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Auction Draft Dollar Day Targets

There are multiple strategies available to drafters in auctions. It is one of the reasons auctions are so much more interesting and fun than snake drafts. They award owners the ability to maneuver their roster the way they see fit. One of the most popular strategies is a stars-and-scrubs alignment, meaning owners pay up for stars and try to fill in the back end of their roster with "scrubs."

Scrubs is too harsh a term though. What we are really looking for are $1, high-upside players. These aren't always unknown rookies. Sometimes it is a veteran with a clear shot at playing time. Sometimes it is a post-hype sleeper. In this space, I'll recommend the best auction-draft dollar targets.

($1 auction draft values are projections of NFBC ADP. Roughly speaking, the top 300 players cost more than $1 according to NFBC. This alignment doesn't fit for all leagues, as smaller leagues will see many more players end up going for $1. It is a good baseline to use though.)

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Dollar Day Targets

Rich Hill (SP, MIN) - When's the last time Rich Hill did not put up great numbers? The only concern surrounding him has always been health. Well, this year, he gets his missed time out of the way early! Hill is expected to miss the first two months of the season as he recovers from elbow surgery. If your league has IL slots, happily draft Hill for $1, and come summer, slot him into your rotation with gusto.

Rick Porcello (SP, NYM) and Jon Lester (SP, CHC) - The accumulators. Neither guy is putting up premiere numbers any longer, but accumulating stats is something valuable in fantasy, particularly for a mere $1 expense. Porcello is expected to be the New York Mets' fifth starter; Lester is slotted in as Chicago's fourth. Porcello has thrown at least 160 innings in all 11 seasons of his career. He hasn't dipped below 170 since he was a spry 21-year-old. Along with that has come at least nine wins in all 11 seasons (including a league-leading 22 in 2016).

Lester, meanwhile, does Porcello one better. He's thrown at least 170 innings in 12 straight years and reached at least nine wins all 12 times. Neither player is going to offer great peripherals or elite strikeout numbers these days, but for $1, it is hard to go wrong with the counting stats.

Justin Smoak (1B, MIL) and Eric Thames (1B, WAS) - Both bashers find themselves on the preferable side of a timeshare (likely facing the more common right-handed pitchers) with injury-prone teammates as their cohort. That alone isn't enough to guarantee 400 at-bats, but 400 AB should guarantee 25 home runs apiece with a good OPS.

Dellin Betances (RP, NYM) - There are few relief pitchers who offer value without closing. It's so rare that one who should, like Betances, is still only going for $1 in drafts. He is not going to close anytime soon for the Mets, but Betances offers top-line rate stats and elite strikeout numbers. There does remain a concern that he won't be ready for Opening Day. That is something to monitor as we get closer to draft day.

Daniel Hudson (RP, WAS), Yoshihisa Hirano (RP, SEA), and Matt Magill (RP, SEA) - Rolling the dice on potential $1 closers is a fun game for players of all ages. Hudson could split duties with Sean Doolittle, in which case half a closer is certainly worth $1.

Hirano and Magill are teammates on Seattle. One likely seizes the closer job; it could pay off to grab both and drop the loser by April.

Jordan Montgomery and J.A. Happ (SP, NYY) - These two Yankee arms may not stay priced at $1 too long into the spring. With Luis Severino out for the year and James Paxton sidelined, both should be in line for rotation spots right from the jump. Although 2019 didn't work out for either player (injury for Montgomery; ineffectiveness for Happ), being a starter for one of the best offenses and bullpens in baseball has its perks.

Zach Eflin (SP, PHI) and Alex Wood (SP, LAD) - High upside starting pitchers normally cost more than $1. With three straight years of huge jumps in innings pitched and corresponding jumps in ERA+, Eflin keeps getting better as his usage increases. Wood is two years removed from being one of the best pitchers in the league. It will be worth every penny of that $1 in the assumption that each secures a rotation spot on their respective teams.

 

$1+ Targets

A quick run-through is necessary for valuable sometimes-$1 players. These players' values are a bit higher than the group we've already highlighted, but we are seeing them go for just $1 in a number of leagues. These are the possible $1 targets... depending on where you look.

Daniel Murphy (1B/2B, COL) - Money in the bank for premiere rate stats until he gets hurt. Then move on.

Giovanny Urshela (3B, NYY) - He is going to play every day for the Yankees, especially now with Miguel Andujar moving to the outfield to fill the void for Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Even if some regression is possible, his batted-ball profile indicates 2019 was no fluke.

Ian Happ (OF, CHC) - This has to be the year he finally has an everyday spot in the Chicago lineup. Either 2B or CF would seem to be his for the taking.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX) - Not flashy but has gotten the job done for a decade-plus. He even offers steals with no category weakness other than a low RBI total.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, useful but cheap pitching is easier to find than hitters at the same price. We have to take the smallest of steps up to find more interesting hitters to target. As the season gets closer and closer, this could shift. Starting rotations and closer gigs get ironed out, meaning those who gain prized jobs could see bumps in their pricing.

It's not just about who you draft and where you draft them. It also matters when you draft! As long as these guys stay at $1, you can't go wrong with filling out a fantasy roster with them.

More 2020 Fantasy Baseball Advice




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