Thursday, October 29, 2009

Going Once!, Going Twice!...

For those of you that have not taken the plunge into the auction style of fantasy drafting, here's a taste of my recent experience.

On the eve of the NBA's opening night, I ponied up to my aging Sony Vaio desktop, and logged into the "Double Dribble" auction room, hosted by CBS Sportsline. Once upon a time, this type of event was held in a small living room, somewhere in the outer boroughs of New York City. In 2009, due in large part to my relocation to the Atlanta area, we've taken the auction online.....for better or worse.

I think we'd all agree that whether it's a draft or an auction, it's an exciting evening. We prepared for this moment for weeks, and in my case, watch the auction room count-down clock wind down to zero.

If it was only that simple. First of all, some guy that calls himself "Patches" is AWOL. No worries. We'll wait for him to login, while we amuse our selves on the chat board with mock auction!

It's 8:00PM an no "Patches". We'll give him until 8:30PM says "Monte", the auction facilitator. More chat board banter ensues.

The bottom of the hour arrives, with "Patches" nowhere to be found. This ten team league has just shrunk to nine.

After another HOUR of arguing over roster adjustments to accommodate the smaller league, coupled with the usual technical glitches courtesy of CBS Sportsline, we are finally ready to roll.

Since the majority of league owners are simultaneously tuned into the Yankees - Angels ALCS game, and a couple of beers into the evening, the two hour delay doesn't seem to affect morale.

If you are unfamiliar with fantasy auctions, here's the skinny.....$260 or "units" used to purchase a roster of sixteen players, consisting of twelve active players and four reserves. In our league we do not have any position minimums or maximums, rather any combination of players that will effectively contribute to the standard ten fantasy basketball scoring categories. (We use free throws made as opposed to the more common free throw percentage)

The beauty of the auction is the rapid -fire nature of the player selection process. Each team owner has a recurring turn of nominating a player of his choice, at a dollar amount of his choice. At the beginning of an auction an owner will typically nominate a player that he does not covet, in the hope that the other owners with hefty bankrolls will haphazardly bid on guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Our auction featured the aforementioned studs, along with such other standouts as Chris Paul and Dwight Howard going early and for big bucks.

There are varying strategies when it comes to how much to spend on each player. At an average of just over sixteen dollars per player, it is critical to spend wisely. If you are prepared enough, you may be able to do what my brother Darren did last year, and spend heavily on a few elite players early, while waiting to scrape up low-dollar, high-value guys that fall through the cracks.

Last season, Darren was able build a winner using blocks named LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul. Whether or not that strategy works this year for a guy named Brian, remains to be seen. The 2009 version of the top-heavy squad features Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James.

If you are going to consider this "Stud and Dud" route, understand that you will be spending a hug percentage of your auction dollars on small percentage of your roster.

In the case of Brian’s auction this year, a total of $183 was spent on just three players. Spending over 70% of your budget on just three players is a risky play. Fortunately for Brian, he has been a fantasy basketball owner for many years, and improved his overall chances of cashing in this year, by grabbing players such as Luol Deng, Chris Kaman, and Tayshaun Prince for a buck apiece.

Other value players that fell by the wayside due to early auction overspending include Richard Jefferson at $6, Ray Allen at $6, Jason Terry at $3, Josh Howard at $1, and Marcus Camby at $1.

On the other side of the spectrum, a few "must-have" guys were picked up at a premium. These include Deron Williams at $65, Amar'e Stoudemire at $55, and Devin Harris at $42.

Yours truly splurged on Danny Granger at $68, rolled the dice on Gilbert Arenas at $39, spent big on Troy Murphy at $31, and "stole" Lou Williams for $1.

Despite a two-hour "Patches" and CBS Sportsline-induced delay, we completed our auction shortly after Midnight.

A few bumps in the road did not prevent "Double Dribble" from embarking on a new season. We all had a blast, especially the Yankee faithful who watched the Bombers re-capture the pennant against the outmanned Halos.

At the time of this article, just two days into the 2009-10 NBA campaign, Brian's LeBron-led corps is in first place, followed by your FantasyPros911 author Adam's Pacer-heavy crew.

Of course I had a "doubtful for opener"“Danny Granger benched in a two-game week, thereby preventing me from claiming a ridiculously early-season lead....but such is life in "Fantasyland".

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