If you haven’t checked out my comprehensive guide on how to dominate an auction draft, please click the links below. Part 1 includes an overview of my fantasy football auction draft philosophy, plus an amazing Excel tool to help you set the perfect player prices. This Excel tool generates the suggested prices below.
Part 1: How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft – Setting Player Prices
Part 2: How To Dominate a Fantasy Football Auction Draft – Developing a Game Plan
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
Bonus Auction Article: Undervalued and Overvalued Players
The previous series lays out a comprehensive auction strategy, but this article takes a deeper dive into specific players I am targeting for $10 and under in auction drafts this year. All following auction data is based on a 10-team, half-PPR ESPN league. If your league is different, download the tool and input your league settings to get your own custom auction values!
Fair Value: $13, ESPN AAV: $6
After the Sony Michel trade, Henderson’s AAV on ESPN has fallen too far. He is now being drafted as the 29th most expensive running back. Even after the trade news, the FantasyPros consensus projections have him as the half-PPR RB23.
In weeks 2-7 of 2020 before Henderson got hurt, he was averaging 14.8 expected fantasy points per game in full PPR on just a 47% snap share. Those 14.8 expected fantasy points per game would have 20th at running back, just behind Chris Carson’s injury-adjusted average of 14.9. Even if he somehow only got 47% of the snaps again, he would be a reasonable value for $6.
However, Henderson’s ceiling is much higher. If he can maintain his rate of expected fantasy points per snap and play just 60% of the snaps, he would average 18.9 expected fantasy points per game. This would have been the eighth-best mark at the position, just ahead of Austin Ekeler’s injury-adjusted number.
Given the Michel news, he may not quite reach the 60% snap threshold, but he is still the top projected back for the Rams, and it is certainly within Henderson’s range of outcomes. Given the talent, offense, and upside, you won’t find a better ceiling for $6 than Darrell Henderson
Fair Value: $18, ESPN AAV: $9
Other than Darrell Henderson and maybe Damien Harris, Mike Davis is the only running back going for under $10 on ESPN I would be comfortable with in my starting lineup. I prefer to snag two high-end running backs early in the draft, but if you miss out or are just making backup plans, Mike Davis is a nice, cheap option for your RB2.
Even after the signing of Wayne Gallman, Davis still projects to be the clear lead back in a high-powered Atlanta offense. He isn’t the flashiest player, but his talent is underrated.
In 2020, Davis finished second only to Nick Chubb with 0.26 missed tackles forced per rushing attempt. He also was solid in the passing game, finishing 12th of 46 qualified backs in PFF receiving grade.
Nobody is going to argue that Davis is the most talented back in the NFL, but he is a solid all-around player. In the twelve games he was active without Christian McCaffrey, Davis averaged a very respectable 16.8 expected fantasy points per game and proved he can handle a starting workload. Drafting Davis isn’t my primary plan, but I’d be happy to land him as my RB2 if I have stars elsewhere.
Wolf Note: I love the values on the above two players; that said, if Damien Harris goes for the same prices as the above two, I would be hammering that and not thinking twice. Cam Newton ranked 4th in goal-line attempts & TDs, and Harris will get the first crack with him departed. Stir in a Top-3 run-blocking team and a “bully ball” offensive philosophy, and I’m all in.
The following three receivers are not screaming values according to my auction tool, like Davis and Henderson. But the tool values are based on projections, and I believe each player has a chance to significantly outproduce their current consensus projection.
Late in the draft, we want as much upside as possible, and I generally pay less attention to “fair” values here. You should still target cheap players you believe have the potential to far exceed their projection even if the tool says they are overvalued by a couple of bucks.
ODELL BECKHAM JR.
Fair Value: $8, ESPN AAV: $10
On the surface, the numbers suggest that Odell Beckham Jr. hurt the Browns’ offense when he was on the field last year.
In the six games with Beckham healthy, Mayfield threw for 10 TDs and 7 INTs, while averaging just 182.5 yards per game. However, in the 11 games after losing OBJ, Mayfield threw for 20 TDs to just 1 interception, while averaging 250.2 YPG.
