Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
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
 
 
 

2014 Draft Prep: Auction strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

American League auction | National League auction

When I was working as a research assistant on Sam Walker's book Fantasyland more than a decade ago, I was tasked with calling Long Island strippers to see if they'd help us out with a plan we concocted to rattle the room of experts in our Tout Wars auction.

The idea was to have my "girlfriend" (the stripper) come into the draft room during the first couple rounds of the auction in nothing but a towel, saying she had lost our key. As I handed it to her, the towel would accidentally slip off and she would giggle and run out -- taking the most circuitous route possible -- leaving nothing but a hotel towel and memories. Our hope? That this would cause enough of a distraction in the all-male group to allow Sam and I to continue bidding over the next few rounds, unfazed, while everyone else, theoretically, played the scene over and over in their heads.

Those of you who read the book know this never actually happened.

Despite several agencies enthusiastically agreeing to the plan, we jettisoned the idea for a more PG-themed version, having Sam's wife's friend serve as a videographer for the first few rounds. We encouraged her to flirt. We kind of think it may have worked.

Get your Custom Draft Kits!
Download your Draft Kit for Draft Day 2014 that's customized to your specific league scoring system, format and player pool!
Download your Draft Kit today!

But the point of the whole exercise was to stymie the room however we could. Auctions are long, grueling events. The monotonous call of "going once…going twice…" interrupted only by an occasional bid, can wear a Fantasy owner down. You aren't really eating, you're taking the occasional gulp of water, your eyes are glued to lists of players or a flickering computer screen on the table in front of you. And you have to sit there and twiddle your thumbs as other owners bid for players you have no interest in.

Any kind of distraction, cutting through the boredom, is amplified. And it tends to stick in your mind. Sometimes, that naked women running out of a conference room at the hotel pops back up when you're trying to figure out if you should go the extra dollar on Sidney Ponson.

I'm not certain the stripper ruse would have worked, but with us fighting for any kind of advantage in a room full of hyper-prepared Fantasy gurus, it made perfect sense. Not every auction strategy has to be a $200/hour extravaganza, however. Sometimes, all it takes is a well-placed "nice buy, friend!" after missing out on a player you didn't want in the first place.

Remember, you have no friends at this table

The people you are auctioning with are out for blood. They may compliment your good purchases, but it's just to get inside your head, or out of some sense of petty jealousy. You have no friends at this auction table. You may be in a league with your best man, boss and father-in-law. It doesn't mean you have to let one of them win Mat Latos because they're from Cincinnati and really want him. You want to be a good friend? Teach them about capitalism by burying their bids (until you reach your projection price, at least). Or buy them a Latos card on Ebay after the auction. But five months after this draft, do you really want Latos being the difference between being in fourth and first -- and not being on your team?

Buy everyone pizza ... because they're all your best friends!

Or bring bags of chips, or a case of beer, or make cookies. Just do some kind of good-hearted gesture that will make them all like you a little bit more. Because that may take out the weak links in the league when you really want a player. You may lock horns with Andy from work on a Jedd Gyorko bid, and some little voice in the back of his head, when he's reaching that area where he may or may not think it's worth it to bid the extra dollar, will remind him that you bought everyone beer, and he'll lay off the bidding. He may even throw out the old, "You bought beer. You can have Gyorko! I didn't want him anyway." And just like that, you have Gyorko at a $2 discount. And if you don't think this happens, you haven't done enough auctions.

Stay out of the chat room

As fun as it may be to joke with your friends in the chat room -- clicking on YouTube links, complaining about your cell phone, making fun of John for buying all those Gloria Estefan albums through high school -- it's going to take you out of the auction, and open up a world of diversions you don't need. Lock yourself into the bidding action. Let nothing else get inside your head. There's no reason to get caught up in chatting with everyone during an auction, especially when a thing called Facebook exists. You know that guy in the league who is mysteriously absent from the chat room and seems totally locked in with his bidding? That should be you.

