A Rebuttal to Brad Kruse’s "Wisdom of the Auction Crowd"

Auction vs. Draft Format
Brad Kruse, of the Fantasy Assassins, and contributor to (in my humble opinion) the only fantasy football magazine that provides info/data worth the $7.99 more you pay for it vs. what you can get FREE online.  The magazine, published by Emil Kadlec is filled with intelligent, empirical-based and very usable information to help you win your league—those of you that know me, know why I naturally gravitated to it among the 30 other similar LOOKING magazines on the rack.  From JJ Zacharisason’s “Predicting WR TDs” to Josh Moore’s fresh look at the Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule, it was loaded with data for the stat geek, and wanna-win-their-league-armchair-fantasy-managers alike.
However, there was one article, that really got me thinking…for the wrong reasons—Kruse’s piece titled “Wisdom of the Auction Crowd”, with all (very) due respect, I hold issue with.  Not at all that he is wrong, and the idea that Auction Drafters are more accurate in their fantasy predictions than Standard Drafters may be true, but the claim is not supported by his data used to make this assertion.  The claim is akin with saying the kid with the calculator will score higher on the SAT than the one without.  That is, whether the “Auction crowd” is smarter (more “wisdomerish”) or drafts more appropriately, or not, is null…the Auction setup naturally eliminates limitations to thoroughly and fairly allot value to each respected player chosen.  So…duh, right?

What I am trying to say, is REGARDLESS of how much wisdom someone has, an auction format is more conducive to allotting value properly than a standard draft.  To tease this out, think of this:
A 12 team auction draft, in which 11 owners are regular “Joes” and one owner is a fortune teller, who has the (somewhat odd) ability to see the fantasy football future—that is they can tell you on the day of the draft with 100% accuracy the final ranking of every single player drafted.  With this ability, in an auction format, that allows ANY player to be bid on at any time (with the only constriction being a perfectly fair budget afforded equally to each team) the fortune teller could accurately bid on each and every player perfectly—or with perfect wisdom.
Now, in a exact same situation, yet with a standard draft, the fortune teller would ONLY be able to accurately pick a player every 12 picks.  Think of it this way.  Lets say Dak Presscott ends up as QB ranked number 1 for 2016.  And in an auction league where Dak is up to be bid on, the fortune teller could outbid anyone, since he knows Dak is worth it.  BUT, in a standard league, if Dak was picked 7th, and the fortune teller holds the 12th pick, he has NO WAY of picking the best QB (even with his perfect wisdom).
Or we can use the analogy of a REAL auction…lets say at a fancy fundraiser (where the guy says going once, etc), well imagine instead of a setup where everyone holds up that goofy wand with a card glued on it, outbidding each other by a dollar (at least on tv, never really been to a real auction), until someone finally wins the item.  Well, what if they decided they would run the auction another way, this time they will tell person A he will get first pick of merchandise, person B gets the second choice and so on…Clearly in the first scenario, when each item up for bids has 100% possible participation among bidders, who are allowed to bid a minimum to maximum amount have a natural ability to more closely determine true value of the item.  The “accuracy of value deemed for the object” is tightened when you have “free market” functions, rather than a predetermined order.
In a standard league, lets say with 16 ways to show how you value a player:
Round 1 – Most valued
Round 2
Round 16 – Least Valued
Whereas in an auction league you have 100 (or 200) varied points of value you can apply to any given player.
In a standard league EVEN if you are “correct” in you prediction and wanted to take Devanta Freeman in 2015, if someone took him ahead of you, you have no way to demonstrate the value you place in him.
Whereas in an auction league, down to the 1/100 dollars (or 1/200), you can value ANY and ALL players as you see fit.
Using Brad’s logic, the “wisdomest” drafter, takes the player (at that moment in the draft) who will results with the greatest fantast points at the end of the year.  BUT, its not always “best available” in standard drafts, think about all the times you have to draft a QB during a run on QBs, or draft a RB because you have gone QB, WR, WR, TE…so you reach based on value, because you have to fill that starting spot (in auction you stilldo this, but you’re alloted 1-100 (or 200) different allotments of value, where as in a draft you’re stuck with the quantity of players on your team.
So, to make it easy….
Here is a quick breakdown of why Auction drafters NATURALLY will allot value more accurately than standard drafters REGARDLESS of skill/prediction ability/WISDOM:

Auction Draft:
-Every player can be chosen by any owner, AT ANY TIME
-Owners can determine value up-to 1 dollar (.5% worth in $200 budget, 1% worth in $100 budget), RATHER than their given spot in the draft (they don’t control)
-Not really supporting my central argument, but, in auction leagues I have been a part of, there are a lot of owners, that will budget close to 75-90% of their 100/200 for their starters (some even just 5 players), and leave $10-15 for the remaining 10-15 players they need to select for bench/K/Def, which may also skew Brad’s research since that means they give minimum value to players that may “bang” (vs. bust).

Standard Draft:
-For every 12 picks (assuming it’s a 12-team league), 11 players minimum will NOT be available to you, no matter how high or low you value them
-You only have your particular round to desinate value (see chart below)

One last example, look at 2015 Gronk:
There was no larger cliff in value from the first TE (Gronk) to the second last year (and relatively consistently as of late).  So, very simply put, in a standard draft you either take Gronk early, or wait till the 8-10th round (since TE2-12 are all about the same).  Yet, in an auction league since you have access to every player and determine to the 1/100th (or 200th) of alloted value, what you think of him, you can select him at exactly the value you deem fair.  This is unlike the standard league where, even if you know you should take Gronk early, if someone selects him before you, you have no access to “his value”.

The bottom-line is Auction drafts naturally allow for the drafter to allot value more accurately (based on their prediction).  So, keeping “talent of drafter equal” (what you would need to do to tease out the truth here), and plug them into a standard draft vs. an auction draft, they will come closer to ACTUAL value (dollars or draft position vs. final ranking at the end of year) REGARDLESS of wisdom.  So, although I loved 99% of your magazine Emil and Bob, I think Brad was wrong.

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