Written by Jordan Stiers
I just completed a startup auction for a new dynasty league I created with a few of my long-time friends and fellow fantasy fiends. Going into it, I spent hours making tiers of players and creating a game plan for how I wanted to attack the auction. If you go in blind, it’s very easy to get “wowed” by the big names going up for bid. In fact, I rarely put players of interest up for bid. Instead, I nominate players I assume others are interested in and that I don’t necessarily mind not having. After making tiers and highlighting potential values, two things were certain. First, you want a piece of the “big 3” at running back: McCaffrey, Barkley, and Kamara (also Zeke, depending on your feelings about his off the field issues). Next, you need a piece of the other “big 3” at the tight end spot: Kelce, Kittle, Ertz. After that, you stick to your tiers and try not to chase names.
The league has a cap space just short of 190 million. It has 10 teams, PPR, extra flex position on offense, three flex IDPs, PPT, and a 30-man roster.
The first player up for bid was Barkley. People were timid and I was surprised. I didn’t go for him because I have him in other leagues, but I was angry that he went for 40 million a year. This meant I was now going to have to pay more for either CMC or Kamara. By the time Zeke and the other two were auctioned off, Barkley was the cheapest of them all; they literally went up in price as they went off the board. After that, things calmed down a bit. Hopkins and Michael Thomas went for the high 30s, and everyone else was low 30s or less. I grabbed Kelce at the low 20s, Kittle went for a little bit less, and then Ertz was forgotten because of a run on wide receivers. So he was had for mid-teens.
The value guys are what really shocked me, with players like Josh Jacobs going for 13 million a year. After just watching absolute spending spree in the running back market, there is only so much money to go around. If you pick the right big names to spend on, it makes you feel better about being outbid on other guys. I was in the mix for almost every player; I lost about 90% of them and I was totally fine with it, provided I still liked what was on the board. Setting yourself up where you have to get one guy at all costs, because he’s the last of a certain tier, sucks. You end up overpaying him worse than the guys you gave up on earlier in the draft.
All in all, I spent very low on my IDPs. Both Devin Bush and Devin White were available very late for very cheap. With the young duo on minimum contracts, I snagged some veterans for even cheaper and felt great about my defensive squad going week-to-week. Big names went for way too much money in the mid-rounds. Not worth it at all; wait for the value and pounce.
The only regret I have is that I leaned too heavily on rookies and sophomores. You need a good mix of long-term and short-term success. I may have gone too heavily in the young range. Just remember, top-3 tight end and a top-3 running back are necessities; everything else is a value play. Good luck this year!