2017 Top 25s: WRs and TEs

Updated: July 16th 2017

Since RSO has rolled over to 2017, now’s the perfect time to revisit your rosters and start planning for the next season!

Do you have any players on your team that warrant a franchise tag?  Is it time to shop a player who’s 2016 didn’t meet your expectations and now burdens you with a high salary contract?  My “way too early” PPR rankings, known as my 2017 Top 25s, are here to help with those decisions!

If you missed part 1, I explored quarterbacks and running backs.

In part 2 of my 2017 Top 25s, I’ll finish by examining the wide receiver and tight end positions:

 

Top 25 WRs for 2017

While several of the top WRs didn’t pan out in 2016, I wouldn’t shy away from a WR-heavy strategy in 2017. The top 7 in my rankings have shown year-over-year consistency, which should ease the minds of those recently burned by Hopkins and Robinson. In 12 team leagues, I’d want to leave the auction with at least 3 WRs from this list. since the depth from 13 to 25 is much stronger at WR than it is at RB.

 

Top 25 TEs for 2017

In 2017, I plan to target Gronkowski, Kelce, and Reed with AAV (average annual values) over $10 million per season. If I strike out on the three of them, I’m likely to wait and select 1-2 TEs from the 9-18 range of my rankings and hope that one can turn into someone I’m comfortable starting on weekly basis.

My Recommendation

Take an hour this weekend and send out personal emails to all of your fellow owners. Get the trade conversations started because they likely won’t come knocking down your door to acquire one of these players you’re looking to vanquish from your roster. Explain what you’re looking to accomplish, who interests you on their team, and provide an idea of how a potential deal could be reached. If you’re in an active league, you’ll be surprised at the quality of responses you receive.

I followed this recommendation last year, revamped one of my teams almost from scratch, and ended up winning the league.  Have a few minutes?  Read my article on Pressing the Reset Button to find out more about how this strategy can work for you.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

2017 Top 25s: QBs and RBs

Updated: July 16th 2017

Since RSO has rolled over to 2017, now’s the perfect time to revisit your rosters and start planning for the next season!

Do you have any players on your team that warrant a franchise tag?  Is it time to shop a player who’s 2016 didn’t meet your expectations and now burdens you with a high salary contract?  My “way too early” PPR rankings, known as my 2017 Top 25s, are here to help with those decisions!

In part 1 of my 2017 Top 25s, I’ll explore the quarterback and running back positions:

 

Top 25 QBs for 2017

Aaron Rodgers is in a tier of his own, making him an elite asset in Superflex and 2QB leagues. Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo are two of the most intriguing names on this list. Over the next few months, we should find out where they’ll play in 2017. If either lands in Denver or Houston, expect their values to rise even higher up this list.

Top 25 RBs for 2017

Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson form the elite trio of RBs that should command the highest AAV (average annual value) of any players in free agency auctions. Rookies Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette could be RB1s in the right situation. Coming off major injuries, veteran RBs Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson just missed the top 25. If they appear healthy as the season approaches and have promised roles, both could be underrated RB2s that will be undervalued in many free agency auctions.

My recommendation

Take an hour this weekend and send out personal emails to all of your fellow owners. Get the trade conversations started because they likely won’t come knocking down your door to acquire one of these players you’re looking to vanquish from your roster. Explain what you’re looking to accomplish, who interests you on their team, and provide an idea of how a potential deal could be reached. If you’re in an active league, you’ll be surprised at the quality of responses you receive.

I followed this recommendation last year, revamped one of my teams almost from scratch, and ended up winning the league.  Have a few minutes?  Read my article on Pressing the Reset Button to find out more about how this strategy can work for you.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

Squeeze Every Penny

Updated: June 5th 2016

Let me start this article by raising a glass to the creator at Twitter who added the poll option to tweeting. Since this feature has been added, the ability to quickly skim through @dynastytrades feed to vote and see the results of fantasy football trades, has been an incredible resource. If you are not already following them you should be. However, be careful when reading these polls that they don’t offer exactly approximate value of players in the context of YOUR league. As I have said in previous articles owners have tendencies towards certain players and team philosophies that can alter the value of these players. Even entire leagues can have a style that can alter how one participates in their auctions. One league can be very bullish in their contract signings while another can be coyer when spending large cap figures on single players. Regardless of your league setup however, there is a way that you can quantify how much each player should receive. I will breakdown how to understand and use this formula for not only your auction drafts but also to compare the values of players that are already currently owned.

Please note there are two factors that prevent the formula from being applied universally across all leagues. The first is that the point values are inputted at the discretion of the user and different lists could yield different results. Some users simply like to apply the point totals for last season, others like to use predicted point totals that are released from various fantasy sites. Whichever YOU chose,  just be sure that you feel comfortable with the values as these are the drivers for all the contracts. The second variable is the league settings, including roster sizes and number of starters at each position. It should be pretty easy to understand that the more players that are started and the larger the roster size the more money that needs to be spread throughout each roster. This will reduce the max dollars that the elite players should receive when compared to smaller rosters.

Preparing Your Chart

Once you find a database for every player’s fantasy point total that you are comfortable with, organize them into each individual position so that you can create a baseline and margin scores. Again make sure that the database values that you are using were calculated based on your league’s scoring settings. There is a big difference between half, full and non PPR scoring as well as TE premium and 6 points/passing TDs that will drastically change the values for certain players. From here you can place each player and their fantasy point value in a chart that goes in descending points order along with 6 extra columns labeled as below. This example is for the QBs in my 10 team 0.5 PPR home league which starts 1QB, 3RB, 4WR, 1TE, 2FLEX, 1K, 1DST and has a roster size of 26.

Auction Chart 1

A tip here would be to use Microsoft Excel so that you can input all the formulas and save some time. Either way, now that you have the information entered you can create the VORP score (Value Over Replacement Player) for each player. For each of the BASE values they will be equal to the number of starting players in your league times the appropriate multiplier (1.75, 1.5, 1, 0.5). In my example that would be values of 18, 15, 10 and 5. These values are what you are going to be comparing each player against to calculate their margin score. For example, in the Base x1 to determine Aaron Rodgers’ margin you would compare his points versus that of the 10th ranked QB (Andy Dalton) and subtract his points from Rodgers (304.58-269.3=35.28). You would follow the same process to fill out the rest of the chart where comparisons would be made against the 18th, 15th, 10th and 5th ranked players. This is also why you may have noticed that I did not include every QB available. Every player that ranks lower than your Base x1.75 value, in this case the 19th ranked QB and lower, should only receive the minimum bid at auction. Now you will have a chart now that looks like this. I also included the margin value which is the sum of these base values.

Auction Chart 2

Applying the Math

Once you have done this for every position you can then calculate the contract values. This requires a formula that will be the same for all positions and will yield a multiplier to calculate contract values.

Contract Multiplier = (∑QB Margins+∑RB Margins+∑WR Margins+∑TE Margins)/[(Salary Cap -Roster Size*Minimum Bid)*Number of Owners]

This may seem like a daunting formula but it is simple when broken down. First, multiply the number of rostered players you must have in your league by the minimum auction bid of $500,000. Subtract that number from the salary cap value of $155,270,000 for this year. This difference becomes the “fun money” that you have to spend after accounting for filling out the roster with minimum bid players. Multiply this by the number of teams in the league and you have the entire league’s “fun money”. This number will likely be in the billions of dollars!

