Fantasy Hockey 201: Auction Leagues

This will be a work in progress over the next couple weeks but we will date our research as we find it.  The goal is to take a look at several auction leagues and get the masses ready for a new realm of fantasy hockey that is starting to gain some “mainstream” legs.

For the first time ever, Yahoo is jumping into the Fantasy Hockey Auction Leagues this season.  As a matter of fact, yours truly will be in several auction leagues and at least two from the Yahoo brand.

We promised we would wind up doing some serious research going into this so Yahoo kindly enough has a mock auction draft application for people to try out until they partake in their actual draft.  Yours truly will be participating in several of these mock auction drafts to get everyone ready for some scenarios that often play out in auction drafts.

The goal is to help the readers get in tune with things that may go unexpected for you in these auctions.  The odd thing to some about the Yahoo Auction Drafts is the following.  Most drafts allow a $200 budget.  Some say the best bet is to go all out on one player and choose very carefully on that player.  Some say to just go balanced all the way.

In an auction draft, a person nominates a player and then the bidding begins.  You can up the bid to as high as the max bid offered.

It is time to go over some techniques first and then I will try and apply them to some of these drafts and then the results can be picked apart.  That sounds like fun.

An added note….most yahoo Auction Drafts account for 16 players.  Check your leagues first before drafting.

There are thirty seconds to nominate a player and thirty seconds to bid.  Have an itchy trigger finger and you could win or lose out.  Projected and actual values are taken into account.  By the way, the max bid I have seen on here is $125 for Alexander Ovechkin which is insane.  Yet commonly over $100 for one player or half of one’s budget has happened about a quarter of the time.

Rules for a max bid involve how many players you have left as a minimum bid is obviously $1.  Depending on how many players you have left to draft will determine your max bid on a player.   Some GM’s will just sit and wait for their favorite players and some will panic at the first chance to jump on someone.    For those who choose, there is even an autobid option.  Please use this sparingly as it is a very dangerous thing to check on.

Other issues you may want to keep an eye on.  If you keep rebidding, the clock will keep going.  At ten seconds, every rebid sets the clock back to ten again.  Most players also go within their respected “limits” as well.  Usually bidding wars are reserved for the highest tiered draftees but I saw one battle for a prospect late in my first mock auction draft.  Players that you never dreamed would trigger a bidding war did in deeper auction leagues.  So far one small mock is in the books and there will be more results to come with analysis and some trending.

What we have done for you is listed some average trends based on a $200 auction league with 16 positional slots to be filled.  The fun in this is also the potential agony.  By the way the average bid on Ovechkin was $84.  Sidney Crosby went a full $20 lower (not very surprisingly).  It may be to some but Ovechkin’s game is just more suited to most standard fantasy leagues and that shots on goal category is too easy to pass up.  The average fantasy hockey GM will gravitate toward that faster than metal to a magnet.

Most of the high end fantasy forwards went pretty much to their assigned value.  Players like Zach Parise, Martin St. Louis, and even Jarome Iginla went right at about their average projected value.  Yahoo and ESPN, for example, took their average based on demand in previous years plus how they were drafted in the last three seasons.  This is all pretty standard contrary to what some may think.

Then the defensemen started coming off the board.  They also go pretty much according to average but there are certainly a few more overbids because defensive scoring is more at a premium than forward scoring.  It always is and always will be.

After Mike Green, Drew Doughty, Nicklas Lidstrom and at least the widely held top 10 or 15, the auction process becomes more of a crapshoot.  This is where it becomes fun.  At this point, most GM’s have picked about half their team.

When you see the Andy Greene’s of the fantasy universe go for two or three times their value, you know the pickings are getting very slim.  I watched it happen in several leagues, those second tiered defensemen run out quick and the player better be quicker.  Granted six dollars does not sound like much of a difference over two but when funds are limited, watch the low cost players fly.

Goaltending is always a buyer/beware proposition.  Risk does not always mean reward and vice versa.

A GM can take a risk on a goalie he thinks is going to play a ton and get burned just a like a GM can take a risk on an elite goalie and then that goalie ends up injured.  This is never an exact science, especially with goalies.