Bring props

You will go down in history as the most annoying person ever, but if you do something like bring a bike horn with you, and honk it after what you think are good buys, you'll create a pretty awesome vibe (for yourself) in the draft. And you don't even have to believe these are good or bad buys. Just honk it randomly after players are awarded. You will control the room. People love to be judged. And to get instant feedback -- even if it's from an idiot with a bike horn at a Fantasy Baseball auction -- will touch that subversive nerve of wanting to be accepted. When owners are sitting there with a lot of money, someone may bid a couple extra dollars to get the honk for a good pick. And when you don't honk it, maybe your fellow owners will feel insulted, or spend the next round wondering what they did wrong. Keep this in mind, though: you're an idiot. You will have to play this role. But bringing props into the auction is weirdly thought out enough to provide a legitimate distraction.

Don't jump bid

Some people think it shocks the room! when you introduce a player at $20, or jump from $15 to 32 with one bid, but with draft prep and technology being what it is, that's no longer the case. All it does is eliminate the chance for you to buy a player at a lower price. That $32 player you just bought could have gone for $27. But you'll never know, because you wanted to be cool and do a jump bid.

Get your bid in before "Going Twice"

Several times in every auction, someone waits until the very last second to throw a bid in, stumbling over the auctioneer's "Gone!" and causing everyone at the table to nervously look at each other and question whether or not the bid should be allowed. It usually is, and everyone -- especially the guy who you just outbid -- will hate you for it. Because the auction is an exercise in group dynamics, you may pay the price for the late-coming bids on players. And you also look kind of weak and indecisive, which will hurt your standing at the table. If you want a player, get your bid out there early in the auctioneer's cadence. It's a strong way of telling everyone you aren't going to back down from this player, so they shouldn't bother bidding him up. And if they do -- thinking they're funny, or trying to show they can go toe-to-toe with you -- drop out of the bidding suddenly when the player is going over your projected value, and stick the other owner with him. Do it once, and do it early, and you won't get many challengers trying to price-enforce your bids again.

Mock yourself silly

Get in as many practice auctions as possible online. This isn't going to help you figure out prices, because they'll fluctuate wildly from auction to auction, but you can tool around and see what happens if you go $50 on Mike Trout, or try to build a staff with all $6 pitchers. Make this link your best friend. It takes you to our mock auction lobby. Jump in one and start experimenting with strategies.

Auctions are kind of fun, at the end of the day. If your idea of fun is a six-hour long psychological guessing game. But it's definitely the best way to play the game, and is probably the truest reflection of skill in assembling a team (you control your own fate and start at the same point as everyone else). And while throwing some curveballs into the auction room -- curveballs you control -- seem a little goofy at first, auction pros know that even the slightest advantage can lead to a player landing on your roster at a favorable discount.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando at @NandoCBS .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Trade doesn't change much for Kendrys Morales
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:03 pm ET) Though Kendrys Morales is certainly capable of making a real contribution in Fantasy, he didn't do it in 39 games with the Twins, batting .234 with one home run and a .584 OPS.

And now with his trade to the Mariners, he's going to Safeco Field, a park known to neutralize a hitter or two. Oh noes!

Relax. We already have an idea how Morales will perform in Seattle considering he was just there last year. Of course, you would have rather seen him go elsewhere -- like to a hitter's park for once -- but if he continues to struggle like he did with the Twins, who don't exactly play in a hitter's haven themselves, the venue won't be the reason why.

After waiting half the year to sign with a team, Morales is now paying the price. While every other player is in midseason form, he's still in spring training mode -- or just coming out of it, anyway, having hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games.

Provided the Mariners stick with him every day and don't fit him into some kind of rotation with Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, he's a good bet for some cheap power numbers down the stretch. Maybe the move to a contender will even spark something in him.


Brandon Moss blasts grand slam Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:57 pm ET) Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss belted a grand slam Thursday against the Astros.

Moss stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Moss hit a grand slam on a 96 mph fastball. It was Moss' 23rd home run of the season. Moss finished 1 for 3, with two runs scored and four RBI. 


Jeff Samardzija turns in an excellent start Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:53 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Jeff Samardzija turned in an excellent start against the Astros Thursday.

Samardzija allowed one run on five hits over eight innings. He struck out six and did not allow any walks. The only blemish against Samardzija came in the fourth inning. With the bases empty, Samardzija allowed a solo home run to Chris Carter. Other than that, he was fantastic. 

