Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Draft Prep: Al Melchior's Auction strategies

  •  
More Auction strategies: Nando Di Fino | Scott White

Real baseball isn't played on a level field. Big-market teams often have the luxury of snapping up the biggest stars, while small-market teams have to be a little wily in order to compete. By contrast, Fantasy auctions allow all owners to start off with the same budget, but that doesn't mean they can't play their own version of "Moneyball."

While no owner has to overcome a massive deficit in financial resources when they come to the auction table, if they don't find a way to maximize the value they get from their budget, they won't enjoy the sweet taste of "Yoohoo" at the end of the season. As in the real game, part of finding value is identifying players who are undervalued and underappreciated by most other owners. Everyone has their method for finding sleepers and hidden gems; for years, I have relied on the method developed by Ron Shandler that views players through the lens of skill indicators (i.e., strikeout and walk rates, both for pitchers and batters) rather than through surface stats like batting average or ERA. Whichever tools you prefer, it's important to come prepared with a long list of players whom you expect to get on the cheap.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Value is also about supply and demand and timing. While every auction is somewhat unique, a general pattern that I have observed is that in the early going when the supply of viable players is greatest, owners get some of the biggest bargains. (However, you don't always want to go cheap in the early portion of the auction, and I'll explain why below.) A successful auction, then, not only depends on knowing which players you want to target but also knowing when to make your move.

It's not always clear as to when is a good time to break out your wallet, but these four strategies can at least give you some guidance on when to pull the trigger on bidding the extra dollar or making a nomination. There is not just one way to have a successful auction, so this is far from a comprehensive list of time-tested strategies, but they comprise a method that has worked for me.

1. Go a little extra on elite talent

However much you think you want to spend on particular players, when it comes to players who are far ahead of the field at their position, spend a little bit more. For example, when Joey Votto is nominated in an NL-only draft, it's worth your while to go as much as $10 over your budget for him. Not only can you practically be assured that Votto will perform at a very high level, but there is no one else in the NL who is likely to come anywhere near that level at his position. The same logic holds for Miguel Cabrera (in any format), Ryan Braun (in any format), Matt Kemp (in any format), Clayton Kershaw (in any format), Justin Verlander (in any format), Craig Kimbrel (in all Rotisserie formats), Jose Reyes (in AL-only leagues) and Buster Posey (in NL-only leagues). Some may feel comfortable adding Mike Trout to this list as well, though his limited track record would prevent me from going more than a few dollars over budget on him.

The key to making this strategy work is to find sleepers either in the early or late portions of the auction. Once you have anchored your roster with two or three high-priced elites, you can make up some of the budget deficit you've created by targeting players whom you perceive that other owners are undervaluing. A scan of our current average draft position rankings can give you a good sense of which players are generally being undervalued.

2. Come prepared with a list of sleepers you can get cheap, either early or late

To make your aggressive approach with elite players work, you will need to come prepared with a list of players whom you think you can win with bids that are below your budget for them. This list should be deep enough, so that if you either miss out on some of them or you underestimate others' interest in them, you have a Plan B. Not only do you need to be ready with a long list of names, but you need to start pursuing them -- nominating them, if necessary -- either in the early going or late. In the middle of the auction, the tiers of quality players start to thin out, and this is where many owners will wind up going over budget. Middle-tier players like Freddie Freeman, Aaron Hill or Pedro Alvarez often represent the last acceptable option remaining on the board, so it's easy to go a few extra dollars on them despite your best intentions. If you think these players could bring you good value in the early going when there is less of a mood of desperation, toss them out for nomination.

3. Let other owners outspend you during the middle portion of the auction

If you execute the first two strategies, you will probably enter the middle portion of the auction with one of the smaller remaining budgets. While it may be tempting to fill in the rest of your roster while there are still some solid players left to be taken, for the most part, this is a good time to sit back and watch the other owners empty their accounts. That is not to say that you should sleep on this portion of the auction, as you still have to be on the lookout for potential bargains. It's just that they could be much harder to find, so you need to resist the urge to get in a bidding war over middle-tier types. Make the occasional exception if you need to, but the overall theme of this portion of the auction should be restraint.

