10-team 2QB Auction Mock Draft Recap
Salvatore Stefanile recaps a recent 10-team 2QB auction mock draft and discusses where his strategy went wrong and how you can learn from his mistakes. …
I’m a patient man to a fault. I waited five years for the woman who would eventually become my fiancée to say yes to a first date. I was in it for the long game. That type of patience can serve you well in certain situations. One place you don’t want to play the waiting game: auction drafts. Especially not in a 2QB auction draft full of industry analysts. Oh boy is that not the right place to be patient, hoard all your money, and try to fill your roster with value picks. Yet, that’s exactly how things unfolded for me when myself and a group of nine other 2QB enthusiasts got together for an auction mock draft.
Before we dive into the recap let me paint you a picture of the settings:
- $200 budget
- Ten teams
- Four points per passing touchdown
- .5 PPR
- Starting roster: 2QB/2RB/3WR/1TE/1FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and five bench spots
We omitted kickers and defenses and went with a shallow bench to make for a quicker drafting experience. A word of warning before digging into the recap, with only five bench spots and ten teams you’ll find an usually higher number of dollar value picks. If your 2QB auction format is deeper, the $1-$2 players will typically go for a lot more in home leagues.
Welcome to the 2QB Auction World
For this recap, let’s go backwards and start at the end, Memento style. Here’s my final roster:
My plan heading into the draft was to play around with a mix of a “Stars & Scrubs” approach at RB and WR, coupled with a “Studs & Streaming” approach at QB. The results were mixed. The QB portion of my plan was executed with Tyrod Taylor anchoring the QB1 stud slot and Alex Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick paired up as the QB2 streamers.
Not everyone is high on Taylor this year, with the mindset being he will regress from his top-7 fantasy points per game finish from a year ago, but I do believe he can finish the season as a top-ten fantasy QB thanks to his baked-in rushing stats and playing with Sammy Watkins. Smith and Fitzpatrick, while not the sexiest quarterback tandem, will suffice as weekly QB2 streamers. They showed their worth in that role last year, combining for 14 weekly fantasy QB1 (top-12) finishes.
The “Stars & Scrubs” approach everywhere else didn’t go according to plan, however. Lamar Miller obviously fills the role of a bellcow RB1, but my other running backs (Dion Lewis, Jeremy Langford, Duke Johnson, Ryan Mathews) are better than your average scrubs. The wide receiver corps I assembled is a jumbled group of WR2s with no one elite WR1 standout. And then there’s Greg Olsen at tight end, an inarguable TE1 option.
This was merely a mock draft, but I wouldn’t be against trotting out this weekly lineup:
There’s depth everywhere, and I quite possibly might have the deepest overall roster. But is a balanced roster like this enough to win the whole league? Eh, probably not. So let’s take a look at my mistakes and see how this team could have been a title contender.
Don’t Be Like Me
The first and most obvious mistake I made was waiting to spend my fake $200. Rather than stay back and play it cool, I should have been more aggressive. On the surface, the final result of a balanced roster looks like one that could be competitive weekly, it’s just missing a potential difference maker at wide receiver.
Of my original $200 budget, I had $53 left to spend on three roster spots. While I did finish with zero dollars in my bank account, that’s only because I grossly overpaid for John Brown ($15), Duke Johnson ($20), and Michael Crabtree ($22). I could have filled out those last three spots with $1 players and spent the rest on procuring an elite WR1 such as Julio Jones ($51), for example.
All of a sudden, a starting wideout group comprised of Eric Decker, Doug Baldwin, and John Brown turns into Julio Jones, Decker, and Baldwin. By sitting on my $200 budget and not getting into the bidding early I cost myself a difference-making elite WR1.
Novice players to the auction format are repeatedly given advice to spend their money early and often and to not finish with a high amount of unused dollars. Any leftover funds are essentially a waste and you’ll have buyer’s remorse.
A Note About Quarterbacks in 2QB Auction Leagues
Josh Berger mentioned in his auction strategy guide how higher-end talent nominated early could wind up being cheaper in comparison to lesser-talented options nominated later in the draft, which happened on occasion in this draft. Aaron Rodgers was the highest priced signal caller at $45, but earlier winning bids of Cam Newton ($38) and Russell Wilson ($33) were much better values.
