Trolling Your Auction Draft And Other Related Scenarios

We’re entering the final stretch of draft season. For many of you, the so-called advice in this post may be too late. However, it’s my hope that everybody will enjoy discussing the options for good-natured trolling in auction drafts. The nomination process offers several ways to mess with your rivals.

One Catcher Leagues

In a typical 12-team, one catcher league, the 12th or 13th best catcher isn’t remarkably different from the sixth best. I usually opt for a $1 backstop unless my leaguemates are being timid about bidding up Buster Posey or Jonathan Lucroy. Nominating catchers with your first 10 or so picks can ensure your league spends a few extra dollars on the weakest fantasy position.

The best use of this strategy is to punish autodrafters. On Yahoo, the autodraft isn’t smart enough to only bid on one catcher. Over the years, I’ve loaded rosters with three or four catchers – usually all for $4 or more. Let’s say those are the seventh, eighth, and ninth best catchers. That forces a couple teams to reach slightly below replacement level. That’s obviously a sub-optimal play.

When you see this happening – whether it was you or somebody else who instigated it – I recommend skipping catcher entirely. Instead, find a $1 player that fits the autodrafted roster. For example, if they missed out on saves, snag Jeanmar Gomez or Fernando Rodney. Then you can recover a mid-tier catcher for $1. And if the owner rejects your offer in favor of the waiver wire, you can drop a couple FAAB. You might even find a decent 2-for-1 while waiting for the waiver claim to process.

Nominating “Sleepers”

Every season, there are woke “sleepers.” This year, some of those include Jose Peraza, Greg Bird, Tommy Joseph, Drew Smyly, Shelby Miller, and… well there’s a lot of them. Keon Broxton headlines the list. He’s been the single most cursed about player in my drafts.

Undoubtedly, you would love to have Broxton for a couple dollars. And there’s a chance you’ll get your wish. I managed to snag Broxton for $2 and Bird for $1 in a league with my former college teammates. While it’s not LABR, it’s much more competitive than the average fantasy league. Many of your leagues are probably pretty comparable. It’s possible you’ll get your sleepers.

You have a choice – do you try to manipulate your budget so you can win these players cheaply, or do you let your rivals go wild while they’re still sitting on their full hoard? Nothing is more enjoyable than watching Broxton go for $17 and Bird for over $20. While they could easily perform to those price tags – Wil Myers did it last season – the risk is massive. For $5, they are high risk, high reward picks. For over $15, they remain high risk while the reward falls to the low-medium range. Perfect.

The best time to use this nomination strategy is when you know your leaguemates have Gollum eyes (my preCIOUS!). Fortunately, that applies to nearly all leagues. Perhaps The League of Extraordinary Actuaries has the discipline to lay off the shiny stuff.

You’ll want to couple your nominations with Jeff Zimmerman’s approach to roster building – i.e. boring old veterans. When you push a player out of the bargain bin, somebody else has to fall in. Usually, it’s Matt Holliday or Logan Forsythe or Justin Turner. Enjoy!

Punishing Homers

No, not home runs. Many leagues are full of owners with overlapping team allegiances. Most have at least a couple owners who target their home team a little too often. Why not punish these homers by nominating their guys early. Be prepared to price enforce too. Most of the time, the worst case scenario is that you accidentally win a player then have to work out a still-favorable trade.

My home league was originally spawned from a Phillies forum on now mostly defunct My Twitter handle is a reference to my forum name. Most of the owners have been replaced by industry folks, but we do have a few holdovers. Players like Maikel Franco, Joseph, and Cesar Hernandez drew heavier bids than in other comparable leagues. It’s more advantageous to exploit this dynamic when the “home” team is a dynamic roster like the Chicago Cubs.

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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7 years ago

This is great and I did some of these in my 12-team, 2-catcher auction on Sunday. You can keep 5 and I kept Gattis and Grandal and only threw out catchers when it was my turn to nominate. That strategy doubled total spending on catcher vs. a year ago. Also, we have Cardinal fans in our league (we’re in Nashville so it makes sense). They’re the best for trying this strategy on. 🙂

7 years ago
Reply to  Roy

I’m in a position to do the same thing on Saturday. So, just confirming that by not letting your league-mates wait until the end of their hitting lineups to battle it out for catchers that the bidding on the Cs was much more since everyone generally had more money in play?

Did you almost get stuck with a 3rd catcher? I’ll have to nominate with at least a $1 bid. How far down the list did you get before worrying you would have a third catcher in a UT slot?

7 years ago
Reply to  sivjosh

Yes, that was exactly the plan — to increase early spending. I threw out catchers each round through Castillo (occasionally shifting to relief pticher0 but only would just start the bidding at $1. The absolute last thing I wanted to have was get stuck with a 3rd catcher (I had Gomes last year and it was horrific). What was interesting was that I just had to start bidding (and I even told everyone in the room what I was doing) and it just took off on its own. I didn’t even have to throw out the replacement-level catchers because the league members who missed out on the top catchers just continued the trend.