Were you the guy that drafted Martin Brodeur two years ago and overbid because you almost knew he would stay healthy and easily get you 40 wins, a nice low GAA and solid shutouts?  Well hey I did it too and that torn elbow tendon was no fun as I scrambled for a replacement in a league where just about every starter was taken.

This is why such a premium is placed on goaltending and sometimes unjustly so.  It is that one position that takes up to 40-60% of your fantasy categories but usually on the lower end.  Yet this does not mean a person should overpay at the expense of other positions.  However, if you see the price to play is extremely high, sometimes you have to get the feet wet to get the job done.

For our case study in auction drafts, aside from some mock trends we noticed as a group of us fantasy pundits participated in a total of 16 mocks.  What is submitted below is several teams from last night’s fantasyhockey.com auction draft or maybe even all of them just for a more “polished” analysis.  Here is that table we were craving from the four plus hour draft.  Yes I did say four.

NieuwendykForever
Budget $200
1. (4) Alexander Semin (Was – RW) $37
2. (11) Pavel Datsyuk (Det – C) $47
3. (25) Christian Ehrhoff (Van – D) $12
4. (43) Daniel Alfredsson (Ott – RW) $19
5. (60) Alexandre Burrows (Van – LW) $15
6. (77) Marc Savard (Bos – C) $2
7. (86) Steve Mason (Cls – G) $7
8. (94) Tomas Plekanec (Mon – C) $15
9. (97) Peter Mueller (Col – C,LW) $8
10. (103) Brian Campbell (Chi – D) $4
11. (109) Erik Johnson (StL – D) $9
12. (115) Dustin Penner (Edm – LW) $7
13. (117) Ryan Smyth (LA – LW) $8
14. (140) Jonas Hiller (Anh – G) $6
15. (194) Devin Setoguchi (SJ – RW) $1
16. (205) Ed Jovanovski (Pho – D) $1
17. (216) Nikolai Khabibulin (Edm – G) $1
18. (225) John-Michael Liles (Col – D) $1
Unused $0
Calgary Bounce Crew
Budget $200
1. (12) Martin Brodeur (NJ – G) $36
2. (23) Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ – LW,RW) $51
3. (48) Johan Franzen (Det – RW) $19
4. (59) Bobby Ryan (Anh – C,LW) $25
5. (84) Corey Perry (Anh – RW) $30
6. (93) Taylor Hall (Edm – LW) $12
7. (156) Stephane Robidas (Dal – D) $3
8. (158) Tim Connolly (Buf – C) $3
9. (161) Mark Giordano (Cgy – D) $3
10. (169) Jay Bouwmeester (Cgy – D) $3
11. (183) Dan Ellis (TB – G) $1
12. (185) Mike Ribeiro (Dal – C) $2
13. (189) Michael Leighton (Phi – G) $2
14. (195) Pavel Kubina (TB – D) $1
15. (202) Jordan Eberle (Edm – C) $2
16. (206) Tyler Seguin (Bos – C) $1
17. (217) Chris Kunitz (Pit – LW) $1
18. (226) Mike Smith (TB – G) $1
Unused $4
Rahway Indians!
Budget $200
1. (31) Eric Staal (Car – C) $28
2. (42) Jason Spezza (Ott – C) $19
3. (54) Claude Giroux (Phi – RW) $12
4. (56) Ryan Getzlaf (Anh – C) $26
5. (57) Teemu Selanne (Anh – RW) $12