Any redraft 2QB strategy can be applied in an auction format and we saw a few different strategies executed in this draft. I highlighted my stud (Taylor) and streaming (Smith/Fitzpatrick) strategy earlier. That trio cost me $23 in total (11.5 percent of my budget), which gave me flexibility to spend elsewhere.
The aforementioned duo of Newton and Wilson? Both drafted by Joshua Lake, who also added Jared Goff for a $1. While it’s not out of the question to walk away from a snake draft with both Wilson and Newton, it’s not the most likely of scenarios. Lake drafting both shows you how auction formats give you the ability to draft whichever players you want for the amount you’re willing to pay. The $72 he spent on his quarterbacks amounted to 36 percent of his budget, showing he was willing to pay up to procure two elite QB1s, which could cause match-up nightmares for the rest of the league.
While Mike Rigz missed the early part of the draft and was put on autodraft, the final results of his roster ended up as a true stars and scrubs team. Adrian Peterson, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, and Rob Gronkowski are all on his team, costing a combined $182. With only $18 left to fill out the rest of his roster he had to be savvy. He had to get his Macklemore on and go thrift shopping for quarterbacks, winding up with the trio of Brock Osweiler ($2), Matthew Stafford ($4), and Sam Bradford ($1). Those three cost a combined $7, or one Teddy Bridgewater. Filling out your roster with stud players at each non-QB position and playing the streaming game at both quarterback slots is another example of how to build a 2QB team. You can read more about this strategy in redraft that I dubbed Zero-QB last year.
Post-Auction Aftermath Roundtable
Below is a mini-roundtable featuring takes from all participants on what they considered the best and worst values, as well as discussing their strategies.
What was the best value pick? (Yours or by any other team)
Joshua Lake: Eli Manning at $8 and Eddie Lacy at $21. Both look like great values compared to the players that went ahead of them. They both went significantly cheaper than their counterparts.
Greg Smith: The league was pretty shallow in general, so there were a lot of very nice buys, but Jay Ajayi for $2 and Jordan Matthews for $5 are the ludicrous values standing out to me. I understand they have question marks, but there’s no risk baked into those prices. Both have top-15 upside at their respective positions but got paid like bench flyers in this particular auction.
Jeff Dumont: It’s hard to pick just one. I thought Josh’s pick of Amari Cooper for $16 was an absolute steal. A second round PPR pick for 8% of his budget is pure value. I was surprised to have Jarvis Landry fall in my lap for $9. Watching Gio Bernard go for $7 to Joe while I had no cash to spend was agony.
John Proctor: The best value pick had to be Jordan Matthews for $5. No matter how much everyone dislikes him, that was insane.
Dan Schneier: My favorite value in the entire draft was Jarvis Landry at $9 and I’m not even a Landry truther. In fact, I think he’s bound to regress this season with a real offensive mind like Adam Gase in town, but he won’t suddenly become a single-digit value. Ryan Tannehill is not there yet as a passer to stay efficient with a greater aDOT (average depth of target). He also likes to lock on to one receiver and force it — especially in the short areas of the field. Last season, Landry saw the eighth-most targets per route run — the receivers around him in that statistic were DeAndre Hopkins and Brandon Marshall. I doubt he repeats the same share with a few more weapons in the offense, but he also shouldn’t drop off too far.
James Simpson: Holy macaroni, some of these quarterbacks were cheap. Knowing it was a mock with a group of players who are well-educated on the 2QB format, and knowing it was a 10-teamer, I am not at all surprised. But the sheer lack of enthusiasm for quarterbacks was absurd. Dan Schneier’s win of Ben Roethlisberger at $14 was probably the pick of the bunch. That’s behind Philip Rivers, Blake Bortles, Tom Brady and Kirk Cousins. I was also shocked at Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan selling for $4 and $3, respectively. They provide sure starter production with potential for large volume. The player I was most upset about not picking up late with my final few dollars was Marcus Mariota ($7). My thoughts on him are simple – he’s going to rock our worlds.
Joe Siniscalchi: I thought Ben did a great job of getting value at the entire QB position. He built a solid committee of Marcus Mariota, Joe Flacco, and Ryan Tannehill by waiting until the end and spending a total of $10.