But the raw numbers don’t tell the whole story. I highly encourage you to watch Brett Kollman’s film breakdown of Odell and the Browns offense in 2020.
To summarize, new head coach Kevin Stefanski installed a new offense combining the power run game with a play-action offense designed to take shots down the field. Installing any brand new offense was extremely challenging during a covid-restricted summer, and Baker Mayfield, the coaching staff, and the offense as a whole weren’t completely comfortable in the new scheme until the middle of the season.
Mayfield missed Odell on many throws due to miscommunications and chemistry issues that have a good chance to be ironed out during a full offseason. Check out Brett’s breakdown for a more in-depth analysis, but those are the key points.
Odell 2020 Stats
As the “X” receiver in the Browns offense, Odell should continue to demand a large target share in 2021. Everyone knows how talented he is, and I am buying Beckham’s upside with improved chemistry on a solid offense if I can get him for under $10.
Fair Value: $5, ESPN AAV: $7
Like OBJ, I am betting on Chase Claypool due to his talent and upside. He earned the highest PFF grade of any Steelers offensive player in 2020. As a Steelers fan, I agree that he is the most talented receiver on the team.
Head coach Mike Tomlin inexplicably reduced Claypool’s snaps midway through the season to “prevent him from hitting the rookie wall”. He should be able to build on his already solid 109 targets and 14.8 expected fantasy points per game from his rookie year with more snaps.
Claypool comes with risk given the unclear pecking order at wide receiver. Diontae Johnson led the team in targets last year, and JuJu Smith-Schuster led the team in receptions. If he finishes third on the team in snaps targets again, he will likely disappoint.
But you won’t find a player for $7 without risk, and not too many players come with Claypool’s insane size, athleticism, and ceiling either. I am betting that Claypool’s talent leads to an increase in snaps and targets in 2021.
New offensive coordinator Matt Canada is known for using many different offensive schemes to maximize his most talented players, and Claypool is his most talented playmaker. Taking more play-action shots from under center has been a point of emphasis in training camp, which fits Claypool’s game perfectly. His talent combined with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger makes Claypool an excellent high-upside option.
Fair Value: $1, ESPN AAV: $2
Davis quietly had a productive 2020 season, finishing as the WR32 on points per game in PPR formats. He put up a 65-984-5 line on just 92 targets in 14 games (105 target pace over 16 games) as the second option in Tennessee.
Zach Wilson has looked sharp in preseason and has targeted Davis on a mind-boggling 77% of his routes so far. That number won’t hold up, but Davis has clearly established himself as the top target and has a chance to significantly outpace the 105 targets he was on track for last year. I also think Davis’ talent is underrated – he finished 2020 with PFF’s 10th-highest WR grade on the season.
The Wolf and I both love grabbing as many target-hog receivers as possible, and you won’t find anyone cheaper with a better chance to dominate their team’s targets. Davis comes with some risk, but it’s easy to imagine a scenario where Wilson builds on his preseason success, Davis sees 130+ targets as the clear top option, and he smashes his already solid 2020 line. For $2, I am more than willing to bet on that.
Wolf Note: WR is SO LOADED with amazing $1-$2 talent. Davis’ teammate Elijah Moore, as well as Marquez Callaway, Jakobi Meyers, and Terrace Marshall are among my favorite late-round / $1 WR plucks this year. They make going “Stars & Scrubs” significantly easier.
DOMINATE YOUR AUCTION DRAFT
I only have space to cover a few specific players in this article, so please download the auction tool to get customized auction values for every player and any league settings. And for a more comprehensive auction strategy, check out the links below!
- Part 1: Customizing Player Prices
- Part 2: Initial Game Plan and Budget by Position
- Part 3: Map out Audibles
- Part 4: In-game domination
- Bonus Auction Article: Undervalued and Overvalued Players
Plus, for The Wolf’s customized auction values, projections, and all his targets and fades check out his 2021 Investing Guide. Now only $10 for Labor Day Weekend! Learn more here or buy it here.