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2011 Draft Prep: Our 12-team, $100 auction

Senior Fantasy Writer
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For some Fantasy owners, snake drafts just aren't exciting. For them, there are auctions.

Auctions give every Fantasy owner the same opportunity at every NFL player. Auctions make for a more challenging way to build a Fantasy team. Auctions favor the bold -- the highest bidder gets the player, for better or for worse.

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It's a fun enhancement that Fantasy drafters should consider (CBSSports.com even has mock auctions, in case you'd like to try it out). But it's not without strategy, just like any other Fantasy Football draft.

Shop smart. If you spend too soon, you'll have no shot at the inevitable bargains that exist late in every single auction. If you don't spend early on, you'll have no shot at the stud players inevitably nominated in the first few minutes in every single auction. Knowing who you want, and more importantly, knowing what the players you want should go for, is absolutely vital to Fantasy success. Consult our auction values to get a good idea of what the going rate is from player to player.

Be ready for the bargains. Like in snake drafts, the bargains in auctions generally happen late, not early. If you want in on some of those bargains it's a good idea to save at least 30 percent of your overall budget for the last third of your auction.

Don't drive up bids or mistakenly bid on players you don't need. Bid on the guys you want, not the guys other people want. If you own Antonio Gates, don't bid on Dallas Clark just so they go at the same price. It's better to let another owner get a bargain than for you to clog your roster with too many players at the same position.

If you're on the fence, spend. Bidding the extra dollar or two to get the player you want is always advised so long as you're not going to be forced to add $1 players to more than four roster spots. The difference between getting quality starters and a couple of $2 steals that someone else might otherwise get for $1 is negligible.

Follow the money. Fantasy dollars are not unlimited -- you're on a budget. As such, you'll have to know what your maximum bid is at all times, and if you're really good, you'll want to keep track of what the max bid is for your rival owners too. Typically, no player will go for more than 35 percent of a total budget, and every team will end up with at least a handful of $1 players.

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Recognized for Best Article in Major Media by the FSWA

Early on, nominate players you don't want: If you're trying to cut back on spending, or if you just want other owners to drain their funds, nominate players who you have no intention of winning. For instance, if you just won Aaron Rodgers, you're set at quarterback. But if you nominate Michael Vick and start the bidding at a dollar, someone else will start unloading their money. The more your opponents spend, the less they'll have to take bargains from you later on. You could even look over the roster of the owner with the biggest budget left, uncover their needs and nominate players they might flash their cash for. When the draft enters the bargain zone, that's when you'll want to nominate the players you want and potentially bid an extra buck or two to sway opponents from taking the player you like.

Check out our auction!

To give you the feel of this kind of format, CBSSports.com rounded up 12 experts with auction experience. On Aug. 24, we gave everyone $100 to spend on 15 roster spots, starting one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one flex, one kicker and one DST.

Our nomination order
1. Bill Passonno, Fantasy Writer 7. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
2. Ed Gauna, Fantasy Writer 8. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor, Fantasy
3. John Garcia, Fantasy Writer 9. Eric Kay, Associate Managing Editor, CBSSports.com
4. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer 10. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
5. Nathan Zegura, Fantasy Writer 11. Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
6. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer 12. Sergio Gonzalez, Fantasy Writer
Sound off on our auction: Facebook | Twitter | Message Board

