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With Fantasy Football now king, many people forget that it was baseball that really started the ball rolling for Fantasy games. Rotisserie Baseball set in motion events that eventually led to millions of people playing a huge variety of Fantasy sports, both in person and online.

As the simplicity of football attracted more and more players, naturally some of that bled over into baseball. A game that was once very intricate, and to be honest a little intimidating, gradually changed shape in order to appeal more to the masses.

Even those that would’ve liked to continue rotisserie as originally designed, were limited by technology that made online auctions impossible until the last few years. Unless a Fantasy owner lived near 10 or 11 fellow diehards, the straight draft was the only way to play. Fantasy Baseball auction strategy was dying a slow death.

Then along comes high speed internet and a world of possibilities opens up. Though online auctions can still be an adventure, they are once again a very attractive option for Fantasy Baseball players looking to get the most out of the game.

A straight draft is fine, but for the most challenging and fun way to play Rotisserie, our Fantasy forefathers had it right. Everyone should partake in Fantasy the way they choose, but if you’ve read this far, you’re already either in an auction or contemplating the jump. Either way, let’s set forth a plan that will have you in the money come September and hopefully experiencing a Yoo-hoo shower (another old school tradition) in October.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Auction Strategy

Preparing for a Fantasy Baseball Auction

Preparing for an auction is a lot more involved than just getting a list of players ranked by position. We have to attach values to each player. In a standard auction, each team has $260 to spend on 23 players (14 hitters, nine pitchers). Attaching a value to each player is a daunting task. Feel free to do it yourself, but don’t be afraid to use someone else’s values as a starting point.

Hitters Pitchers

$28

$18

$25

$16

$22

$12

$18

$5

$16

$4

$15

$2

$14

$1

$12

$2

$11

$18

$8

$78

$6

$4

$2

$1

$182

Remember, projections are what we expect players to produce. Auction values will not always be a perfect reflection of those projections. In order to win you have to earn a profit. We’ll get into that a little later. A lot of owners sweat over every dollar projected. Don’t. The best projections in the world are highly inaccurate. A ballpark number for each player is fine. The important thing is that you have values for the correct number of players and that the values add up to the correct amount.

There’s a complete science devoted to devising the perfect amount to spend on hitting and pitching, but generally a 70/30 split is a good starting point. That means you have about $182 to spend on sluggers and $78 on hurlers.

There are many different strategies associated with allocating the money among your players. I’m a believer that the shallow player pool in AL or NL leagues requires a balanced roster that doesn’t have many holes. Generally speaking, I try not to spend much above $30 on a single player. You might not get the Mike Trouts of the Fantasy world, but you’re going to have a solid roster that should be able to withstand an injury or two.

Others swear by a Stars and Scrubs strategy that gets them some great players, but also leaves some huge holes.

In mixed leagues, you can afford to spend a little more at shallow positions, because you’ll still be able to round out your team with useful players in the end game.

Whatever allocation you decide upon, it’s important to have it mapped out ahead of time. I like to use a chart like the one at the right to plan out my salary slots. Basically, cross off each value as you purchase a player. The salaries don’t have to match exactly. If you go over in one slot, just take it from another.

Some owners will go so far as to attach a position to each dollar amount. I don’t recommend that. You’re just boxing yourself into a scenario that is unlikely to play out. Tweak the numbers to your liking, but do use a salary allocation chart of some kind. It keeps you on course for success.

 

What You Need on Auction Day

Once auction day arrives, you should be pretty comfortable with the values of every player. You just need to make sure you are ready to handle the hectic pace that many auctions follow. Here’s what you’ll need to handle the chaos.

Of course, you’ll need your player list with projected salaries. You’ll also need a roster worksheet to track the players you’ve purchased as well as their salaries. This printable roster worksheet will fill those needs nicely and also acts as a quick reference as to the positional needs of all the teams in your league. You’ll also want to track the rosters and finances of all the other teams. Here’s a printable league rosters worksheet that should do the trick.

 

In-Auction Strategy

Now is when the fun starts. It’s auction time. Conventional wisdom has always advised lying back early while the other teams overspend, and then swooping in for the deals later. In my experience, those days are over. If a player you like comes at a price near your projected values, don’t be afraid to pounce, regardless of the point in the draft. Of course, you’re looking at getting players below the values you’ve set, but rostering a few reliable stars at or slightly above value is okay.

