Here is the second 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.
It is very difficult for first time fantasy players in auction leagues to determine how to calculate dollar values for players. Many magazines offer dollar values for players but you never want to use those heading into an auction format. For one, most magazines will not have the correct number of players with dollar allotments. If you are in a 12 team league with 9 pitchers on a roster, then you need 108 pitchers that have a dollar value. Many magazines will have either more or less players with dollar amounts that then skew the numbers.
What ever source you use to get fantasy baseball dollar values from, just remember though that while the dollar values are a good reflection of a player’s value, every auction is different and there are several stages of the draft where bidding can run higher or lower than projections.
For example, at the beginning of an auction, many of the top players will be thrown out and the bidding will sometimes run a couple of dollars higher per player as everyone is excited and wants to get a big bat or stud pitcher on their team. At different pockets of the auction, there will be a lull where several players will then go for under value as owners have overspent and those are the players you will want to target.
An easy way to check during the draft which the way the money is going is by simply entering the dollar amount next to each player that is picked and then subtracting that amount from the dollar amount you have projected. By keeping a running total during the draft, you will be able to see if there is more money or less money left to be spent. This will help you adjust your bids accordingly so you are able to obtain the players you want for your team.
If you are not comfortable using Microsoft Excel with formulas for projections or if you are having trouble getting accurate looking auction values, you can also look at historical leagues to see how much money is spent at each position and what some of the top players go for at each position. The expert leagues like the LABR or Tout Wars are a good place to see dollar values from year’s past to help level set your projections.
For those that like to do their own projections for fantasy baseball auction dollar values, you need to make sure that you have the correct number of players with a dollar value based on your league settings and that the total dollar amounts equal the money that can be spent.
If you are playing in a 12 team league with 23 man rosters (14 hitters and 9 pitchers) with $260 to spend per team, you need to have a total of $3,120 projected. To get the split for hitters and pitchers, most use 68-70% for hitters with the remainder going to pitchers. So using our league parameters above, if we allocate 68% of our dollars to hitters, then we need to have a total of 168 hitters projected for $2122 and 108 pitchers for $998. For pitchers, there is an additional step to break down the dollars further between starting pitchers and closers.
Again, don’t worry if at the auction the prices don’t match what is on your auction cheat sheet. The dollar values are just a guide and they will still be helpful for you as you can use the prices to compare again your position rankings and then adjust your bids accordingly.