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Recovering from a Blown Auction

This is not a fun article to write. Although writing it may be better than how I got here. For the last few weeks, I have been telling you how I lay out my plans for auctions, and for the last few years, executing those plans has resulted in some terrific fantasy seasons. And then Sunday, March 9 happened.

It was set to be a busy day, with back-to-back three hour auctions scheduled, but was made even worse when I woke up with some sort of terrible stomach virus. Instead of hanging out with friends and auctioning, I was doing my best to grab the players I wanted between (and sometimes during) mad dashes for the bathroom. The resulting rosters were not what I had planned on, which is unfortunate for my fantasy seasons, but convenient for writing an article on how to recover from a failed auction.

First, to define my failure, in the first auction, I went in knowing that my only SS were Ian Desmond and Stephen Drew, and that I needed a legitimate backup SS since Drew is a big question mark. I also wanted a big bat at Util, where my current options are Victor Martinez and Kyle Seager. Finally, I needed a couple more SP.

I walked out with no Util bat, two new 2B (neither of whom qualifies at SS) and Tim Lincecum. And $64 in unused cap space.

In the second auction, I had planned to spend $30ish on Jason Kipnis and $40ish on Hanley Ramirez, and then fill in the gaps. Instead I have a $13 Jose Altuve (which I hate), a $9 Brad Miller (which I love), and mostly filler, plus, again, way too much leftover cap space. I could have had Hanley at $38 or $39, and Kipnis at $31 or $32.

Hopefully, if you managed to botch and auction, you didn’t have to have such an unpleasant day at the same time. But you might want to think about how to bounce back. From my perspective there are three things to do:

1) Scour the waiver wires ASAP. You are doing this for two reasons – first, there are almost always players who slip through the cracks during who can help your team. Second, you can find players on the wire who you would be happy to use and trade away the starters who are blocking them. For example, in one of my leagues, there a couple catchers and a couple outfielders I would be happy to use sitting on the wire. I’ll likely use the wire to upgrade my OF and then try to trade away my starting catcher for an upgrade elsewhere and fill in the catcher slot with a free agent.

2) Trade from depth. Even if you butchered your auction, you probably have depth somewhere. In order to end up weak or shallow one place, you probably are strong somewhere else. It’s never great to give up a strength, but if the auction didn’t go well, your best bet is to trade from strength to balance out your team.

3) Figure out quickly if you can salvage the year and, if not, start adding long-term assets. It sucks to start thinking 2015 so early in 2014, and I do not encourage you to give up NOW, but if you can’t make the moves to make your team great this year, at least don’t give up assets that can make you great next year. And start to identify targets to acquire for the future. If you plan early and trade smart as the season goes on, you can make your 2015 auction nice and simple, and reduce the risk that you find yourself back here again.