6. (73) Miikka Kiprusoff (Cgy – G) $20
7. (79) Dan Boyle (SJ – D) $16
8. (87) Jonathan Bernier (LA – G) $12
9. (101) Mark Streit (NYI – D) $1
10. (106) Alexander Frolov (NYR – LW) $9
11. (114) Erik Karlsson (Ott – D) $8
12. (159) Nik Antropov (Atl – C) $3
13. (168) Michael Del Zotto (NYR – D) $2
14. (171) Chris Mason (Atl – G) $1
15. (174) Stephen Weiss (Fla – C) $3
16. (178) Andy Greene (NJ – D) $4
17. (196) Andrei Kostitsyn (Mon – LW) $1
18. (207) Sergei Bobrovsky (Phi – G) $1
Unused $22
I’M BRIAN BELLOWS!
Budget $200
1. (3) Alex Ovechkin (Was – LW) $84
2. (15) Ryan Miller (Buf – G) $45
3. (22) Joe Thornton (SJ – C) $31
4. (76) J.P. Dumont (Nsh – RW) $3
5. (81) Keith Yandle (Pho – D) $8
6. (108) Simon Gagne (TB – LW) $7
7. (125) Danny Briere (Phi – RW) $6
8. (165) James Wisniewski (NYI – D) $2
9. (166) Marek Zidlicky (Min – D) $2
10. (170) Ryan Whitney (Edm – D) $2
11. (182) Michal Neuvirth (Was – G) $2
12. (197) Nikolai Zherdev (Phi – RW) $1
13. (208) Sam Gagner (Edm – C) $1
14. (218) Shane Doan (Pho – RW) $1
15. (220) Olli Jokinen (Cgy – C) $2
16. (227) Kyle Quincey (Col – D) $1
17. (233) Alex Tanguay (Cgy – LW) $1
18. (239) Eric Fehr (Was – RW) $1
Unused $0
What a Duchenebag
Budget $200
1. (13) Daniel Sedin (Van – LW) $48
2. (19) Mike Green (Was – D) $40
3. (62) Brooks Laich (Was – LW) $16
4. (68) Chris Pronger (Phi – D) $9
5. (83) Patrice Bergeron (Bos – C) $6
6. (100) Carey Price (Mon – G) $9
7. (107) Tomas Holmstrom (Det – RW) $9
8. (120) Niklas Backstrom (Min – G) $7
9. (127) Antti Niemi (SJ – G) $8
10. (139) Bryan McCabe (Fla – D) $4
11. (142) Dustin Brown (LA – RW) $6
12. (145) P.K. Subban (Mon – D) $7
13. (147) Lubomir Visnovsky (Anh – D) $5
14. (150) Rene Bourque (Cgy – RW) $5
15. (154) David Booth (Fla – LW) $3
16. (162) Dustin Byfuglien (Atl – RW,D) $4
17. (173) Matthew Lombardi (Nsh – C) $3
18. (186) Scott Gomez (Mon – C) $3
Unused $8
BIG JON STUDD
Budget $200
1. (2) Sidney Crosby (Pit – C) $60
2. (17) Roberto Luongo (Van – G) $37
3. (37) Jonathan Toews (Chi – C) $39
4. (38) Duncan Keith (Chi – D) $27
5. (64) John Tavares (NYI – C) $11
6. (69) Jason Pominville (Buf – RW) $10
7. (74) Milan Hejduk (Col – RW) $4
8. (110) Alex Pietrangelo (StL – D) $2
9. (187) Jochen Hecht (Buf – LW) $1
10. (198) Milan Lucic (Bos – LW) $1
11. (209) Dennis Wideman (Fla – D) $1
12. (219) Kris Letang (Pit – D) $1
13. (228) Jason Demers (SJ – D) $1
14. (234) Ty Conklin (StL – G) $1
15. (240) Alexei Ponikarovsky (LA – LW) $1
16. (244) Jason Arnott (NJ – C) $1
17. (248) Alex Steen (StL – C) $1
18. (251) Cam Barker (Min – D) $1
Unused $0
Vancouver Giants
Budget $200
1. (8) Patrick Marleau (SJ – C,LW) $45
2. (9) Nicklas Lidstrom (Det – D) $22
3. (21) Henrik Zetterberg (Det – C) $35
