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FANTASY FOOTBALL PRE-SEASON FEATURES

The Fantasy Auctioneer Invitational Expert League
August 18, 2004

FantasyAuctioneer.com is proud to present the First Annual Fantasy Auctioneer Invitational Expert League. Since most experts agree that auction-drafting is the purest form of drafting - and considering the competition - this is arguably one of the most prestigious expert fantasy leagues in the world.

The participants include: Coachbox's Jim Wheelock, Fantasy Asylum's Kirk Bouyelas, Fantasy Auctioneer's George del Prado, Fantasy Guru's Scott Pianowski, Fantasy Sports Academy's Matt Kamke, FFToday's Matt Waldman, Footballguys' David Dodds, Football Injuries' Sam Caplan, KFFL's William Del Pilar, RotoWire's Jeff Erickson, RotoWorld's Rick Wolf, and The Huddle's David Dorey. Using FantasyAuctioneer's real-time auction software, these experts went head-to-head in a battle of strategy, guts, and timing

Eastern Conference Teams Western Conference Teams Players Sorted by Salary Players Sorted by Nomination

EASTERN CONFERENCE TEAMS

Football Injuries
Pos Name Tm   B   Sal
QB Tom Brady NWE 3 5
RB Clinton Portis WAS 7 72
RB Thomas Jones CHI 5 29
WR Torry Holt STL 8 44
WR Steve Smith CAR 3 23
WR Justin McCareins NYJ 3 12
TE Jason Witten DAL 4 1
K Ryan Longwell GNB 9 2
DEF Seattle Seahawks SEA 4 2
B-QB Joey Harrington DET 4 1
B-RB Moe Williams MIN 4 1
B-RB Tony Hollings HOU 7 2
B-RB Antowain Smith FA 0 1
B-RB Stacey Mack HOU 7 1
B-RB Mike Alstott TAM 8 1
B-WR Joey Galloway TAM 8 1
B-WR Peter Warrick CIN 5 1
B-WR Todd Pinkston PHI 5 1
Sam Caplan, Football Injuries

1. What was your strategy going into the auction and how do you think you did?
My strategy going in was to grab one of the six franchise backs on the board and then follow it up by going after a top second-tier back such as Travis Henry, Corey Dillon or Rudi Johnson. I had to abandon this strategy early on when it became apparent I had erred in my max bid projections for each player. I made a snap decision to take some of the money I had earmarked for my second starting running back and make a play for a top receiver (Tory Holt). Despite the change in plans, I was happy with the starting lineup I came away with so I feel like my strategy was sound.
2. What was your best bargain?
Clinton Portis. Based on the bidding for the other franchise backs, I thought I would have to bid $78-80 to win his services.
3. What was your worst buy?
Thomas Jones. $29 is a lot of money to spend on a player you're not completely sold on but with the talent pool at running back dwindling, I decided to take a chance on him as my second starting running back. I'll label Jones as a speculation pick, but $29 is too much to pay for a player without a proven track record.
4. What are the top 3 teams (excluding yours)?
#1 - Fantasy Sports Academy: Manning, Barlow, Davis, Coles and Robinson could be a potent mix. But what separates FSA from the rest of the league is depth. I expect FSA to surge during the second half because it’s built to withstand bye weeks, injuries, and benchings.
#2 - The Huddle: Their team doesn't appear sexy at first glance, but if you look at the roster there is no junk. Either a player is a prominent performer in his respective team's offense or has the potential to be one by season's end.
#3 – FantasyAuctioneer: On the strength of their backfield (Alexander and Henry), FantasyAuctioneer deserves the #3 spot.
 
