How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft Part 1: Forming Player Prices - Roto Street Journal
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How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft Part 1: Forming Player Prices

Great news! Your league has decided to try a fantasy football auction draft this year! You might already know that auction drafts are fairer because every drafter gets a chance to draft every player. Plus, they remove the constraints of fantasy football draft position and allow for a greater variety of strategies.

But you might not know how to best prepare for an auction draft. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but our four-part series will give you all the resources and advice you need to dominate your draft.

Step 1? Forming the most accurate “Player Prices” by embracing the Value-based mindset and obtaining the right data. Thankfully, we have the perfect tool to help you do both.

Part 2: How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft – An Overall Gameplan
Part 3: How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft – Budgeting Audibles for Every Scenario
Part 4: How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft – In-Draft Strategy & Tips

What is Value-Based Drafting?

Note: If you’re already familiar with Value-based Drafting or simply don’t care, jump on down to The Ultimate Tool.

You might have heard of the concept of value-based drafting (VBD). Value-based drafting can be useful in a standard snake draft, but it forms the backbone of the most powerful auction strategies.

Remember when I said auction drafts are fairer because every drafter gets a chance to draft every player? If you have the 10th pick in a 10 team snake draft, your opinion of consensus top-five guys like Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliott does not matter because you will never have a chance to draft them.

Ezekiel Elliott and Cowboys agree on contract, ending holdout - Los Angeles  Times

The same principle applies to players who are certain to be taken between your second and third picks and so on, so you do not need to know the value of every player in a snake draft, just the ones who are likely to be available with your limited selections.

But since you have a chance to draft every player in an auction, that means you need some way to determine how much every player is worth. To do this, you should use value-based drafting.

I highly recommend reading this in-depth breakdown of value-based drafting before reading farther. To summarize, the value of a player is not determined by the number of points he scores. His value is determined by how much he outscores his peers at his position and the level of demand for that position in your league.

You already know this intuitively. You know that running backs and wide receivers are the most valuable positions because you start more of them. The demand is higher. You know that Christian McCaffery was more valuable than Aaron Jones last year. But how much more?

Was McCaffery worth $70? $80? $100? What about Aaron Jones? What if you play in a 10 team PPR league? Or a 14 team standard league? Or a 16 team, TE premium SuperFlex league? How do you compare the dollar values of running backs to other positions?

Only value-based drafting can answer all these questions.

Ultimate Auction Price Former Tool

Note: To use this tool, you must be on a Desktop, as it functions off of Excel / Google Sheets.

Value-based drafting requires two steps: projecting stats for every player and using those projections to assign a value to every player.

That sounds daunting, but don’t worry! Consensus projections are available from FantasyPros. As you’ll see in Step 3, you can also customize these to your personal predictions as well. Then, I have modified this tool created by Reddit user u/elboberto that assigns values to each player based on league settings.

Essentially, your homework is already complete.

In my version of the tool, I combined the projections from (one of our top recommended sites) with the four other sets of projections currently available on FantasyPros, giving the FantasyPoints projections a 25% weight and the FantasyPros projections a 75% weight. The tool takes these projections and uses value-based drafting principles to generate custom auction values and tons of other useful information.

Click here to download my version of the tool! Or make a copy on Google Sheets (currently view only)

Step 1: Enter League Settings

To use the tool, simply navigate to the LeagueInfo tab and fill change each of the yellow cell values based on your league’s scoring system.

Note: The most recent version of the Google Doc was written for the Scott Fish Bowl settings. Some uncommon settings in here to check / change include:

Step 2: Account for your Personal League Trends

High-stakes Auction Legend Jack Haan recommends compiling “historical sale prices for all players old in your auction league for past years… to reveal league trends.”

Perhaps your league gets overly excited for rookies. Maybe “bellcow backs” aren’t priced like the diamonds they are. No two auctions are ever the same, but our projection tool can help account for tendencies and make your prices the most accurate possible.

To do so, move onto the DefaultAuctionValues sheet. Here, you can input the average auction value (AAV) and listed site values for each player.

If you have access to auction data from previous seasons of your league (i.e. “League History” in Yahoo), you can use that information to change the “Actual Value Guess” column to the value you think each player will go for in your league.

Note: The DefaultAuctionValues sheet is not necessary, but it helps identify players who are overvalued and undervalued in your specific league.

Step 3: Tinker with Projections & View the Prices

As mentioned, we use aggregate projections from FantasyPros and FantasyPoints. They were updated 8/13/20, and are an excellent benchmark source.

However, you’re more than welcome to create your own projections or download another source you trust more, and have the prices tailored even further:

Simply visit the position tabs and map out your own projections. The prices will automatically adjust and reflect your personal predictions.

League settings and trends all set? Do projections reflect your predictions? Phew, awesome!

Finally, we’ve made it to the “Real Value” section in column F. This is the true value of each player perfectly customized to your league settings based on the projections I fed into the tool.

No projections will ever be 100% correct, but these custom dollar values are the best you can get based on the available information.

Most auction dollar values on other sites are simply a copy and paste of that site’s standard rankings, with dollar values decreasing by arbitrary amounts as they go down the list.

Your values will be much more robust once tailored to your league settings and your projections. You can find more information about the original tool here and on the Intro tab of the Excel workbook.

If you have made it this far and utilized our tool, you have already set the foundation for a great draft. Still, the real value comes in interpreting these prices and forming a game plan.

Be sure to check out Part 2, where I dive into specific pre-draft strategies that you can use to dominate the competition.

Our Auction Series is all you need to dominate your 2020 Fantasy Football Auctions. Don’t miss a single part:


  • I am currently working as an accountant and have been obsessed with fantasy football for over 10 years. My specialties are auction draft strategy and discovering unique team management strategies to maximize winning odds. Thanks for reading!


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