Auction strategies

Hey everybody,

Josh Shepardson and I just wrapped up a 42-minute podcast covering various auction strategies, their logic, their weaknesses, and when they work best and worst. We also explore ways to disrupt the drafting strategies of others. For those looking for an auction strategy primer, this podcast should be a useful tool. Click here to download the auction strategies podcast (it is currently hosted for free on MediaFire).

Here is a rundown of the topics addressed in our podcast:
Auction draft strategies

  1. “Spread the wealth”
  2. “Stars and scrubs”
  3. LIMA (Low-investment mound aces)
  4. “Punt a category or two, win the rest”

Disruption scrategies

  1. Tossing out (hot) prospects early
  2. “Bid Chicken” and the Sidney Ponson theory of drafting
  3. “The Great Ryan Braun caper” and other ways not to get invited back next year.

Quick addendum note to the podcast: Whenever playing “stars and scrubs,” you generally have to avoid injury risks.

In an auction, no matter what strategy you employ, it is important that you, above all, remain flexible and adapt to the market at all times.

What are some of your favorite auction strategies and why? Sound off in the comments below!


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Jeffrey Gross is an attorney who periodically moonlights as a (fantasy) baseball analyst. He also responsibly enjoys tasty adult beverages. You can read about those adventures at his blog and/or follow him on Twitter @saBEERmetrics.
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Votto-erotic Asphixiation
Guest
Votto-erotic Asphixiation
I play in several 6×6 head to head auction leagues with an 18.0 innings cap.  I find that I only need two starters to go with an arsenal of relievers every week in order to make said innings limit.  I start my auction planning by building from the end of the auction forward —— estimating the prices I’ll need to spend (and even overspend) to secure players essential to my strategy which is as follows: Grab 4 closers.  Normally I only have one “elite” closer (~$15), but look for this year’s bargains (Joe Nathan, John Axford, Matt Thornton, Craig Kimbrel,… Read more »
Brad Johnson
Guest
Brad Johnson

18 IP cap? Holy jesus, Roy Halladay could eat your entire innings limit some weeks…that’s waaaay too small.

Votto-erotic Asphixiation
Guest
Votto-erotic Asphixiation

I’m sorry, I meant minimum innings limit, not cap!  My B.

Brad Johnson
Guest
Brad Johnson

Whew, that makes much more sense…

Listening now fyi…

Votto-erotic Asphixiation
Guest
Votto-erotic Asphixiation

Myself as well.  I’m at the ten minute mark.

Jeffrey Gross
Guest
Jeffrey Gross

I love that team name hahaha

Votto-erotic Asphixiation
Guest
Votto-erotic Asphixiation

Hahaha, thanks!  A lot of my middle-reliever strategy that has been a staple of my teams for years is in this podcast.  I’m glad to see it in there!  After all, it’s led me to win more than half the leagues I’ve entered.  The strategy practically sells itself, at least in the current market.  Who knows what we’ll have to do to get an edge once everyone gets hip to the happening.

Brad Johnson
Guest
Brad Johnson

Excellent work guys. You both sound like podcast veterans.

Will Hatheway
Guest
Will Hatheway
Admit your tendencies: I, for example, am an avowed value guy; that’s good in many ways, but also suggests I relish the opportunity to be smug about getting more than I paid for to an extent that it can bite me in the ass if I’m in a shallow league, say, and I don’t fight those tendencies when “overpaying” for a few studs is the smartest thing to do in a situation where replacement value is so high. (Same goes for other parts of my life; e.g. it took a while to realize that, however “undervalued” the stocks I’d buy… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
Guest
Ben Pritchett

Great job, guys. I laughed. I cried. I learned more ways to take advantage of you both in the THTF league.

Seriously though, great podcast. Keep it up.

Josh Shepardson
Guest
Josh Shepardson

@ Will

You raise some good points.  My favorite is the first that you address, admit your tendencies.  That is a huge part of auction drafting.  I, like you, relish the opportunity to look back at players I rostered who produced above and beyond their auction price.  At the same time, owning an entire roster of players who barely exceeded their dollar values doesn’t assure a winning roster.  Ultimately you still need to accumulate the stats, and sometimes getting that anchor and paying a premium for a first round talent is necessary.

Richard Brown
Guest
Richard Brown
I was the victim of a “Rollins/Rolen” misidentification in 2007, my first year in an established NL-only auction keeper league.  I thought I got Jimmy Rollins for $29.  My competitor kept giving me a worried look so I thought I had him on the ropes.  I discovered my mistake when the commish said that I could not put Scott Rolen in the SS slot.  I have gotten ribbed every year since when we meet for our auction on the first Saturday after opening day.  By the way, the real Jimmy Rollins went for $33. I lost “Bid Chicken” last year… Read more »
Brad Johnson
Guest
Brad Johnson
When choosing between spreading the wealth and stars and scrubs ask yourself: How much time will I spend scouring the waiver wire in this league? How much time will my opponents spend scouring the waiver wire? The more time you’re willing to spend and the less time your opponents are willing to spend, the more inclined you should be to use stars and scrubs. For instance, I will be drafting a very balanced ottoneu team because I don’t plan to check in very often (inside info for you Jeff). I have a draft tomorrow where I’ll probably be super stars… Read more »
Brad Johnson
Guest
Brad Johnson

While not the best strategy in the world, I like loading up on elite relievers and doling out the harshness in K, rate stats, and SV.

Throw in a pair of top class elite starters and a vulture like Tyler Clippard and you’re well on your way to sweeping pitching. Hope you have some position sleepers though because you’re basically splitting your costs 50/50.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

Brad-

That last point you make (regarding stars and scrubs and the willingness to put in the time scouring the waiver wire) is a great point. I usually have to cover over for a shoddy draft and slow start by relentlessly working the wire over a six-month period. Usually helps me make a slow and steady march from eight place to about fourth.  smile

Derek Ambrosino
Guest
Derek Ambrosino
Great job, guys. A perfect primer! Here’s one other disruption strategy, though there aren’t the studs that fit this bill that there once were. Nominate players who are only Util eligible. Most disruption strategies are centered around trying to get others to spend their money imprudently, but this disruption strategy is geared toward getting a bargain for yourself early. Some owners may be wary of filling their utility position so early in the draft, and others may be leery of spending on the position to begin with. Some owners like to leave the util position open so they are able… Read more »
Jeffrey Gross
Guest
Jeffrey Gross

@Derek,

Thanks. I think that is definitely a good strategy. I will employ it in the future. Perhaps in a year, when Vlad is just DH-only eligible once again

Sexy Rexy
Guest
Sexy Rexy

Jeff, did you ask me my advice on how to create a podcast and then not listen to a word I said instead to choose the most complicated podcast site that’s not connected to iTunes?

Also, I’m super excited to listen to the most boring, driest podcast ever!

Jeffrey Gross
Guest
Jeffrey Gross

Yes. I asked you the question a few days ago, but traveled back in time to make sure I didn’t listen

Jeffrey Gross
Guest
Jeffrey Gross

Also, our podcast is awesome

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