Fantasy Auctioneer
Pos Name Tm   B   Sal
QB Aaron Brooks NOR 8 13
RB Shaun Alexander SEA 4 71
RB Travis Henry BUF 3 48
WR Darrell Jackson SEA 4 21
WR Santana Moss NYJ 3 32
WR Charles Lee TAM 8 1
TE Marcus Pollard IND 6 1
K John Carney NOR 8 1
DEF Buffalo Bills BUF 3 2
B-QB Kurt Warner NYG 6 1
B-QB Jay Fiedler MIA 10 1
B-RB Anthony Thomas CHI 5 2
B-RB Ladell Betts WAS 7 1
B-WR Johnnie Morton KAN 5 1
B-WR Dante Hall KAN 5 1
B-K Matt Stover BAL 6 1
B-DEF Atlanta Falcons ATL 9 1
B-WR Dennis Northcutt CLE 8 1
George del Prado, Fantasy Auctioneer

1. What was your strategy going into the auction and how do you think you did?
My strategy was pretty simple – get one of the top 7 RBs and a solid 2nd-tier RB, then be patient and wait for the second half to grab bargains at all the other positions. I'm relatively happy with my backfield, but after that, I’m not too happy with how I managed this auction. First, Darrell Jackson was a “Bid +1” casualty. I clicked on the “Bid +1” button on our application and a couple of managers entered their bids in split seconds before me, so I ended up bidding $21 instead of $19 and won him. (Even though I warn people all the time about the speed/convenience vs. accuracy trade-off of the “Bid +1” button, I still fall into its trap once in a while.) Second, impatience got the better of me when Brooks and S. Moss were available for what I thought were bargains. I’m high on both of them, but later realized I overpaid. After those three early mistakes, I didn’t have any money to “grab bargains” like I first planned. Overall, I’m pretty happy with my starters, but because I spent too much money early on, my squad is super-thin (not to mention missing key handcuffs like Morris and McGahee). A major injury would kill my season, so I hope lottery tickets like Warner or A-Train hits.
2. What was your best bargain?
Shaun Alexander at $71. He went cheaper than most of the other franchise backs but I think he has a lot less risk than many of them.

3. What was your worst buy?
My two best receivers – Darrell Jackson and Santana Moss. I paid a premium of $21 and $32 for them respectively, which was too much considering Derrick Mason, Steve Smith, and Laveranues Coles went for $23 each.

4. What are the top 3 teams (excluding yours)?
#1 – Footballinjuries – I like Sam’s team a lot. He was able to execute my pre-auction strategy the way I was hoping I would. I’d prefer a better #2 RB than Thomas Jones, but I’m high on his whole WR corps (Holt, S. Smith, and McCareins). He also did a better job than I did in hoarding some key back-ups. He’ll definitely be a contender.
#2 – FFToday – I think Matt also has a very solid team. Although his WR corps is a little shaky, he’s got enough depth and the best TE in the league to make up for it. As a group, he probably has the best QBs and RBs. McNabb, in particular, I think will have a monster season. I get the feeling that everyone thinks he’s overrated to the point that he’s almost underrated again.
#3 – RotoWorld – I think Rick and Gregg had one of the better teams coming out of the auction. Granted, Boston has been lost for the season since then, but they should get props for doing a great job of managing the auction. (I was actually high on Boston before the injury since the Dolphins should pass a lot more without Ricky – just like the Steelers and Titans have done recently.) McAllister is a great anchor and although I’m not crazy about Faulk this year, RotoWorld has good depth behind him with C. Brown and C. Buckhalter. They did a great job of controlling the board by saving their cap dollars and picking up their RB depth and high upside value picks at all the other positions (Lelie, Burress, Green, and McMichael). Like Footballinjuries, it looks like the type of team I wanted to put together, if I were just a little more patient.
 
Fantasy Sports Academy
Pos Name Tm   B   Sal
QB Peyton Manning IND 6 35
RB Kevan Barlow SFO 7 55
RB Stephen Davis CAR 3 31
WR Koren Robinson SEA 4 19
WR Laveranues Coles WAS 7 23
WR Justin Gage CHI 5 2
TE Freddie Jones ARI 6 2
K Jay Feely ATL 9 1
DEF Green Bay Packers GNB 9 2
B-QB Brett Favre GNB 9 7
B-QB Drew Bledsoe BUF 3 1
B-RB DeShaun Foster CAR 3 4
B-RB T.J. Duckett ATL 9 9
B-RB Willis McGahee BUF 3 1
B-WR Rod Gardner WAS 7 2
B-WR Roy Williams DET 4 3
B-WR Lee Evans BUF 3 1
B-TE Bubba Franks GNB 9 1
Matt Kamke, Fantasy Sports Academy