2011 Fantasy Auction Draft (sortable)
OrderPlayerPriceBid Won by
103Addai, Joseph (RB IND)$5Adam Aizer
39Amendola, Danny (WR STL)$5Jamey Eisenberg
65Austin, Miles (WR DAL)$13Nathan Zegura
120Bears (DST CHI)$1Sergio Gonzalez
48Benson, Cedric (RB CIN)$9Sergio Gonzalez
139Bess, Davone (WR MIA)$2Jeff Tobin
51Best, Jahvid (RB DET)$12Bill Passonno
17Blount, LeGarrette (RB TB)$17John Garcia
80Boldin, Anquan (WR BAL)$7Sergio Gonzalez
13Bowe, Dwayne (WR KC)$11Adam Aizer
90Bradford, Sam (QB STL)$5Adam Aizer
56Bradshaw, Ahmad (RB NYG)$16Nathan Zegura
29Brady, Tom (QB NE)$22Ed Gauna
161Branch, Deion (WR NE)$1Jeff Tobin
155Breaston, Steve (WR KC)$1Bill Passonno
16Brees, Drew (QB NO)$18Bill Passonno
121Britt, Kenny (WR TEN)$3Bill Passonno
102Broncos (DST DEN)$1Dave Richard
158Brown, Josh (K STL)$1Nathan Zegura
106Brown, Ronnie (RB PHI)$1Jamey Eisenberg
72Bryant, Dez (WR DAL)$9Bill Passonno
94Bryant, Matt (K ATL)$1Jamey Eisenberg
179Burleson, Nate (WR DET)$1Al Melchior
74Burress, Plaxico (WR NYJ)$5Jeff Tobin
66Bush, Michael (RB OAK)$4Nathan Zegura
75Bush, Reggie (RB MIA)$4John Garcia
166Carpenter, Dan (K MIA)$1John Garcia
151Cassel, Matt (QB KC)$1Jeff Tobin
134Celek, Brent (TE PHI)$1Ed Gauna
156Chargers (DST SD)$1John Garcia
8Charles, Jamaal (RB KC)$27Jeff Tobin
36Clark, Dallas (TE IND)$8Dave Richard
109Collie, Austin (WR IND)$3Jeff Tobin
89Colston, Marques (WR NO)$7Dave Richard
178Cook, Jared (TE TEN)$1Bill Passonno
104Cowboys (DST DAL)$1Jeff Tobin
150Crabtree, Michael (WR SF)$1Al Melchior
43Crosby, Mason (K GB)$1Al Melchior
167Cundiff, Billy (K BAL)$1Scott White
118Cutler, Jay (QB CHI)$1Jamey Eisenberg
101Daniels, Owen (TE HOU)$4Sergio Gonzalez
77Davis, Vernon (TE SF)$4Al Melchior
152Driver, Donald (WR GB)$1Eric Kay
64Eagles (DST PHI)$2Adam Aizer
122Edwards, Braylon (WR SF)$3Ed Gauna
136Evans, Lee (WR BAL)$1Scott White
14Finley, Jermichael (TE GB)$7Ed Gauna
26Fitzgerald, Larry (WR ARI)$19Dave Richard
117Flacco, Joe (QB BAL)$3Bill Passonno
131Floyd, Malcom (WR SD)$1Adam Aizer
135Ford, Jacoby (WR OAK)$1John Garcia
55Forte, Matt (RB CHI)$23Ed Gauna
3Foster, Arian (RB HOU)$30Scott White
35Freeman, Josh (QB TB)$4Dave Richard
126Garcon, Pierre (WR IND)$2Ed Gauna
170Garrard, David (QB JAC)$1Al Melchior
24Gates, Antonio (TE SD)$12Jeff Tobin
79Giants (DST NYG)$1Al Melchior
129Gonzalez, Tony (TE ATL)$1Eric Kay
15Gore, Frank (RB SF)$18Jeff Tobin