The numerator part of the formula takes all of the margins for each position and adds them together. Notice that I did not include a sum for kickers or defenses as I believe in only spending the minimum. Let other owners in your league spend the extra money so that you have more to use on positions that matter. Finally, divide this sum of all position margins from the billions of dollars available in total league “fun money”. This value will be very small, likely a number with four to six 0s after the decimal. For my example this number comes out to 0.00001456 or 1.456e-5.

You now have your multiplier to compare players’ values against one another. Divide an individual player’s margin by the contract multiplier and a dollar value will appear as your contract value. Don’t forget to add back $500,000 to account for the minimum bid value that comes with each player with a value equal to 0. Doing this for every position will yield a completed chart as below.

Auction Chart 3

For those of you that participate in IDP leagues the same formula can apply. You simply would need to do the same margin charts for all defensive positions and apply their sum margins to the numerator.

Hopefully you have stayed with me throughout this impromptu math session. The key to staying focused in your auction is to be prepared. Every owner is entitled to conducting the auction in their own manner, however, too often I have seen owners come in knowing that they want a collection of players and are willing to pay whatever to acquire them. Having a sheet prepared of all the approximate values for each player helps see the whole field instead of getting locked in with blinders. I know math and computers are not everyone’s strong suit so if you have any questions about the chart or want help setting up yours you can find me on twitter @naandrews19.

Peer Pressure: Doing What is Right

Updated: March 20th 2016

No less a mind than Albert Einstein dropped this line on his Nazi-fighting personal physician and friend, Janos Plesch, in 1947: “When I examine myself and my methods of thought I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”   The fantasy GM in me likes to think Einstein was genius-level taunting his buddy after winning their inaugural fantasy season.   Big Al’s victory was sealed by the effort of one Elmer Angsman, a third round pick out of Notre Dame dropping two 70-yard TD runs in the ’47 NFL championship game as the Chicago Cardinals dusted the Philadelphia Eagles.  Einstein selected Elmer for his team, “Straight Outta Quantam,” to mockery from his friends in the analytics community that saw Angsman as too one-dimensional to succeed at the pro-level.  Albert later pointed to the lone scouting report that convinced him to draft Angsman, a rival defensive back saying of Elmer, “He was…A straight ahead north and south runner who would just as soon leave cleat marks on your balls as run around you.” Victory.

The preceding story is, of course, fantasy in its fullest sense.  The quotes and people are real, but stripped of any context to produce new meaning.   The very best friends, fantasy GMs, and experts realize that fantasy means more than absorbing common knowledge.  They are stripping reality to its parts and building teams and leagues largely dependent on two pillars; the NFL players and fantasy players.  This column will attempt to remind the fantasy community that the fantasy players you know bear as much impact on fantasy success as the NFL players you may never meet.  When it comes to our own community, we have to borrow once more from the genius of Albert Einstein, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”  Reality Sports Online auction drafts will help the best fantasy GMs determine both what is popular and right in the new, young, and hungry RSO community.

How does one determine what is popular in the fantasy football community?  Multiple levels come into play, but at the most macro level it seems possible to determine where the community at large is getting its information.  Initial analysis of web traffic indicates that sites like Yahoo, NFL.com, and CBS drive and support casual fantasy football play at massive rates.  Future posts should examine how more specialized and sophisticated players set up preseason draft boards, but in every instance the great GM should try to determine how and where our frenemies in the league are getting their information.   Does your crew support a few drifters that roll in on draft day with “cheatsheets,” smelling of beer, fresh ink, and hot paper emblazoned with the logos of well-known sports outlets? If so, nod along to the popular risers like Lamar Miller while noting your favorite names buried deep on that list.   Using data from Fantasy Draft Calculator from 2013-15 we can establish a baseline of how the community at large drafted over a series of mocks preceding each season.    The link between the preseason site rankings of Yahoo (currently the clubhouse leader in sports web traffic) and ADP of drafted players according to fantasy calculator matches at a statistically significant rate over that three year sample.  This could be true for several reasons.  My theory is that massive sites that offer free information like Yahoo rankings drive the average player in a causal way.   Most people don’t have hours to research, agonize over, and tinker with fantasy draft boards.  It doesn’t make them dumb, lazy, or stupid.  In fact these casual players serve as humbling reminders to every GM who has “the bug” that the fickle whims of fortune all too often determine the victor.  If this theory is right, however, it is incumbent on you as a GM to understand that such fantasy players default to typical internet usage habits, hang with the crowd, and defer to the most readily available, popular, rankings.

Several counter-arguments can be made to my thesis that popular websites drive drafting patterns. I will focus on two notable objections.  First, an easy argument might suggest that experts constructing Yahoo’s rankings actually model off ADP collected in preseason mocks so the rankings are reactive rather than predictive of GM draft patterns.    For example, Yahoo’s preseason rankings predicted the ADP of the top 10 picks in a standard scoring at a 90% rate.  2013 was particularly telling, when Yahoo either drove or matched community consensus as it coalesced around early running backs.  Only a detailed chronology could sort the truth of whether the rankings or the ADP came first. This correlation between rankings and ADP reveals the second strong argument against the original thesis; experts and average fantasy players draw from the common data set of NFL players to produce results that correlate, but are not caused by, popular rankings.  Of the second point, I am particularly wary, as gifted minds provide hilarious examples to remind us that Nicholas Cage’s acting and drowning deaths are probably not causally connected.

Here is where value of my hypothesis can be tested in a specific way with the Reality Sports Online platform.  The average player is deprived of the multiplicity of cheatsheets and rankings that blurred the causal relationship in the aforementioned objections.  RSO auction drafts provide a unique test because there is only one free, popular, and visible tool to determine rankings in the RSO offseason.  If my intuition is correct, most players will depend on the site’s recommended contract values as they prepare for league play.  Those values meet the criteria we established above: free, readily available, and popular.  The recommended contract values take on outsized importance because of their presence in the mock draft rooms and the auction draft rooms itself. As both the most prominent, and sole, source of rankings during the actual draft, the values land with the authority of an Adam Schefter tweet during free agency. Staring down the clock and the eye-of-Sauron-like power of the recommendations is where your mettle as a fantasy GM gets tested by RSO and your league, because the popular choice of adherence to the crowd will be pitted against the mockery of any wild pick driven by your own research, but…a note of caution.  What is popular and what is right is not mutually exclusive.   Knowing something is popular in the fantasy community informs your subjective decisions about your own team in a meaningful way because you understand the context of your league.   Determining what your friends and league mates are doing is important, but rarely order to fit in.