Ben Cummins: Joe Flacco and Marvin Jones both going for $1 when drafters had already spent most of their money were exceptional deals. The position that might have produced the most value though was running back. Danny Woodhead, Arian Foster, and Frank Gore all went for $3. Demarco Murray, Matt Jones, and Charles Sims all went for $2. Justin Forsett and Rashad Jennings went for $1. Those are some amazing deals.
Salvatore Stefanile: You could pick out any of the $1 players, but that would be too easy. With only ten teams and five bench spots there were going to be plenty of value players available near the end for a couple of bucks. The best pure value in a 2QB league would have to be Joshua Lake’s winning bid of $33 for Cam Newton. Josh Berger mentioned in his auction strategy piece how it can pay off throwing out elite players early, as you can get a discount while other drafters save their money for later in the draft. Getting the potential highest scoring fantasy QB for only $33 is a great value.
What was the worst value pick? (Yours or by any other team)
Joshua Lake: Aaron Rodgers at $45 seems nuts, and this is coming from a guy who has Rodgers ranked as his QB1. Is he good? Yes. Is he elite? Yes. Is he 5.5 times more valuable than Eli Manning? I’m not so sure.
Greg Smith: It’s hard to harp on this because it was an autopick, but the worst value was Rob Gronkowski at $37. He was nominated early, so a high price was to be expected and the draft software’s logic came through with flying colors. Meanwhile, no other tight end went for more than $15. I feel obligated to choose an overvalued pick made by a human being, though, so I’ll note Blake Bortles at $20. Strangely, it felt like a reasonable price as he was being drafted, but I no longer believe so having seen what the rest of the quarterbacks cost.
Jeff Dumont: Probably the most expensive guy in this draft, Odell Beckham Jr. for $57. Spending 29% of your budget on any player, even a stud like Beckham, gives you a very little chance to have a positive return on investment. The same can be said for most of the highest priced players. I thought I overpaid for DeAndre Hopkins at $40 after seeing Demaryius Thomas and Jordy Nelson both go for $26 shortly after.
John Proctor: The worst value pick was Rob Gronkowski for $37 (auto draft), but the worst actual draft pick I think would be Thomas Rawls for $21.
Dan Schneier: I thought Jonathan Stewart was the worst value pick in the entire draft. To be fair, he was nominated at an awkward time. Outside of the elite first tier, no other running backs had been nominated before him. So looking at his price tag ($16) it’s a little easier to understand how it happened. Having said that, when guys like McCoy go off the board for $17 and Anderson for $12, it’s a tough pill to swallow. Stewart was the 17th-highest paid running back. That’s a little too rich for my blood in a 0.5 PPR league.
James Simpson: Unfortunately, my early buy of Aaron Rodgers for $45 seems downright crazy considering what happened in the succeeding quarterback auctions. I believe he will be back on track with a top-one or top-two finish this year, and if we pay dollars for production then it makes sense. But with the benefit of hindsight, it wasn’t the right move in this auction room. Some of that money could be spent elsewhere, and a top quality quarterback pairing or trio could still be acquired. Elsewhere, there weren’t many overspends that particularly stood out, but I wouldn’t pay the big bucks for David Johnson ($47), Lamar Miller ($44) and Devonta Freeman ($38), all of whom I feel don’t belong at the top.
Joe Siniscalchi: I thought Le’Veon Bell going for $45 was a bit silly given his suspension. There were several RBs that will outscore him or put up similar per game numbers that went for much cheaper, including Jamaal Charles and Mark Ingram.
Ben Cummins: I’m going to say Rob Gronkowski was the worst value. Although he’s still the best tight end in fantasy football, he went for $22 more than the next closest at his position. Plus, I’m not as high on him with Brady out for four games. Hard to argue with someone going and getting their guy though, especially seeing all the value that occurred later in the draft.
Salvatore Stefanile: I’ll go with my winning bid of Alex Smith for $6. My overpaying for the Kansas City signal caller shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. It’s not like $6 is a drastic overpay, but many would consider Smith nothing but a one or two dollar QB2/QB3. I had money to burn and feel Smith has a higher ceiling than most. But when Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco went for $1 each, Smith’s value is nowhere near theirs.