11Gostkowski, Stephen (K NE)$1Adam Aizer
38Gould, Robbie (K CHI)$1Ed Gauna
113Graham, Jimmy (TE NO)$6Adam Aizer
73Grant, Ryan (RB GB)$4Adam Aizer
86Green, A.J. (WR CIN)$2Scott White
46Green-Ellis, BenJarvus (RB NE)$9Adam Aizer
50Greene, Shonn (RB NYJ)$12Nathan Zegura
124Gronkowski, Rob (TE NE)$1Scott White
9Hartley, Garrett (K NO)$1Eric Kay
85Harvin, Percy (WR MIN)$7John Garcia
177Helu, Roy (RB WAS)$1Al Melchior
165Henery, Alex (K PHI)$1Bill Passonno
125Hernandez, Aaron (TE NE)$1Nathan Zegura
176Hester, Devin (WR CHI)$1Bill Passonno
119Hightower, Tim (RB WAS)$4Ed Gauna
21Hillis, Peyton (RB CLE)$13Scott White
69Holmes, Santonio (WR NYJ)$10John Garcia
49Ingram, Mark (RB NO)$10Jamey Eisenberg
61Jackson, DeSean (WR PHI)$13Eric Kay
95Jackson, Fred (RB BUF)$6Al Melchior
37Jackson, Steven (RB STL)$17Ed Gauna
53Jackson, Vincent (WR SD)$17Adam Aizer
110Jacobs, Brandon (RB NYG)$3Jamey Eisenberg
18Janikowski, Sebastian (K OAK)$1Dave Richard
145Jean, Lestar (WR HOU)$2Ed Gauna
27Jennings, Greg (WR GB)$19Adam Aizer
149Jennings, Rashad (RB JAC)$2Jamey Eisenberg
76Jets (DST NYJ)$3Bill Passonno
42Johnson, Andre (WR HOU)$26Jamey Eisenberg
44Johnson, Calvin (WR DET)$27Bill Passonno
12Johnson, Chris (RB TEN)$26Sergio Gonzalez
57Johnson, Steve (WR BUF)$6Eric Kay
81Jones, Felix (RB DAL)$12Bill Passonno
92Jones, Julio (WR ATL)$7Jeff Tobin
154Jones, Thomas (RB KC)$1Sergio Gonzalez
34Jones-Drew, Maurice (RB JAC)$21Sergio Gonzalez
96Kaeding, Nate (K SD)$1Sergio Gonzalez
174Knox, Johnny (WR CHI)$1Al Melchior
130Kolb, Kevin (QB ARI)$1Jamey Eisenberg
58Lewis, Marcedes (TE JAC)$1Jamey Eisenberg
148Lions (DST DET)$1Nathan Zegura
123Little, Greg (WR CLE)$1John Garcia
97Lloyd, Brandon (WR DEN)$6Nathan Zegura
93Lynch, Marshawn (RB SEA)$7Eric Kay
98Maclin, Jeremy (WR PHI)$5Dave Richard
59Manning, Eli (QB NYG)$3Scott White
10Manning, Peyton (QB IND)$15Eric Kay
60Manningham, Mario (WR NYG)$7Scott White
83Marshall, Brandon (WR MIA)$11Eric Kay
175Mason, Derrick (WR NYJ)$1Sergio Gonzalez
33Mathews, Ryan (RB SD)$9Nathan Zegura
141McCoy, Colt (QB CLE)$2John Garcia
41McCoy, LeSean (RB PHI)$28Jamey Eisenberg
25McFadden, Darren (RB OAK)$17Dave Richard
105McGahee, Willis (RB DEN)$3Ed Gauna
23Mendenhall, Rashard (RB PIT)$16Scott White
164Miller, Zach (TE SEA)$1Sergio Gonzalez
116Moore, Lance (WR NO)$4Nathan Zegura
67Moreno, Knowshon (RB DEN)$9Dave Richard