At some point growing up I became acutely aware that my father was often the smartest guy in the room. More NASA than NFL in his game by a wide margin.  The man emphasized tangible, concrete truths in life: housing, hard work, and grades.    This paternal wisdom often came at great cost to his sons. Popularity was more of a prayer than an aspiration in my youth. Homemade clothing, haircuts resembling a family montage of “before they were stars,” and the infamously mockable eyewear known as Rec Specs, are written into my family history as indelibly as burning half my auction budget on Adrian Peterson. Popularity never drove my father’s reasoning in these confounding decisions, and he never wavered in the cliché “nerds rule the world.”  This fantasy offseason affords you a chance to pivot away from the peer pressure of the fantasy community to the wisdom of its nerdiest, brightest minds. Find your baseline with the solid, thoughtful, and regularly updated, ADP work at places like Dynasty League Football and mock drafts on RSO.  Once you have a sense of what the “cool crowd” is doing it is time to break from the pack.

The final move should be a search for, and commitment to, some of the Einsteins of the fantasy business.  Brilliant ideas will gain popularity eventually, as the best GMs come to understand practical applications. It is best to be ahead of the game with hipster-like savvy.   Most of us do not have the time, nor expertise to construct algorithms, watch tape, or synthesize data in brilliant new ways  By determining experts with a track record of success, and contrasting them with the loudest, most popular voices in your immediate fantasy circle, you properly contextualize where NFL players will likely be drafted in your own drafts, and at what cost.  Cut the noise and find a Virgil for your Dante draft-day purgatory. Your best fantasy days will come when you see clearly the reality of the NFL players in front of you and your friends and fantasy GMs around you.  With a bit of work you will find the right fantasy thing may be popular, but its popularity is neither necessary nor sufficient to make it right.   We are all following in someone’s fantasy footsteps, here’s hoping you choose the right ones to leave some cleat marks in your league.

numberFire Writers League Results

Updated: August 28th 2015

RSO writer Matt Goodwin hopes that Todd Gurley's dynasty sign pays off for his team vs. fellow writers.

RSO writer Matt Goodwin hopes that Todd Gurley’s dynasty sign pays off for his team vs. fellow writers.

Everyone had so much fun last year that the writers from Reality Sports Online and numberFire returned for year two of their writers league. Along the way, there with a few other new owners (two writers) and a Law Professor from Baylor– the write-in candidate who responded to our tweets and got the final spot. The 10 of us embarked on both a rookie draft and auction recently for their second year in the league. The three-round, three-year contract rookie draft and auction were held on consecutive Sundays.

The participants rookie picks, auction key wins, and strategies are outlined below, along with player contract values to assist those users who have not had their rookie draft yet or auctions. Also do all these hard working writers a solid and follow us on Twitter. We have writers for all kinds of fantasy sports websites who really believe or were interested in kicking the tires on the unique Reality Sports Online format.

Without further ado, the owners and their rosters….

Team: Cleveland’s Award Tour (Matt Goodwin, Reality Sports Online & numberFire) @mattgoody2

Picks:

1.01 Todd Gurley, RB St. Louis Rams (3 years, $19.2M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Going for it all last year, I traded my 2014 first round pick Carlos Hyde to SamHerbie for C.J. Anderson and what turned into pick 1.01. I also traded my other two picks at the deadline as part of a deal to get Marshawn Lynch. A week before the rookie draft, I moved my 1.08 pick to Great Odin’s Raven with Jimmy Graham for Rob Gronkowski who costs about $5.0m a year less than Graham for another 3 years. For me this deal was all about flexibility for the huge free agent pool in 2015 in addition to getting the game’s best tight end on a 4 year, $56 million deal. This trade also enabled me to use the franchise tag on Anderson for $28.1 million knowing that the free agent pool would be shallow in the second year of our league (yes, I actually do follow some of the advice I give in my articles).

With that in mind and given that my top three running backs (Matt Forte, Anderson, and Lynch) will all be free agents following the 2015 season, Todd Gurley was the perfect pick for me for a succession plan at running back. I truly believe he is a faster and younger Lynch and that he will be dominant when the team hands over the reins to him. It was hard to pass up on Amari Cooper’s potential immediate impact, but I generally am not confident in the Raiders offense and figured I could replace Cooper’s production in free agency.

Auction Strategy: I had $27 million of cap space going into the auction, the least of any team. While I believe my starting lineup was fairly stacked, I did have to paint around the edges in the auction and stretch dollars as best I could, noting that I’m not necessarily counting on Gurley to contribute to my team much this season. Overall, having Tom Brady on a 1 year, $3.1 million remaining contract from 2014 meant that I had to find a replacement while Brady likely sits due to Deflategate. So getting a productive quarterback on a multi-year deal was a priority, but ranked second to getting my second starting wide receiver. However, when fellow Miami University alum Ben Roethlisberger had his name called in the auction, I moved quickly and signed him to a 2 year, $8.0 million deal. As I noted in a previous article, I’m very high on Big Ben this year with the weapons he has (with or without Pouncey).

Eric Decker was my top wide receiver target and I used my four year deal to grab the New York Jet wideout for 4 years, $14.0 million. I think Decker will be super productive and love that he ranks highly in the valued yards per route run stat from Pro Football Focus’s premium stats. I also value his production down the stretch last season, capped by a 10 catch, 221 yard, 74 yard TD finale vs. the Dolphins. Otherwise, I grabbed a bunch of cheap wide receivers who may be able to start/flex for me, including Kendall Wright (2 years, $5.0 million), and minimum contract vets like Marques ColstonMichael CrabtreeAntonio Gates.

I also could not resist my Seahawks DST for 1 year, $2.0 million as I like not having to think about a defense when the rest of my lineup is strong.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Roethlisberger, Lynch, Forte, Demaryius Thomas, Decker, Gronkowski, Seahawks DST, Adam Vinatieri, Anderson, Devonta Freeman

Team: Great Odin’s Raven (Dan Pizzuta, numberFire) @DanPizzuta

Picks:

1.02 Amari Cooper, WR Buffalo Bills (3 years, $18.1M)

1.08 T.J. Yeldon, RB Jacksonville Jaguars (3 years, $11.0M)

2.02 David Johnson, RB Arizona Cardinals (3 years, $4.3M)

3.02 Devin Smith, WR New York Jets (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Knowing Matt was going to take Gurley, I felt like I had three options at 1.02. I entered the draft thin at running back, but decided to go with Amari Cooper. Cooper is pretty clearly the No. 1 option in Oakland and should catch at least 80 passes this season with much higher upside. I didn’t think I’d come as close to Cooper’s production with a wide receiver at 1.08 than I could to come close to someone like Melvin Gordon. Ameer Abdullah was one of the players I briefly considered at 1.02, so my eyes lit up when he was there at 1.07, but he didn’t make it past there. Instead I got T.J. Yeldon at 1.08, who should be a steady contributor and the lead back in Jacksonville by at least next season. I like David Johnson’s skillset at 2.02, and he was a hedge on Andre Ellington, the only running back I had on my roster entering the draft, so now I’m hopefully set however the Arizona backfield plays out. Graham is probably going to talk about how much Phillip Dorsett fell, and I agree with him. I would have taken him over Devin Funchess and Jaelen Strong in the second, but I think Devin Smith is a better version of Dorsett. This is a view I had before the NFL Draft and still hold even though Dorsett is paired with a superior quarterback.

