Calculating Inflation for Fantasy Baseball Auction Keeper Leagues

Here is the third article in our series regarding fantasy baseball auction leagues. These leagues have grown in popularity over the last decade or so as they make for a very exciting draft day experience and there are many more fantasy baseball leagues and high stakes events now offering auction league formats as well.

If you have never played in an auction format before, you are missing out on a great time. Instead of being limited to who you can pick because you will never have a shot at certain players based on your draft position, in an auction, theoretically you have a shot to buy any player you want until you run out of money.

One of the questions I get asked a lot in addition to how to calculate fantasy baseball auction values is how to determine inflation in auction keeper leagues. For auction keeper leagues, this is a very important step because you cannot use the traditional dollar values that you would find online or in a magazine. Here is a look at the steps for how to determine accurate auction values in keeper leagues.

1. Determine the total possible money that can be spent in an auction. The formula is number of teams multiplied by the salary cap per team. So if you have a $260 cap and 12 teams in the league, then the total possible spend is $3,120.

2.  Determine the total cost of the keepers for all teams. For the sake of the example, let’s say the total keepers are worth $1,500.

3.  Determine the leftover available money to spend. The formula is to subtract number 2 from number 1 above, so $3,120 less $1,500 leaves us with $1,620.

4.  Determine the projected cost of the keepers in a non-keeper league. Let’s say that amount came out to $1,800. We then subtract our total money spend of $3,120 from $1,800 and come up with what our remaining players to buy would have cost us in a non-keeper league, which is ($3,120 – $1,800) $1,320.

5.  Determine the inflation rate. We have $1,620 left to spend on players in a keeper league compared to their true auction value of $1,320. Subtract $1,620 to spend less the $1,320 normal value which comes out to $300. Divide the $300 by $1320 to get the inflation percentage of roughly 22.8%

6.  Take the projected salaries of the players to buy in the auction multiplied by 22.8% and add that total to their standard auction price. You now have the new adjusted value for inflation for your auction. So a guy like Albert Pujols at $41 in a regular league becomes $50 in a league with inflation.

But wait, we are not done quite yet. There are a few steps to do to make sure all of the numbers are coming out correct. The total player pool and the dollar values of the keepers and players left to be bought need to balance out. If you are using 23 man rosters in a 12 team league, then you need to have 276 players with a dollar value and the total dollar amount needs to come out to $3,120.

In order to keep some players at the $1 value when you are applying the formula, if you are using Microsoft Excel, user the ROUND DOWN function so dollar values don’t get rounded up like you would do in typical math. Otherwise you will end up with a bunch of players moving from $1 to $2 or $3. If you apply the formulas and your totals don’t quite add up to the amount you need, add whatever dollars you have left over to the top players in the auction as they will go for higher than the inflation rate in some cases.

For those of you that love math or are an analyst in your day job, you may want to drill down even further and do a calculation for the inflation rate for pitchers and hitters separately, especially if you have historical numbers from previous seasons to bear that out. The same steps for the formula would apply as above except you would need to determine the dollar split for the hitters and pitchers, which I typically use at 68% to 32%.

Remember again that the final auction dollar values that you come up with are not set in stone and don’t be afraid to go a dollar or two over them if you really want the player as you can find savings at another position.

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