Cheap Fliers in Auction Format Leagues (Fantasy Football)

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People have different methods for preparing for auction format drafts, but I like to start from the bottom up. Who are the guys I can get very late in drafts for a $2 bid or less? If there are a lot of guys I like (this year qualifies), I know I can build good depth while focusing my budget on premium players. With fewer players available late, some of the budget might have to shift to one or two more expensive depth pieces-WRs and RBs that will have a role, but probably don’t have top-12 potential within their position group.

Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers

Carolina’s defense was terrible in 2019 and doesn’t look much improved for 2020. Meanwhile, Matt Rhule became the new Head Coach and poached the architect of LSU’s historic 2019 offense with Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady. D.J. Moore is one of the best young WRs in the league, Curtis Samuel is due for a much improved season, and Carolina added deep threat Robby Anderson in free agency. TE Ian Thomas has shown sparks in spot starts and now has the job to himself with the departure of Greg Olsen. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Carolina features the best dual-threat RBs in the league with Christian McCaffrey. A $1 or $2 bid gets you a quality QB throwing to these weapons about 600 times.

Honorable Mentions-Joe Burrow, Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Gardner Minshew
Running Backs

Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals

Kenyan Drake is the clear starter in this offense, but Drake has only touched the ball 20 or more times in six of his 62 regular season games. With David Johnson infamously shipped off to Houston, there could easily be a flex-worthy role for Edmonds even with a healthy Drake. If anything limits Drake, Edmonds would be well-positioned to get enough opportunity win you weeks. If Drake misses time…Edmonds will feast.

Tony Pollard – Dallas Cowboys

It’s pretty tough not to get excited about the Dallas offense heading into the season. I normally like to target RBs that I can use in my flex to cover during bye weeks, but Pollard is an exception. There’s a chance Pollard sees enough snaps to become flex-worthy entering his sophomore season, but this is more of a low probability pick that comes with massive upside. If anything were to happen to Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard would become one of the most valuable assets in fantasy and the type of player that becomes a league winner.

James White/Sony Michel/Damien Harris – New England Patriots

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The last time New England RBs failed to produce at least 400 combined(.5 PPR) fantasy points was 2014 when they scored 388.9 points. If anything happens to this backfield that concentrates those fantasy points into the hands of one or two RBs at any point during the season, you could be looking at RB1 production. The headache is and has always been which one. My answer is simply the one you can roster with a $2 bid.

Honorable Mentions-Jerick McKinnon, Devine Ozigbo, Duke Johnson
Wide Receivers

Anthony Miller – Chicago Bears

Anthony Miller has been nagged by injuries since his 2018 rookie season, but he’s shown promise including a 5-game stretch from Weeks 10-15 where he was The WR9. With a couple seasons in the offense and the release of Taylor Gabriel, Miller has the opportunity to build on his 2019 success and he’s virtually free.

DeSean Jackson – Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson has struggled to stay on the field over multiple seasons, but he appears to be the last man standing of the likely starters at WR for Philadelphia-ohh the irony. At 33-years-old, Jackson’s best days are likely behind him but he’s still one of the most dangerous deep threats in the NFL. If Carson Wentz feeds Jackson targets, we could get more games like the 8/154/2 receiving line he dropped on Washington Week 1.

Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs

Don’t throw things at me over a $2 bid! I have no idea why Sammy Watkins disappeared after Week 1 of the regular season last year, but he racked up a 14/288/1 receiving line through the playoffs. For a $2 bid, you’re either getting someone you can drop without hesitating or someone who can get you WR2 or WR3 production. Watkins is a very cheap way to get access to Patrick Mahomes and one of, if not the best offense in the NFL.

Honorable Mentions-Jamison Crowder, Laviska Shenault, Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Allen Lazard, Emmanuel Sanders
Tight Ends

Chris Herndon – New York Jets

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The Hype train has gotten a-rollin’ for Herndon, but he’s still falling in some auction drafts. 2019 was a disaster for Herndon with a suspension and multiple injuries that kept him off the field, but his 39/502/4 receiving line his rookie year and the WR attrition the Jets are suffering is more than enough to justify a $2 bid. It’s quite possible Herndon and Jamison Crowder become Sam Darnold‘s go-to’s once the season kicks off.

Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts

Doyle isn’t getting a lot of attention, but his floor is incredibly solid with Philip Rivers under center and Frank Reich coaching. TEs have scored 10 or more TDs as a position group in four out of six years with Reich coaching including 18 TDs scored by the Indianapolis TEs in 2018.

Honorable Mentions-Jonnu Smith, Blake Jarwin, Ian Thomas, Irv Smith Jr., Jared Cook

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