How To Find Value In Your Fantasy Football Auction Draft

This article is from a couple of years ago, but the strategy still applies today. Change the names out for guys like Barkley and CMAC and you have a great nomination strategy for the 202 fantasy football auction draft. 

This year there seem to be 10 RB’s going for $50-70 dollars.  Anyone of those ten could fetch top dollar in a draft.  A lot of things factor into the price but one theory we see time and time again is what we have dubbed the “Auction U”. Basically, if you look at a tier of players when the first few players are nominated from that tier, they pull down the top dollar.  Then as you approach the middle of the tier, you may be able to grab a guy for a few dollars less.  Near the end of the tier, again you will pay top dollar, as at this point guys are scrambling because they are worried they will miss out on a top tier player, RB in this case.  Let’s look at this theory with actual numbers.

Gurley $65, Zeke $62, Bell $65, Johnson $62, Kamara $60, Saquon $57, Gordon $52, Cook $50, Fournette $50, Hunt $51. These prices fluctuate each and every auction draft.  The guys going for over $60 never seem to drop below but more often the guys going for closer to $50 often approach $60 also.  It all depends when they are nominated and how many of the top 10 are left. 

So, how do you use this information to gain an advantage on your league mates? You want to get your man, and you want to pay as little as possible.  If you play the Auction U theory, of those 10 guys, the highest prices will be the guys nominated early and the guys nominated late.  The first 3 guys nominated in this tier and the last 3 are probably going to cost the most.  Thus if you are up to nominate, and 3 RB’s have gone, then nominate Cook, Gordon Hunt or Fournette if you like them.  The reason being, there are still a lot of decent RBs left and guys will not panic.  They may also see them as a little less appealing as a DJ or Zeke if they are still available and will want to hold their money with hopes of getting a different RB.                  

Now in any auction, you can nominate whoever, whenever.  The consensus shows these are your top 10 big-money RB’s.  This theory can be applied to any tier you have.  Typically with your late-round $1-2 tiers you are not going to need to think about this.  However, your QB tiers and a couple of WR tiers will also follow this theory.  Not too mention your RB2’s (Freeman, McCaffrey, Mixon etc).

From what I am seeing in the mocks, some guys try and get 2 of the top 10 RBs, some guys grab 1 and other guys pass on the top 10.  The guys who pass or grab 1, are often thinking they will get Mixon or Howard or Mccaffrey as their RB1 (if they passed) or RB 2 because after that there are a lot of question marks and it is scary to think you are starting your team with McKinnon or Henry. This is now driving up their prices as again the panic is setting in.  These guys now are going closer to $35 when earlier they were around $25.  A lot of this is based on recency bias as last year the RB’s were making the most noise.  You need to determine what you need for your league scoring.  If you are in a league that gives fractional points per carry then you better go after at least 1 great RB.  If that is not the case and your league is full PPR, then I would save my money and get stud WRs.  You can target PPR backs like McCaffrey, and wait for Collins, Drake or even Lamar Miller as they will be getting the touches.

 Another sneaky strategy to try is if you have a WR or RB from the 2nd or 3rd tier you want, sneak one of them in there early in the nominations.  Maybe a rookie RB like Guice or Freeman or perhaps a WR like TY Hilton or Demaryius Thomas,  Those guys have the potential to be huge contributors, but if it is early on and there are 7 big RBs left and all the big-time WRs…then my hunch is you get them below market value.


You need to mock several strategies to see what works and what your teams will look like.  Right now a lot of big money is being spent on the top 10 RBs, top 5 WRs and top 3 TE’s.  That will not change a lot so you need to know where your money is going to go!


Good luck with your auctions!


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