1. What was your strategy going into the auction and how do you think you did?
Pre-Auction Strategy: I want to load up on stud RBs and rely on second tier QBs like Pennington, Favre, Green, or Brooks backed up by Carr, Harrington, or McCown. At WR, I’m going to focus on guys with a ton of physical talent and potential. Guys like Chambers, S. Moss, Walker, Moulds, Stallworth, Wayne, Evans, Fitzgerald, Rogers, Roy Williams, and McCareins. I also like reliable old timers R. Smith and J. Smith. At TE, I would like to grab Shockey, Heap, or Winslow Jr. If I can’t get them for the price I want, I’ll settle for Gates or Witten. Both are talented young players with great upside and potential. My overall draft strategy is to minimize my mistakes while trying to maximize the mistakes of my opponents. That’s not going to be easy with the competition in this league.

Tomlinson went for $80+, I decided to put together a backfield of second and third tier running backs with great upside. I feel quite comfortable that I Post Auction Evaluation: Once I saw the prices that the franchise running backs went for, my strategy changed quite quickly. When Holmes and Tomlinson went for $80+, I decided to put together a backfield of second and third tier running backs with great upside. I feel quite comfortable that I accomplished that. Barlow and S. Davis will put up big numbers and I was able to handcuff Foster to Davis for a combined $35! I think this will finally be the year that Duckett becomes the featured workhorse in Atlanta. McGahee was $1 and easily worth the risk/reward. I’ve got three great quarterbacks (Manning, Favre, and Bledsoe) and once injuries start to hit, I’ll be hearing from my opposition. I was able to get solid receivers for great prices. Coles, Robinson, Gardner, and Gage will be solid. Evans and Roy Williams will be the top two rookie receivers this year and both have tremendous upside. I was able to get two top tier TEs in Freddie Jones and Bubba Franks who could return to Pro Bowl form. I wasn’t really worried about my kicker or defense, but I am solid there too with Green Bay and Jay Feely. I’m incredibly happy with my draft and I think I’ll be a tough team to beat this season.
2. What was your best bargain?
I think it was getting Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster for a combined $35. I got two top 10 starting running backs for $86. Many of the franchise backs alone went for that much.
3. What was your worst buy?
It has to be Favre at $7. I thought I could get someone to spend $8 and I got stuck with him in the process. I’m not upset though because I still have a great team and two quarterbacks (Manning & Favre) who will both play in every game for their teams this year. Had Culpepper not gone for $37, it could have been Manning’s name here.
4. What are the top 3 teams (excluding yours)?
#1 - The Huddle: I really like Dorey’s team and I think he did a great job. He’s got a ton of players that I am high on like Hasselbeck, F. Taylor, C. Chambers, Walker, A. Johnson, Gates, Q. Morgan, and Bell. With Griffin and Bell, he’s assured himself of having Denver’s 1000 yard, 10+ TD running back. Some people thought he overpaid for Taylor at $60, but Dave might have got a bargain at that price.
#2 – FF Today: With the exception of the quarterback position, I really like FF Today’s team. Like The Huddle, he’s got many players that I’m high on like Green, Bennett, the Smith WRs, Davenport, and Davis. If McNabb or Plummer play to their potential, FF Today will be tough to beat.
#3 – Fantasy Asylum: Kirk quietly put together a solid team. Kirk built a team of players that I’m incredibly high on, too. He’s solid up and down his roster and he has no real weakness. He combined proven stars with players that have great upside. It’s a recipe for success and if all works out, Fantasy Asylum will be tough to beat.
These three teams will be my primary competition because, like my team, they have no obvious weaknesses.
5. Other comments?
I have to say that I am very happy about my team and my draft. I think I’m solid across the board and I’m excited to start the season.
 
