Fantasy Football: Auction Value Tiers in 2019
It’s hard finding good information about auctions. Auction mock drafts are good for understanding the platform you may be doing your auction on, but the values can be skewed heavily by one or two bots. Good solid auction results are hard to come by. Worse are some of the auction values posted by major sites.
They normally start off with values that are pretty close to reality, but the values slowly trickle down instead of recognizing the steep drop in prices that create value tiers. Two RBs can be ranked back-to-back or have ADPs right next to each other, but there might be a big drop in auction values between them. This effect happens all the way through the draft, which is why by the time you get down to the 15th ranked RB on some sites, the auction value that’s listed is way higher than anything you’ll ever see in an actual auction.
These values are average auction values(AAVs) from four real drafts with buy-ins and cash prizes. The settings were exactly the same for each draft. These are not my rankings or my tiers, they’re just how the chips fell. If you don’t see a player, it’s probably because they averaged less than $5.
These were 12-team drafts with a $200 budget. They were ‘draftmasters,’ which means no setting lineups, head-to-head matchups, trading, or waiver wires. The site creates optimal lineups for each team to fill the following roster: QB-2RB-3WR-TE-FLEX-PK-DEF with PPR scoring.
Each team drafts 24 players so if you’re drafting fewer players, you’ll need to anticipate higher auction values. Same goes if you’re drafting in a 10-team league. Even if the values don’t exactly line up, you’ll know how the value tiers stack up, which is really handy when you combine the value tiers with Michael Wenrich’s Roster Construction-Based Rankings method.
RB Value Tiers
These are basically your First Round RBs. There is a steep drop between the top-3 RBs and the rest as noted in the Auction Trends article. Todd Gurley‘s AAV is still pretty high, but it’s dropped in each successive draft ($61, $50, $43, and $40). I’m sure we’re going to see his AAV fall into the third or fourth RB value tier depending on news reports about his knee.
RB Value Tier 5 seems like the last chance to get an established RB. RBs after that seems to be pass-catching specialists or RBs with less defined workloads. It looks like Josh Jacobs might climb to the top of Tier 6 or into Tier 5.
That last column isn’t so much a tier, but they’re RBs that have averaged less than $5 but look like they’re trending up. Peyton Barber value is popping up since TB has yet to add an RB of significance through the draft or free agency. Darrell Henderson value is increasing almost as fast as Gurley’s value is dropping. Carlos Hyde has yet to go for more than $3, but there are fantasy schools of thought that believe he may be the RB to own in KC. It’s hard to argue the value proposition when he’s nearly free.
WR Value Tiers
I was very tempted to put DeAndre Hopkins in a tier of his own, but he’s actually been the most expensive WR by himself only once. If you get lucky in a draft, you might be able to afford a Heavy WR strategy with two WRs from the above tiers and still have enough for a low-end RB1.
Mike Evans has been remarkably steady around that $30 AAV staying between $29 and $31 in every draft. Tyreek Hill still has a high AAV, but his values are sinking quickly($41, $29, $29, and $7). He won’t stay up there long.
We might as well call Tier 5 the Rams Receiver Tier. They’re back-to-back-to-back in WR pricing, but at least one of them has dropped to $17 in three out of the four drafts. You can expect to see Sammy Watkins jump up into Tier 5. Yours truly thinks he has a good shot to finish as a WR1 this season.
This could almost be one big Value Tier, but there does seem to be a difference between these two tiers. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a sleeper or hype piece for every receiver in Tier 7 with the exception of maybe Golden Tate. I think you can get a nice return from picking off one or two of the Tier 7 WRs.
I’m surprised to see Sterling Shepard behind Golden Tate, but he’s trending towards Tier 8 territory.
TE Value Tiers
Travis Kelce is in a tier of his own. He’s basically costing the same as a WR in WR Tier 1, but he’s creeping deeper and deeper into the First Round of snake drafts so I wonder if his AAV won’t climb even more.
I’m somewhat surprised not to see Noah Fant, but he hasn’t gone for more than $4 yet.
QB Value Tiers
All of these QB prices seem lower than I would expect in basic redraft leagues. It might be because you can draft three cheap QBs in this particular format and figure one of them will hit instead of banking on a QB like Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen in your lineup each week.
Patrick Mahomes‘ price is right around where Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson were going last year. I thought he would be higher, but he’s been pretty affordable considering he’s coming off a historic season.
Tier 4 is definitely my favorite place to pick off a QB or two.
So many good cheap QBs!