Auction Strategy: I entered the auction with Andre Ellington and T.J. Yeldon as my starting running backs, so that needed to change. With the third most cap space entering the auction, but only a few roster spots, I wasn’t afraid to pay a premium for the top guys, especially considering how few there were. I wanted to come away with at least two of the top three backs. I was outbid after a long back and forth for Lamar Miller, so that made me go harder for Justin Forsett and Chris Ivory. I paid a high price for Forsett on a one-year deal, but it’s still less than had I gotten him on a franchise tag for this year. He’s 30 years old with a short track record of success, so I didn’t want to commit years to him. Ivory, on the other hand, should be the clear No. 1 in New York and is 28, making me feel better about a two-year deal at $19 million.

I also added Shane Vereen for $5 million, should I’ll have some options at running back. From the past two rookie drafts I’m pretty young and deep at wide receiver (Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Cooper, Josh Gordon in a year), so I was able wait and grab John Brown for three-years and $28 million. It’s a high price, but with his age and my lack of big long term commitments, it was a risk I felt I could take.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Cam Newton, Forsett, Ivory, Vincent Jackson, Brown, Graham, Texans DST, Dan Bailey, Vereen, Watkins

Team: Loss aversion (Rory Ryan, Baylor University Law Professor) @RoryRyan

Picks:

1.03 Nelson Agholor, WR Philadelphia Eagles (3 years, $17.6M)

2.03 Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 years, $4.2M)

3.03 Matt Jones, RB Washington Redskins (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: I play in a lot of dynasty leagues. And the most important thing for me was realizing this isn’t a dynasty league. These guys get guaranteed money (though modest), and the rookie contract only provides a three-year discount from market for a producing player. Combine that with the unfortunately shallow rosters (considering the deep starting lineups) and the unfortunate state of the team I inherited, it didn’t seem wise to use my first two picks on project players. Instead, I targeted players likely to produce and contribute at a level above their salaries. Nelson Agholor would have been my top pick in this format regardless, as I think he has a high ceiling and fairly low three-year floor in that offense and competing with that depth chart. The same is true of Jameis Winston, as I’m going to carry a backup QB behind Drew Brees in his final contract year. Winston is priced perfectly for that role, and I like his upside as a great backup or potential platooner thereafter. I took my flier in the third round with the near-minimum salary.

Auction Strategy: There was only so much I could do in the auction. When I acquired the team, my best RBs were Gio Bernard and Tre Mason. In a ten-team league.  And Julian Edelman was my WR1. The free-agent pool contained no true stars.  So while, generally, longer-term contracts may be best utilized to discount the per-year impact of the highest salaries, I took  a different approach and looked for long-term contracts that might end up being market-value homeruns and set me up for next year and beyond, where I’ll have cap room and access to stars. The rest of the draft was simply looking for values and arbitrage while compiling a respectable starting lineup. I was able to keep $37 million in cap room, sign solid multi-year contracts, and get on the brink of a respectable starting lineup.  I was thrilled with the Golden Tate price 3yr-14million. I wanted Markus Wheaton for 4 years at near-minimum because I think he is wildly undervalued and a much better football player than Martavis Bryant. My only regret was losing connectivity during the Doug Martin bidding because he was my other 3-year target. Had to settle for Torrey Smith at 3yr-6.5 million.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Brees, Frank Gore, Jonathan StewartT.Y. Hilton, Tate, Martellus Bennett, Jets DSTMatt Prater, Edelman, Agholor

Team: University of Phoenix Online (Brandon Gdula, numberFire) @gdula13

Picks:

1.04 Melvin Gordon, RB San Diego Chargers (3 years, $16.9M)

2.04 Devin Funchess, WR Carolina Panthers (3 years, $4.2M)

3.04 Chris Conley, WR Kansas City Chiefs (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Let’s just say I wasn’t picking from 1.04 because I traded to get there. My team has a ton of holes, and I wanted the best players I could get. I assumed the first three to go would be Gurley, Cooper, and Melvin Gordon, so I was debating between Agholor and Abdullah. Getting Gordon here was easy, even though I’m not totally sold on him and think Danny Woodhead will be a nuisance for him this year.

In round two, it was between Funchess and Strong for me. I have Strong in another dynasty, and diversifying was my goal here. I like both, so I figured why not? In round three, I was absolutely torn between Chris Conley and Dorsett, but given that rookie deals are only three years, I thought that Conley might have the best chance to be a go-to guy in an offense in that span as opposed to Dorsett, who could be a weekly headache despite being in one of the best offenses in the NFL for years to come. Conley has the physical traits to be a huge threat, and I’m hearing good things about him in camp prior to his injury. I’m all in on Conley, which seems a bit of an unpopular position.

Auction Strategy: Going into the draft, I didn’t have too many bench spots open, so I just wanted to wait on things. I didn’t place an actual bid until after my first two nominations. I also wanted to make sure I got a quarterback on a minimum deal so that I could stream quarterbacks, defenses, and kickers without the penalty of cutting a guaranteed deal.

I was aiming hard for Jeremy Maclin, Danny Woodhead, and another running back or receiver I thought was a value. I felt like I was getting bid up on Maclin, so I dropped it on Sam Herbie even though I really expect big things from Maclin. I also got into a bidding war with Leo Howell over Woodhead and wasn’t going to stop until I got him. Charles Johnson at a modest deal is okay with me. I got Colin Kaepernick, whom I’ve been targeting, for the 1-year, $500k minimum, so that was also a win for my strategy.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Kaepernick, Alfred Morris, Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, Johnson, Travis Kelce, Rams DSTMatt Bryant, Woodhead, Ryan Mathews

Team: Discount Double Check (Daniel Lindsey, TBD) @BitterPackerFan

Picks:

1.05 Kevin White, WR Chicago Bears (3 years, $15.9M)

2.05 Jaelen Strong, WR Houston Texans (3 years, $4.1M)

2.08 Jay Ajayi, RB Miami Dolphins (3 years, $4.0M)

3.05 Maxx Williams, TE Baltimore Ravens (3 years, $2.7M)

3.08 Mike Davis, RB San Francisco 49ers (3 years, $2.7M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: My draft strategy ended up being like a series of unfortunate events. I had a plan, but the dominoes started to fall the day my star running back Arian Foster hurt his groin. Before Foster got hurt, my plan was to just go BPA in the rookie draft – I figured I would be able to take Agholor and that’s who my initial target was. Once Foster went down, I was hoping for Gordon at 5, but I wasn’t expecting it either – especially when Kevin White got sidelined. But I was hoping a team that is contending for this year would still take him as a flier. That ended up being me as I missed out on both Agholor and Gordon. However, I was still hoping to land either David Johnson or David Cobb. Johnson went a couple picks before me and I thought about Cobb at 2.05, but thought he would still be there at 2.08. Missed out on him too and settled for Jay Ajayi over Buck Allen, someone I thought would last until the third round. Alas, he didn’t either and now I hope to strike gold in the FA Auction draft.

Auction Strategy: One of the biggest regrets I have from the auction draft is not putting Knowshon Moreno on IR to open up one more roster spot. Given that I took over a team from last year and my five draft picks this season, I had a much bigger bench than most teams. After bidding on a bunch of running backs (I only got two of who I wanted) and nabbing Peyton Manning kind of by accident (I was seeing how much I could push his price) I realized I had a shorter bench to fill than just about everyone else.

