DJ Short and Scott Pianowski discuss their top tips and tricks for fantasy baseball salary cap drafts including overpaying for players you want and positions you need, avoiding $1 players and much more!
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Just because this was an auction draft– or, as we call them sometimes in Yahoo Sports, a salary cap draft– let’s just throw out a couple of auction tips– I’ll go first– just something that people can think about if they’re playing in this format.
DJ SHORT: Yeah.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I always try to remind people that if you’re gonna– quote, unquote– overspend for something, overspend for a player you really believe in, or even overspend for something you may need over the course of your auction. That’s so much better than, oh, I have all this extra money, and now there’s a $13 outfielder and I have to spend $21 on him. If you go a few bucks over, and a player that you’re in love with that you really wanted to have anyway, that’s not a big deal. If you end up saving your money and end up blowing it on just the last good thing left, knowing that you’re not getting a player that you really wanted but it’s just because I have to spend this money on something else, it’s gonna drive you crazy.
And try to make sure you’re getting your players when your opponents have alternatives. Again, if you’re fighting over the last good catcher, the last good closer, the last good second baseman with somebody else, and the rest of the room is just laughing as you guys are going way over what the expected price is, just try to get your players secured when your opponents still have some alternatives.
I also try to avoid $1 players. I like to have a little bit of a slush fund for the end game. And, remember, late in the auction, a lot of times, when somebody says 1 on an introduction of a player, the first team to say 2 may get him, because only a few teams can go to 2, and you want to be ready. Have your finger on the 2 if you’re doing it online, or be ready to bark out 2 in person if you hear a name you like.
Just a couple of my auction tips. Anything that comes to mind as you’re thinking about auction drafts? Obviously, the strategy is different than regular drafts. What’s a swing thought you can give some of our listeners?
DJ SHORT: So something I was thinking about, let’s say you do fill your catcher spot or you get your top closer on your wish list, when you get your nomination choices after that, throw out catchers, throw out relievers. Make those folks spend on those players that you don’t need. And then people start to get a little tense once they start buying those big-ticket items, so it just makes the money start to drain from each team’s budget, and that ultimately helps you. So even if you don’t want to spend big right there, you could still get an advantage over your opponents.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, I’ve often found that too– and I’ve played this format for a really long time– the more experienced your league is, the more likely the early prices will be favorable. The less experienced your auction– and I’m talking about auction format. Maybe you’ve been drafting forever and you switch to auction this year. A first-year auction, the early spending is like college kids with their first credit card. It’s just crazy.
But then, a lot of times, I see, in these industry things, nobody wants to spend early. They don’t want to be out of flexibility early. And you look back and like, wow, how did the first couple of players end up going a lot cheaper than some of their similar guys later in the auction?
So there’s no perfect rule. Every room is different. Every room is a snowflake. It’s a unique draft experience.
And I’ve also said that people who try the auction draft, the salary cap draft, I feel like 95% of them come back to me like, yeah, I really enjoyed that. I’ll do that again. Maybe it’s not for everybody, but you can do it, as DJ said, really fun in person. It’s certainly available at Yahoo Sports if you want to do it online. And, that way, no more of this, oh, hey, I’m all excited to draft. I want to get Julio Rodríguez this year. Oh, I pick 13th. I’m not getting Julio Rodríguez this year. In an auction format, you can get anybody you want. So just keep that in mind as well.
DJ SHORT: Yeah, and that’s the great thing about auction/salary cap leagues. So if you really wanted Julio Rodríguez, let’s say you love watching the Mariners, like if you want to overspend on him, great, do that. I mean, it’s supposed to be fun, so this gives you the opportunity to do that.