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Fantasy Auction Gets Serious

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The other night at the invitation of one of the owners, I had the pleasure of attending a fantasy auction at Chef Geoff's at Sutton Place, and let me tell you, this was a completely different animal from your standard draft league.

First some background on the league, courtesy of an e-mail from its commissioner, Rob Brotzman.

The Bedrock Fantasy League comprises 12 teams with 18 slots each and uses PPR scoring. Over its seven years, BFL always has used an auction for player aquisition. According to Brotzman, that format fits well with the personality of many of the league's owners since their professions include economic consulting, finance and accounting.

From the moment I walked into to their private room in the back of the restaurant, I could tell this wasn't your ordinary player accumulation process. The mood was almost austere, far from what you'd normally see at a sports bar, where many leagues conduct their drafts amid a fog of booze and other distractions.

"People were serious," Brotzman said, and not just because of the $3,000 prize pool. "This league is mostly about bragging rights."

For those not entirely familiar with how auction league owners accrue players, here's a synopsis.

Owners begin with a pre-determined salary cap, in this case $140. Then one owner opens the first round of bidding by naming a player and a bid, and each owner thereafter either raises the bid or opts out. The last bidder remaining for that player gets him. This process continues until your roster is filled or you run out of money.

The high bid overall this year was for Maurice Jones-Drew -- remember this is a PPR league -- at $48. Next was Matt Forte for $47, and Adrian Peterson, the consensus No. 1 in draft leagues, went for $45.

Bidding was down this year, according to Brotzman, "probably due to the drop in drinking." Last year, for instance, LaDainian Tomlinson went for $60. I would to have loved to seen that bar tab.

In many respects, auction is the most equitable method for fantasy player acquisition. In drafts, your chances of winning a league can depend largely on where you pick, and in starter leagues, that's determined by random draw.

There's nothing random about auctions. If you want Jones-Drew or Forte or Peterson, you have the same acquisition odds as every other owner in your league.

The priority in auction leagues is to make sure you don't spend too much too early. Otherwise you'll end up with an abundance of $1 players. One owner had to fill 12 slots with George Washington's. Not good.

Brotzman said this auction experience was a useful primer for a $5,000 buy-in auction in which he and partner Mark Handwerger, who so kindly asked me to attend the BFL festivities, will be participating on Friday morning in Las Vegas as part of the World Championship of Fantasy Football.

Handwerger, a local entrepreneur who's one of the masterminds behind area pool establishments Buffalo Billiards, Atomic Billiards and Bedrock Billiards among others, and Brotzman will be reporting the results of their Las Vegas draft to me right after it ends, so check back to see how they did.

By Gene Wang  |  September 9, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Gene,

Several weeks ago in your Friday morning chat I asked the question about auction leagues that started much discussion. I believe Auctions Drafts (including online auctions) will be used by more leagues in the future - as you said gives everyone an equal chance at acquiring top notch players.

As fantasy players, we'll need better analysis for Auction Leagues. Hope you will be there to help and discuss them more.

Posted by: Clarks Summit | September 10, 2009 12:39 PM

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