With the win, Samardzija improved to 4-8 on the year. He’ll take on the Astros in his next start.


Scott Feldman struggles with his control against Oakland
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:52 pm ET) Astros pitcher Scott Feldman struggled with his control Thursday.

Feldman had a rough start in Oakland. He allowed six runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. Feldman struck out four and walked five during the outing. Feldman first ran into trouble in the third inning. Josh Reddick doubled to start the inning, and Eric Sogard followed that up with a walk. Josh Donaldson singled in a run, giving the Athletics a one-run lead. After an intentional walk to Brandon Moss to load the bases, Derek Norris drove in two runs on a single. 

In the fourth, Coco Crisp added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1. After putting two men on in the sixth, Feldman was pulled from the game. Both runs came around to score, giving Feldman six earned runs on the day.

With the loss, Feldman dropped to 4-8. He’ll take on the Athletics in his next start. 


Manny Machado sits out third straight game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:51 pm ET) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was held out of the starting lineup Thursday night against the Mariners, as he continues to work his way back from a back issue. Machado has now missed three straight games with the injury. He is hitting .267 with 10 homers and 23 RBI in 258 at-bats.

Marcus Stroman solidifies his place in Fantasy
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:50 pm ET) So Marcus Stroman nearly no-hit the Red Sox Thursday. True story. The Blue Jays pulled him after the seventh inning, when he allowed his first hit, but still, seven shutout innings with a strikeout per is a nice reward for his Fantasy owners.

Too bad only 46 percent of them got to enjoy it.

How can he be started in so few leagues if he entered the day with a 2.50 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 8.0 strikeouts in nine starts? It's in spite of my sincerest efforts to get the word out. He's been nothing but dominant in the role and has the pedigree to back it up, making the lack of interest astounding.

And Al Melchior likes him even more than I do, ranking him 34th among starting pitchers. You can get mad, Jered Weaver owners, or you can just go out and get Stroman while he's still affordable.

(Not that I'm saying you should give up Weaver for him, but if Al ranks him higher, that should count for something.)


Logan Morrison, Corey Hart to platoon at first base moving forward
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) With the addition of Kendrys Morales on Thursday, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon revealed his first base plans moving forward, MLB.com reports. The team will use Morales as a designated hitter, with Logan Morrison and Corey Hart platooning at first base.

Morrison has started 31 games this season at first base, compared to only one start for Hart, who was sidelined for most of the season with a hamstring injury.

Dayan Viciedo back in action Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:41 pm ET) White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo returned to the starting lineup for Thursday's series opener against the Twins in Minnesota. Viciedo was scratched Wednesday due to tightness in his left hamstring. He is hitting .236 with 12 homers and 36 RBI in 360 at-bats.

J.D. Martinez returns to lineup Thursday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:38 pm ET) Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez returned to the starting lineup Thursday night against the Angels in Anaheim. Martinez missed Wednesday's game due to a quad injury. He is hitting .327 with 13 homers and 44 RBI in 208 at-bats.

Neftali Feliz not an especially exciting pickup
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:37 pm ET) With Joakim Soria out of town, Neftali Feliz is back closing for the Rangers, which is seemingly great since he used to be a significant Fantasy contributor in the role.

But if you haven't kept tabs on him, this version of Feliz isn't quite the same as that one. This one is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, averaging about 3 mph less on his fastball than that one. This one has also recorded just five strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.

In fairness, they were 10 1/3 effective innings, so maybe questioning Feliz's pitching ability isn't the way to go here. But even if you assume he's as right as rain, he probably won't be as good as Soria was with his 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings. And pitching for a bad Rangers team, Soria ranked only 33rd among relief pitchers in Head-to-Head points leagues at the time of the trade, behind even non-closer Dellin Betances.

The Rangers may be the team least conducive for saves. Not only do they lose often, but they lose with bad pitching. So on the rare occasion they do win, the score typically isn't so close.

So Feliz may be a closer, but he's a closer with reduced stuff coming off major surgery for a team that won't give him any save opportunities. Sounds like Chad Qualls has met his match.


 
 
 
Rankings