantasy football people on twitter which results in lots of duplicate information. I think am experiencing some hearing loss from the daily podcast listening while I walk my dog. He’s never been skinnier!

During this time people like to tout their league as being “best league around” or “toughest league to win”.  I’m here to tell about a way to make your draft more exciting while making your league tougher to win.  Scrap your boring roll-of-the-dice snake draft and open your mind to auction style drafting.


What is Auction style?

Auction style is simply that – an auction for each player.  It’s Ebay for fantasy football.  Each team has an imaginary salary cap (say $100) to spend for the entire season.   At the draft, teams take turns throwing out a player for everyone to bid on.   The player goes to the team that bid the most.  You continue this until your roster is filled just like a traditional draft.  Many online leagues now have auction style drafting available.  My favorite scenario is to have everyone in the same room and just going back and forth.


What makes auction style better than traditional drafting?

The biggest benefit is every coach has a chance to draft every player (salary cap withholding).  Every league has the guy who somehow manages the #1 or #2 pick every year.  So frustrating.  This creates an even playing field market-wise.  It’s free market capitalism for fantasy football.  If you want to spend $75 of your $100 on Aaron Rodgers, go for it.

Another advantage is that is faster and more exciting.  All teams need to pay attention to every player.  There is no leaving the room for 10 minutes to call the wife.  I recently participated in very competitive 12-team auction/keeper draft that three and a half hours of ups and downs, groans and moans, and beers and cheers.  There is nothing better than looking another coach in the eye and going one more dollar and watching them cringe.


Auction style creates more strategy

Auction style drafting means more thought has to go into each player.  Not only do you need to predetermine what a player is worth based on your scoring system, you will need to determine his value once other players at his position have gone off the board.  When AP is drafted for $40, what does that do to the value of Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and C.J. Spiller?

There is a level of gamesmanship involved with auction style drafting.  Do you continue to “bid up” someone you don’t want just to hurt an opponents salary cap?  Do you introduce expensive players early so everyone will spend their cap?  Do you introduce a sleeper early hoping that everyone is tight with their money?  All these questions have to be considered when developing your draft strategy.  Personally, I’m a big fan of introducing players I don’t want.  I like to get them out of the way and declutter my cheat sheet.

You may not have time organize for this year since the season is just a week away.  During your weekly trash talking session with other league members, throw the idea out and see what everyone thinks.  I have never met someone that after I explained auction style drafting replied, “That is stupid” or “No way”.  Once you go auction style, I promise you will never go back.

Enough with the high-horse, snotty auction is better talk.  Let’s talk about some auction values this year.  These are players I think you can get cheaper than “higher” rated players and get better production.  This is a value-base game.



Matthew Stafford – Stafford just signed a huge multi-year deal and wants to prove he’s worth the money. Megatron was tackled 5 times inside the 5 yrd line last year.  He can usually fall forward for 3 yards.  That was a fluke and won’t be repeated.  The addition of Reggie Bush can only help his yardage.  Ryan Broyles is healthy finally.  All of these things add up to big numbers.  This is a team that passes, passes and passes some more.

Michael Vick – No dog jokes here.  Just a QB motivated by new coach and system.  They are going to try and run 10 more plays a game than last year.   I like the idea of him rushing to the line and make the defense tire out. You can look at that as 10 more chances to fumble or 10 more chances to throw to D-Jax.  He’s a good bench QB to stash for injury or bye week.  I’m expecting lots of shootouts with the porius Eagles defense giving up lots of big plays.

Carson Palmer – If your league doesn’t give negative points for interceptions, he’s the bench QB to own for only a few bucks.  Better weapons than the last two years in Oakland and in a more uptempo offense.  Has a good defense to get the other team off the field with quality return game to aid field position.


Running Back

LeSean McCoy – Has been going later in drafts than Charles, Rice, Spiller.  He’s on the move though as the Eagles offense is going to create more opportunities for McCoy.  Like Vick, McCoy is motivated with new coach and system. He’s younger than you think (25) and ready for a bounce back season.  (I’m not predicting a lot of wins for the Eagles, just more opportunities).

Matt Forte – Versatile running back has been featured (finally) in goal line situations throughout the preseason.  Value goes up in PPR leagues as the poor o-line will force Cutler to get rid of the ball quickly (sometimes to the other team *gulp*) Michael Bush is no handcuff to worry about.

Giovani Bernard – Slightly under-sized in Cincinnati with Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis entrenched as a starter.  I see that lasting about 3 to 5 weeks.  Bernard has been used in goal line formations in the preseason (equals touchdowns folks).  BJGE will take all the punishment between the tackles but Gio will the glory in the end zone.


Wide Receivers

Randall Cobb – The Packers will try and put Cobb in multiple positions this season.  Aaron Rodgers was quoted as Cobb has the ability to get “100 receptions”.  I like receivers whose QB likes their outlook.  Sounds logical to me.  Jordy Nelson is slightly banged up but Cobb is the man on a pass-first team with the best quarterback in the league throwing him the ball.

Chris Givens – Speedster in St Louis had 10 catches of 20+ yards last year out of 41 receptions.  Reports say that he is clicking with Sam Bradford and is his first,second and third option. Tavon Austin and Jared Cook additions keep the pressure off of him.  He’s a #1 WR with huge upside.

TY Hilton – Adds the bonus of return yards to value.  DHB is listed as the #2 opposite Reggie Wayne but don’t believe it.  Hilton will be on the field as much as DHB and has better hands.  Colts have a poor running game and very good QB.  Hmmm…..


Tight Ends

Jermichael Finley – I think people are forgetting about him after a couple of down years.  He’s in a contract year.  Nothing like money to motivate a player to workout hard in the offseason.   Rodgers and Finley have apparently been on the same page all through camp.  I’m buying this guy.

Jordan Cameron – Big, athletic former basketball player (see Gates, Antonio or Graham, Jimmy) who is now in an offense that likes to throw deep to tight end.  Has looked impressive in preseason games going after high passes in traffic.


So there you have it.  My first fantasy football article of the year. I hope I convinced you to try auction style drafting.