"In a fantasy football auction, don't spend early, that way you can control the board later."
No. Just … no.
A more proper approach is to attack the player pool in waves, and acquiring the best relative value gains -- not necessarily the top dogs, but those that could be darn close and worth it for as low as half the price. If you wait too long to try establishing a stronghold over the board for a singular, extended period, you'll wind up overpaying market value for midrange, shaky options, and have few choices left. "Stars and scrubs" can work, but it handcuffs your freedom to acquire sleepers later, a vital means of extended mileage from your allotted salary cap.
Nelson a centerpiece
Instead, as you should in any auction in any sport, you should attempt to control the board in multiple waves during a draft, piecing together runs of purchases, breaks and get-money-off-the-board nominations. Dictate the flow throughout the process, not just at the end when you're looking at slim pickings.
On Wednesday, I took this approach while targeting an across-the-board-earning squad in the 12-team Fantasy Index best-ball auction, a non-PPR, no-flex setup. It's a 22-player roster with a $200 auction cap; we don't set lineups during the year, instead leaving our players to set their own based on which assets put up the most statistics. It's important, with the absence of inseason transactions, to have more depth than usual at every spot, as a result of conserving dollars when appropriate.
(I can't release the full results because they will be in the magazine, which hits stores in the coming weeks. Check your newsstands for my extended comments and the analysis from my competitors.)
I let the Adrian Petersons, Jamaal Charleses, etc. go off the board while waiting for solid depth to come into my price range. Considering it's an early draft, I made sure to nominate the top options at quarterback (Peyton Manning) and tight end (Jimmy Graham) to establish the positional markets early. RB and WR were dissected in a similar manner close to each of my nominations. This gives you a lucid idea of how to adjust your own expectations, discover how the over- and underpayments unfold later on, etc.
I wanted to spend about $100 on my five core players. I achieved that with Ryan Mathews ($22), Jordy Nelson ($32), Larry Fitzgerald ($18 -- thanks, guys), Bishop Sankey ($21) and Toby Gerhart ($21). I'm pleased at the balance I achieved, with plenty of upside at wide receiver; enough dice rolls in my backfield to weather a season-long, transaction-less storm; a fine QB trio that plays to this matchup-based game; and one of my favorite sleepers this year (tight end Zach Ertz, $6).
Thoughts? Chime in.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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