Auction Assets: What I Bring to an ottoneu Auction

I have heard from a handful of ottoneu players who have already auctioned, but for most of you, auction season is just kicking off, myself included. We are just a few weeks from Opening Day and Tuesday evening I’ll be sitting down to my first auction of the year.

And when I sit down, I’ll be organized. I’ll have two computers open (probably overkill, but it makes things easier). I’ll have almost everything closed down – no extra browser windows, no chat windows, maybe Twitter (but only so I can post updates and keep you all in the know). What I will have with me is five excel spreadsheets, four browser windows, and some snacks.

The snacks are neither exciting nor helpful, but the eight windows open on my two computers will give you a good sense of how I handle an auction.

Auction Draft Page
This stays open the whole time and is rarely, if ever, covered by another window. More than likely, one computer will be dedicated to keeping the auction window visible. The biggest mistakes I have made in past auctions have come from missing a name (particularly late in auctions, when a guy can scoot through in 15 seconds).

FanGraphs
Sometimes you want to take a look at a guy’s track record or projections. Sometimes you need a reminder of a prospect’s level. Sometimes you just want to assure yourself you are not making a mistake by bowing out of the bidding. And when you need that quick stat-check, FanGraphs is the place to do it.

Google Search
For when you need to check in on an injured player or have depth chart concerns.

ottoneu League Page
This is keep open in part because, as the league commissioner, I want to be able to make changes – undo player adds when something goes wrong, for example – without having to leave the draft page. You can also use this to check other team’s rosters, which can be useful in understanding who your competition will be for certain positions.

Hitter Rankings and Pitcher Rankings
I keep my hitter and pitcher rankings separate, so this accounts for two spreadsheets. I basically just have lists of players, sorted by auction value, with tiers marked off and interesting free agents highlighted. For a great series on how to set your rankings, check out the three-parter from Jeff Zimmerman from this past week.

Prospect List
I covered my approach to prospects last week, and when I show up to the auction, I always have my compiled prospect list, with the guys I am most interested in highlghted. When any prospect is brought up, I can check where he is on my list, any notes I have on him, and make a decision on a bid.

Roster and Targets
I am sharing these last two spreadsheets, because the second one is probably the single most important thing I have at the auction. The first tab at that link is my current roster for the original ottoneu league, position by position, including dollars allocated where I intend to spend them. The second sheet lists the 12 spots I have to fill with dollars allocated to each. Each row has space for targets – the 4-5 guys I want to bid on for each slot – and a place to add the name of the player I acquire and the price I pay for that player.

The highlighted cell tells me how much of my cap space I have used, and there is one row for every open spot on my roster, so I can quickly see how many more spots I need to fill. The “allocated” cell keeps track of how much money I am putting towards each position, allowing me to update my plans mid-stream. Say I get the top SP I want for $40? Or say I can’t get any of the top-tier SP (there will only be 2-3 available in this league) and I need to adjust? I can quickly shift my allocations and move forward.

The last note, is the “other” rows on the two tabs. I always have a couple players who do not fit into any specific role on my team. Matt Dominguez is a good example. I have him because I am high on his potential. I think there is a chance he can break out this year and, if he does, I’ll have some options to move another 3B. But he isn’t my starter or my backup, nor is he a prospect. So he sits there. On the second tab, the “others” allow me to grab interesting players at a low price even if they do not fit my needs. Having $13 allocated to my last three spots means that if a 3B I love goes for $7 instead of the $15 I think he is worth, I can grab him. Or if a second OF makes sense, I can snag him, without throwing all my plans off.





A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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Jeff Zimmermanmember
8 years ago

Crap, I was hoping you would show up with a handle of Jack tomorrow night and bid like it was 2009.