169Morris, Maurice (RB DET)$1Dave Richard
142Moss, Santana (WR WAS)$3Scott White
168Murray, DeMarco (RB DAL)$1Nathan Zegura
31Nicks, Hakeem (WR NYG)$17Dave Richard
127Ochocinco, Chad (WR NE)$3Eric Kay
112Olsen, Greg (TE CAR)$3Jamey Eisenberg
138Orton, Kyle (QB DEN)$1Dave Richard
19Packers (DST GB)$4Ed Gauna
88Patriots (DST NE)$1Scott White
5Peterson, Adrian (RB MIN)$30John Garcia
100Pettigrew, Brandon (TE DET)$2John Garcia
6Rackers, Neil (K HOU)$2Jeff Tobin
78Ravens (DST BAL)$2Ed Gauna
159Redman, Isaac (RB PIT)$1Dave Richard
20Rice, Ray (RB BAL)$31Eric Kay
108Rice, Sidney (WR SEA)$4Sergio Gonzalez
144Ringer, Javon (RB TEN)$2Dave Richard
7Rivers, Philip (QB SD)$18Nathan Zegura
71Roberts, Andre (WR ARI)$1Adam Aizer
2Rodgers, Aaron (QB GB)$22Al Melchior
82Roethlisberger, Ben (QB PIT)$7Adam Aizer
47Romo, Tony (QB DAL)$8John Garcia
54Ryan, Matt (QB ATL)$7Ed Gauna
163Saints (DST NO)$1Jamey Eisenberg
132Sanchez, Mark (QB NYJ)$1Sergio Gonzalez
70Schaub, Matt (QB HOU)$6Scott White
128Simpson, Jerome (WR CIN)$1Jeff Tobin
147Sims-Walker, Mike (WR STL)$2Nathan Zegura
162Smith, Alex (QB SF)$1Eric Kay
180Smith, Alfonso (RB ARI)$1Bill Passonno
143Smith, Steve (WR CAR)$1Sergio Gonzalez
173Snelling, Jason (RB ATL)$1Bill Passonno
99Spiller, C.J. (RB BUF)$4Eric Kay
140Sproles, Darren (RB NO)$1Jeff Tobin
28Stafford, Matthew (QB DET)$11Jeff Tobin
153Starks, James (RB GB)$1Jamey Eisenberg
4Steelers (DST PIT)$3Eric Kay
114Stewart, Jonathan (RB CAR)$4Jeff Tobin
146Tate, Ben (RB HOU)$1John Garcia
63Thomas, Daniel (RB MIA)$7Adam Aizer
107Thomas, Mike (WR JAC)$3Adam Aizer
111Thomas, Pierre (RB NO)$3John Garcia
87Tolbert, Mike (RB SD)$7Dave Richard
160Tomlinson, LaDainian (RB NYJ)$1Al Melchior
157Torain, Ryan (RB WAS)$1Scott White
22Turner, Michael (RB ATL)$24Al Melchior
1Vick, Michael (QB PHI)$20Sergio Gonzalez
137Vinatieri, Adam (K IND)$1Nathan Zegura
52Wallace, Mike (WR PIT)$16Jamey Eisenberg
133Ward, Hines (WR PIT)$2Ed Gauna
30Wayne, Reggie (WR IND)$14Al Melchior
45Welker, Wes (WR NE)$10Scott White
91Wells, Beanie (RB ARI)$5Scott White
40White, Roddy (WR ATL)$21Al Melchior
172Williams, Cadillac (RB STL)$1Sergio Gonzalez
68Williams, DeAngelo (RB CAR)$11Nathan Zegura
32Williams, Mike (WR TB)$12John Garcia
171Williams, Ricky (RB BAL)$1Eric Kay
84Winslow, Kellen (TE TB)$2Eric Kay
62Witten, Jason (TE DAL)$7Bill Passonno
115Woodhead, Danny (RB NE)$1Al Melchior

