Fantasy Football: A Guide to Leveraging Snake-Draft Data for Your Auction (Salary Cap) Draft

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There is a very distinct difference between the volume of accurate data for snake drafts and auction/salary cap drafts. On many draft platforms, auction draft-related content is buried in multiple nested menus and often very generic. The lack of “real” Average Auction Value (AAV) data may be the most frustrating thing for many fantasy managers as they plan their budgets. 

Because snake drafts typically run a lot faster, more mock drafters remain in the draft room until much further into the draft. Snake drafters benefit from these mock drafts that produce more realistic Average Draft Position (ADP) data. Meanwhile, auctions are naturally slower, and many drafters will “check out” after the top few players have been nominated. That leaves us with AAVs from mock drafts that tend to be heavily skewed by the auto-draft function kicking in for the majority of drafters after the first couple of rounds of player nominations.

With this in mind, there is no reason that the ADP data from your favorite draft platforms’ cannot be used to create your own AAV data and provide reasonable AAV for your league. 

The Biggest Problem with Rankings and AAVs

Let’s first address the biggest problem with AAVs listed next to the player rankings; they are not actually AAVs. In reality, they should be listed as Ranked Value. Almost every site will take their core rankings list and then drop a descending list of AAVs next to the players, creating a list of salaries directly correlated to the rankings. Here’s the difference between snake draft rankings and auction/salary cap draft rankings; many sites will list the players’ actual ADP in the rankings chart, and it’s common to see players’ ADP data that does not line up with rankings. That shows which players the site rankers are placing higher or lower in their rankings compared to the consensus drafter. This is beneficial for managers to see and use when planning their draft strategy. 

Unfortunately, auction drafters are stuck with this descending list of salaries that has little connection to real draft data, and that is a major problem when it comes to creating a budget for your auction/salary cap draft. 

If it’s not AAV, what is it?

Most sites continue to get better with their overall salary attributions, leading to reasonable overall salaries listed on most rankings. Unfortunately, they are just wrongly attributed as AAV, instead of what they indeed are – a Ranked Value.

In the sample below, I’m using nameless rankings. While these have been pulled from a real site ranking list, in this exercise, the player’s name and/or position is irrelevant.  We just want the site’s Rankings, Rank Value (RV), and real ADP data. 

If you look closely, the 3rd ranked player has 6 other players with a higher ADP. This means that, while the site is ranking them 3rd, the ADP indicates that player is most often the 7th player drafted at that position. Meanwhile, the 6th ranked player’s ADP shows them being drafted as the 3rd overall player at that position. The descending list of salaries is what most sites would list as AAV, but in reality, it is simply the site’s Rank Value. 

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RANK RV ADP
1 $34 2.06
2 $28 3.09
3 $26 6.11
4 $23 5.10
5 $21 5.01
6 $21 3.06
7 $20 8.04
8 $18 7.07
9 $16 5.06
10 $14 7.09
11 $12 10.02
12 $12 11.06
13 $11 9.02
14 $9 8.12
15 $4 10.04

Applying ADP to Find AAV

In the table below, I’ve now added an AAV column to represent the correlation between ADP and AAV. To find this, I’ve taken the ADP list and sorted it from earliest to latest. Then applied the site’s Rank Values to the ADP list in descending order. (IE – the earliest ADP gets the highest salary, then the so on and so on down the list.)

ADP AAV
2.06 $34
3.06 $28
3.09 $26
5.01 $23
5.06 $21
5.10 $21
6.11 $20
7.07 $18
7.09 $16
8.04 $14
8.12 $12
9.02 $12
10.02 $11
10.04 $9
11.06 $4

The Final Result

Bringing this full circle, we now have a list that shows the player’s ranking, their site’s rank value, actual ADP, and a corresponding AAV. Using this sample, we can see that Player 3 has a site Rank Value of $26, while his ADP shows that his AAV should be just $20. Similarly, Player 6 has a site Rank Value of $21, while you can expect his AAV to fall in at $28. 

RANK RV ADP AAV
1 $34 2.06 $34
2 $28 3.09 $26
3 $26 6.11 $20
4 $23 5.10 $21
5 $21 5.01 $23
6 $21 3.06 $28
7 $20 8.04 $14
8 $18 7.07 $18
9 $16 5.06 $21
10 $14 7.09 $16
11 $12 10.02 $11
12 $12 11.06 $4
13 $11 9.02 $12
14 $9 8.12 $12
15 $4 10.04 $9

In an absence of real AAV data, producing this kind of data on your own will give you a leg up on your competition. More accurately budgeting your draft strategy will allow you to be far more aggressive during your auction draft and build a robust, winning roster!

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