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Thread: A Serious Auction Draft Problem that Needs a Solution

  1. #1
    Admin Enforcer Administrator GOOCH's Avatar
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    Default A Serious Auction Draft Problem that Needs a Solution

    Folks, we have a serious problem with our current acution-draft set up. This was an unforseen / unaccounted for problem with incorporating our keeper system into the auction draft format. I mentioned it in the auction draft that night, but frankly I didn't understand why it was happening. I thought initially it was just because Dalek only kept 3 players (instead of 8) and wasn't there to use that massive budget. Upon further reflection (and witnessing another auction draft where the same thing happened for the same reason), I get that the problem is more systemic. And we are going to have to fix it for next year.


    This was a terrible, unforseen and unaccounted for circumstance. Under normal circumstances in a snake draft or auction format, if you are a good drafter, then you will end up with a lesser team if the computer drafts for you. If you are a bad drafter, you end up with a better team (because you suck at drafting). But what doesn't happen is auto-drafting managers ending up with a uniformly awful team. And that is precisely what happened in this auction draft. Let me explain why it happened:


    The normal auction format assigns a certain budget for teams and prices players in that 'market' for purposes of auction drafts. The autodraft (computer) bids on players based on that set market value. However, we went into the auction with two factors that seriously distorted that market. We had a much larger budget than is normal in the auction format, AND we had most of the priciest players off the market (AND discounted in terms of budget costs) in the form of keepers. The effect of this was that most teams, even teams with a full compliment of keepers, had very large draft budgets going into the auction.


    In a situation where everyone is present for the draft, this isn't a real problem -- we can real-time adjust to the bigger budgets and bid accordingly. The problem with the draft we had on Monday is that two of the managers were not present for the draft. Normally a good drafter suffers a minor penalty for not being present, and a bad drafter might actually improve. But the autodraft system works off of the set Yahoo prices. With most of the pricest players off the market and inflated budgets, the real market price for each of the players in our auction was WELL ABOVE the price in a normal Yahoo auction. This meant that everyone with an autodrafting team had a reservation price in bidding WAY TOO LOW. The computer will only go so far over a reservation price, which meant that autodrafting managers all had an overly conservative price on all the players. Thus they quit all of the auctions on all of the good players too soon. Which resulted in what you saw in our auction draft on Monday - autodrafting teams with HUGE budgets wasted and HORRIBLE teams outside of the keeper list. This had Dalek, who had the biggest budget going into the draft, literally leaving almost two thirds of that budget unspent. It happened, to a lesser extent, to Rogers as well.


    Again, this is a problem I didn't anticipate...so I'm not blaming anyone for not anticipating it either. But I think we do have to consider what to do about a system that is handicapping managers absent from the draft this badly. Life happens -- people have to miss draft dates for great reasons. If we regularly impose this kind of cost for missing a draft, I think it seriously threatens the integrity of the league. Most teams that autodrafted on Monday ended up with teams that have almost no chance of making the playoffs...and even less of a chance of winning the league. That is a blow against fundamental fairness, even if it was an unintended consequence.


    Maybe your position is -- tough cookies, come to the draft. OK, but that's a hard line to take, especially when no one had recognized this problem prior to the draft. But maybe education is sufficient -- now that we know about this problem, we can do something about it. You can change the preset values of players prior to an auction draft. So theoretically you can raise the reservation price manually and the computer will use the new pricing. But that's far from a perfect fix -- what price do you set? In a real-time bidding situation it is easy to adjust to the market and update your values...how do you do that before the draft? How much of an inflationary factor do you place on each market value. And further, that's a great deal of work -- pricing each player that will be drafted? That's hundreds of players.


    Which means we end up right back where we started -- if you miss the draft, your team is messed up for that season. What happened in our auction draft is the functional equivalent of a snake draft with only those people present, and people who missed the draft have to make their team off of the waiver wire. That's pretty much what happened to the teams that autodrafted on Monday.


