Monday, August 22, 2011

Twas the 'night before Draftmas

And I came up with a shtick,
that'll be lamer than Hell,
but will rhyme with Mike Vick.

OK. A better writer than me would have given that stanza more than 13 seconds of thought before rhyming shtick with Vick. more importantly, a better writer than me never would have bothered with imbecilic rhymes in the first place, but I live with two toddlers who respond only to things that rhyme. For example:

This diaper of yours
is always so full
I'm beginning to think
that you are part Bull

Fine, I'll stop. Back to business. Like many of you I have my first draft of the season this Saturday. Two of them in fact. The first for my own league and the second for my favorite league - my keeper league. After 9 seasons of fantasy ball and 4 seasons in a keeper-style league I can honestly say that if you can convince your commissioner to take the extra time and energy to go keeper, you should do it. The advantages far outnumber the weaknesses (which as far as I can tell fall solely on the person managing the league - sorry Steve).

In no particular order
1) When you can keep a few players (we keep 2) you can develop a core team around which you build over time. Maybe you have a stud QB and a stud receiver, you know that you won't have to be overworried about those positions with your first couple of picks. This is especially nice if you can keep a top QB. The guy who won last year has been keeping Drew Brees since he became a Saint. This will be his last year to hold him, thankfully - but he created a championship team out of his ability to keep a top tier QB.

2) Consequently you get more interesting drafts. Since everyone isn't chasing blindly after the same top tier guys you get a lot more diversity among the picks. Our drafts aren't even remotely similar to any Average Drafts you see online. Last year Peyton Manning went 1st. That guy didn't finish in the money or anything, but he thought a top QB was his best chance so he took it.

3) This format opens to the door to more generational thinking. Last year a team named the Stompers picked up Michael Vick off waivers (in this league the lower you take somebody the longer you can keep them - so this was a huge windfall for the Stompers). This year my team traded the Stompers my 1st round pick in 2011 and my 3rd round pick in 2012 for rights to Vick. Could be a huge mistake on either of our parts, but it certainly will provide for a lively draft.

4) This particular keeper format moves any potential keeper up two rounds each year they are kept, and you are not allowed to keep anyone drafted in the 1st two rounds. So guys that come out of college with a ton of buzz can almost never be keepers, but all those sleepers that come out of nowhere can sit on an owner's team for as long as 7 years before they are forced back into the general draft pool. A few years ago a guy took a 9th round flyer on Chris Johnson who was (at the time) getting split evenly with Len Dale White. A few sandwiches later White is a non-entity and the Chris Johnson gets to be kept the next 3 seasons. Wham!

Not that there's anything wrong with the standard draft. Shaking up the fantasy snow globe every year means everyone always starts with a clean slate. But where's the fun in that? The best players can reap sometimes small, sometimes huge year-over-year benefits from drafting wisely, and we all like that.

A general question for those wiser than I

I'm entering my first Auction-Style league this year. What have you learned? What are important drafting strategies beyond: "Don't overpay for Eli Manning!"

I'm anticipating a bit of a learning curve here, but the draft is no time to find out all the things you don't know. Post your tips in the comments. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I think Philip Rivers is primed to have a huge season this year - if I can't get my hands on a top-tier RB or Vick with my first round pick, I'm taking Rivers home if I can.

He'll cross the 5,000 passing yard threshold this season. Bank on it.

J said...

I've never done an auction league. Might be better than the standard league I'm in. I got screwed in the lottery - the 12th pick out of 12. Sure, I get pick 13 also, but that means I get no elite players and I'll be stuck hoping that the likes of Mark Sanchez and Cedric Benson lead me to glory. My liquor cabinet will remain fully stocked all year.

Anonymous said...

@ J --

Are you serious? Drafting 12/12 is a fine position for a top tier WR and a top tier QB. Draft position has nothing to do with whether you win or lose. I prefer to draft at the back end.

Anonymous said...

I'd much rather draft 12/13 than 1/24, you get to draft TWO elite players, instead of the best player and a (comparably) second-tier guy.

I'm stuck picking third this year, and depending on who the top two guys pick really weighs on my decision. If Foster or AP are still available, I go with them. I don't want to take Vick because I'm afraid he's going to get hurt, and I can still get a great QB in the second or third round.

Anonymous said...

Auction leagues are a lot of fun. Budget your positions before the draft. i.e. $40 for QB, $130 for b, $100 for wr etc.

consider troughing out qb's early and see if you can land a romo or rivers below budget and then you can trough the extra cash into another positions budget.

put caps on all the players. Write down the max you will play for each player that way you can ensure they don't get under bid and want be upset if you win the bid on them.

lastly don't always bump the bid by a dollar. don't be afraid to jump in with you cap on a player every once and a while.

The Owners said...

those are great ideas. Thanks for the input...hopefully I won't get pounded by the more experienced owners.