4. (34) Patric Hornqvist (Nsh – RW) $14
5. (41) Mike Richards (Phi – C) $24
6. (70) Craig Anderson (Col – G) $14
7. (78) Zdeno Chara (Bos – D) $16
8. (112) Semyon Varlamov (Was – G) $12
9. (119) Jonas Gustavsson (Tor – G) $1
10. (133) Mikael Samuelsson (Van – RW) $4
11. (146) Mason Raymond (Van – LW) $4
12. (160) Andy McDonald (StL – LW) $3
13. (199) Matt Carle (Phi – D) $1
14. (210) Paul Martin (Pit – D) $1
15. (229) Martin Havlat (Min – RW) $1
16. (235) Ryane Clowe (SJ – LW) $1
17. (241) Brandon Sutter (Car – C) $1
18. (245) Rick DiPietro (NYI – G) $1
Unused $0
No Shift Sherlock
Budget $200
1. (24) Drew Doughty (LA – D) $32
2. (47) Patrick Sharp (Chi – C,LW) $19
3. (52) Jarome Iginla (Cgy – RW) $26
4. (55) Vincent Lecavalier (TB – C) $16
5. (58) Matt Duchene (Col – C) $16
6. (66) Ryan Kesler (Van – C) $17
7. (89) Thomas Vanek (Buf – LW) $10
8. (90) Jaroslav Halak (StL – G) $18
9. (105) Marty Turco (Chi – G) $12
10. (111) Wojtek Wolski (Pho – LW) $8
11. (113) Steve Downie (TB – RW) $12
12. (148) Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Tor – G) $1
13. (157) Niklas Kronwall (Det – D) $2
14. (175) Kevin Bieksa (Van – D) $2
15. (176) Joni Pitkanen (Car – D) $3
16. (177) Tyler Ennis (Buf – C,LW) $2
17. (180) Alexander Edler (Van – D) $2
18. (184) Jussi Jokinen (Car – LW) $2
Unused $0
Body Czech Republic
Budget $200
1. (14) Steven Stamkos (TB – C) $55
2. (44) Paul Stastny (Col – C) $20
3. (46) Jiri Hudler (Det – RW) $20
4. (50) Pekka Rinne (Nsh – G) $18
5. (51) Tyler Myers (Buf – D) $23
6. (72) Marc-Andre Fleury (Pit – G) $15
7. (91) Phil Kessel (Tor – RW) $15
8. (116) Mike Knuble (Was – RW) $6
9. (123) Jack Johnson (LA – D) $5
10. (129) Jamie Benn (Dal – LW) $5
11. (132) Antero Niittymaki (SJ – G) $3
12. (135) Tomas Fleischmann (Was – LW) $6
13. (151) Zach Bogosian (Atl – D) $4
14. (200) Brad Boyes (StL – RW) $1
15. (211) Corey Crawford (Chi – G) $1
16. (221) Kris Versteeg (Tor – LW) $1
17. (230) Jordan Staal (Pit – C) $1
18. (236) Jeff Schultz (Was – D) $1
Unused $0
Grees Lightning
Budget $200
1. (1) Henrik Sedin (Van – C) $44
2. (10) Patrick Kane (Chi – RW) $41
3. (36) Tuukka Rask (Bos – G) $16
4. (49) Brad Richards (Dal – C) $23
5. (63) Tomas Vokoun (Fla – G) $12
6. (85) Sergei Gonchar (Ott – D) $12
7. (88) Chris Stewart (Col – RW) $12
8. (95) Nikita Filatov (Cls – LW) $7
9. (98) Dion Phaneuf (Tor – D) $10
10. (122) Scott Hartnell (Phi – LW) $7
11. (128) Pascal Leclaire (Ott – G) $2
12. (138) Tim Thomas (Bos – G) $2
13. (152) Victor Hedman (TB – D) $3
14. (164) Wayne Simmonds (LA – RW) $3
15. (188) David Backes (StL – RW) $3
16. (190) Brent Seabrook (Chi – D) $1
17. (201) Jakub Voracek (Cls – RW) $1
18. (212) Ray Whitney (Pho – LW) $1
Unused $0
Portland Phink
Budget $200
1. (16) Evgeni Malkin (Pit – C) $41
