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Aug 29

Waiting On a QB: Applying This Strategy To Fantasy Auctions.

I’m sure around the fantasy football grapevine you’ve heard about the popular avant-garde draft strategy this year: wait to get your QB. I, personally, also uphold this strategy unless there is impeccable value in a later round (i.e. Tom Brady falling to the 7th). Waiting on your quarterback is a completely plausible angle to approach your draft with, and if you’re so inclined you can apply this strategy to auctions too. Here’s how I do it:

Waiting on a QB in auctions is a little different than it is in drafts. What you’re aiming to do is let the rest of your league (or most of them) grab a quarterback early on. Who you put up on the auction block each round matters most toward the end of your auction when the bidding dollars are scarce and you’re less likely to afford the player you want.

Ryley suggests opening the bidding on some top names - and then letting your leaguemates battle it out for their ownership. (Photo: sikids.com)

Ryley suggests opening the bidding on some top names – and then letting your leaguemates battle it out for their ownership. (Photo: sikids.com)

So with that in mind the auction strategy begins with this: use your first few selections to put up high value quarterbacks and watch your league mates dwindle their budgets. There will always be those few guys willing to spend their money while they have it, why not force them to spend it on Aaron Rodgers before they’re ready? Between you and a couple of your peers, it’s likely that at least six or more QBs will go in the first three rounds.

This strategy does several things:

  1. It fills the starting QB spot for at least half of your league which reduces the bidding competition later on.
  2. It causes several teams to spend top dollar on these QBs early in the draft. When team owners have money bidding wars always happen, and once you’re past the third round the spending drops because everyone has already tapped into their funds to grab their big expensive player. You have now forced at least three guys to make that big expensive player a QB, lowering their chances of scoring as big at a shallower position such as RB.
  3. It allows you to see who you’ll be bidding against later on. Once the top 7 or 8 QBs are off the board, chances are the rest won’t come up too soon. You can use these next few rounds to keep building your depth positions (i.e. positions that require depth/more than one starter) or, most importantly, RB.
  4. When it comes time to bid on the QB you want, you’ll get them grossly cheaper than their average auction price/value. In one 12-man league I go Stafford for $3 which is an incredible value considering he’s rated at about $20 in a standard ($200 budget) 12-team league.

So then the question is this: who should you be shooting for in those later auction rounds? No doubt – I got lucky in that one particular league with Stafford, but that isn’t such a strange occurrence believe it or not. Common players to fall to you for under their value in a 12-team auction are:

Any of these QBs can be a great value to have on your team. Each one either has some elite options to throw to, or have the wheels to get you some of those coveted rushing TDs. Take Russell Wilson for instance – most experts have him projected to finish the season only about 55-75 points behind Aaron Rodgers; of course, the bad man in Green Bay is much more reliable but Wilson is great value considering he will go for around $25 less.

By waiting for QBs that fall late in auctions like Stafford, Wilson, Romo or the rest of that crew, I was able to pick up tandems like Doug Martin and Arian Foster at my auction (even CJ Spiller and Ray Rice in a 16-team league) and still manage to get great depth at WR with players like Marques Colston and Victor Cruz. What’s the benefit to having a great RB tandem? The projected deviation of points between the #1 RB and the #12 is 100 points (70 points for QB and you only have to start one). If you have two of the top backs, then other teams in your league become grossly outmatched against you at that position, especially since you have to start two.

Even if you’re in a deeper 16-team league and you wait beyond the group I listed above, there are still great choices to get the job done. You’ve got:

If you wait this far there is plenty of value. Each of these guys will produce enough to be a serviceable QB1 provided you spend the money you saved on them properly.

Alex Smith's situation in Kansas may play well into his strengths, making him a very cheap ownable option at QB in Auction Leagues. (Photo: John Rieger, USA TODAY Sports)

Alex Smith’s situation in Kansas may play well into his strengths, making him a very cheap ownable option at QB in Auction Leagues. (Photo: John Rieger, USA TODAY Sports)

The dark horse of this crew is Alex Smith. He’s in a new offense that is ready to cater to his accuracy, he’s got an extremely talented receiver in Dwayne Bowe and an even more talented RB in Jamaal Charles who will open up the passing game, as well as catch whatever is thrown his way. It’s a great recipe for a passer of his style, but it hasn’t been proven yet which is why he’s all over the place on the projection boards. He’s stayed pretty clean and sharp in the preseason, but take that with as much salt as you’d like.

Let’s keep one thing in mind though: there is always a consistent possibility in drafts and auctions known as player favouritism. In one league I had a team bid high and early on Russell Wilson, who usually falls to the lower tier of QB1s, but one fan clearly had a bias for his pick and wasn’t going to let him go. Never reach in a draft/auction based on emotion – always follow your strategy. You can’t predict who’s going to be left when the first eight or so QBs go but you can prepare yourself with options for when it comes around.

 

For more insight and analysis from Ryley Henry, check out his other columns on notsofantasy.sportsblog.com. and on Twitter: @ryleyhenryff

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