Stopa Law Firm $10K League

Most fantasy auctions are strange, and this is even true in formats like 12-team AL-only LABR in baseball where the historical values for each tier and position are well established. In football, values are less so, and when you add quirks like a “super-flex” (QB eligible), half-PPR  and two starting tight ends, you’re asking for chaos. Throw in a $10 K prize and some ill-timed tech glitches, and you’re looking at straight-up anarchy even in a 12-team league with relatively standard scoring.

Because this was largely foreseeable – aside from the tech glitches – my strategy was to generate a sound list of dollar values for this format based on the RotoWire season-long projections. I generated the values with a VBD formula which is imperfect, but I mitigated that somewhat by estimating replacement value as the best player on waivers at each position rather than using the worst starters. It’s still an estimate but one that better normalizes market value across positions because it prices in the opportunity cost of spending on one position at the expense of another. I also looked at least year’s final stats and ran them through the same formula to discover what everyone earned in this format with a $200 budget. It turns out Jamaal Charles earned something like $68 and Peyton Manning wasn’t far behind.

Armed with this rough idea of what players were really worth, I put each dollar value in the spread sheet next to my player list and left one cell open to fill in the actual prices they were fetching. That way, I’d have a quick idea of whether players were too expensive early and I should save, or too cheap, and I should spend. It turned out players were way too expensive:

WR COST $ TE COST $ RB COST $ QB COST $
Calvin Johnson 48 34.38 Jimmy Graham 41 29.5 LeSean McCoy 54 42.68 Peyton Manning 45 43.19
Demaryius Thomas 49 31.71 Rob Gronkowski 31 19.48 Jamaal Charles 52 41.93 Aaron Rodgers 49 40.32
Dez Bryant 44 28.78 Julius Thomas 35 17.96 Matt Forte 46 38.49 Drew Brees 47 38.88
A.J. Green 44 28.01 Jordan Cameron 13 15.42 Eddie Lacy 50 34.35 Nick Foles 33 34.58
Julio Jones 43 27.8 Jason Witten 8 13.8 Adrian Peterson 48 33.3 Andrew Luck 35 33.92
Brandon Marshall 40 23.84 Greg Olsen 8 12.87 DeMarco Murray 33 29.55 Cam Newton 25 30.85
Jordy Nelson 39 22.46 Vernon Davis 10 12.67 Giovani Bernard 35 28.67 Robert Griffin 27 30.82
Alshon Jeffery 34 22.3 Dennis Pitta 12 11.67 Montee Ball 40 27.85 Colin Kaepernick 25 29.33
Keenan Allen 29 21.99 Jordan Reed 9 10.74 Zac Stacy 21 25.98 Matthew Stafford 31 29.28
Victor Cruz 17 21.15 Zach Ertz 9 10.48 Le’Veon Bell 29 25.87 Tom Brady 29 29.12
Antonio Brown 36 20.2 Martellus Bennett 2 7.01 Doug Martin 24 25.36 Matt Ryan 27 28.86
Vincent Jackson 15 19.86 Kyle Rudolph 10 6.01 Marshawn Lynch 35 24.2 Russell Wilson 29 27.98
Randall Cobb 24 18.86 Ladarius Green 2 5.78 Arian Foster 27 24.13 Jay Cutler 22 24.11
Andre Johnson 18 18.45 Charles Clay 3 5.27 C.J. Spiller 26 23.74 Philip Rivers 20 23.91
Pierre Garcon 10 17.88 Tyler Eifert 2.18 Alfred Morris 27 23.72 Alex Smith 18 23.7
Michael Floyd 18 17.55 Heath Miller 2 2.06 Andre Ellington 31 23.2 Tony Romo 28 23.66
Larry Fitzgerald 15 15.72 Garrett Graham 0.82 Shane Vereen 20 20.86 Ben Roethlisberger 24 23.29
Percy Harvin 13 15.49 Delanie Walker 0.41 Reggie Bush 14 20.63 Andy Dalton 17 20.98
T.Y. Hilton 8 14.83 Dwayne Allen 0.28 Ryan Mathews 19 20.48 EJ Manuel 20.92
Michael Crabtree 21 14.05 Antonio Gates Joique Bell 10 20.43 Johnny Manziel 14 20.56
DeSean Jackson 12 13.85 Travis Kelce 2 Chris Johnson 6 20.04 Eli Manning 10 18.67
Cordarrelle Patterson 15 13.36 Eric Ebron Bishop Sankey 20 19.91 Ryan Tannehill 11 18.64
Roddy White 14 13.28 Jared Cook Toby Gerhart 16 19.53 Joe Flacco 6 16.07
Torrey Smith 11 13.1 Richard Rodgers Rashad Jennings 17 17.01 Carson Palmer 13 10.85
Wes Welker 13 12.82 Scott Chandler Ben Tate 16.75 Jake Locker 10.46
Jeremy Maclin 11 12.51 Levine Toilolo Ray Rice 5 15.72 Sam Bradford 8 5.77
Marques Colston 5 11.61 Coby Fleener Maurice Jones-Drew 14.88 Geno Smith 1.63
Mike Wallace 4 10.69 Marcedes Lewis Trent Richardson 9 14.85 Josh McCown 9
Eric Decker 5 10.41 Adrien Robinson Pierre Thomas 14.49 Ryan Fitzpatrick
Josh Gordon 14 9.43 Jermaine Gresham Darren Sproles 11.51 Matt Schaub
Kendall Wright 8 8.61 Jeff Cumberland Danny Woodhead 10.46 Teddy Bridgewater
Terrance Williams 7 7.89 Timothy Wright Frank Gore 4 10.3 Blake Bortles
Rueben Randle 4 7.25 Rob Housler Stevan Ridley 3 10.07 Michael Vick
Mike Evans 6.91 Brandon Myers Steven Jackson 8.5 Chad Henne
Sammy Watkins 5 6.81 Brandon Pettigrew Lamar Miller 11 8.38 Matt Cassel
Cecil Shorts 6.42 Andrew Quarless DeAngelo Williams 7.58
Golden Tate 6.12 Austin Seferian-Jenkins Mark Ingram 6.6
Julian Edelman 5 6.01 Brent Celek Terrance West 5 6.32
Riley Cooper 5.6 John Carlson Darren McFadden 5.4
Dwayne Bowe 5.11 Owen Daniels Carlos Hyde 4.62
Brandin Cooks 16 4.62 Jermichael Finley Knowshon Moreno 4.52
Kenny Stills 4.11 Zach Miller Devonta Freeman 4 4.39
Marqise Lee 3.96 Jace Amaro Donald Brown 4.03
Aaron Dobson 3.83 David Ausberry Jonathan Stewart 3.21
Emmanuel Sanders 3.65 Ryan Griffin Andre Williams 2.39
DeAndre Hopkins 3.62 Joseph Fauria Ahmad Bradshaw 2.29
Tavon Austin 3.57 Troy Niklas Bernard Pierce 1.62
Kelvin Benjamin 3.55 Gavin Escobar Knile Davis 1.13
Brian Hartline 3.52 Tony Moeaki Ronnie Hillman
Hakeem Nicks 3.52 Mychal Rivera Christine Michael
Jordan Matthews 3.11 Anthony Fasano Chris Ivory
Danny Amendola 2 2.85 Lance Kendricks Fred Jackson
Anquan Boldin 2.7 Brandon Williams Shonn Greene
Doug Baldwin 2.16 Jim Dray James White
Justin Hunter 4 1.8 Ed Dickson Jacquizz Rodgers
Jermaine Kearse 1.8 Logan Paulsen Roy Helu
Greg Jennings 1.13 Brandon Bostick Stepfan Taylor
Reggie Wayne 0.41 Clay Harbor Lance Dunbar
Kenny Britt 0.26 Ben Watson Robert Turbin