What was your general strategy heading into the draft and did you execute it to your liking?
Joshua Lake: I planned to spend heavily on starters and go very cheap on my backups, and I accomplished that. It is my preferred strategy in auctions, particularly ones where the benches are shallow enough to leave plenty of players on waivers.
Greg Smith: I am a tried-and-true “Stars & Scrubs” drafter, as I believe a top-heavy team with foresight toward in-season roster turnover offers the best blend of stability and upside. While waiting to spend is my preference, I never wait too long, jumping in at nomination #21 to score David Johnson. In the past, I’ve seen too many auctions go astray as budget-hoarding drafters get overly hung up on being patient and don’t notice as the truly elite tiers dry up. My draft was successful on those fronts and I’m into my flex-position core of Johnson, Mark Ingram, Alshon Jeffery, and Demaryius Thomas. Ingram, Jeffery, and Thomas may not be “stars” in the eyes of all drafters, but I believe in each this year and love the prices I paid for them.
Jeff Dumont: Going in I was looking to spend up to $80 specifically on Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers, my two highest ranked quarterbacks. I believe having two elite quarterbacks, when considering value based drafting in a 2QB league is just as good as having two elite RBs. Even if the VBD numbers aren’t quite there for QBs, the relative safety of elite quarterbacks and the bust rate of top running backs still makes this a great 2QB strategy, in my opinion. However, I got outbid for Rodgers ($45) and that money went to Hopkins ($40), which gave me a WR heavy team. I ended up devoting $121 to wide receivers. In a half-PPR, 3 WR, 2 RB, and 1 flex league, I believe going heavy on WRs and light on RBs is the way to go. I was happy to take Matt Ryan for $3, a top-10 QB in 2014. The additions of Mohamed Sanu and Alex Mack should solidify the Falcons offense as a whole and Ryan should flirt with low-end QB1 value all season.
John Proctor: My General strategy was to fill my QB positions with mid-to-low tiered QB1s and not overspend on the top few (Bortles and Cousins are both guys I like a little more than everyone else) and then try to overspend on a stud or two who I really wanted. Even though I wish I had picked someone other than Le’Veon to do that overspending on, I think I’m okay with how it ended up.
Dan Schneier: My strategy was exactly the same as it always is in a 2QB auction with 3 WR spots. I looked to fill the FLEX with a WR and grab three starting receivers from that second tier who I believe have a great chance to break into the WR1 range. At RB, I looked to grab one player in the second tier and then fliers from there. At QB, I wanted to grab one player from the back-end of the top-12 and then two high-upside QB2 options. Lastly, I wanted to grab one of my top-6 tight ends. I succeeded with the first part of my strategy.
Mike Rigz’s final roster:
James Simpson: As usual, and as I would always recommend, I came into the draft very open to being flexible and adaptable. Go QB-heavy? Sure. Zero RB? Why not? It all depends. The main thought I have at the forefront of my mind in an auction is that is really is a chance to get ‘your guys’. You won’t be in a spot (as you would in a snake) where you feel either forced into a ‘value’ pick that you don’t like, or a ‘reach’ for someone you do. Also, with the short benches I was extremely concerned with being aggressive on starters, stars and acquiring a top-heavy lineup. The bench can be chopped and changed all year, but I want star potential. Always. With that in mind, I couldn’t take no for an answer on Aaron Rodgers ($45) and wanted to pair him with someone he will look to often in Randall Cobb ($22). I wouldn’t let Sammy Watkins ($32) out of my grasp. Todd Gurley ($42) and Melvin Gordon ($16) is the running back duo of my dreams, and to add CJ Anderson for $12 and Ameer Abdullah for only $4 filled me with happiness. Teddy Bridgewater ($7) is being criminally undervalued this year and will take a huge step forward, providing a safe floor if not a total explosion in production. As a dynasty player, I live for breakouts and bouncebacks, avoiding one-year wonders or veterans who I believe have had their best days, so my receiver core is filled with those who have talent but might not have put it all together yet. But I love it. The moment when potential turns to production is when true fantasy football value is had, and Tyler Lockett ($13), Breshad Perriman, Dorial Green-Beckham and Laquon Treadwell (all $1) could experience that this year. And finally, while I may begin the year with no startable tight end, Jimmy Graham ($1) and Tyler Eifert ($3) are simply outstanding talents who I paid $4 combined for to see if they can stay healthy. At tight end, I take risks. The over-arching realization was that in smaller leagues with short benches (10 teams, 5 bench spots) I go all out on star power, as replacement-level production is easy to find on the waiver wire. In deeper leagues, it’s more important to be concerned with depth of production, as you need everyone in your team to contribute and not to be left scrambling to find a player to fill your lineup. In auctions, be aggressive, as too much patience leaves you with no star power and a lot of dollars to spend on mediocre talent. Also, buy Melvin Gordon everywhere this year.
