How to Budget an Auction Draft

How to Budget an Auction Draft

So you’ve decided to join an auction league this year? Or, you’ve finally decided to approach your auction league’s draft with some real strategy. And no, treating your draft capital like…

  • Monopoly money
  • You should just throw all your money at the best player
  • A good plan is to raise the bid in hopes to cost an opponent draft dollars, only to a point you end up with the undesired player
…are not effective strategies if you want to make the playoffs this year. Instead, if you understand the concept of scarcity, have an elementary knowledge of math and a tad of discipline, you can properly find yourself with a halfway decent looking team come week 1. Here’s how it works:
You have a finite amount of fictional cash allotted (typically, $200), to bid on x players in order to fill your roster. The question than is, how much should I budget for a player at a particular position? To answer that question, you need to understand scarcity, or in this context, what is the difference among ranks/clusters of players within a position. Think of it this way:
Lets say, of the RB1s (rated 1-12) available, the best RB1 is expected to get you 300 points, where the 12th best is likely to net 160, a point spread of 140 points (there are 140 points that separate the best RB1 from the “worst”, in a 12 man league). Now, we look at WR and see 218 points (#1 rated) to 153 points (#12 rated), or a difference of 65. This means an RB1 is more than twice as scarce as a WR1, demanding a higher price to match its scarcity. Why pay 50 dollars for the 3rd best WR, when you can get similar productivity from the 9th best, and pay 30 bucks?
You use this application and apply it to each position you need to field (after budgeting for your bench players), and compare “scarcities” among the positions and apply it to your budget. Here’s how you do it:
1. Find the appropriate MAX/MIN expected for each position (so for TE, you subtract the #1 rated players expected total from the #12).
2. Once you have the position totals, take the sum of them.
3. Take each position’s difference (from 1st to 12th or 13th to 24th for RB2/WR2), and divide it by the sum (of all the differences, step 2), to get a percentage.
4. Multiply that percentage by (Total dollars allotted – dollars allotted to bench), and this will give you your positional budget.
How to Budget an Auction Draft
Some execute this model using last year’s final point totals, but I find it better to resemble the actual market by using 2017 projections (they are still predictions, yes, but its value in them is how well they predict opponents’ draft tendencies). You can use any site to find the values from last year, but I recommend preseason rankings at 4for4.com.
*Important note. David Johnson is very highly valued this year, more than any other player. Thus, he skews the RB1 Max considerably (in the example above, the budget drops from 80 to roughly 69 for an RB1 without him). So, if you DON’T draft him, you may want to make the appropriate changes to your model.
**I recommend creating your own model based on your league’s roster/scoring rules, but follow the same principles. Also be aware, this is just a budgetary GUIDE, not the end all/be all. Use it to help you make decisions. 
Happy drafting.

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