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Player News
QB struggles begin to impact Cardinals DST
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:13 am ET) The Cardinals DST scored just one Fantasy point in standard CBSSports.com leagues Week 16 against Seattle, interrupting a stretch of 10 games in which it averaged 15.1, and the Cardinals' offensive woes may have had something to do with it.

Specifically, they've been unable to find a decent quarterback since losing Carson Palmer to injury in Week 10. Backup Drew Stanton at least mounted some kind of threat, but with him sidelined by a sprained knee in Week 16, the Cardinals had to turn to third-stringer Ryan Lindley. He turned the ball over twice without once leading his team into the end zone, completing less than half of his passes in the process.

The quick trips back to the sideline gave the Seahawks more chances to pile up points and yards, and they did, finishing with 35 and 596. Only one other time have the Cardinals allowed more than 30 points in a game, and the 596 yards were a season high. Worse yet, they were lacking in big plays, recording one sack with no takeaways.

Fortunately, the Cardinals will take on a struggling 49ers offense in Week 17, so even if Lindley is back under center, the DST at least has a chance of a respectable performance. Still, if you've been relying on it all season, you might want to make sure there isn't an appealing matchups play on the waiver wire.


Seahawks DST can't be stopped
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:04 am ET) The Seahawks DST had another dominant performance Week 16 at Arizona, continuing a nine-week run that has made it once again arguably the top unit in Fantasy. During that stretch, it has averaged 16.2 Fantasy points, allowing 11.9 points on 231.3 yards.

It allowed only six points on 216 yards in Week 16, recording four sacks and one interception. Of the Seahawks' 33 sacks this season, 20 have come in their last five games.

Clearly, they had a favorable matchup in this one, but they also shut down the Eagles in Week 14. You don't have any reason to shy away from the Seahawks DST against St. Louis in Week 17.


Kenbrell Thompkins comes out of nowhere
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:58 am ET) After making only modest contributions since coming over from the Patriots in Week 6, Raiders wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins suddenly emerged as quarterback Derek Carr's favorite target Week 16 against Buffalo, catching five passes for 90 yards. He hadn't caught even one pass since Week 13, and his previous high in yardage was 47.

Of course, you should know how this goes by now. Fellow wide receivers James Jones and Andre Holmes have both had their stretches of Fantasy relevance this season, as has tight end Mychal Rivera. The Raiders have a multitude of viable receiving targets, but their roles aren't so clear, which makes the task of picking the most impactful from week to week next to impossible.

In other words, you'd need to play in an especially deep league to take a flier on Thompkins for the season's final week.


Latavius Murray trustworthy up to a point
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:51 am ET) If his 23 carries Week 14 against San Francisco didn't convince you, Latavius Murray's 23 carries Week 16 against Buffalo should make the message loud and clear: He is the Raiders' top running back, and they're putting more faith in him than they ever did Darren McFadden.

Granted, it hasn't translated to much production yet, but the 49ers and Bills are two of the toughest defenses against the run. Unfortunately, Denver, the Raiders' Week 17 opponent, is ranked even higher at both.

Can you trust Murray to get his carries? He's gotten them two of the last three weeks, so most likely, yes. And with 20-plus chances, there's always the chance he breaks a long one. But the matchup will make it difficult.

You'd like to start him given his ever-increasing role, but you shouldn't force him into your lineup if you have two (or maybe three) respectable running backs already.


One way or another, Fred Jackson gets his
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:44 am ET) Trailing early Week 16 at Oakland with their playoff hopes on the line, the Bills didn't stick with the running game for long, attempting only three runs in the second half. But in a way, that worked to running back Fred Jackson's advantage. He's such a good pass-catcher out of the backfield that he still topped 100 total yards, doing so for the first time since returning from a groin injury in Week 12.

Even with the return of C.J. Spiller from a long-term shoulder injury, Jackson still led the Bills in carries, but with only six for 10 yards. He also led the team in catches with nine for 93 yards. He had 10 catches just two weeks ago, so clearly, he's a PPR stud.

Is he worth starting in standard leagues as well? Well, he's also gotten 20 carries twice in five games since returning. He hasn't been as effective on the ground as through the air, but yards are yards, however he gets them.

Their matchup Week 17 at New England will probably force the Bills to go pass-heavy again, so unless you're stacked at running back, you can find a spot for Jackson in your lineup.


Desperation fuels Kyle Orton's performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:35 am ET) Bills quarterback Kyle Orton didn't have the most efficient day throwing the ball Week 16 at Oakland, but from a Fantasy perspective, it was a productive one. He threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns but also had two interceptions.

What's crazy, though, is that 196 of those yards came in the second half. The Bills were trailing a winnable game with their playoff hopes on the line, and their desperation showed. Unfortunately, that desperation also contributed to the second of Orton's interceptions.

The Bills have been eliminated, so no matter how much they're trailing Week 17 at New England, they probably won't be quite as desperate. You can expect more typical numbers from Orton -- maybe about 250 yards with one or two scores -- even if the matchup appears to be a favorable one, making him a player better left for two-quarterback leagues.


