I do this fantasy football stuff for a living, but that doesn't mean I come out of every draft with a team that I love.
I'll occasionally take a misstep somewhere and leave myself with a little post-draft roster work to do. Most recently, I did so in a slow auction with the veteran "experts" of FanEx -- a group that has been around longer than I've been writing.
I've done a number of auction drafts with various groups, but I'm still new enough to the format that I don't necessarily carry a time-tested overall strategy into the exercise. I think I let that relative inexperience get the best of me early in the FanEx auction, but I also believe I'll be able to fix it pretty easily.
Because the misstep came at RB, let's start there ...
Doug Martin $49
Darren McFadden $25
Darren Sproles $24
Giovani Bernard $20
Now, let's backtrack for a minute. This league gives $200 to build a 20-man roster. We start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 flex, 1 K and 1 DEF.
The fairly obvious problem here: I spent too much on RBs. I don't have a problem with any of the top 3, but I got caught bidding up Bernard early in the process. He should never have gone for that much, and he certainly doesn't provide me that value as a #4 RB destined for my bench.
How'd it happen? Well, in a slow auction, a bunch of players hit the board at the same time. In this case, every owner needed to keep 2 players posted throughout, putting 24 players on the board. I wanted McFadden and Sproles right in the price range they ended up hitting, and I'm quite happy I got both at those dollar amounts early. At the same time, I viewed Bernard as an upside fallback -- a potential PPR beast in case I missed either of the other 2.
But I didn't. I won all 3. And while they were all live, Martin went up for auction. As a DS Insider, you know that we have him 2nd overall this season. Adrian Peterson went for $60 in this draft, and I wanted Martin as long as he didn't cost more than $50. So I took a chance ... and wound up with all 4.
Now I'm left needing to trade 1 -- ideally Bernard. I think I should be able to get at least a good 3rd WR for him and am willing to wait until the season begins to do so. His momentum only seems to be building, though, which should drive up his trade value over the next month. And if I need to trade Sproles instead, Bernard remains an intriguing fallback.
Larry Fitzgerald $30
Danny Amendola $24
Keenan Allen $1
Dwayne Harris $1
Terrance Williams $1
Jeremy Kerley $1
Greg Little $1
It might have been smarter to spread my WR money around a bit more after the buy up at RB, but I wanted Fitz and Amendola -- a couple of 2013 DS darlings. I undoubtedly could have still scored quality wideouts later in the auction at cheaper prices -- it pained me to watch Jordy Nelson go for $9 -- but the prices I paid don't even look outlandish in hindsight.
Amendola and Fitzgerald will grace my lineup every week they're healthy and not on bye, and I think they'll prove to be 2 of the position's more consistent weekly scorers. The other spot obviously needs work.
It's possible to cobble WR3 value in a PPR setup out of the Kerley-Little combo, but I won't lie and say I'm comfy with it. I thought the other 3 rated high in upside among the $1 options. I'll likely dump whoever between Harris and Williams doesn't win the #3 job for some early-season waiver help.
Fortunately, the overspending at RB at least means I don't need a flex player to come from this group -- assuming my backs stay healthy.
Jay Cutler $12
Nick Foles $1
Jake Locker $1
Alex Smith $1
I never planned to spend too much at QB, and the big-money guys at RB and WR forced me to stick to that. I was disappointed to see Tony Romo go for $21 and Robert Griffin for $22, so I figured I'd try to sneak in Cutler.
My Draft Sharks crew and I like him more this season than most folks do. I think Cutler brings significantly more upside than Andy Dalton and could well finish the year among the top 12.
Of course, the lack of funds left me reaching for several upside backups. Locker and Foles fit that profile. Smith didn't actually go for $1. Another owner overspent at QB and asked me to buy Chris Givens ($1) and trade him for Smith ($8). I thought about buying Givens for myself, but Smith sets up a nice low-cost platoon with Cutler. I think the new Chiefs QB could finish among the top 15 QBs. Getting him also frees me to cut or trade Foles and/or Locker as needed.
Rob Housler $2
Ed Dickson $1
Travis Kelce $1
I must admit, I'm fine with the way this position turned out, too. I tried to get players such as Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook on the cheap but failed. Even Fred Davis at $3 seemed a little higher than I needed to go. That's because Housler sits right in the same range with every bit as much upside in Arizona's intriguing new pass offense.
Kelce looks like another low-cost, high-upside player. He has drawn praise throughout Chiefs workouts and joins a team with little beyond Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles as proven pass-catchers. A 50+ catch season with 4-5 TDs seems doable.
Dickson became a byproduct of my early spending. After the big purchases, I had to sit and watch much of the rest of the draft until we got to the $1 players. That made me one of the last 2 drafters and allowed me to pluck the Ravens fill-in after Dennis Pitta hurt his hip.
That gives me 3 TEs capable of 50+ receptions and no regrets that I couldn't buy someone such as Owen Daniels.
Caleb Sturgis $1
I wasn't going to pay more than $1 for my kicker. So after several early kickers got bid up, I went for a guy with decent upside who I knew wouldn't go above $1. I wanted to address the position and move on. Sturgis, of course, has struggled with injury early and might not make the team. But I can easily replace him before the season if that happens.
This league ridiculously devalues D/ST scoring, so I wasn't going to spend more than $1 here either. I was pleased to get our #8 defense for that price.
Here's my starting lineup:
QB -- Jay Cutler
RB -- Doug Martin
RB -- Darren McFadden
WR -- Larry Fitzgerald
WR -- Danny Amendola
WR -- Jeremy Kerley
TE -- Rob Housler
Flex -- Darren Sproles/Gio Bernard
K -- Caleb Sturgis
D -- Baltimore
I like that lineup overall and will even more if I can trade a RB for WR help (and another depth RB). Several other owners in the league have already mentioned my team among the 3-4 best, though you can check the rosters and decide that for yourself.
Next time, I'll curb my early spending and remind myself how many players will remain on the board even if I have to watch someone I like go to another team. That's 1 downside to auctions. It's nice to be able to go for any player you want, but you can't just chase every player you want.
In hindsight, I'd have focused more sharply on a few targets, set stronger price ceilings and worried less about losing out on them at auction. That said, the goal of any draft is to build a team that can contend. I think I still did that here.