Players worth breaking the bank for in auction leagues

After previewing the first, second and third round of standard drafts the past week, it’s time to move onto something new. Auction drafts seem to gain popularity by the year, but the amount of analysis remains spotty.

To get started, I’m going to look into the players I think you need to break the bank for.

To win auction leagues, you can’t take a back seat and think you’ll win with a core of mid-range players. My favorite strategy used to be putting all my money into two of the best running backs on the board and go from there. While that’s still a worthy strategy, the change into a passing league has limited its effectiveness.

That said, spending big on Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley still isn’t all that bad of an idea.

To start, I’ll be using the auction prices found at FantasyPros, which uses numbers from a variety of places to generate amounts.

Again, this is all relative, and these prices are ballpark amounts. Do we really think Todd Gurley ($48) is going to be cheaper than Jamaal Charles ($49)? In all likelihood, no. But for this exercise, those are the prices I’ll use, and truthfully, they don’t matter much.

For the players I’m listing below, it doesn’t matter how much you have to spend, they’ll be worth it.

A.J. Green, $35
If people want to put more money on Jordy Nelson or Dez Bryant, let them. Green has quietly become the forgotten wide receiver, despite never posting fewer than 1,000 yards or six touchdowns, even in 2014’s injury-riddled season. What’s not to like?

Green’s 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns last year were exceptional considering he only had 132 targets, 16th among receivers. To further prove the point, Calvin Johnson had 150 targets yet fewer yards and TDs.

And now, Andy Dalton may have to rely even more on Green with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu gone. Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft continue to battle injuries at tight end, while the other receivers on the team are Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd (why do they have some many Tyler’s?).

If the floor for Green is what he reached last year, then why isn’t he at least being rated as a top-five wide receiver? If you can get him in the $40 range, that would be a steal in my mind.

Adrian Peterson, $50

03 January 2016: Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson (28) [9379] in action during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, WI. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

03 January 2016: Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson (28) [9379] in action during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, in Green Bay, WI. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

So, I wasn’t going to do this, but Peterson is by far the most consistent running back in the league. Despite his age, I’d be more than willing to spend $60 on him to have one RB on my team that I don’t have to worry about… ever.

Peterson is a model of consistency, and no one in his price range can really say that, although I’d consider spending big on Todd Gurley as well. But still, Gurley and David Johnson have limited experience in the league and aren’t certainties. That’s also true with Jamaal Charles, Lamar Miller and Devonta Freeman. For a few extra bucks, I’ll take the future Hall-of-Famer on my team any day.

And with an improved Teddy Bridgewater, maybe the running lanes will be a little wider than normal.

For my next running back, there are a few guys I like. Doug Martin comes to mind, but my goal in auction leagues will be to grab Latavius Murray or DeMarco Murray along with Frank Gore, Ameer Abdullah or Rashad Jennings. Combine any one of these duos with Peterson, and I’m looking pretty.

DeMarco Murray, $20
With too many questions surrounding Latavius’ status on the Raiders, I decided to go with DeMarco. I talked about him back in March when he signed with the Titans. Murray’s upside trumps others around him for the most part even with Derrick Henry there.

It’s hard to see why the Titans would make the move to bring in Murray to only put him in a split role with a rookie. Tennessee hasn’t really been effective on the ground for a while, and that’s why they went out to bolster the options.

With Marcus Mariota in his second year, it’s logical to assume progression from the offense.

While Murray was terrible last year, I’ll give some – or most – of that blame to the Eagles poor offense. As long as Murray is drinking his water, I believe he’s in line for a bounce-back season. For $20-$25, I’m all in.

Donte Moncrief, $14
Here’s a price I don’t really understand, especially with the receivers around him at the price level. Moncrief, the No. 2 option on a high-flying Colts offense, is in the same price range as Emmanuel Sanders, who will have Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian throwing to him.

I realize a lot of people have the same mindset as me, which is why I’m willing to put $20 or more on Moncrief. In that same level would be Eric Decker, Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Benjamin. I’m fine with spending that much on Moncrief. In fact, I feel great about it.

Sure, reports out of camp are that Andrew Luck is a bit rusty, but when that rust falls off, who’s getting all of the numbers for the Colts? Outside of T.Y. Hilton and questionable Phillip Dorsett, it’s the running backs and Dwayne Allen.

Moncrief turned into the No. 1 guy at times last season with Matt Hasselbeck, and he dealt with a toe injury for most of the year. Give him Luck and a healthier toe and he could be looking at 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. Not bad.

As it stands, my team of Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, A.J. Green and Donte Moncrief costs about $140, and I rounded up on all of their prices.

That may seem like a lot, but with quarterback and tight end so deep, it’s not much at all. I should have a solid $40 to spend on the rest of my WR/RBs if I go with mid-to-lower-end QBs and TEs. But that’s for another day.

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