My strategy was to land Mark Ingram and Forsett to make up for no RB to start the season and my flubs in the rookie draft. Ingram was my top get – didn’t matter how much I had to pay for him. Forsett was getting bid up and I wasn’t wanting to play ball (but I should have). My next targets were Rashad Jennings, Doug Martin and Latavius Murray. I was hoping to land two of them, but ended up with Murray (and Joseph Randle, again by accident).
I then found myself in an odd bidding war for Russell Wilson. With most people set with a quarterback and I only had Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel and then Manning with a 1 year contract, I threw out some contracts for Wilson because I still had a 4 year contract left. And then as the bidding started to ramp up, I realized I could use this to my advantage – having Manning and Wilson for one year may seem odd at first (and totally not me) but I can definitely pick my matchups with elite quarterbacks. Then I’d still have Wilson for three more years. I paid a hefty price in the end (and wasn’t pleased with the obvious price gouging, but now I can attempt to compete this year and really start building my wide receivers corps after Odell Beckham Jr. over the next couple years. I’d love to trade Manning, but don’t see that happening after looking at the waiver wire. But who knows – maybe it pays off.
Likely 10 man starting lineup: Manning or Wilson, Ingram, L. Murray, Emmanuel Sanders, Beckham Jr., M. Williams, Bills DSTStephen Gostkowski, Randle, Michael Floyd

Team: Funky Monks (Graham Barfield, Rotoworld, numberFire, & RotoAcademy) @GrahamBarfield

Picks:

1.06 Breshad Perriman, WR Baltimore Ravens (3 years, $14.1M)

2.06 Duke Johnson, RB Cleveland Browns (3 years, $4.1M)

3.06 Phillip Dorsett, WR Indianapolis Colts (3 years, $2.7M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: At 1.06, I got my first dynasty share of Breshad Perriman this offseason. I’ve been trying to buy him everywhere and have had to settle for other options in most drafts (like Agholor and Abdullah). I’m a sucker for his ceiling and available opportunity — plus it definitely doesn’t hurt he’s my WR5 on this squad. At 2.06 I landed Duke Johnson (another guy I have wanted to own in dynasty, but hadn’t landed yet). I loved him coming out of Miami — but just wasn’t thrilled with his landing spot in a muddy backfield. I still think he’s quite possibly the most versatile RB on the Browns with Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West not exactly light the world on fire in their rookie seasons. Finally, I was shocked Phillip Dorsett fell to me at 3.06. I legitimately did a little dance in my desk chair when he fell in my lap. He’s been going late-1st/early-2nd all summer, and since TY Hilton re-signed, his dynasty stock has taken a hit. I’ll take a slice of the Colts high-powered offense at a discount where ever I can.

Auction Strategy: My strategy in this auction was to secure one running back and attack a mid-priced option to fill in my No. 2 RB slot. Some of the backs I was expecting to go for cheaper prices went for more than I expected, so I pivoted to spending on veteran depth like Reggie Bush on a mininum deal and buying Tyler Eifert.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Andrew Luck, Lamar Miller, Bush, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Jason Witten, Dolphins DSTMason Crosby, Jordan MatthewsKeenan Allen

Team: Sam Hauss (Sam Hauss, numberFire) @Real_Hauss

Picks:

1.07 Ameer Abdullah, RB Detroit Lions (3 years, $12.4M)

2.07 David Cobb, RB Tennessee Titans (3 years, $4.0M)

3.07 Marcus Mariota, QB Tennessee Titans (3 years, $2.7M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Going into the rookie draft I felt much more comfortable at the wide receiver position than I did at running back with Jordy Nelson, Brandon Marshall and Kelvin Benjamin (of course the draft happened before he both Nelson and Benjamin tore their ACLs) locked in as starters even if I was unable to upgrade in the auction. I wanted to target a running back and, honestly, was very surprised to see Abdullah fall as far as he did. He is an explosive back who is a plus in the passing game, is expected to have a major role this season and could be the Lions primary back of the future. I was also thrilled to grab David Cobb since I don’t really trust Bishop Sankey to keep the job in Tennessee and Cobb is an incredibly talented runner who could steal this job sooner rather than later. Once I got my two running backs I was just looking for the most upside left on the board in the third which is why I took Marcus Mariota. If he pans out, I may not have to worry about the quarterback position for years to come, even though I don’t think he’ll be all that valuable this season.

Auction Strategy: With Benjamin and Nelson lost for the year before the season started, I knew I had to go into the draft with the goal of grabbing at least two viable starting wide receivers. However, I felt the remaining wide receiver pool had significantly less value than the pool of running backs who were available to draft. With that in mind, I figured I could snatch up as much running back depth as I could with an eye on making a few mid-season deals to round out my receiving corps. I was able to get two of my favorite running back targets in Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount. If all pans out the way I hope, Martin and/or Abdullah — who I took in the rookie draft — will hit big early and I’ll be able to trade one as Blount gets eased back into the Patriots’ offense following his suspension.

 With all that said, there were two mid-tier starting wide receivers that I wanted to target — Andre Johnson and Anquan Boldin — and I made sure that I paid what I had to in order to grab them both given my lack of depth at the position. I also added Steve Johnson and Brian Quick to add depth at the position. I didn’t plan on spending much if anything on the quarterback or tight end positions given the fact that I already had guys who I felt were viable starters at each position already on my roster, however, I am extremely high on Ryan Tannehill and was able to get him for excellent value to lock him up for several years to come.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Tannehill, Eddie Lacy, Johnson, Boldin, Julius Thomas, Cardinals DSTJustin Tucker, Abdullah, Brandon Marshall

Team: Leo Howell (Leo Howell, RotoGrinders) @LeoHowell8

Picks:

1.09 Tevin Coleman, RB Atlanta Falcons (3 years, $10.8M)

3.09 Sammie Coates, WR Pittsburgh Steelers (3 years, $2.6M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: After a successful draft last year that left me with Mike Evans, Teddy Bridgewater and Allen Robinson as a foundation for the future, I wanted to add a couple of complementary pieces this year. Picking near the end of the first round, I went with Tevin Coleman of the Falcons. I have two older running backs under long-term contracts (DeMarco Murray and Jamaal Charles), but wanted to take a shot on a younger player in a decent situation. Coleman doesn’t have a high bar to clear to become the main ballcarrier in the ATL. I didn’t have a second-round pick, but got a guy I may have taken in the second with my third round selection in Sammie Coates. He’s not as tall as I normally like for a young receiver to be, but he has special athletic ability and time to learn and grow with the Steelers, and I’m hopeful he can become a contributor sooner rather than later.

