Thursday, March 05, 2009

Stage One Auctions and Waiting for Bargains

NSH wants to know if he can apply the lessons of my Sportsline auction to his own keeper-league auction:
is there a point in a keeper draft with...15% inflation, that inflation deflates to a point that it becomes optimal to begin buying?...I have long thought that inflation does not ever go away in a keeper league draft, just that at some point if owners have paid inflated prices, all will then get "bargains" in what becomes an extended end game. But maybe somewhere around round 6, after waiting to buy, could then grab lots of value (even paying inflated prices, but not buying so much loss) in effect reducing the free value that might have been available at an extended end game?
Unfortunately, I think NSH's point about everyone getting "bargains" at the end of a keeper league auction is typically what winds up happening. Let's go back and look at the chart that I put together for the first few rounds of the A.L. Sportsline auction:

Round by Round Salary vs. Value:
CBS Sportsline A.L. 2008

After a mere six rounds - or 72 players - Sportsline was already $185 in the red on these players, according to my bid limits. The drop in "minuses" in Round 6 means that the time to pounce was coming soon.

The same thing happens in keeper league auctions too (most of the time). But since there are fewer players to buy, the "minus" typically doesn't go as high as negative $185. I've seen that number go as high as $105-110 in my non-expert A.L., but never higher.

The bigger problem in my A.L. is that prices tend to fall within $1-2 of my inflation bid limit one way or the other. This is a typical Stage Three auction, so you're not going to be able to simply land a couple of high priced players who are relatively not as overpriced as the high priced players other owners are getting and hope to clean up in the endgame.

Whether you're in a start over league or a keeper league, the best time to buy is when you see those minuses stop accumulating and the minuses begin to fall. In a keeper league, you are going to have to pay par - or very close to it - on at least one or two players in order to fill out your team. But the bargains will eventually come.

In a non-keeper league, the best thing to do is maintain enough discipline to fill out a balanced team. With 276 players to buy, the bargains will eventually come and how much damage you do or don't do in an extended endgame isn't as important if you already made your moves earlier on underpriced players at the right time. The bargains will come. Whether they're in Round 1, Round 6, or Round 11 of your auction doesn't matter - they will be there for you at some point.

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