Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Auction Strategies

I have some fundamental problems with the prevailing conventional wisdom of fantasy baseball auction strategies. I consumer a lot of fantasy baseball content - blogs, podcasts, feeds, websites, books, magazines, etc. and consistently they all get it wrong when it comes to auction strategies. One of the prevailing strategies is to never nominate a player that you really want - sure, like what fantasy baseball team owner doesn't want Alex Rodriguez, David Wright or Albert Pujols???

I believe 1) get the players you want and 2) the principle of economic scarcity. To the first point, if you really, really, really want Arod how much higher is he going to go for? He's a premium player so don't be scared off by the high price tag - expect it. When I prepare for an auction draft I set a list of 7-8 premium players and commit to getting 4 of them. To a point some of them are interchangeable but if you want to build a solid core to your fantasy baseball team you'll have to spend money one way or another.

To the second point - the law of economic scarcity was developed by the father of modern economic theory Adam Smith in his seminal book The Wealth of Nations
. What this essentially means is that Jimmy Rollins will be reasonably priced for his skills as long as Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes are still on the board. Once those 2 are gone Rollins could theoretically cost even more than Reyes or Ramirez because he's the last high-end shortstop available. To put it another way, quality stats at the shortstop position are now scarce and will predictably be more expensive. So what I might do if I had the first pick in an auction draft is to pick David Wright first and spend what I have to in order to get him -with Arod and Miggy Cabrera on the board he'll still be relatively reasonable. In other words when I go to an auction draft my strategy is to nominate and pay for the guys that I want and let everyone else pay a premium for the scraps.

Ron Shandler has other auction draft strategies in his annual fantasy baseball guide - The Baseball Forecaster. Click here to pick up a copy on Amazon.

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