Auction Strategy: I entered the auction with a pretty stable foundation, with Charles, Murray, Evans, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins already on board. I didn’t need a ton of help at skill positions, and had the quarterbacks I wanted in Matthew Stafford and Bridgewater. But I didn’t have a great tight end, which led to my big acquisition of Greg Olsen. He’s not a long-term asset, but there are few tight ends who will see the volume and consistent production Olsen will this season. I also picked up Knile Davis to “handcuff” to Charles, but also because he’s a terrific athlete who will do well if he gets touches. It just so happens I have the guy he’d take touches from, so it works out to be a positive for me either way. (But please stay healthy, Jamaal.) I took a flier on Percy Harvin, hoping he’d carve out a role and make some big plays with the Bills, and I scooped up Jeff Janis, as I believe he’ll play a role in filling Jordy Nelson’s shoes in Green Bay.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Stafford, D. Murray, Charles, Evans, Brown, Olsen, Patriots DST, Blair Walsh, Hopkins, Allen Robinson

Team: gingersauce4u (Tyler Buecher, numberFire) @gingersauce4u

Picks:

1.10 DeVante Parker, WR Miami Dolphins (3 years, $9.76M)

2.10 Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB Baltimore Ravens (3 years, $10.3M)

3.10 Justin Hardy, WR Atlanta Falcons (3 years, $2.6M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Drafting from the 10-spot, I was pleasantly surprised to see DeVante Parker fall to the end of the first round. Seeing him go as high as #3 overall, the 6′ 3″ Louisville product brings size and some unbelievable college productivity to the table. Javorius Allen has been a post-draft favorite of mine as I loved the fit with him in Baltimore. A productive receiving back at USC, Allen should jive well with Marc Trestman’s offense while spelling the soon to be 30-year old Justin Forsett. If Forsett were to miss any time, I think Allen could jump in immediately and provide fantasy value. At 3.10 and the last pick of the draft, I decided to take the NCAA’s all-time receptions leader in Justin Hardy. The former walk-on only has to beat journeymen Leonard Hankerson and return specialist Devin Hester to see significant playing time as the slot receiver, and Hardy should be able to do that with ease. I’m not expecting immediate results with Hardy, but he’s a stash I’m happy to hold onto and monitor closely as the season progresses. Thankfully my roster doesn’t require any of these players to have significant contributions in their rookie years, but I’m happy with the building blocks I acquired in our league’s second rookie draft.

Auction Strategy: Heading into the auction with an already well-stacked roster at RB (Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy) and WR (Julio Jones, Randall Cobb, and Brandin Cooks), my intentions were to just find some good depth at running back and get a quality starting tight end. I was aggressive in our startup draft last year, and my cap space certainly reflected that as I had the second-lowest amount to start the draft. I was able to land C.J. Spiller (1-year, $8.5 mil) and a cheap Joique Bell (1-year, $1 mil), but the first two weeks may be rough for my team if some of these injured running backs are slow to return. I was continuously in bidding wars trying to land Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, and Tyler Eifert, but was out-muscled due to my cap space. I ended up getting Delanie Walker (1-year, $1.5 mil) and Dwayne Allen (1-year, $1 mil) as two later bargains, but I fell short of my goal trying to land one of my higher ranked tight ends.

The only other big play of the night I made was acquiring DeSean Jackson (2-years, $10 mil) as a fourth wide receiver. Already owning a stable core, DJax could be the one to help give my team some big weeks from the flex position. Heading into the season I’m a lot less confident (thanks Chip for exiling Shady to Buffalo) than last year where I was able to score the most points en route to a championship, but I believe this is still a playoff-worthy team.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Tony Romo, Bell, McCoy, Jones, Cobb, Walker, Colts DST, Connor Barth, Cooks, Jackson

Team: SamHerbie (Sammy Light, Reality Sports Online) @SamHerbie

Picks:

2.01 Dorial Green-Beckham., WR Tennessee Titans (3 years, $4.3M)

2.09 Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Carolina Panthers (3 years, $3.9M)

3.01 Tyler Lockett, WR Seattle Seahawks (3 years, $2.8M)

Rookie Draft Strategy: Having already traded this year’s first round pick for Carlos Hyde, I planned to go receiver at the top of the second round. Abdullah is the only RB I would have considered there had he been available. Comfortable with Dorial Green-Beckham, as he has a lot of upside and came at a cheap price tag as the first pick in round two. The Cameron Artis-Payne pick came down to the names above his on the Panthers RB depth chart. Even if Stewart does stay healthy (…unlikely), this squad is going to have a tough time winning ballgames this year. Its young talent should get some good burn and, more importantly, experience for ’16 and ’17. My last pick came at the top of the 3rd where I strongly considered taking Mariota. Head won over heart in this case, though – Tyler Lockett should get a lot of targets in Seattle’s slot, especially with Graham often demanding two defenders. Lockett is dynamic and has in him a lot of what Randall Cobb brings to the field.

Auction Strategy: My roster is rather top heavy with nearly $71MM tied up in three players (Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson). Luckily my RB core is intact with AP, Hyde and Jeremy Hill, which felt like enough cushion to avoid the gold rush on running backs that came during the first half of the auction. Once I landed Rashad Jennings at $4.5MM, which may go down as a huge bargain, my entire focus shifted to wide receiver. Coming into the auction I definitely had my eye on Maclin and had prepared to pay a premium. But I felt much more comfortable paying $15MM for one year of Maclin after investing just $7.5MM for two years of Jarvis Landry, who is about to break out. My lone regret comes in the form of Brandon LaFell ($1.5MM), as it would’ve been nice to have another minimum contract on the books… Damn New England roots. In all, I executed my auction gameplan far better in 2015 than I did in our league’s inaugural session.

Likely 10 man starting lineup: Rodgers, Peterson, Hill, Calvin Johnson, Maclin, Charles Clay, Broncos DST, Cody Parker, Hyde, Landry

numberFire/Reality Sports Online Auction Results and Breakdown: How Writers Approached the Auction

Updated: August 12th 2014

This past Sunday, the Reality Sports Online and numberFire writer’s league resumed after an exciting 3 round rookie draft with their league auction.  The results are posted just in time for you to analyze heading into your own free agency auctions, as well as some thoughts on the strategy that each writer used in what was several folks first time doing a multi-year player auction in a dynamic format like Reality Sports Online.  With that there comes a lot of excitement, a little regret, and a whole lot of strategy.  Check out what everyone had to say and feel free to reach out to the writers on Twitter with any questions or thoughts.

The Auction Board:

mock-you-auction


Team: Leo Howell (Leo Howell, numberFire) @LeoHowell8

2014 Salary:  $131,098,296

2014 Cap Room: $1,901,704

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Jamaal Charles (2 years, $65.0 million), DeMarco Murray (2 years, $34.0 million), Matthew Stafford (2 years, $10.0 million), Antonio Brown, (3 years, $50.0 million), Shane Vereen (3 years, $30.0 million), Kyle Rudolph (4 years, $8.0 million)

I entered the draft without a ton of plans in mind, just looking for good deals and to build up talent for the long-term. That’s why I attacked early with long-term deals, locking up Jamaal Charles, DeMarco Murray, Antonio Brown, Matthew Stafford and Kyle Rudolph on multi-year deals within the first few “rounds” of bidding. Past that, I wanted to get reliable one-year players who I felt were likely to meet their value. I overspent on Jay Cutler as a backup QB (1 year, $5.0 million), and didn’t leave myself with any non-guaranteed minimum contracts (of the $500k variety), but I’m happy with my depth all around and think my team is set up well for this year and the future. If I had it all to do over again, I would have spent a bit more heavily on my starters, particularly at receiver, but otherwise, I am happy with how my team looks.