Joe Siniscalchi: I wanted to nominate players I had no intention of owning to get others to spend their budget so I can attack the middle priced players. I was able to do the first part, but after spending more than I hoped to get Ezekiel Elliott, I wasn’t able to do the latter as well as I’d hoped. Moving forward, I don’t think I’d spend more than around $40 on any one player.
Ben Cummins: I wanted to get some stud wide receivers and wait a bit on quarterbacks. I loved landing Antonio Brown, AJ Green, Golden Tate, and Emmanuel Sanders and then getting good value later in the draft with my QBs. I only ended up spending a combined $10 on Marcus Mariota, Joe Flacco, and Ryan Tannehill. I was happy with that.
Below I’ve included the prices of every drafted player (ranked from highest to lowest in price) at each position:
|Quarterback||$$$||Runing Back||$$$||Wide Receiver||$$$||Tight End||$$$|
|Aaron Rodgers, GB QB||45||Ezekiel Elliott, Dal RB||49||Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WR||57||Rob Gronkowski, NE TE||37|
|Andrew Luck, Ind QB||39||David Johnson, Ari RB||47||Antonio Brown, Pit WR||54||Jordan Reed, Wsh TE||15|
|Russell Wilson, Sea QB||38||Le'Veon Bell, Pit RB||45||Julio Jones, Atl WR||51||Greg Olsen, Car TE||12|
|Cam Newton, Car QB||33||Lamar Miller, Hou RB||44||A.J. Green, Cin WR||41||Travis Kelce, KC TE||11|
|Drew Brees, NO QB||29||Todd Gurley, LA RB||42||DeAndre Hopkins, Hou WR||40||Coby Fleener, NO TE||8|
|Carson Palmer, Ari QB||24||Devonta Freeman, Atl RB||38||Dez Bryant, Dal WR||39||Delanie Walker, Ten TE||5|
|Philip Rivers, SD QB||21||Adrian Peterson, Min RB||37||Keenan Allen, SD WR||36||Tyler Eifert, Cin TE||3|
|Blake Bortles, Jax QB||20||Jamaal Charles, KC RB||32||Allen Robinson, Jax WR||35||Martellus Bennett, NE TE||1|
|Tom Brady, NE QB||17||Mark Ingram, NO RB||26||Brandin Cooks, NO WR||32||Dwayne Allen, Ind TE||1|
|Kirk Cousins, Wsh QB||17||Doug Martin, TB RB||25||Sammy Watkins, Buf WR||32||Gary Barnidge, Cle TE||1|
|Ben Roethlisberger, Pit QB||14||Thomas Rawls*, Sea RB||21||Demaryius Thomas, Den WR||26||Zach Ertz, Phi TE||1|
|Derek Carr, Oak QB||10||Eddie Lacy, GB RB||21||Jordy Nelson, GB WR||26||Antonio Gates, SD TE||1|
|Tyrod Taylor, Buf QB||10||Dion Lewis, NE RB||20||Alshon Jeffery, Chi WR||25||Jimmy Graham, Sea TE||1|
|Eli Manning, NYG QB||8||Duke Johnson Jr., Cle RB||20||Brandon Marshall, NYJ WR||23||Ladarius Green, Pit TE||1|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ QB||7||LeSean McCoy, Buf RB||17||T.Y. Hilton, Ind WR||23|
|Marcus Mariota, Ten QB||7||Carlos Hyde, SF RB||17||Michael Crabtree, Oak WR||22|
|Tony Romo, Dal QB||7||Jonathan Stewart, Car RB||16||Donte Moncrief, Ind WR||22|
|Teddy Bridgewater, Min QB||7||Melvin Gordon, SD RB||16||Randall Cobb, GB WR||22|
|Alex Smith, KC QB||6||Matt Forte, NYJ RB||12||Jeremy Maclin, KC WR||21|
|Jameis Winston, TB QB||5||C.J. Anderson, Den RB||12||Mike Evans, TB WR||21|