Kenny Britt clearly better with Shaun Hill
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:27 am ET) Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt caught a season-high nine passes on a season-high 11 targets Week 16 against the Giants, but his 103 receiving yards actually weren't a season high.

That's because he had 128, along with a touchdown, Week 11 against the Broncos.

That was Shaun Hill's first game back under center. Week 16, obviously, was his latest one. In the six games since Hill reclaimed the role, Britt has averaged 3.8 catches for 66.3 yards. In the nine games before then, he averaged 2.3 catches for 34.7 yards.

Britt has been especially good lately, averaging 73.3 yards in his last three games. Hill has also been fond of Stedman Bailey, but he doesn't seem to have a clear preference for one or the other.

Of course, the Rams passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain both, so if you're going to target Britt or Bailey off the waiver wire, make sure it's in a deeper league. You wouldn't want to roll the dice on either in the season's final week if you can help it.


Andre Williams showing more ability
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:19 am ET) Carrying the load for the third straight game with Rashad Jennings sidelined by an ankle injury Week 16 at St. Louis, Giants rookie running back Andre Williams delivered his second 100-yard effort during that stretch, picking up 110 yards on 26 carries. Of course, just like in Week 14, it wasn't the steadiest performance. He had a 50-yard run in that one en route to a career-best 131 yards. He had a 45-yard run en route to his 110 yards in this one.

But that's true for most 100-yard rushing performances. The best backs break long runs occasionally, which makes up for all the 2- and 3-yard gains in between. It's easy to discount Williams' performance because of a long run here or a long run there because he's been so bad on a per-carry basis this season (take that 45-yard run away, and he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry -- oh noes!), but the fact is those long runs count, too. And he barreled over a couple of tacklers to complete it, which was nice to see.

Because Williams is short on receiving ability, his numbers don't look so great when he doesn't break a long run, but with all the carries he's getting now, his chances are better than not of breaking one. He's worth starting in standard leagues Week 17 against Philadelphia.


Rueben Randle not overshadowed for once
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:08 am ET) Since the emergence of rookie Odell Beckham in Week 9, and especially since his even bigger emergence in Week 12, wide receiver Rueben Randle has been an afterthought in the Giants passing game, averaging 2.3 catches for 31.8 yards in the four games leading up to Week 16 at St. Louis. But quarterback Eli Manning finally had enough yards to go around in that one, delivering Beckham his usual eight grabs for 148 yards and still finding Randle on six passes for 132 yards.

Randle even caught a touchdown pass, his first since Week 5. Of course, Beckham caught two and is now up to eight in his last five games, averaging 9.6 catches for 131.4 yards during that stretch.

You see the problem here, don't you? Manning was able to sustain both Beckham and Randle in this one, but that's only because he threw for a season-high 391 yards. If he regresses to a more modest total Week 17 against Philadelphia, we all know Randle is the one taking a back seat. Beckham has other-worldly talent, and Manning is smart enough to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

Of course, the Giants will probably have to throw a lot to keep pace with the Eagles, which bodes well for Randle, but you should still treat him as no more than a No. 3 wide receiver in Fantasy.


Odell Beckham making Eli Manning a stud
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:58 am ET) Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham had another eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at St. Louis, which has become par for the course for him. It was his second straight game and third game in five with more than 140 receiving yards and multiple scores.

What you may not have noticed, though, is that quarterback Eli Manning has taken off during that same stretch. He had a season-high 391 yards and three touchdowns in Week 16, completing 25 of 32 passes. Over his last five games, he has averaged 297.2 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

It stands to reason, of course. Beckham couldn't be putting up all those numbers without someone throwing him the ball. This may be one of those rare cases of the wide receiver making the quarterback as opposed to the other way around. Beckham is clearly a special talent, and Manning has made a point to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

It's reason enough to give Manning another chance Week 17 against Philadelphia if you've been suffering with Matthew Stafford or Colin Kaepernick and are somehow still alive in spite of it.


 
 
 
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