Raymond Summerlin

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FLEX Leagues Auction Recap

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Recently, I had the pleasure of competing in the FLEX Leagues Auction, a 12-team auction with a $200 budget featuring some of the best names in the industry. Participating in such a competitive auction gives me both the chance to evaluate how some of the most interesting fantasy assets are being valued and discuss the strategies which can help fantasy players be successful in auction formats.

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The primary takeaway from this auction is the primary takeaway from most auctions: spend money early. The first player nominated was Todd Gurley, and, unsurprisingly, Gurley ended up tied with Lamar Miller for the lowest price among the top-five running backs at $43. Ezekiel Elliott and Adrian Peterson both went for $46 while David Johnson landed at $50. Dez Bryant, who I bought, was the first receiver nominated, and he ended up $3 dollars cheaper than DeAndre Hopkins and $6 cheaper than A.J. Green, both players I have ranked in the same tier. Odell Beckham ($57) ended up going for $4 more than Antonio Brown primarily because he was nominated after the clear No. 1 receiver.  

In almost every auction, early nominations end up being the best values. People come into the event knowing about how much each player costs on average, but every auction is different. Until the “inflation rate” of each draft is set, players have a difficult time identifying when to spend that extra dollar. That means early nominations tend to be slightly undervalued, making them great players to grab.

Another universal tenet of auction drafting – one which I failed to heed in this draft – is to always go the extra buck for your players. Drafters tend to be way too caught up on saving money for the end game to actually go and get good players. Refusing to spend an extra dollar or two on LeSean McCoy to make sure you land Jerick McKinnon is like trading down two spots in the third round in order to move up two spots in the 13th. It does not make any sense, and no matter how good you think you are at identifying late-round talent, the reality is most of the late-game auction buys are going to be on the wire by Week 6.

One only needs to look to the second running back spot on my team – currently LeGarrette Blount – to see the most cautionary example of why to go the extra dollar. On multiple occasions I had the opportunity to go the extra dollar for a solid RB2, and I bowed out every time. I probably could have had Frank Gore for $18…or Thomas Rawls for $21…or Doug Martin for $29…or Dion Lewis for $15…or Jonathan Stewart for $19. The list goes on and on. Instead, I was forced to spend $4 dollars on the Raiders DST just to spend all of my budget. Super glad I saved that money.

The final overarching note is the importance of tiers. The best way to identify value during an auction is to compare prices both within and among similar tiers. Lewis ended up being a good value at $14, but it would be difficult to see that in the moment if you did not identify ahead of time the players who should be valued similarly. The simple act of grouping players ahead of time can lead to significant values during an auction.

As for this draft particularly, there were certainly some interesting valuations. Chief among those was Doug Martin, who went for just $28 dollars. That ended up being $4 less than McCoy and a whopping $9 less than Mark Ingram. Martin was nominated before those players -- another positive data point in the spend-early strategy’s favor -- but it did not seem like he was valued as highly as McCoy and Ingram inside the room. While his health and ability to replicate last year’s success are certainly concerns, he is a very good back on an offense which has a chance to be better in Jameis Winston’s second season. I have him ranked seventh on my running back list, and I would absolutely have loved to land him at 28 bucks. Unfortunately, I am dumb and didn’t.


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Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
Email :Raymond Summerlin



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