The Perfect Fantasy Football Auction Draft

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Aug 1, 2017

Auction drafts are the single greatest thing in life. Ok, maybe that’s a little hyperbole. Prime rib is, in fact, #1, but auction drafts are close! The problem with auction drafts is that everyone tends to think in terms of serpentine drafts when preparing for fantasy football. That is the language we use in our podcasts and the majority of articles, but fortunately, FantasyPros offers some tools that changes the ball game. Rather than entering your draft with little idea and leaving your draft in disappointment, you can be one of the few owners who are psyched about what they came away with.

I was talking to my co-host, Mike Tagliere on the FantasyPros Football Podcast about how to answer half of the questions that come into our listener mailbag: Just use Draft Wizard. With our Draft Simulation Software, you can cruise through mock auction drafts in 15 minutes so that you have enough practice that you won’t panic when your auction takes an unexpected turn. Plus, well, the Draft Wizard is fun! What’s more, is that you can customize Draft Wizard to your league setting and even include your keeper prices ($premium) so that the mock accounts for you league’s inflation and scoring oddities. You can even sync your live draft with all of the Draft Wizard bells and whistles. This tool is my best friend. Not far behind, is our Auction Calculator which helps you build customized cheat sheets and does all of the math for you. If you want to win your leagues, use these tools to your advantage!

Auctions are not like a standard draft where you can assume certain players will fall to you with each of your picks because of ADPs and ECR. Rather, I used standard Yahoo! Fantasy Football settings for a 12 team Yahoo league into our action calculator and removed defense and kickers because you aren’t here to read about them, right? Then, to make it a challenge, I removed 10% of my $200 budget since you can’t just pretend that you will get everyone you want at the auction calculator price. This left me with just $180 to spend on 14 players. Here is how it turned out:

$13 QB
$68 RB
$9 RB
$26 WR
$8 WR
$6 WR
$28 TE
$4 FX
$3 B
$1 B
$7 B
$5 B
$1 B
$1 B


Running Backs

L Bell, D Martin, L Blount, S Perine, J Williams, D McFadden

The price on superstars is usually exorbitant, but still, Bell is a value at this price. His 12 game pace would have put him at over 2,500 yards from scrimmage last season, and with just 9 touchdowns, he is due for the type of positive regression that could make him the top fantasy asset in a decade this season.

Martin is my #2, but I’ll be using McFadden during the three weeks he is out if the reports that Elliott ending up suspended are indeed accurate. McFadden was terrific behind this offensive line two years ago and should have no trouble piling up the yards and finding his way into the end zone with a bulk of the carries while Zeke is out. Then, when Martin returns, we could very well get an RB1 for the remainder of the season. Every season he has been healthy, Martin has finished as a top 12 overall player in VBD. Now that he is over his demons from last season, reports out of camp are that he looks phenomenal so I’ll be betting on him in a big way this season.

If and when Bell or Martin inevitably get hurt, as running backs tend to do, I’ll have Blount, who may not be sexy, but just happens to be the work horse and goal line back behind what Pro Football Focus says is the best offensive line in football. Granted, Blount won’t get 18 touchdowns this season, but double-digits are a real possibility, as is 1,000 yards. Not bad for a $7 investment.

The depth chart is rounded out by high-upside rookies, Perine and Williams. We’ve been hearing glowing reports out of the Redskins’ camp that Perine is the real deal and a potential three down back from the get-go. Whether he takes over as the starter in the preseason or not, it is inevitable that he will be the lead back soon enough. Williams, meanwhile, is behind Ty Montgomery on the depth chart for now, but Montgomery had just one game last season with double-digit carries. That might explain why the Packers thought it necessary to draft three athletic running backs this season, of which Williams is far and away the most likely to win the starting gig.

Wide Receivers

S Watkins, E Decker, J Maclin, J Brown, Q Enunwa, K White

For the last 14 games that Sammy Watkins was healthy, he was every bit as good as Antonio Brown. Yes, there is increased injury risk with drafting him, but the reports have been that Watkins looks healthier than ever and like an absolute freak of nature. If he stays healthy, we could be talking about a top 5 wide receiver this season.

After him, we have three high-upside risky plays in Decker, Brown and White. Like Watkins and the Muscle Hampster before him, when Decker has been healthy, he is at the very least, a high-end WR2. Last season, he finished #11 at the position in fantasy points per game, the year before, #14. He has two seasons under his belt as a top 10 wide receiver for the full season, so while he is older, we just have to admit that this is who Decker is. John Brown dealt with serious health issues last season, but let’s not forget about his tremendous athletic profile or the fact that he went for 1,000+ yards and 7 touchdowns just two seasons ago despite only starting 11 games. White is the ultimate lottery ticket. Perhaps he ends up hurt again, or maybe he just isn’t any good, but last year, he was on pace for 150+ targets when he went down with his injury and don’t forget that he was one of the best college football receivers and combine performers we have seen from the position in the last decade.

The other two, Maclin and Enunwa are quite a bit safer. Joe Flacco has led the league in pass attempts each of the past two seasons. Steve Smith, Dennis Pitta and Kamar Aiken are all gone, so Maclin should absorb a ton of those targets, especially considering the Ravens just lost their starting running back and should pass even more as a result. He has compiled 40 touchdowns in his last five healthy seasons from age 22-27 and is finally playing with a competent quarterback. Enunwa is not the most talented player, nor is his quarterback anything to write home about, but he is the #1 target in an offense that will be playing from behind nearly every week. He should pile up the targets and be reliable from week to week at the very least.

QB and Tight End

A Luck, R Gronkowski

The majority of experts will tell you that waiting on a quarterback is the way to go. I believe, however, that the hate has gone too far. If you look at the VBD leaders over the past five seasons, it tells the narrative that owning a top 3 QB is of immense value. Luck isn’t being drafted as a top 3 QB right now, but just look at the past three seasons:

Aaron Rodgers: 21.57 fantasy points/game
Andrew Luck: 20.74
Drew Brees 20.04
Tom Brady 20.01

And this includes the year Luck was playing with a bum shoulder. Sure, there is injury risk with him, but if he is healthy, we get a top 2 QB in football and he is still improving.

For Gronk, it comes down to the fact that he is in a tier all to himself. In fact, if you could, consider him to have the first and second tier all to himself. Every single time he has been healthy, he has been a top 12 VBD overall player. He is still in the prime years of his career and is apparently healthy. If we get Luck and Gronk healthy all season, the trophy is in the bag.

Thanks for reading and good luck this season!

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