Here is the first 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.
For first-time players in an auction league and for some grizzled veterans, it can be a challenge participating in an auction and knowing how to manage your budget. Every year in every auction I am in it seems that there will always be one owner and sometimes two that leave money on the table which can often times keep them from finishing in the money of their league. One of the reasons that owners leave money on the table is they don’t track their budget during the draft and they come to the end needing only a couple of players and they have a decent amount of money left over. Another is because they don’t prepare before the draft how they are going to spend their money.
The simplest way to make sure that you spend your full budget, which in most auction leagues will be $260, is to assign dollar values for every spot on your roster. This will help you target what players you want to buy and how much you can spend on them. The first step is to determine how much money you want to assign to your hitters and pitchers. Most owners will go with something around a 68% to 32% split. This will give you a total dollar amount for your hitters and pitchers. The next step is to then breakdown the dollar amounts per roster spot. Here is a sample layout of a roster with the dollar amounts assigned for each position. The assumptions are this will be a 23 man roster (14 hitters and 9 pitchers) on a 15 team mixed league.
Hitters = $177
1c – $18, 2c – $5, 1B – $25, 2b – $15, SS – $15, 3B – $15, MI – $4, CI – $7, 5OF – $25, $15, $12, $10, $8 U – $3
Pitchers = $83
SP1 – $20, SP2 – $12, SP3 – $10, SP4 – $8, SP5 – $5, SP6 – $3, RP1 – $12, RP2 – $10, RP3 – $3
Throughout the course of the auction, enter the dollar amount for each player as you buy them. If you spend more or less at a position than what you have allotted, simply adjusted another position to get your total projection back to $260. For instance, an $18 catcher comes up and the bidding stops at $14 so you bid $15 and buy him. You are now $3 under your first catcher slot so you can add that $3 to another position on your roster. So you may tack that extra $3 on to your third relief pitcher spot to try and grab a third closer.
If you spend more or less from a hitter, you do not necessarily have to add or subtract the extra money from a hitter spot. You could take it from a pitcher spot or vice versa, as long as your total projected budget always stays at $260.
I did not leave $1 for any of my rosters spots. At the end of the draft when other owners are low on money, by making sure that you have more than $1 left per roster spot, you have a better shot of getting the players you want. If all of the teams each have $1 left per position, the end of the auction then becomes a draft in essence since no one can beat the bid of the owner that is nominating the player.
If you follow the steps above, you will have a much better chance of spending all of your $260 budget and not leaving money any money on the table.