Earlier we offered fantasy baseball keeper league strategy and advice. Now, we’re going to highlight some auction draft strategy tips that will help you make the right decisions about who to build around for 2012 and beyond. Here are 10 tips to auction draft success.
10. Prepare, prepare, PREPARE!
I can’t stress this enough. If you want to do well in your fantasy league this season, you cannot go in without the necessary preparation. Sure, maybe once a decade you can get lucky, but if you are serious about winning, preparation is key (this is why you have the great crew providing fantasy baseball strategy at MSF to help you out). Bottom line: it’s hard to build a team in an auction league when you are constantly trying to figure out who the guy is that everyone else is bidding on.
9. Draft hitting, not pitching.
We’re coming off of the year of the pitcher, and quite frankly, the pitching talent available is more than abundant. A very viable staff can be drafted for a reasonable price, while hitting is sneakily shallow. Spend the big bucks on hitting and find discounted pitching on your way to fantasy success.
8. Please don’t spend on saves!
Especially in auction leagues, the bidding can get a bit out of control when it comes to closers. Resist the temptation to draft the latest “sexy” closer, and don’t shell out for Drew Storen, Ryan Madson, and Craig Kimbrel. In a standard 12-team league, the closer prices will inevitably begin to drop off, and that’s where you swoop in to nab your bargains. Wait patiently, and grab solid value picks like Sergio Santos, Joakim Soria, or Huston Street.
7. Know and account for your opponents tendencies.
In every league, there are always owners who define your drafts, or draft predictably. Recall these owners and make mental notes of their tendencies. Have a rabid Phillies fan? Make him go the extra buck for Hunter Pence. Is your league gun shy in bidding in the beginning? Buy the first player. Has someone owned Prince Fielder for three straight years? Make him pay. Know these tendencies going into the draft, and have plans ready to exploit them.
6. Keep track of your opponent’s teams and funds remaining.
One of the most violated rules on this list, the average fantasy owner fails to realize the vital need of keeping track of which team has drafted what player and how much they have left to spend. This is important because it allows you to know what each team needs and helps you avoid getting caught in bidding wars.
Know if there is only one more guy who needs a catcher and how much money he has left. This can help you know if you can take the bid or will be overpowered before it even happens. It also can help you catch other owners bluffing if they are bidding up your catcher despite already having drafted one. For more info on catchers, we did a Catcher Stock Watch for you.
5. Don’t get caught up in all the hype.
Thanks to great fantasy baseball resources out there today (like this one), many of the people in your draft will be well informed. The catch is many of them will have the same generic information, with the same lists of “top sleepers” and “hot prospects.” This will consequently lead to bidding wars on everyone’s favorite sleeper and sexiest rookie. Avoid these, as it will save you later. However, remember to…
4. Go the extra dollar.
Yes, I just got done telling you to avoid bidding wars, but the beautiful thing about an auction draft is that you can draft whoever your little heart desires. If you have a strong feeling about a player, don’t live and die by his average or projected auction value. Go the extra dollar to make sure you have him on your team, because in the grand scheme of things the actual dollar values of each independent player is quite variable. Leave no regrets.
3. Avoid clutter.
I see too many novice owners now-a-days bringing in three fantasy magazines, two fantasy books, laptop, three-ring binder, 10 excel spreadsheets, and 14 pens into the draft. Take a step back. You should be able to carry what you need for you draft in a simple, concise way. Don’t go overboard. Too many papers, magazines and other junk only hinder you during the draft. If you’ve done your research, you’ll have everything you need carried in by your brain.
2. Be flexible.
Don’t have your heart completely set on just one player. I’ve seen too many drafts ruined by someone getting stuck on having one guy… say Jose Reyes. When he goes for way more than they expected and they don’t get him, their plans fall through. They’re lost and they don’t know what to do, like someone just stole their soul.
It takes them 20 picks to recover, usually without even bidding on a single player. By then, they are thrown off their game and are usually the guy who’s asking for a “re-draft” over the lunch break.
Vice-versa, don’t let bargains pass right in front of you! Just because you didn’t plan to draft someone, maybe no one else did either! That doesn’t mean he’s not valuable! Don’t let one guy nab Carl Crawford at a rock-bottom price and laugh all the way to the title.
1. Have fun.
Sure, this is a competition, and heck, I want to win as much as anyone, but make sure you have fun at your draft! Enjoy the time with your buddies, take a day away from regular life, and just relax. The draft is always one of the highlights of the fantasy baseball year, so keep that in mind. Don’t get caught up entirely in the competition or let one pick ruin your day.