    Which means there are a certain number of managers who are likely going to quit on the season. I would argue that's a bad result for all...we all benefit from active managers working to better their teams throughout the season. And what is a season victory when it is the product of a fundamentally unfair draft process? Now, obviously, what's done is done this season. And I strongly suspect we will see some of the mal-effects I am talking about in terms of manager participation this season. What I'm concerned with is looking forward -- I don't want to do this again next year. I don't usually miss drafts, but I've never been in a fantasy draft where it wasn't the case that one, two, three or more managers were autodrafting. I don't want to play in a league where those teams are auto-screwed every season, even if it gives me a competitive advantage when I'm present at the draft.


    So we need to seriously think about how we can incorporate our keeper system into an auction draft where teams autodrafting are not auto-screwed. The staus quo cannot stand. I look forward to comments from the rest of the league.


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    Last edited by GOOCH; 03-28-2013 at 01:10 PM.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Moderator rudy's Avatar
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    Simple solution, preset your player values. I preset several of my players. That said, you should show up to the draft because it is the single most important event in the season.

    I'm not really worked up over this and all your typing hasn't convinced me that we need to make adjustments. If you don't show up and don't preset your player values, that's tough luck.

    I do disagree with your assertion that a team can't be competitive for a playoff spot if you miss the draft. Having a solid core of 7 guys that are supplement by several guys in the low to mid 100s can make a team competitive with a little waiver wire activity. And once you make the playoffs, anything can happen.

    Still I think the simple lesson here is preset player values and show up to the draft. I think so many people missed this year because you proposed it to be Tuesday and then at the last minute change the day. Give us several weeks notice with time to prepare and most/all managers will attend.
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    I was one of the two who missed. I understand my bad so I take what it gives me.I knew I wouldn't get the greatest players, but being new to baseball figured I had a better chance. Normally I pick out last names I like to choose my teams, that has lead to some interesting teams. I also only had three keepers, but my team was well lets just say poor. I apologize for any role my actions may have had in messing up the draft. I will try to keep up all the same and who knows sometimes a team surprises you. Now on a more formal note anyone want to do a lop-sided trade (joking)

  4. #4
    Admin Enforcer Administrator GOOCH's Avatar
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    So many? We had two managers missing. That's hardly alot. Pretty close to average. The draft time / date is not the problem. It doesn't matter - as there are always circumstances that can cause a manager to miss the draft no matter how far out you set the date.

    Nope - the problem is as I have stated it. And a "solution" with that high a transaction cost, and imperfect even then, is no solution at all. Rest assured, we will come up with a fair and equitable solution to this problem. I am considering several alternatives. The first I am considering is not drafting unless all managers are present and accounted for at the draft. I'm not thrilled with this idea (there are some logistical issues with it) but it is a start. D.GOOCH
    Last edited by GOOCH; 03-28-2013 at 10:59 PM.

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    Succinctly put Commissioner, NOT. There is a problem, but I think I have an easy solution. Just have everyone owner that did live draft alternate giving Dalek and myself their best player for our worst player. That should help balance the teams out!

  6. #6
    Moderator Moderator rudy's Avatar
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    Your solution of making sure everyone attends is interesting. However, what happens if someone doesn't show up and then we can't draft and our time is wasted. Is there a penalty for this bad behavior? Maybe they either willingly except their bad roster result or they lose a keeper. We ask people before the draft, would you rather miss the draft and accept your bad roster or we wait to draft another time but you lose your best keeper (determined by o-rank) because you messed up the league's draft and we draft another day. This creates a disincentive for missing the draft and wasting everyone's time.

    Also, what happens if someone is late by 2 minutes, does this count as missing the draft? It probably should because if people draft like normal assuming that the person will show up and they don't show up, these people give away their draft strategy. If they don't draft like normal for the first 2 minutes, they might miss a couple players they were planning on because they didn't want to give away their strategy and then the person shows up and it ruins several people's plans. So, if you are late, you lose your keeper.
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