Computer Player
Pos Name Tm   B   Sal
QB Jake Delhomme CAR 3 2
RB Priest Holmes KAN 5 82
RB Domanick Davis HOU 7 40
WR Anquan Boldin ARI 6 24
WR Terrell Owens PHI 5 38
WR James Thrash WAS 7 1
TE Mikhael Ricks DET 4 1
K Martin Gramatica TAM 8 2
DEF Oakland Raiders OAK 10 1
B-QB Jon Kitna CIN 5 1
B-RB Troy Hambrick OAK 10 1
B-WR Tai Streets DET 4 1
B-WR Travis Taylor BAL 6 1
B-WR Brian Finneran ATL 9 1
B-WR Terry Glenn DAL 4 1
B-TE Kyle Brady JAC 9 1
B-K John Hall WAS 7 1
B-DEF Kansas City Chiefs KAN 5 1
Fantasy Auctioneer’s Computer Player (for FantasyGuru)

Comments by George del Prado: Due to an unfortunate and unavoidable issue, Scott Pianowski of FantasyGuru was not able to make it to the league’s auction. The system’s A.I. took over for his team, putting together a solid core of P. Holmes, D. Davis, A. Boldin (although he was hurt on 8/10), and T. Owens. Unfortunately, as is typical with v 1.0 of our A.I., this early spending spree left it with no depth at all. Future versions will give users controls over not only how much the A.I. will bid, but also how to adjust as the auction unfolds. Nevertheless, Scott is graciously taking over this team for The Guru Report and will play out the league this season.
 
Coachbox
Pos Name Tm   B   Sal
QB Michael Vick ATL 9 26
RB Steven Jackson STL 8 7
RB Duce Staley PIT 7 18
WR Keenan McCardell TAM 8 6
WR Joe Horn NOR 8 27
WR Eric Moulds BUF 3 26
TE L.J. Smith PHI 5 1
K Mike Vanderjagt IND 6 6
DEF Dallas Cowboys DAL 4 3
B-QB Chad Pennington NYJ 3 8
B-RB Rudi Johnson CIN 5 48
B-RB Marcel Shipp ARI 6 7
B-RB Chris Perry CIN 5 1
B-WR Marty Booker CHI 5 5
B-WR Amani Toomer NYG 6 8
B-WR Donald Driver GNB 9 1
B-TE Casey Fitzsimmons DET 4 1
B-DEF Minnesota Vikings MIN 4 1
Jim Wheelock, Coachbox

1. What was your strategy going into the auction and how do you think you did?
I scrambled a bit to prepare for this draft as I had just a days’ notice. I used a composite value sheet (one I fudged from 3 different auction value charts) and determined to buy value and NOT get caught up in overpaying for top 6 talent. It was my goal to end up with 18 players whose overall value (from my sheet) exceeded the $200 limit I had to spend. I had some names written down on the side that I wanted on my team, but I wrote them in pencil because I didn’t want to be committed to one particular player. I did hope to avoid the early bidding flurry that is expected in most auctions and try to acquire the value picks mid-draft. Knowing that this league is WR heavy (starting 3 WR each week vs. 2 RB), I wanted to acquire at least 4 top-flight WR and hopefully 5 #1s. I also wanted depth at QB and intended to buy 2 proven quality starters.

