If you are playing in auction leagues, it’s because you want every opportunity to get your guys. This is the strategy I use to get as many top players that are my guys while maximizing my draft budget. If you prefer to have a more balanced team, this may not be the strategy for you. Swinging for the fences, with most of my money going into as many top players as possible, has usually given me the best results.
There are a couple of notes before we begin.
We’ll be assuming $1 budgeted for QB, TE, K, and DST. That by no means is set in stone. It’s just a starting point that we’ll come back to later.
This strategy can be adapted for other league sizes and formats but it has been refined specifically for 12 team PPR leagues (1QB, 2RBs, 2WRs, 1Flex, 1TE, DST, and K) with a $200 budget.
So, how do we get as many studs on our board without completely sacrificing the rest of our team? We begin by making “Budget Tiers” instead of just “Player Tiers”.
The goal is to end up with either 3 top 25 players, or 4 top 36 players and be left with as close to $50 ($40 if we got 4 players in the top 3 Budget Tiers) as possible once we have maximized the first $150 between the top 3 budget tiers.
Disclaimer: This article is about the strategy and not my personal rankings, so my player lists are fairly random based on how much those players are currently going in auction drafts. Feel free to move players around in the budget tiers so they fit your order of preference.
We have to look at the first 3 tiers together as this is where the magic happens. Usually the top guys go early to try and get everyone else to spend their money on players the person nominating doesn’t want. This is by no means a guarantee and you need to be prepared to make adjustments. You may also notice there are players in tier 2 that are not likely to go for under $60. The reason for this is that while they may be worth more than $60, I’m not willing to pay that as much as I am for the players in Budget Tier 1. That doesn’t mean I won’t own them, it means I will only take them at that price if I was able to free up money in another Budget Tier by getting a deal or simply went with one of the lower cost Budget Tier 3 players. This is where the strategy requires on the fly budget adjustments and why it works.
We group Budget Tier 1 and 2 together for a total of $110(hence the strategy name) as these are the players that we REALLY need to get 2 of whether it’s 1 player from Budget Tier 1 and 1 player from Budget Tier 2 or 2 from Budget Tier 2. 2 from Budget Tier 1 would be fantastic but that is unlikely unless you got an amazing deal on a Budget Tier 3 player. Any savings from any of these tiers needs to be immediate reallocated to the highest tier available.
For Example, you got Gurley for $63 and Devonta Freeman for $40. That leaves you with up to $47 for Budget Tier 3. Now you get someone like Howard or Mixon for $25. You now have $22 for another player in Budget Tier 3 but since you will be hitting the 4 players in the first 3 tiers, you can add another $10 to it as it’s one less player you need from Tier 4.
There’s also the possibility that the Budget Tier 1 players all go well over $70. That can actually work out. If you end up with something like Devonta Freeman for $40, Cook for $45, and Howard for $23, you’ve only spent $108 out of your $150 which is now $160 as you are again able to get a 4th player in the top 3 Budget Tiers. Now you have $52 left to spend on another Budget Tier 2 player. Not only do you have 4 top 36 players but 3 of them are top 24.
Now you have 4 top 36(or possibly 3 top 24 and another top 36) players and it’s time to fill out the rest of your roster. Let’s just assume you spent the whole $32 on the best Budget Tier 3 player you could get. That leaves you with $40 for the rest of our roster. Let’s also assume you are sticking with the $1 for QB, TE, DST, and K. We can still come back to those positions. We are just removing that $4 from our budget.
That leaves you with $36 to fill out the 9 roster spots Budget Tier 4.
From here, there are plenty of $2-5 players with all kinds of potential upside. You definitely want to load up on those guys but try to grab a couple of $6-12 WRs like Crabtree, Davis, Hogan, and Watkins. You’re going to have some $1 lottery tickets on your team but that is fine. When you have 4 top 36 players, all you need is for a few cheap picks to outperform their ADP and you should at least be in the running at the end of the year, especially if you are on your game with the waiver wire.
If you decide to pay more than $1 for the QB, TE, DST, or K spots make sure you track that and adjust your Budget Tier 4. I am personally fine with whatever the rest of the league gives me for those positions. One tip is to nominate those positions somewhere towards the middle of your draft. The increases the chances of getting who you want or it forces someone else to pay more than $1 for those positions.
While none of them are guaranteed to be able to be won by nominating them for $1, at least a few of these QBs and TEs should go through with no one outbidding you.
Below are some combinations of top players you should have a shot at getting while staying around the $150 part of the budget. It is still early though so prices are likely to change as we get closer to the start of the season. The important part is getting players from the Budget Tiers, not the specific players themselves.
As I said in the beginning, this is more of a swing for the fences approach. Losing one of your top players to injury can be even more devastating than it would be in a snake draft or a more balanced auction team but if you hit one or two cheap players that outperform their ADP by even a little, you should at least be in the running for the championship.