4. Mix up your nomination patterns

As mentioned above, sometimes you will need to nominate potential bargain players early, so that you maximize the chance that they remain bargains. However, you don't want to telegraph your intentions when you make a nomination. Use a variety of methods in selecting a nominee. On some occasions, you can scan the remaining options at a position that you've already filled and select the player who you think will go for the greatest value, thus taking some dollars out of the draft room. Other times you can throw out a player you'd like to have for $1, but one you're not attached to so that you won't feel the need to counterbid if someone goes $2 on him. Other times, just make a random selection.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
A.J. Pollock to begin rehab again Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:40 pm ET) Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock will begin his rehab assignment again Tuesday, according to FoxSports.com.

Pollock will begin his assignment at Triple-A Reno. Pollock had been on a rehab assignment, but needed extra time after being hit on the same hand he broke earlier in the season. He's been out since May 31 with the injury.


Nick Punto not ready just yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) Athletics infielder Nick Punto is not ready for baseball activities yet, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Punto is dealing with a hamstring injury, and hasn't come along as quickly as expected. He's been out since August 2 due to the issue. Punto is hitting .207 over 179 at-bats.


Kyle Blanks to have MRI Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:09 pm ET) Athletics infielder Kyle Blanks will have an MRI on his feet, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Blanks said both his feet have started bothering him on his rehab assignment. He's been sidelined since June 22 due to a calf injury. It doesn't look like he'll be able to join the major-league club any time soon.


Cory Luebke able to play catch
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:03 pm ET) Padres pitcher Cory Luebke started a throwing program Saturday, according to MLB.com.

Luebke is recovering after his second Tommy John surgery. His throwing schedule has been slightly altered this time around. Luebke will take more time between throwing sessions. There's still no timetable for his return. 


Hitters to sit in Week 22
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:45 pm ET) So you're thinking of starting Mike Zunino, Allen Craig, Neil Walker, Casey McGehee, Brock Holt or Josh Hamilton in Fantasy Week 22 (Aug. 25-31)? That may not be such a great idea.

Check out the latest Start and Sit Hitters to find out why.


Hitters to start in Week 22
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:44 pm ET) Looking for a sleeper hitter for Fantasy Week 22 (Aug. 25-31)? You may just find him in the latest Start and Sit Hitters. Stephen Vogt, Justin Morneau, Jedd Gyorko, Martin Prado, J.J Hardy and Michael Morse are all labeled "starts" for the upcoming scoring period, with several other sleeper suggestions sprinkled throughout.

Be sure to give it a look before setting your lineup.


Jed Lowrie not ready to throw or hit yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:42 pm ET) Athletics infielder Jed Lowrie is not ready to throw or hit yet, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Lowrie did say his injured finger was getting better. He's hoping to begin throwing and hitting drills in a few days. Lowrie has been sidelined since August 13 with a fractured finger. 


Marcus Semien could soon factor in Fantasy
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:40 pm ET) By trading Gordon Beckham to the Angels Thursday, the White Sox created a big hole up the middle that, for now at least, they'll attempt to fill with some combination of Carlos Sanchez and Leury Garcia. But neither figures to make as much of an impact long-term as Marcus Semien, who Fantasy owners may remember for the splash he made back in April and May filling in for an injured Beckham and then an injured Conor Gillaspie.

His final numbers didn't look so hot, but he showed his potential with a couple nice weeks. When the White Sox finally shipped him to Triple-A Charlotte, he slumped so badly that he fell off the radar for a while, but he's rebounded in July and August, batting .288 (51 for 177) with six homers and 14 doubles. Most encouraging is his exceptional on-base percentage during that time thanks to a 35-to-30 strikeout to walk ratio. His plate discipline put him on the map as a prospect last year but hasn't been as evident during his time in the big leagues so far.

So why isn't he up yet? Good question, but MLB.com has reported he will be when rosters expand in September. My guess is he gets most of the at-bats then, and with an Ian Kinsler-like combination of power and speed, I could see him making an impact in Fantasy.


Hyun-Jin Ryu tosses another bullpen session Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:35 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed another bullpen session Friday, according to MLB.com.

Ryu has been sidelined with a glute injury since August 13. He also threw from the bullpen mound Thursday. Ryu has a 3.28 ERA over 137 1/3 innings.


Zack Greinke playing catch prior to start
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:31 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke played catch on flat ground Friday, according to MLB.com.

Greinke was pushed back in the rotation in order to rest his elbow. He's slated to return to the mound Saturday against the Mets. Greinke has a 2.75 ERA over 157 1/3 innings. 


 
 
 
Rankings