When I did this last year, the running backs and receivers were vastly overpriced, but the quarterbacks came super cheap. As I had quarterbacks priced pretty highly in this super-flex league, I jumped on two “values” early last year (Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo), only to see others get even better values in the end game. This year, while the high-end RBs and WRs were still very expensive, so were the QBs and TEs. That meant something had to give, and that thing was the entire back end of the auction.

Accordingly, I needed to overspend a little to ensure I had *some* high-end players (you don’t want to have a team full of great values, no stars and $50 left over), so I snagged Julio Jones and RGIII at what I thought were fair prices, given the going rate, overpaid for Julius Thomas (mildly regret that) and saved like crazy for huge mid and end-game bargains. Here’s my squad:

Pos Player COST $
QB Robert Griffin 27 30.82
RB Zac Stacy 21 $25.98
RB Trent Richardson 9 14.85
WR Julio Jones 43 27.8
WR Pierre Garcon 10 17.88
WR Percy Harvin 13 15.49
TE Julius Thomas 35 17.96
TE Zach Ertz 9 10.48
FLEX Marques Colston 5 11.61
QBFLEX Ryan Tannehill 11 18.64
B Carlos Hyde 5 4.62
B Andre Williams 2 2.39
B EJ Manuel 2 20.92
B Ray Rice 5 15.72
B Kelvin Benjamin 1 3.55
B Ahmad Bradshaw 1 2.29
B Kenny Stills 1 4.11
Total 200 $245.11

At first glance, the prices on Jones and especially Thomas look insane, but it would have been foolish to get shut out of the top tier entirely when you could buy a couple and still have enough for a $10 Garcon and a $5 Colston late. Also, the dollar values are based solely on projected stats, and I’d argue players like Carlos Hyde – who might not see much work for a few weeks but who could be a monster if Frank Gore wears down – are on the low end. High-upside players with uncertain roles are probably worth more than that for which we can responsibly project them.

It’s also worth noting how high EJ Manuel’s “value” is, and that’s based on our projection which gives him a full season and expects some rushing stats out of him. When the replacement level for QBs is incredibly low, a 170-yard, 1 TD passing day with 40 rushing yards and an occasional rushing TD in your QB flex has a significant impact. Of course, the dollar values are also tied to the accuracy of the projections, and were Manuel to prove unfit as an NFL starter, his projected 3545 passing yards and 466 rushing yards won’t redeem him. The dollar values therefore are only a very rough guideline and one that has to be weighed against what’s going on in the auction itself. In fact, they’re most valuable simply as a gauge for whether and to what extent there will be bargains late.

Finally you’ll notice I don’t have a kicker or defense. I will pick those up eventually, but felt it was better to stock up on reserve WR/RB while injuries and job battles shake out for another couple weeks.

The Stopa Law Firm League is sponsored by RotoWire Staff Writer Mark Stopa whose Florida-based legal practice helps homeowners fight foreclosures by large banks. For more info, click here.

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