Team: Great Odin’s Raven (Dan Pizzuta, numberFire) @DanPizzuta

2014 Salary:  $122,897,443

2014 Cap Room: $10,102,557

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Matt Forte (2 years, $50.5 million), Vincent Jackson (2 years, $21.0 million), Victor Cruz (2 years, $17.0 million), Cam Newton, (3 years, $15.5 million), Josh Gordon (3 years, $9.0 million), Rob Gronkowski (4 years, $56.0 million)

The only player I really wanted to target heading into the auction was Matt Forte. After getting Ka’Deem Carey in the third round of the rookie draft, I wanted to get the starter to the handcuff I already had, especially since I like the potential production in Chicago. Other than that, I wanted to put together a pretty balanced roster and I might have gotten it a little too balanced. I have a lot of good players, but I’m not sure if I have the upside of some of the other rosters. Coming out of the auction with a good team, but about $10.1 million left in cap space, I could have been a little more aggressive. I should have some decent trade assets, though, for improvements during the season.

I made two moves that got the attention of the other owners in the auction room, my three-year deal for Josh Gordon and four-year deal for Rob Gronkowski. There were serious one-year deals being offered for Gordon, which made no sense to me. The value for him is on the back end if he gets suspended for this entire season. I have the ability to control a potential superstar two years after this one at a replacement level price by eating about $2 million in cap space this season. For Gronkowski, I was one of the serious bidders for Jimmy Graham, but I was outbid. Gronkowski is the next best option at tight end, well above the rest at the position. Four years might be a little long, but he’s only going to cost $12 million this year, about $5 million less than Graham. That’s definitely a risk worth the reward.

Overall the auction experience was great. It was interesting to see how the market played out in this format — quarterbacks and running backs switched values from real life — and it’s definitely a more rewarding experience throughout than sitting through a snake draft.


Team: La Morsa Roja (Tyler Buecher, numberFire) @gingersauce4u

2014 Salary:  $128,449,424

2014 Cap Room: $4,550,576

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Randall Cobb (2 years, $35.5 million), Rueben Randle (2 years, $6.0 million), Tony Romo (2 years, $5.5 million), Lesean McCoy, (3 years, $89.0 million), Le’Veon Bell (3 years, $50.5 million), Julio Jones (4 years, $90.0 million)

To begin, I thought Reality Sports Online’s entire set up was excellent. The ability to bid on players with different lengths of contracts simultaneously was something really fun to try out and I think the experience was a success. Participating in a rookie draft beforehand then entering an auction for the remaining players was a new experience for me, but I liked the strategy aspect of it. Given the limit of having one 4-year deal and two 3-year deals, I had already made up my mind going into the draft which positions I was targeting for these deals.

I was aiming for a young wide receiver with the 4-year deal that had the potential of maintaining a top-five ranking each of those four years and thought Julio Jones was the perfect candidate. A few of the other top wide receiver options had already been drafted at about $20 million per season, so I wanted to start bidding with a 4-year $80 million deal. Unfortunately in my excitement at seeing him nominated, I typed $90 million while I watched a very long 15-second timer tick down. I undoubtedly overpaid for Julio, but that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy landing him. The two 3-year deals I was a little more open with, but was looking to target running backs or wide receivers who’d either hit their prime or were on the verge of doing so. LeSean McCoy will be the anchor for my run game the next few years picking him up for 3 years at $89 million. Le’Veon Bell is a back I’ve been targeting regularly in mocks and was happy to land him in this draft with a 3-year, $50.5 million deal.

There are many schemes and strategies for auction drafts, but I prefer spending big on a couple of elite players to lead my team, then adding moderate deals for depth, and finally filling out the rest of my roster cheaply. I bid a little aggressively with my elite players but I have high hopes for my team for this season and down the road.


Team:  The Johnny Cleveland Show (Ari Ross, numberFire) @aross50

2014 Salary:  $127,271,572

2014 Cap Room: $5,728,428

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Drew Brees (2 years, $35.5 million), Larry Fitzgerald (2 years, $13.0 million), Julian Edelman (2 years, $9.0 million), Giovani Bernard, (3 years, $48.0 million), Martellus Bennett (3 years, $10.5 million), Matt Prater (4 years, $2.5 million)

I had planned to target the top running backs and wide receivers and wait on a QB, however once I got Drew Brees for a reasonable price, I decided to play it more conservative and target players who gave me more value than the top tier running backs. I got Larry Fitzgerald, Giovani Bernard and Julian Edelman for great value. I loaded up on WR and RB depth and was even able to steal Philip Rivers(1 year, $3.0 million) for nothing near the end of the draft. The contract lengths were an interested twist for me, I was left with my 4-year contract near the end and ended up just using it on a kicker, whereas I probably should have used it on a top QB, RB or WR. I had done auction drafts before but with the contract lengths it made it quite interesting.


Team: University of Phoenix Online (Brandon Gdula, numberFire) @gdula13

2014 Salary:  $118,640,552

2014 Cap Room: $14,359,448

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Arian Foster (2 years, $31.0 million), Zac Stacy (2 years, $29.0 million), Dennis Pitta (2 years, $5.0 million), Alfred Morris, (3 years, $44.0 million), Pierre Garcon (3 years, $26.0 million), Nick Foles (4 years, $20.0 million)

I’ve been playing fantasy football for nearly 10 years, and I’ve settled into a bit of a comfort zone drafting in typical snake draft formats. The RSO format, though, took me out of my comfort zone in a good way. I had to think both long-term and short-term on the guys in which I wanted to invest actual percentages of my salary cap.

I knew I wanted a 4-year deal on a quarterback with upside. When Nick Foles went up for auction, I immediately jumped the bid for a 4-year, $20M contract. I didn’t really have a gauge on the QB market, but I didn’t overspend much.

For the core of my team, I knew I wanted to go heavy on running backs because of the two flex options (RB/WR/TE). If I could start four top-tier backs, I feel like I’d have a huge advantage. I may have been overzealous in giving Arian Foster a two-year deal, but I didn’t know how else players would approach the position. I think I valued backs more than just about anyone. Zac Stacy for 2 years, $29M makes me happy as does Alfred Morris for 3 years, $44M. It seems a bit backwards to lay down multi-year deals for running backs, but I’d love to have some elite backs for a reduced cost going forward.

Allowing me to do that means that I’d have to pick up some one-year deals for receivers, which I tried to do later in the draft. I got Eric Decker and Michael Crabtree for a combined $23.5M, which isn’t cheap but won’t kill me as I saved just about everywhere and had money to spend late in the draft. I still wanted to lock up a decent receiver for a few years, so I went for Pierre Garcon (3 years, $26M). Per year, I’m comfortable with that salary, and I intend only to play two receivers per week during most weeks. This approach allowed me to take short-term risks on Justin Hunter, Marvin Jones, and Jarrett Boykin, who probably won’t see my starting line-up unless things get dire.

Only two teams have more cap space than I do this year and only two have less guaranteed money in 2015. This allows me to take on salary this year if other teams need to move some cash, and if things blow up this year, I should be able to rebuild in 2015. I think this is where my NBA familiarity can help me out, too, as having cap space lets me be a catalyst in transactions.


