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Dynasty Auction and Contract League 101

Auction leagues are different monsters when it comes to dynasty leagues. You sit there and see these top players’ prices going up and you sit there and watch and try not to overspend on that player you desperately want. If people were to check an owner’s stress level and blood pressure during an auction, it would be through the roof. The hardest thing is not going over budget with a couple players and not having enough to build that overall top team to bring you to a championship for years and years. There is just so much to take in all at once and you don’t know what to do! Well, here are some ideas for you to help you be more prepared and ready for all the twist and turns that come with an auction. Also, for the hardcore dynasty players that are in a contract year league, don’t skip the end because there will be some bonus tips to help have those top players for the prime of their career. So get your pens or pencils ready to take some notes because class is in session.

  • Make a list ranking players you want with top prices you’d pay. One of the most common things people do going into an auction is not doing their homework. People go into it and “wing it,” which, I promise you, will lead to overspending. What you will need to do is go through a dynasty ranking on DynastyNerds.com, take players you want to target in the auction and do your own rankings for each position. Then, look to see how much budget the league allows your whole team and write down the highest price you’re willing to spend on that player. This will help avoid that dreaded overspending. Now when you write that price down, stay true to that price and if a team outbids you, then you back off knowing that team is now in the red with that player and you can use that money towards other players on your list.

 P.S., if you don’t get a player and someone overspends on someone on your list, this allows you to put that players money and add more to other players on your list to make sure you can get them. For example, someone outbids you for Todd Gurley and your top price on him was $45. You can take that money from Gurley and spread it out on your list. Say you have $25 for David Johnson. Now you can take $10 of that $45 and put it towards David Johnson so your top spending price is now $35 to make sure since you didn’t get Gurley, you get Johnson.

  • DO NOT, I mean DO NOT overspend!! The hardest thing to avoid in an auction is getting antsy and overspending on players that are on the board, especially in the beginning. There is a reason why they are out there so early, as I will explain in the next segment. Say you have your list and OBJ is your top WR on your big board at $50. You have your blind bid at $50 and within the hour you see it is at $55. You sit there panicking because you feel that anxiety that you won’t have OBJ on your team and someone else will be reaping the rewards with him. That anxiety builds up and up and you decide to spend $65 to make sure you get him for sure. This happens in every dynasty and it makes teams spend a good chunk of their cap on one player. It is hard to get around that huge cap hit from one player and then looking and seeing you need to fill 20-plus more roster spots with a lot less cap than everyone else. This leads to taking a hit everywhere else on your team and the other teams can build stronger overall teams. So just remember, DON’T OVERSPEND.
  • Send out top players you don’t want right away, so other teams have less cap to spend on players you want. This is a strategy that I recommend to everyone. It may be tough to have a empty team right away and seeing everyone getting these top players, but remember you don’t want them and it will be nice to get your players on a discount. For example, say you don’t have DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Johnson, and Gurley on your list, well these players will go for a higher price than most players because they are out early and people will jump on early players more and they are top end players and mostly everyone will bid them up, except you!

P.S., don’t second guess your list and don’t bid on early players that you sent out on purpose…unless…..

  • Up the bids on players you feel will go high. This is a risky strategy to try, but if it works, you can make a team overspend on a player. Let me explain this more in detail. Say someone has Julio Jones on a bid for $38. Try to keep upping the bid by a $1 at a time. If you think someone will bid more than $50 on Julio keep upping that bid by a $1 at a time until your gut starts turning and you feel you’re getting close to someone’s max bid. So say you feel $50 is someone’s max bid, stop around $48. But DO NOT go full $48 right away, go up by the $1 increments. It’s a risky strategy and could blow up in your face, so if you’re uncomfortable with trying this strategy you can stay away from it. But if you feel like living dangerously, then it could pay off big time.
  • Get a feel for your auction counterparts. This strategy may seem redundant, but once you’re in the auction you will know what I mean. You will be able to tell the teams in the auction that are more straight forward and go for players they want and will do anything to get their players. You can attack this by upping their bids on players and making sure they pay full price or overpay. Then you will be able to tell the teams that will try to push your bid up or send those players out early to wait. With these teams you just stick with your gut and if you see someone pushing a bid up, do the same thing, but try to stop before he does so he is stuck with that chunk of salary he didn’t even want.
  • Go young. When you set your list up, have the top of your positional rankings, go with younger up and coming players over players already in their prime and might fall of the “cliff”. For example go for David Johnson and T.J. Yeldon instead of Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch. Depending on the league, teams might overvalue those older players and be stuck in the long term trying to rebuild sooner than they would have wanted. Then wishing they would have gone with your strategy as you are winning championships for years.

Auctions are like a battlefield. You keep in the bunker you won’t do anything and just be stuck. You get out too early and you will get burned. But if you go from bunker to bunker and stay in the shadows a bit and blindside them, that is how you survive an auction. You sit back let everyone fight over those early prizes and then you go in the second round of players picking up the young up and coming guys for cheap. Then instead of having a one-two-year window for a championship team right away, you have a “red-shirt” year and have a championship window for four-seven years.

Bonus Contract League Advice

Once the auction is all over and you take that deep breath of relief, for some leagues that stress is over. But for the select few leagues, it has only just begun. Now you have your team, you have to worry about contracts for those players and how long you will have them on your team. I will help with some personal strategies I use for each position to decide how long I want them on my team and hope the contract ends before the player falls off the “cliff.” (Each example is with the understanding once the original contract ends, they can be resigned for two more years with a contract raise before they go into the free agent pool.)

  • My strategy with QB is easy. If you have a top 10 QB you’d want to lock them up until they are around 32-33 years old. So for example you have Marcus Mariota and you use this strategy, you will need to do some math. Mariota is 21 years old so if you sign him to nine years, plus the two-year extension, he will be 32 years old when his contract is all done.
  • Running Backs. Running backs are a little tougher to decide with contracts. With top end talents like Gurley you might go a little different way than if it was Carlos Hyde. So I will give you two examples for different tiers of RBs. With Todd Gurley, you’d want to lock up till 30-32 years old. So he is 21 years old, you put eight years on him and the contract extension added on, he will be 31 years old and close to out of his prime. But for someone say Ameer Abdullah, you maybe only want till he is 28-29. So he is 22 years old, you put five years on him and with the contract extension you’d have him till he is 29. Just try to pin point the type of RB talent he is and where you think he will drop off and sign him for as long as you feel the prime will be.
  • Wide Receivers & Tight Ends. I think WRs and TEs are the easiest to sign. I have a simple strategy with them. Sign until they are 30-31. That’s all for all WRs and TEs (except players that are just bench depth, aka one-three-year players.) This is simple because the WR and TE wall has been easier to see the decline with than it has been with QBs and RBs. So for example say you have DeVante Parker who is 22 years old, you sign him for six years plus the two-year extension and you have him for a total of eight years, so Parker will be 30 when he goes back into FA Pool.

Contracts are an even bigger monster to tackle than peer auctions. So my main advice is when the auction is done, write down the total contracts allowed for the whole team, use my advice with all players then if you are over start taking away years from players you feel might fall off sooner than other players you have signed for longer. Doing this will make your team stronger for longer and be on top holding that league trophy with a tight grip.

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