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:
|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:
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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