2. (18) Dany Heatley (SJ – LW,RW) $37
3. (28) Henrik Lundqvist (NYR – G) $28
4. (35) Ilya Bryzgalov (Pho – G) $13
5. (53) Brian Gionta (Mon – RW) $12
6. (61) Derek Roy (Buf – C) $15
7. (71) Brian Rafalski (Det – D) $11
8. (80) Shea Weber (Nsh – D) $12
9. (99) Nathan Horton (Bos – RW) $9
10. (118) Marco Sturm (Bos – LW) $3
11. (126) Jonathan Quick (LA – G) $7
12. (137) Jamie McBain (Car – D) $4
13. (149) Ryan Suter (Nsh – D) $2
14. (172) Niclas Bergfors (Atl – RW) $2
15. (179) Steve Ott (Dal – C) $1
16. (191) David Clarkson (NJ – RW) $1
17. (213) Kristian Huselius (Cls – LW) $1
18. (222) Brent Burns (Min – D) $1
Unused $0
Rick Nash Bridges
Budget $200
1. (6) Patrik Elias (NJ – C,LW) $22
2. (7) Nicklas Backstrom (Was – C) $61
3. (26) Rick Nash (Cls – LW,RW) $25
4. (39) Joe Pavelski (SJ – C,RW) $21
5. (40) Michael Cammalleri (Mon – LW) $24
6. (45) Jimmy Howard (Det – G) $28
7. (75) Jamie Langenbrunner (NJ – RW) $8
8. (82) Toni Lydman (Anh – D) $1
9. (192) Cristobal Huet (Chi – G) $1
10. (203) Kurtis Foster (Edm – D) $1
11. (214) Ian White (Cgy – D) $1
12. (223) Radim Vrbata (Pho – RW) $1
13. (231) R.J. Umberger (Cls – C) $1
14. (237) Johan Hedberg (NJ – G) $1
15. (242) Brooks Orpik (Pit – D) $1
16. (246) Saku Koivu (Anh – C) $1
17. (249) Dennis Seidenberg (Bos – D) $1
18. (252) Andrew Brunette (Min – LW) $1
Unused $0
Dirty Concussion ©
Budget $200
1. (30) Marian Gaborik (NYR – RW) $37
2. (33) Marian Hossa (Chi – RW) $28
3. (65) Loui Eriksson (Dal – RW) $16
4. (92) Mikko Koivu (Min – C) $12
5. (96) Tobias Enstrom (Atl – D) $7
6. (102) Antoine Vermette (Cls – C) $3
7. (104) Cam Ward (Car – G) $10
8. (121) Brenden Morrow (Dal – LW) $4
9. (124) John Carlson (Was – D) $7
10. (130) James Neal (Dal – LW) $8
11. (131) Kari Lehtonen (Dal – G) $9
12. (134) Andrei Markov (Mon – D) $7
13. (136) Tomas Kaberle (Tor – D) $7
14. (141) Ales Hemsky (Edm – RW) $9
15. (143) Alex Goligoski (Pit – D) $4
16. (153) T.J. Oshie (StL – C) $5
17. (155) Brian Elliott (Ott – G) $2
18. (167) Magnus Paajarvi (Edm – LW) $3
Unused $22
SchrempAndCammalleri
Budget $200
1. (5) Zach Parise (NJ – LW) $54
2. (20) Anze Kopitar (LA – C) $37
3. (27) Martin St. Louis (TB – RW) $33
4. (29) Jeff Carter (Phi – C) $29
5. (32) Travis Zajac (NJ – C) $25
6. (67) David Krejci (Bos – C) $8
7. (144) Kyle Okposo (NYI – RW) $2
8. (163) Ville Leino (Phi – LW) $2
9. (181) Sheldon Souray (Edm – D) $1
10. (193) Kimmo Timonen (Phi – D) $1
11. (204) Mathieu Carle (Mon – D) $1
12. (215) Anton Stralman (Cls – D) $1
13. (224) Jason Bacashihua (Col – G) $1
14. (232) Daren Machesney (Cls – G) $1
15. (238) Guillaume Latendresse (Min – LW) $1
16. (243) Valtteri Filppula (Det – C) $1
17. (247) Mike Fisher (Ott – C) $1
18. (250) Braydon Coburn (Phi – D) $1
Unused $0

