The 145th annual Charch League auction was held on Monday night at LeagueSafe World Headquarters. Arguably one of the fiercest and most competitive leagues in the industry, the Charch League is comprised of 14 teams, including such fantasy luminaries as Charch himself, John Tuvey of The Huddle, Bo Mitchell of Sports Data, myself and Ted Carlson of LeagueSafe Post, and many others formerly employed by Fanball back in the glory days.
It’s a $100 auction cap, and with 14 teams instead of 10 or 12, the money doesn’t go as far as you might think. Prices are generally higher in this league than what you’ll see in your typical 10- or 12-teamer.
Here’s a summary of the auction:
Generally, things went as you might expect. Some big-dollar RBs went out first, and Charch somewhat surprisingly pounced on two RBs within the first 6 or 7 selections. I like both Lynch and Richardson at the prices Charch paid, and obviously Charch did as well since he rather clearly abandoned his on-again, off-again Do The Opposite (DTO) philosophy. Bo Mitchell surprisingly stayed in the bidding on Michael Vick after he’d already acquired Matthew Stafford for $12, and when he got stuck with Vick for $10 he suddenly had two assets with only one QB spot to fill. He’ll have to do some wheeling and dealing, but I’m guessing he’d have rather had the $10 he spent on Vick back to use on an upgrade at RB. Just a hunch, but Peyton Hillis, Donald Brown, Alfred Morris, Isaiah Pead and Vick Ballard aren’t likely the embodiment of Bo’s ideal backfield.
Noted Vikings homer Paul Allen managed to land Adrian Peterson for a reasonable $21 price tag. Normally, this group will bid PA up on all Vikings players, but we were rightfully spooked by AP’s health, and it appears nobody was willing to risk getting stuck with Peterson enough to bid up the Voice of the Vikings. PA also surprisingly held off on Percy Harvin later in the proceedings. John Tuvey employed his usual strategy of saving his money during the early rounds in an effort to control the middle portion of the auction. The strategy worked, sort of… while Tuvey unquestionably controlled the middle rounds, I think he drastically overpaid for Stevan Ridley ($16) and Benjarvus Green-Ellis ($17). That said, I like his WR corps of Cruz and Harvin, and if Jacquizz Rodgers is half as good as Tuvey believes his squad will be just fine.
WTF?!? Jeremy Maclin for $6?
Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but I think at the end of the season the entire league is going to look back at Charch’s acquisition of Jeremy Maclin for $6 as the steal of the draft. I have Maclin in my top 10 at WR and I think he’s primed for a huge season. Unfortunately, I had already landed Andre Johnson and Marques Colston and didn’t have enough funds left to jump in on Maclin. As with every auction, it’s all about timing. I have absolutely no doubt that if Maclin had been tossed out early in the draft, he’d have cost at least $12 or $13, but he fell into a lull, and apparently everyone who liked Maclin had already filled out their WR corps by the time he finally came up for bid later in the proceedings.
I share a team with esteemed colleague Ted Carlson, and we generally have polar opposite views on things. I’m all about upside and potential, he’s all about consistency and dependability. It creates a bit of a weird dynamic on our squad, but in the end it’s a checks and balances-type system that works. We finished second in this league two years ago and made the playoffs despite having the misfortune of drafting Chris Johnson and Frank Gore last year.
This year, we went in with a strategy of spending up to $15 on a second-tier QB like Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, or Matt Ryan. We landed Ryan for $15, which was right on target. We both like Doug Martin, but I really like Doug Martin and I was in control of our bidding so I overpaid a bit at $26. Sorry Ted! We also wanted to get two top-15 WRs if possible, and I think we accomplished that with Andre Johnson for $16 (Ted-influenced pick) and Marques Colston for $12. I think Colston for $12 is a great value, but had we known we could have landed both Maclin and Reggie Wayne for $11 later on, we’d have passed on Colston. I absolutely love Aaron Hernandez at $7 – I think there’s a good chance Hernandez is at least as valuable this year as Rob Gronkowski, and he came at less than half the price. We spent our last chunk of cash on Kevin Smith. I really like Smith this year and believe he can hold onto the job all season, but he’s not exactly the picture of health and we weren’t able to secure Mikel Leshoure to back him up. Between Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw, we should be able to cobble together a solid No. 2 RB most weeks. I was thrilled with our $1 acquisitions as well. It’s distinctly possible Rashard Mendenhall starts for the Steelers for at least the final 10 games of the season. If that happens, he’s a steal at $1. Ditto Kenny Britt, who’s as explosive as any WR in the NFL when he’s healthy and on the field. Even if he only meets those two criteria for eight or nine games this year, he’s well worth a $1 flier. With Austin Collie and Greg Little, we’ve got some PPR-fueled upside at WR as well.
It’s easy to be disappointed in your squad coming out of a 14-team league, until you realize that nobody has any depth to speak of in such leagues, and just about everyone had to overpay for someone, somewhere. With that caveat, I like my squad and think this team will be very competitive. If Bradshaw holds off David Wilson (I believe he will and that the only real danger is a Bradshaw injury), Andre stays healthy, and Smith holds on to the, ahem, Lion’s share of carries in Detroit, we’ll field an extremely strong lineup every week. And if both Britt and Mendenhall can return healthy by Week 5 or 6, the sky’s the limit.