NFL.com held its experts league auction mock draft of the year on Friday, July 26th. The standard scoring league consists of NFL Fantasy LIVE members Michael Fabiano, Elliot Harrison, Jason Smith, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Molly Qerim and Dave Dameshek. Also in the league are NFL.com fantasy editor Marcas Grant, associate fantasy editor John Juhasz, researcher Bill Sudell and fantasy product manager Evan Singer. Each owner was required to put together a lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex (RB/WR/TE), one tight end, one kicker and one defense/special teams unit.
What was your draft strategy?
There are a number of moving variables you need to monitor if you want to have a successful auction draft, and the general strategy is similar to playing in a poker tournament - every move you make needs to factor in the size of your bankroll as well as that of your opponents. The early rounds of a fantasy draft feature prime players going off the board for big bucks, and I generally avoid the early stampedes and wait until I'm in position to comfortably outbid others for undervalued players later on. A stud RB like a Peterson or Foster is extremely costly, and you don't want to find yourself with a limited bankroll just a few picks in. Secondly, I'm sure everyone here has heard the expression "Dying broke." And that's exactly what your strategy should be in auction drafts...try to spend every dollar you have. Leaving an auction draft with dollars in the bank is like heading to your grave with a fistful of cash - neither will do you much good when it's all over.
Did your draft strategy work?
I'd like to think so. Before I get to why, though, I'm going to let you in on the secret to playing dirty in an auction format.
When it comes your turn to nominate a player, don't hesitate to nominate a guy you have no interest in drafting yourself. It's even better if the player is highly rated, but you happen to feel is overrated for whatever reason. The reason you want to do that is it the ensuing bidding war will create a sizeable dent in someone else's bankroll, which means one fewer potential bidder can participate in the bidding down the line when a player being auctioned is someone you do want. You can even try driving up the price on players you don't intend to draft, although that can backfire if you overreach. As for my draft, I didn't spend a dollar on a single player until Chris Johnson at No. 31 overall. We've all seen his explosiveness in the past, and at that point in the draft, no one else was willing to match my $27 bid for him. I'll happily burn 13.5% of my bankroll for a guy who, in my opinion, has better than a 13.5% chance at performing among the elite at his position. And my most expensive player turned out to be Roddy White, but I was able to spend big bucks on him without worrying since I hoarded my cash and no one could outbid me without overspending from their perspective. Like I said, it's a poker game.
What was your best pick(s)?
This is a tough one between Tony Romo and Andy Dalton. If you've been reading NFL.com lately, by now you surely have heard that Romo has the easiest upcoming schedule in terms of playing against defenses which allow fantasy points. I happily paid $13 for a guy who has the ability to post crazy numbers on a weekly basis, and get this: I paid $3 for Andy Dalton in the later rounds, which means I spent a total of just 8% of my entire budget on two very capable quarterbacks. Color me giddy.
What was your worst pick(s)?
It isn't so much a player I regret taking as it is the one I nominated. For reasons I won't dissect now, I think C.J. Spiller is going to have a monster season. I wish I (or someone else, anyway) had waited until much longer than No. 22 to nominate him. The later you can nominate a player you do want, the better off you are if you hoarded your money up to that point.
Who drafted the best team?
My stable of running backs has some question marks, but I'm happy with my roster overall. I have players who are realistically capable of finishing with better production than their peers at every position.