2. What was your best bargain?
Running backs were overpriced in my opinion, and so I decided to buy middle-talent RBs at low prices and hope for production from at least one of them. Staley (a certain feature back in Pittsburgh) only cost $18, Shipp of Arizona only $7, but the prize was Steven Jackson – Faulk’s #1 backup – at $7. According to my cheatsheet, these 3 should’ve cost $46 but only totaled $32.
3. What was your worst buy?
Michael Vick appeared on the board fairly early, and while I had no intention of buying him I tried to increase the bid by $1 by clicking the FantasyAuctioneer’s “Bid +1” button; however, another owner entered a bid of $25 just a nanosecond before I bid, and so my bid appeared as $26 and I ended up with him. When Rudi Johnson came up for bid, I leap-frogged the pack and bid $48 which no one touched. At least a couple of owners commented that I could’ve had him for less, but Henry and Dillon went for an identical price.
4. What are the top 3 teams (excluding yours)?
This year more than any other I’m less impressed with the top 15 RBs overall and see a need for owners to draft top players at other positions and look for diamond-in-the-rough RBs.
#1 – Footballguys: has an outstanding QB/WR corps with Culpepper, RMoss, Mason, and CJohnson, and is solid at all positions except RB. David’s draft ranks #3 and he will have to hope that a couple of RBs emerge as solid starters for him.
#2 – Footballinjuries: boasts a lineup including 2 top 20 RBs and 2 top WRs in Portis, TJones, Holt, and Steve Smith. Brady, McCareins, Witten, Longwell, and the Seahawks defense complete an impressive starting lineup but my concern for this team is depth and so I rate this team as the second best out there.
#3 – FantasyAsylum: I believe that depth at auction/draft time wins championships. Every team should expect to lose a starter or two to injury, and a bench player can surface and make the difference for a fantasy squad (much like Barlow did last year). Fantasy Asylum gets my vote for top team as it owns depth at all key positions and lists among its reserves Leftwich at QB (a top 15 on my charts), 2 likely starting RBs in Garner and Suggs, 2 of the top #2 WRs in Wayne and MRobinson, and a solid backup TE in Graham.
 
RotoWorld
Pos Name Tm   B   Sal
QB Brad Johnson TAM 8 3
RB Marshall Faulk STL 8 25
RB Deuce McAllister NOR 8 80
WR David Boston MIA 10 17
WR Plaxico Burress PIT 7 14
WR Ashley Lelie DEN 10 5
TE Randy McMichael MIA 10 3
K Adam Vinatieri NWE 3 3
DEF Miami Dolphins MIA 10 3
B-QB Trent Green KAN 5 17
B-RB Chris Brown TEN 9 16
B-RB Correll Buckhalter PHI 5 8
B-WR Kelley Washington CIN 5 1
B-WR Troy Brown NWE 3 1
B-WR Jerry Rice OAK 10 1
B-TE Itula Mili SEA 4 1
B-K Paul Edinger CHI 5 1
B-DEF New York Jets NYJ 3 1
Rick Wolf and Gregg Rosenthal, RotoWorld/AllStarStats

1. What was your strategy going into the auction and how do you think you did?
When considering an auction draft, we relied on our prowess from baseball. Having been in over 50 baseball auction drafts, I took the same strategy. We made a budget, targeted players that we "had to have" in groups of five. Thus, leaving us the ability to let them go if overbid. We had Green as our favorite upside QB and Deuce as the must have RB. We realized that we would pay close to Priest's value so we would bid hard on Holmes as well. So, just like a baseball draft, spend high on targeted players, price enforce players as you see fit your lists of upside players and hunt for bargains at the end. We did well overall until late in the draft we lost all flexibility by taking Buckhalter with our last $8. We think he was clearly the best RB left on the board and it would be worth it and we could find $1 values at the end. Unfortunately, I ran out of time for the draft and had to leave with four picks left...I would have liked to grab $1 values with them. The untimely injury to Boston is just bad luck, not bad drafting.
2. What was your best bargain?
Faulk at $25. People will say this is crazy to say this, but he could have value in the $40 range. Someone paid $40+ for Lee Suggs I think. I am always a proponent of getting value out of known entities. When Faulk plays, I will get points. When he doesn't , he won't hurt me. I also thought that $1 Kelley Washington will be great and the $3 Randy McMichael is a premium pick.
3. What was your worst buy?
David Boston. Out for the season. Nuff said.
4. What are the top 3 teams?
When determining Fantasy Football winners from draft day, you look at the top four players, so:
#1 – Rotowire: I think that RotoWire is solid with Carr, Jamal, LT and Hines Ward.
#2 – FantasyGuru: They have the second best lineup with Priest, Boldin, Owens and Davis.
#3 – KFFL: I think there strategy of middle level players will give them the depth to compete every week.
       
Eastern Conference Teams Western Conference Teams Players Sorted by Salary Players Sorted by Nomination