Today, we’re concluding a two-part recap of a recent mock auction.
Part one of the recap detailed the quarterback and running back positions. Today we’ll take a look at wide receiver and tight end.
As a result of smart drafting and the 2RB/3WR/Flex format, only 65 wide receivers were sold, which was just one more than the 64 running backs taken. The depth at the position made this the most volatile in terms of value vs. expected.
As was the case at quarterback and running back, the most expensive player at the position is the one with the highest ADP. Calvin Johnson was the auction’s eight most expensive player overall at 21.5 percent, which was only 0.7 percent higher than he’s projected. When you consider that five of the next six most expensive receivers show as reaches, going up an extra dollar on Johnson doesn’t seem too bad. According to our projections, Victor Cruz qualifies as one of the draft’s biggest reaches. He went for 16 percent, but is valued at 10.9 percent.
It’s pretty obvious that our projections think most of these guys were overpaid (13 of the top 14 showing as slight-to-moderate reaches). That’s a result of the heavy weight we put on the running back position and the depth at the position.
Our group of WR2 contributors is where we start to see a few value picks. Percy Harvin (+1.5 percent) and Brandon Lloyd (+3.3 percent) are ranked as top 10 options at wide receiver according to our projections, but both were purchased at WR2 price tags. The last of the top 25 wideouts to come of the board, Antonio Brown was overpaid at 12 percent. Kenny Britt is a PFF Fantasy favorite, so it’s not shocking to see him being purchased at a rate that would qualify him as a borderline WR1 option.
Our final chart breaks down the wide receivers who fill out the WR3 grouping. Here we see a pair of steals in Steve Smith (+4.4 percent) and Eric Decker (+4.3 percent). Torrey Smith and Darrius Heyward-Bey were overvalued a bit, but not too severely.
Each of the 27 other wide receivers who were sold went for three percent ($6) or less. In fact, 22 of them went for 1.5 percent ($3) or less. Some names on the list included Lance Moore, Santonio Holmes, Greg Little, and Titus Young. You can spend a ton at running back and still get a strong WR3 for only a few bucks.
Best Value: Steve Smith (+4.4 percent)
Worst Value: Victor Cruz (-5.1 percent)
Advice: Using our auction values, you’re sure to get a bit frustrated at wide receiver. Most of the top guys will go for more than we’re willing to spend on them. This, as mentioned earlier, is because the position is so deep. Instead of going after the big guns early, wait until a good 15 or so wideouts are sold. A ton of quality will still be on the board and you won’t have to pay more than 20-25 percent of your budget to land a pair of top-20 wideouts. That’s more money you can allocate to running back.
Our final positional rundown breaks down the tight end position. If you’re high on Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, you’ll love how this went down. Graham was the most expensive of the two, but was only the 23rd highest paid player overall. Gronkowski, meanwhile, was essentially a third-round pick at 32nd overall. Going for 15.5 and 13.5 percent, respectively, consensus ADP would consider both steals. Of course, you can see from our chart that our projections don’t agree. Graham, in fact, works out as a slight reach (-1.3 percent).
After Aaron Hernandez and Antonio Gates (both eight percent), no other tight end went for more than six percent (or $12). As was the case at quarterback and wide receiver, the positional depth really shows up as your progress down the list. Jason Witten, Jermichael Finley, Jacob Tamme, and Tony Gonzalez are all considered values of, at least, one percent. 20 total tight ends were sold.
Best Value: Jason Witten (+2.1 percent)
Worst Value: Greg Olsen/Jermaine Gresham (-2.5 percent)
Advice: Tight end is very deep and the “big two” are generally going to go for more than they did in this league. Wait until only two or so of the top 10 remain and steal yourself a strong option at the position. Jermichael Finley and Fred Davis are showing up and strong values at the position as of late.
Kickers and Defense
Each team was asked to purchase, at least, one kicker and one defense. All but two of the 24 combined purchases were for one dollar. The only exceptions were the 49ers defense ($2) and Stephen Gostkowski ($2). It’s almost unheard of to see a total of $26 get spent on these two positions, but it’s the strategy you should be using. In fact, if you’re not forced to purchase a kicker or defense, the best possible strategy is to ignore them and add another pair of running backs to your bench.
Best Teams and Strategies
Statistically, PFF Fantasy Redraft Editor Alex Miglio easily came away with the best squad. Despite leaving two percent ($4) of his funds in his pocket, he put together a team worth 114% ($228), according to our projections. Alex’s highlights included finding three of the top seven values of the day – two of which came at the valuable running back position (Darren Sproles, Fred Jackson, Eric Decker). He landed Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and will go with a Jacob Tamme-Tony Gonzalez platoon at tight end. Brandon Marshall, Denarius Moore, and Doug Martin fill out his starting lineup.
One very interesting squad is that of the man who organized the mock, Eric Yeomans. Eric went with the RB-heavy approach, spending 69 percent of his cash on the position. Arian Foster, Steven Jackson, and Trent Richardson give him the best trio in the league, but it cost him at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne, Greg Little, Mike Williams). Of course, he only spent 8.5 percent of his cap on those three pass catchers. Meanwhile, Michael Vick (13 percent) and Jason Witten (six percent) still leave him with strong contributors at quarterback and tight end, respectively.
The final team we’ll look at today is the one I put together. As everyone who participated in this auction will tell you, it was a very frustrating process. It was almost impossible to get a steal, leaving the results looking very much like those out of a snake draft. Still, a handful of teams came out looking pretty strong. I think I was one of them, even though I ended up weak at the all-important running back position. Ryan Mathews (24 percent) was one of the most expensive buys of the day, but I had a quarter of my budget put aside for a star at the position anyways. Jahvid Best is my No. 2 and, despite his concussion issues, is still a formidable option in PPR leagues. I went with quality depth and handcuffs the rest of the way and I fully expect one of Mark Ingram, Michael Bush, Javon Ringer, LeGarrette Blount, and Alex Green to pan out.
After spending 41 percent on running backs, I threw 39 percent at wide receiver. That landed me a strong group that includes Victor Cruz (hey, I like him more than the Rotoworld consensus), Percy Harvin, Robert Meachem, Nate Washington, and Lance Moore. Drew Brees and Vernon Davis give me top options at quarterback and tight end, respectively.
I can’t say it enough – this was a tough auction. The good news is that we get a really good feel for the value of each player when everyone knows what they are doing and takes it seriously (and when no one is on auto draft!). The bad news is that the analysis I did today, while certainly helpful, was a bit boring. There were no major steals and certainly no terrible picks. It wasn’t easy to find a team I could tear apart for making a big mistake or two.
At the end of the day, the lesson here is to follow your board and stay patient. Don’t overspend and make sure you pounce at the right time. This was a tough, competitive league full of experienced auction leaguers. When you’re up against even above average competition, play it right and you’ll land yourself a team that would make the best team in this league look average.