|Matthew Stafford, Det QB||4||Latavius Murray, Oak RB||10||DeVante Parker, Mia WR||17|
|Matt Ryan, Atl QB||3||Ryan Mathews, Phi RB||7||Amari Cooper, Oak WR||16|
|Brock Osweiler, Hou QB||2||Giovani Bernard, Cin RB||7||Josh Gordon, Cle WR||15|
|Jay Cutler, Chi QB||2||DeAngelo Williams, Pit RB||5||Eric Decker, NYJ WR||15|
|Ryan Tannehill, Mia QB||2||Jeremy Langford, Chi RB||5||John Brown, Ari WR||15|
|Robert Griffin, Cle QB||1||Jeremy Hill, Cin RB||5||Kelvin Benjamin, Car WR||15|
|Blaine Gabbert, SF QB||1||Ameer Abdullah, Det RB||4||Julian Edelman, NE WR||14|
|Andy Dalton, Cin QB||1||Arian Foster, Mia RB||3||Golden Tate, Det WR||13|
|Sam Bradford, Phi QB||1||Danny Woodhead, SD RB||3||Doug Baldwin, Sea WR||13|
|Joe Flacco, Bal QB||1||Frank Gore, Ind RB||3||Tyler Lockett, Sea WR||13|
|Jared Goff, LA QB||1||DeAndre Washington, Oak RB||2||Michael Floyd, Ari WR||10|
|DeMarco Murray, Ten RB||2||Allen Hurns, Jax WR||10|
|Jay Ajayi, Mia RB||2||Jarvis Landry, Mia WR||9|
|T.J. Yeldon, Jax RB||2||DeSean Jackson, Wsh WR||9|
|Matt Jones, Wsh RB||2||Emmanuel Sanders, Den WR||7|
|Charles Sims, TB RB||2||Jordan Matthews, Phi WR||5|
|Tevin Coleman, Atl RB||1||Phillip Dorsett, Ind WR||4|
|Chris Ivory, Jax RB||1||Kamar Aiken, Bal WR||3|
|Justin Forsett, Bal RB||1||Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR||3|
|Kenneth Dixon, Bal RB||1||Torrey Smith, SF WR||3|
|Rashad Jennings, NYG RB||1||Kevin White, Chi WR||2|
|Corey Coleman, Cle WR||1|
|Tavon Austin, LA WR||1|
|Marvin Jones, Det WR||1|
|Vincent Jackson, TB WR||1|
|Laquon Treadwell, Min WR||1|
|Breshad Perriman, Bal WR||1|
|Dorial Green-Beckham, Ten WR||1|
|Travis Benjamin, SD WR||1|
|Pierre Garcon, Wsh WR||1|
|Stefon Diggs, Min WR||1|
|Mohamed Sanu, Atl WR||1|
|Willie Snead, NO WR||1|
|Sterling Shepard, NYG WR||1|
Fine Tune Your 2QB Auction Approach and Dominate
Hopefully your 2QB auction draft goes much more according to plan than my did. As with any draft, remember to be flexible. Having a set budget strategy in place for each position, as Berger cautioned us, is something you will want to do, but don’t feel you have to stick with it. If you see players are going for less than you expected, open the bank a bit; if a certain position is out of your price range, hold back a little and wait for the value plays.
Unlike a snake draft, where you’re beholden to the board, an auction draft is a blank slate waiting for you to paint a drafting masterpiece. You have free reign to build a team any way you like. Use that freedom to your advantage and don’t be afraid to spend big, unlike me.
Don’t forget to check out our Top-200 Auction Values Cheat Sheet to prepare you for draft day. As well, listen to the most recent episode of The 2QB Experience Podcast where guest Josh Berger joined hosts Greg Smith and Joshua Lake to talk 2QB auction strategies. Good luck and happy drafting!