The Moves That Won An Auction Pool
“The champ is here!”
If I had bongos I would bang them like Will Smith in Ali as I yell that previous statement. Why? Because I took home the hardware in our prestigious auction style fantasy football league. If you listen to our podcast then you know how and why the other contributers to Fantasy Football Auctioneer and I choose to play in auctions above all other forms of fantasy football. Follow me as I take a look back on the makings of a championship team.
I will start by acknowledging that there is luck involved in winning any fantasy pool. There is often a comparison thrown around that says fantasy sports are like poker. You need some luck to win but most of the time you see many of the same faces making deep runs. It is totally true. The guys that spend the time preparing and honing their craft often get themselves in the best position to win. There is a reason why if you look at the 3 of us that run FFA (@FantasyAuction), we occupied 4 of 6 championship positions in our three pools, owned the highest scoring team in each pool and so far have won 2 of the 3 pools (last championship is this weekend — @UncleBucketts is in the finals of that one too). Not bad track record. Couple that with the prize money that we have all won in daily fantasy leagues this year and it’s been a pretty good run in ’12 for FFA.
The key to winning is pre-draft preparation. This is what separates the proverbial “men from the boys”. I’m certain that everyone in your pool follows their team pretty damn closely during the season. The real competitors follow more closely in the weeks and even months leading up to their drafts. This year going into the draft I wanted to focus on 3 things: 1. Getting three #1 RB’s 2. Getting a top 3 TE 3. Finding good value at WR positions and at QB. Here was my roster after the draft
QB – Cam Newton $29
RBs – CJ2K $51, TRich $34, Spiller $4, K Hunter $1, J Best $1, Hardesty $1, Kuhn $1
WRs – D Thomas $19, S Johnson $12, S Smith (CAR) $14, Wright $2, Quick $2, McCluster $1
TE – Gates $21
K/DEF – Bullock TEN $2/ BAL $1
I was thrilled to get CJ and TRich for a combined $85. I spent much more on QB than I wanted but Cam was going so cheap that I couldn’t let someone else get him for under $30. I spent $45 on 3 WR which was much more than I wanted to, but again they were going for so cheap that I couldn’t pass them up. I mean $19 for Demaryius and $14 for Smith?….that was way below market value. As you can see spending on the starting lineup crippled my bench, but Spiller for $4 turned out to be a great buy and probably helped save my season. Obviously, Gates at $21 turned out to be a waste of money.
Fast forward to Week 5. After the games that weekend I found myself 1-4 thanks in large part to CJ2K and Gates starting the season super slowly. Believe me, if I could have traded Johnson I would have. Unlike some owners I chose to hang on to him because I would have never been able to live myself if I dropped a starting RB and he picked it up and was on someone else’s roster. I was able to pick up Andrew Hawkins in Week 2 and Gresham in Week 4 off waivers so I used them as Flex and TE respectively. Cam was also off to a weak start by his standards so in Weeks 6 and 8 I actually turned to Ponder to QB my team. Thankfully on Week 6 CJ2K started to turn things around a little and actually became a starting option again.
Between Weeks 6-10 I went 3-2 to get my record to 4-6. I was making up ground but I needed to really get hot in order to get in the playoffs. Cam was starting to play a little better but still not really finding the endzone. TRich and Thomas were scoring almost every week thankfully. I was also getting contributions from Kendall Wright as a bye week replacement which helped. I also managed to get Danny Amendola off of waivers during this stretch while he was rehabbing from his collarbone/shoulder injury so I was anxious to get him healthy.
After Week 10 is when my team caught fire. From this point I never lost a game on route to the title. I made the playoffs with a 7-6 record. By virtue of my team being the highest scoring one in the pool I was able to slide into the 4 seed because of the tie breakers. Once I got in the big dance, my team averaged 119 points per game to earn the hardware. Cam started playing lights out. Spiller was explosive as ever and had the greater benefit of FJax going down during the playoff run. I was getting good defensive production with CIN, CAR and NYJ playing by their matchups every week. The biggest key might have been grabbing Moreno off waivers in Week 12 when everyone was fighting for Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball. I started him in the finals, opting to sit TRich against DEN. That versatility is huge in the playoffs when matchups often matter more than ever. That gave me a RB tandem of CJ, Spiller, TRich and Moreno so I could play matchups. My team at the end of the season looked like this:
QB – Cam
RBs – CJ2K, TRich, Spiller, Moreno, Beanie Wells, Rashard Jennings
WRs – D Thomas, Smith, S Johnson, Amendola
TE – Gresham and Gates
K/DEF – Graham/CAR,CIN,NYJ
As you can see there was some key changes that I made through waiver wire moves, but the nucleus of my team was the same all season. If it wasn’t for me knowing values during the draft then I wouldn’t have recognized that steals that were available at the time. My pre-draft prep allowed me to improvise my plan and be flexible during the draft.
I had to scratch and claw to get in the playoffs, but I knew that if I did I had a great shot at making some noise because of the high scoring weekly output my players were producing at the end of the season. Now I can savor this victory a little and look forward to doing it all again next year.