The bulk of your players should be acquired at a price between 70 and 90-percent of the value you have projected them to earn. That’s how you build the profit that is going to win your league. One thing you do need to do though, is enter the endgame in good financial shape relative to your opponents. When there are precious few starting players left on the board, it feels awfully nice to have your pick of the litter.

Another important item to track is how the league is spending as a whole. I keep a running total of how much above or below my projected values the players are selling for throughout the draft. If you see that the total overspent begins getting above $30-$40 dollars, then you know that some bargains are going to start popping up. If the totals are running below your projected values, then you need to get into buying mode, because teams are hoarding their money to spend later.

Just realize that every auction has a life of its own. The owners that identify the spending trends of their opponents early on are usually the most successful. The below tweet is a bit dated, but the content at the below link remains current.

 

Bidding Strategies

There are many different strategies as to which players to bring up for bid. Personally, I like to bring up high-value players that have major question marks hanging over their heads early in the auction. These guys are going to draw large salaries because owners know their potential, but they also come with obvious baggage. Of course, sometimes you should bring up lesser-known players that you like. When everyone is flush with cash these guys can slide right by.

The key is to mix it up. The only time there is really a hard and fast rule about bringing up a player for bid is during the endgame. Never bid on a player that you aren’t willing to roster, even if it’s just $1.

 

Never Leave the Auction Empty Handed

There is one final golden rule of the Fantasy auction; never, ever, leave the draft with money left over. Don’t overspend at the end just to get rid of your money, but every dollar you have left over at the end is production lost. It’s good to be in control when the end game rolls around, but you just need a couple dollars more than everybody else.

 

Other Fantasy Baseball Auction Tips

Here are some other bidding strategies I’ve put in use:

  • In deeper leagues, whenever an owner purchases a closer, as soon as possible, bring his handcuff up for bid. What may have been a $1 reliever now becomes a $5 pitcher because that owner wants save insurance.
  • Bid up hometown players … unless you happen to live in Philadelphia; they aren’t happy with their players no matter what they do.
  • Make sure your bids hit the magic numbers on players you want to acquire. Basically, there are hurdles that owners are hesitant to go over. Typically the $20, $30, and $40 marks are points where many owners draw a line they won’t cross.
  • Occasionally bump the bid by a couple dollars. Sometimes owners are used to the $1 increments and are thrown off when you throw them a curve.
  • Bid on positions where you’re set. Of course, you can’t bid on players if you don’t have a roster spot open, but say you have Buster Posey and you’re not going to get a second pricey catcher, start bidding up Gary Sanchez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Salvador Perez. Keeping your utility slot open as long as possible really helps here.

 

Enjoy Your Fantasy Auction

The most important thing is to have fun and not be intimidated. When you check out the results from an expert auction, you quickly see some wacky salaries – everyone makes small mistakes, and the prices are heavily dependent on when each player sold in the auction. The key is to stay on course and follow the plan you brought with you, while still being able to adapt with the auction.

So make this the year that you make the big jump. Head on over to Yahoo, CBS, or ESPN and experience their Live Auction Draft Apps. Or better yet, get together with 11 of your best friends, a few cold refreshments and spend five of the best hours of your Fantasy career. Heck, you can get your friends together and still use the online auction tools; it sure beats having one of the owners saddled with auctioneer duties.

 

What’s the best Fantasy Baseball draft tool ever created? Check out the details right here provided by David Gonos, where he discusses in great detail, the Draft Wizard and Draft Assistant. Voted the best Fantasy Baseball draft tool for 2017, the FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard is all you need for a successful draft, as well as in-season management, on your way to a championship.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit
Fantasy Baseball Rankings | Sleepers & Busts | Player Analysis | Draft Strategy | Spring Training Updates | Mock Drafts | Fantasy Baseball Tools

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Doug "RotoDaddy" Anderson

Doug Anderson took on the moniker RotoDaddy with the birth of his son in 2003. He's a veteran of the industry and has been playing Fantasy Baseball for over 20 years. His work has been seen on RotoExperts.com, SI.com, Yahoo, USAToday.com and also in the pages of various Fantasy magazines. He's currently also in charge of aggregation efforts at The Fantasy Sports Network and represents them in the LABR Mixed Experts League.
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Doug Anderson took on the moniker RotoDaddy with the birth of his son in 2003. He's a veteran of the industry and has been playing Fantasy Baseball for over 20 years. His work has been seen on RotoExperts.com, SI.com, Yahoo, USAToday.com and also in the pages of various Fantasy magazines. He's currently also in charge of aggregation efforts at The Fantasy Sports Network and represents them in the LABR Mixed Experts League.

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