Now the fun part….analysis and verdict.

The Analysis

So here are 14 teams vying to be the best amongst a sea of experts.  We preface the following analysis by saying the following:

It is excessively tough to project how a team is going to do before the season starts.   Look at the New York Islanders who already have three players on the IR and maybe more as an example.  We will take another look at this league in six weeks time to see what has shaken out so far.  Keep in mind that the waiver wire is free and this is a head to head format.

Taking an early look, we came to the conclusion that at least so far, the best “valued” team is Dirty Concussion.   When you can spend $21 on three pretty good goalies and one of them is Cam Ward, then you have done a pretty good job going within one’s means.  There were even $22 left to spare which is rare for a league like this.  Hey sometimes you just get the players you need and for decent prices.  Marian Gaborik and Marian Hossa for $65 combined is a runaway steal.

Then there were the Rahway Indians.  The same $178 was spent out of $200 but not at quite the same quality for the money doled out.  However, there were enough gems and some diamonds in the rough to rank this team near the top.  Sure, taking Jonathan Bernier at $12 is a gamble along with Mark Streit at a $1, but what if Streit comes back early and what if Bernier plays a little sooner than expected?  Sometimes you have to gamble for an injury to happen as well as an early return.  Surely the logic sounds cold in theory but fantasy hockey is a different realm entirely.  Once that is realized, then all is understood.  The steals of the draft may be Sergei Bobrovsky and Bernier (even at No. 12) but time will tell.

Take note of what the Vancouver Giants did as well.  Snagging Paul Martin late for $1 could be a genius move that rivals the Giants’ as well as Craig Anderson at $14.  The goaltending dilemma will be explained at the very end.  Marty Havlat and Ryan Clowe at $1 each is just insane though I will nitpick a bit about the Rick DiPietro pick.  Does anyone really think he could stay healthy but imagine if he proves everybody wrong?  Oh my!

After that, there are some teams with definite potential and some teams who shot their load way too early.  A couple teams had as many as eight or nine one $1 players.  One team did not have any at all but had a series of players at less than five dollars which was also a different strategy.   It seems each team had a different way of going into the draft and surely no one expected a four plus hour draft at all.

No analysis would be complete if not for “the goaltending dilemma”.  This literally stunned many GM’s throughout the draft but once the first shot was fired, it was hard to go back.  Bidding wars were the most fierce for netminders.

When Calgary Bounce Crew spent $36 on Brodeur, a hush fell over the draft.  What came next was feared and expected at the same time.  Henrik Lundqvist went for an astonishing $28 (that was well over the $11 projection).  Most goalies were going for about twice their normal rate which had GM’s scrambling to find low cost alternatives.  Bidding wars were plenty and came fast and furious.  Ryan Miller went for what seemed an insane $45 and then Roberto Luongo went for $37.

Again keep in mind, this is a $200 league where you have to draft 18 players.  No one expects one goalie to take up a quarter of your budget or even close.  Goalies are thought to take up a tenth or possibly an eighth of your total allowance.  That is how one knows what kind of draft you are in.  This was truly an experts’ league kind of draft.  Just the length and the bids alone made it obvious but even the goalie bidding wars created a unique environment not lost on anyone.

As for a verdict, no one is truly ahead until the stats come pouring in.  There are teams that could stick out and reign supreme but there are too many variables like we said to truly gauge a winner.  The best team award goes to Dan Offerdahl’s Dirty Concussion team but again anything can happen.

In about six weeks, we will put out an update along with unique looks at some of the many other leagues that I am in.  Until next time, this is yours truly signing off for Inside Hockey.  Now let the debating truly begin and enjoy the carnage…

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One Response to “Fantasy Hockey 201: Auction Leagues”

  1. Kenneth Hamburger
    October 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    I have done four auction drafts this year, all on ESPN, and it is my first year doing fantasy hockey as well. One thing that was briefly touched on was auto draft. One of the reasons that you should stay away from auto draft is that I have seen the auto draft not draft anyone until the sixth or seventh round so you get a bunch of mid-tier to low-tier players. Once the draft is over it is very hard to find replacements for the computer’s poor choices.
    Now if you are in a draft and someone is on auto-draft use it to your advantage. You can throw out a player that you don’t want and the computer will automatically place a bid on it and you can eat up the auto-draft player’s cash. This strategy can be very effective especially when there are several players on auto-draft. Another thing about the computer is that it will typically only go 2 dollars over the pre-draft rank unless the owner has set a higher draft dollar rank before the draft. Hope this helps.