Adam Levitan

Draft Analysis

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Auction Draft Recap

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Everyone has a different strategy when it comes to auction drafts. And that’s what makes them great.

Some people will blow their whole roll on a few stars and cobble together the rest of their team. Others will go for one big stud and some mid-level guys. A few owners will just go for mid-level value plays all draft long.

Last Thursday, a mix of fantasy insiders and diehards gathered for a 12-team auction mock. Our budget was $200 and we had 16 roster spots to fill. The scoring was standard with full PPR (point per reception) and the starting lineups were QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, FLEX, K D.

Here I have listed the first 36 purchases of the draft in the order they were called out. I've also included Mike Clay's final roster and his insight into strategy. In the Draft Guide, you’ll find the analysis of the rest of the draft and a breakdown of my strategy.

1. Calvin Johnson $44
2. Michael Vick $21
3. Mason Crosby $1
4. Dan Bailey $1
5. Sebastian Janikowski $1
6. Larry Fitzgerald $34
7. Jimmy Graham $35
8. Julio Jones $37
9. Arian Foster $60
10. Greg Jennings $27
11. 49ers D/ST $2
12. Stephen Gostkowski $1

13. Ray Rice $57
14. Philip Rivers $8
15. Drew Brees $28
16. Ryan Mathews $35
17. Steelers D/ST $1
18. Brandon Marshall $29
19. Texans D/ST $2
20. LeSean McCoy $56
21. Aaron Rodgers $41
22. Vernon Davis $11
23. David Akers $1
24. Antonio Gates $24

25. Trent Richardson $33
26. Alex Henery $1
27. Darren McFadden $51
28. Eagles D/ST $1
29. Rob Gronkowski $37
30. Matthew Stafford $28
31. Chris Johnson $52
32. Tom Brady $32
33. Cam Newton $30
34. Maurice Jones-Drew $30
35. Victor Cruz $29
36. Miles Austin $21

NOTES: If there’s a kicker or D/ST you really like, throwing him out early isn’t a bad play. If someone bids more than $2, they spent too much. If you get them for $1, you’re happy. … I knew I wanted Julio Jones so I called him out at my first chance. People could cap their spending early because there are so many other wideouts available. … Note that Rob Gronkowski went for $2 more than Jimmy Graham. That’s probably out of “tier fear.” It’s clear these two are in a class by themselves among tight ends, so once the first one goes, there is more pressure on owners to get the second one. … Arian Foster set the bar at $60 as the consensus No. 1 overall pick. That’s 30 percent of the budget, which should be fairly standard around most leagues. … Owners in this league were well aware of the scarcity theory at running back and quarterback. Note how relatively cheap the “elite” quarterbacks went for.


QB Eli Manning $11
RB Matt Forte $41
RB Steven Jackson $37
WR Greg Jennings $27
WR Miles Austin $21
WR Eric Decker $19
TE Antonio Gates $24
FLEX Tony Gonzalez $7
K David Akers $1
D/ST Bears $1

B Daniel Thomas $2
B Ronnie Hillman $3
B Michael Bush $1
B Isaiah Pead $2
B Laurent Robinson $2
B Rueben Randle $1

My strategy for this auction was the same one I follow for all auctions: Spend on starters.

Other than that, the goal is to patiently wait for values. I always create a budget for each position and try to stick to it as a best I can, but it’s important to be ready to make adjustments as necessary. My budget will allow for 40 percent of my money to go towards a pair of running backs – the shallowest and most important fantasy position.

In this auction, I feel like my strategy worked well. I was able to get a pair of top-12 backs, three strong wide receiver options with WR1 upside, a top-eight quarterback, and a top-three tight end.

The depth at quarterback was evident, as I was able to snag Eli Manning for only $11. Matt Forte ($41) was a solid price when you consider that five backs went for more than $50. Steven Jackson ($37) wasn’t a steal by any means, but a lot of cash was spent on backs in this auction, so I feel like I made out well.

My wide receivers are led by Greg Jennings ($27), Miles Austin ($21), and Eric Decker ($19). All three are in the WR2 conversation in PPR and there is significant upside here. If not for a bit of a bidding war with Josh Norris, I would’ve had Antonio Gates ($24) for under $20. Still, it’s not a bad deal. I went on to snag top-10 tight end Tony Gonzalez ($7) to help out in the flex.

Remember what I said about spending on starters? Here’s why. If you’ve been counting, you’ll notice that I’ve already spent $187 of my $200 cap. Add in another two bucks for a kicker (David Akers) and defense (Bears) and I’m left with $11 to spend on six bench spots.

Those six spots went to Ronnie Hillman ($3), Daniel Thomas ($2), Isaiah Pead ($2), Laurent Robinson ($2), Michael Bush ($1), and Rueben Randle ($1). Had I invested more cash in my bench, I wouldn’t be much better off and my starters would’ve suffered. Remember, everyone else is spending heavily early-and-often, so you don’t want to be left with too much cash late.


Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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