Team:  Cleveland’s Award Tour (Matt Goodwin, Reality Sports Online & numberFire) @mattgoody2

2014 Salary:  $117,626,864

2014 Cap Room: $15,373,136

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Andre Ellington (2 years, $31.0 million), Michael Floyd (2 years, $22.5 million), Tom Brady (2 years, $6.0 million), Demaryius Thomas, (3 years, $67.0 million), Cordarrelle Patterson (3 years, $14.0 million), Jimmy Graham (4 years, $78.0 million)

I wasn’t necessarily targeting a quarterback early, but got swept up in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.  I’ve never owned him in all my years of playing fantasy, so I figured why not?  Grabbed him for 1 year, $22.0 million.  A little later I got caught “price enforcing” on Tom Brady, so I have him for an extra year at 2 years, $6.0 million.  I can probably trade him for value during the season if there is an injury or a team doesn’t like their QB situation and Brady’s contract is cheap if I hold him.

Going into the auction as one of the only ones to do a Reality Sports Online league before (last year), I typically like to offer my multi-year deals and big budgets to breakout wide receivers, always wanting to grab a Top 5 wide receiver.  Demaryius Thomas was my #1 target and I grabbed him in a competitive bidding process for 3 years, $67.0 million.  I’m expecting him to be the best wide receiver for 2014 and think Denver will lock him up long-term sometime this season.  Cordarrelle Patterson was not someone I was necessarily targeting, but the value for someone who has had 10 plays installed just for him this offseason was to good to pass up and I knew some of my numberFire colleagues were down on him.  3 years, $14.0 million even if it takes him another year to develop is a deal that is well under market and I think Patterson will be very useful as a flex this year.  I also grabbed Michael Floyd who I think has potential to be a Top 10 wide receiver this year and got Desean Jackson who fills the Z role that gets tons of usage in Jay Gruden’s system for 1 year, $7.0 million.

Another centerpiece I was looking at and was very competitive in trying to get was Jimmy Graham.  He’s the perfect 4 year player, with a huge relative advantage at his position in a ten team league.  I got him in a bidding war with Dan Pizzuta for 4 years, $78.0 million and love that the Saints locked him up long-term this offseason so I don’t have to worry about him being in a different system.

I typically don’t like to throw big contracts or moreso more than 2 years at running backs because their are so many committees of late and running backs age quickly or get hurt. I gauged the market early and saw big money being thrown at running backs, so I figured I could get value late.  It was important for me to get one high upside starter and I went with the electric Andre Ellington for 2 years, $31.0m.  With two top rookie running backs backing up 30+ year old running backs in Devonta Freeman and Carlos Hyde, I’m expecting one of them to contribute this year and if not certainly to be starters in 2015.  I  do have tons of 1 year running backs very cheap, including DeAngelo Williams, Lance Dunbar, and Darren McFadden.  I also took fliers on James White and Charles Sims.  Additionally, I have lots of cap space relative to the league, so I can certainly absorb salary in a trade if I want to improve my running back situation.


Team: SamHerbie (Sam Light, Reality Sports Online) @SamHerbie

2014 Salary:  $124,033,009

2014 Cap Room: $8,966,991

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Adrian Peterson (2 years, $57.0 million), Aaron Rodgers (2 years, $41.0 million), Matt Ryan (2 years, $11.0 million), Calvin Johnson, (3 years, $62.0 million), Robert Woods (3 years, $11.5 million), Jordan Cameron (4 years, $21.0 million)

Being a Reality Sports Online veteran, I attacked early to grab the players I wanted, basically in the NFC North edition. Adrian Peterson was the first player thrown out in the auction and I went a few rounds of bidding and snagged him to be my bell-cow. I quickly then grabbed my franchise quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and the top wideout in the game in Calvin Johnson.  After that I let the market form for some of my other players, including C.J. Spiller (1 year, $14.0 million) and a potential cheap sleeper in Hakeem Nicks (1 year, $1.5 million).

I have money to spend on in season free agents or to make trades and feel good where my team is heading into my Week 1 battle with Matt Goodwin and his Cleveland’s Award Tour squad!


Team: King Back (Kenny Cook, numberFire) @K_Cook6

2014 Salary:  $$126,803,988

2014 Cap Room: $6,196,012

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Doug Martin (2 years, $37.0 million), Percy Harvin (2 years, $14.0 million), Terrance Williams (2 years, $5.0 million), A.J. Green, (3 years, $75.5 million), Eddie Lacy (3 years, $68.0 million), Andrew Luck (4 years, $33.0 million)

Coming into this draft, I was unsure how I’d like the format. After having drafted however, I thoroughly enjoyed it! My strategy was similar to any other auction format going in, which was a decent enough strategy. I wanted to find values where possible, but most important to me in this format was getting players who’d perform. One flaw I see in auction draft strategy from other owners is their reluctance to ‘spend their budget too early.’ The longer you wait in actions will create overspending, oddly enough. My logic is that you’ll say, “damn, I need to get a running back!”  This results in spending the same money for a second-tier RB as you would for a mid first-tier guy when all is said and done. Overall, I liked my team (who doesn’t, right?) But, I do wish I would’ve passed on Andrew Luck’s $7 million annual salary! But then again, my theory is to ‘get them while I can,’ and this pick falls within that. So, I didn’t do anything I didn’t intend on doing anyway.


Team: B-Ron’s Ballas (Brian Luzier, numberFire) @TheFFBoss

2014 Salary:  $126,959,137

2014 Cap Room: $6,040,863

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Brandon Marshall (2 years, $30.0 million), Julius Thomas (2 years, $15.0 million), Pierre Thomas (2 years, $6.5 million), Dez Bryant, (3 years, $61.0 million), Jordy Nelson (3 years, $55.0 million), Keenan Allen (4 years, $35.0 million)

Similar to dynasty, I wanted to build my team around quality WRs. I wanted to invest long term in receivers I loved for decent salaries. I think I succeeded in this regard as Keenan Allen is arguably my WR5 and he costs me peanuts. I would have liked to be stronger at QB as I don’t have much faith in Colin Kaepernick (1 year, $3.0 million), but in a 10 team league I don’t have any problems with where I stand at the position. At TE I am deep, but not exactly where I’d like to be. I don’t expect much from Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro this yr, so an injury or a rough bye week could be killer. Luckily you can stream TEs! Additionally I still have 6 mil to drop on FAs or absorb bloated contracts from other owners. I’m very happy with my team.


Team: Loco Roco (Ryan O’Connor, numberFire) @IrishChaos

2014 Salary:  $90,749,452

2014 Cap Room: $42,250,548

Multi-Year Auction Contracts:  Marshawn Lynch (2 years, $30.0 million), Knowshon Moreno (2 years, $6.5 million), Alshon Jeffery (3 years, $62.0 million), Robert Griffin III, (3 years, $14.5 million)

Unfortunately was unable to attend the auction and Stephen Wendell from Reality Sports Online (yes the person looking at the computer screen on the main page-similar to George Steinbrenner in Seinfeld) filled in while aboard a plane with spotty internet connection.  Get the calzones as Costanza is in the building!  Ryan has been active in tweaking the results of the auction to his liking.  In a 10 team league and with $42.3m cap space, Ryan should have the flexibility to tap into talent without a problem and can be more aggressive than fellow owners.