Foster (center) is going for big money in auction drafts.
Auction drafts are a hot trend in fantasy football this year. People will be bidding large sums of money on star running backs like Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. But what can the budget-conscious player do?
In this article, we assembled a "dollar menu" fantasy football team that should be competitive in the 2013 season. The term dollar menu is both relative and absolute in this article. There will be mentions of players who actually can be bought for a dollar at certain positions. At other positions, such as running back, a dollar won’t go very far. At running back and wide receiver it will be more relative.
The dollar menu team was built through an auction draft in a 10-team league with a $200 budget and positional requirements of a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, a flex player, a kicker, a defense and six bench players.
The team we assembled features two quarterbacks who threw for at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns each. Our running backs include a receiving dynamo, a back who finished just shy of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, another one who almost racked up 1,100 rushing yards and a couple of players with high upside.
The wide receivers feature a pair of players who finished with more than 1,000 yards each. Two of our top three wide receivers scored double-digit touchdowns last season, and the third one had nine scores.
Sounds like a solid team? It is. The best part is that we only spent $102 out of a $200 auction budget on this team. Auction values were based on the current list at ESPN.com.
Let’s roll up to the speaker box and place our dollar menu order for our fantasy football team. Yes, we’d like fries with that.
Romo finished last season with 4,903 yards to go with 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Romo had his share of good games and a couple of disasters last season.
Overall, Romo and the Cowboys should be looked at as a passing team again in 2013. With Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin, Romo will have no shortage of receivers to throw to. Look for Romo to post similar numbers this season.
Current Average Auction Value (AAV): $7.4
Freeman also topped the 4,000-yard mark in 2012. He has a couple of quality weapons with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams at the wide receiver positions. Running back Doug Martin can add some punch in the receiving game in his second season in the league as well.
Freeman had a couple of awful games at the end of last season, which sunk his value. He threw four interceptions against the New Orleans Saints and followed it up with another four picks against the St. Louis Rams the next week. Freeman contributes a little bit on the ground too but is a solid bargain.
Average Auction Value: $1.8
Sproles has been one of the most reliable running backs for a couple seasons now. He’s an excellent player in PPR leagues and still is solid in standard ones as well. Sproles isn’t much of a threat as a pure runner. He carried the ball 48 times for 244 yards and one touchdown last season.
Sproles was a terror out of the backfield when he caught passes from quarterback Drew Brees. Sproles racked up 75 catches, 667 yards and seven touchdowns. His role in the New Orleans offense should expand with head coach Sean Payton back at the helm for the 2013 season.
Average Auction Value: $15.5
Bush goes up to Detroit after a pair of solid seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Bush scored six touchdowns in each season in Miami. He averaged 222 carries and 1,043 yards in each season while contributing in the passing game. Now with the Lions, Bush has a chance to be the lead back on a team that loves to pass.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw the ball 727 times last season. Some of those will certainly go Bush’s way, which makes him a dual threat and a solid fantasy player.
Average Auction Value: $14.4
Miller will take over the role that Bush had in Miami. His stats from last season weren’t impressive (250 rushing yards with one touchdown), but he has upside for the 2013 season.
Miller has size, speed and little competition behind him in an injury-prone Daniel Thomas. Miller has the potential to be a RB2 in fantasy this season. He is a dollar menu player compared to the sky-high amounts other running backs go for.
Average Auction Value: $11.6
Green-Ellis isn’t going to be the most attractive back, but he gets the job done. Cincinnati drafted Giovani Bernard in the second round of the draft; he’s more likely to be a change-of-pace back than a direct threat to Green-Ellis.
Average Auction Value: $7.9
Vereen will get his chance for the Patriots in 2013. New England had the second-most rushing attempts in the league last season, and that number might go up.
The Patriots receiving corps is severely depleted this season. It should force the Patriots to run more, and Vereen can benefit. He should be looked at as a week-to-week player.
Average Auction Value: $5.5
Decker is going to be a key part of a Denver team that has the potential to pile up the points. Last season, he posted 85 catches for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. Five of those touchdowns came in the last three games of the season, so his value was high during the fantasy football playoffs. Decker should get plenty of targets this season and have another solid year.
Average Auction Value: $9.6
There’s no doubt Smith is Cam Newton’s favorite target. It’s why he’s broken the 1,000-yard barrier each of the last two years with Newton under center. His touchdown total of four was disappointing, but the potential for a solid season is still there.
Smith can still put up solid numbers. If he found the end zone more often, he’d quickly move up the charts in fantasy football.
Average Auction Value: $9.8
Jones was the breakout player in fantasy football last season. Practically nobody saw him scoring 14 touchdowns for the Packers. Jones had a total of 20 touchdowns in his career before last season, so he was a surprise.
With Greg Jennings now in Minnesota, Jones should be a starter opposite Jordy Nelson in Green Bay. Don’t expect him to score 14 touchdowns again, but he can contribute solid numbers for a fantasy team.
Average Auction Value:$7.7
Austin has been plagued by hamstring injuries. He has a golden opportunity in front of him if he can stay healthy. Bryant is going to get plenty of attention from opposing defenses, so Austin should see more single coverage.
Austin had four games last season with at least 10 targets, so there will be weeks when he has his chance to shine. On this team, he’d be a matchup player with the depth at this position.
Average Auction Value: $4.2
Williams is one of the under-the-radar players who is about to emerge. Last season, he finished with 996 yards and nine touchdowns for Tampa Bay. Williams never scored more than one touchdown in a game, so his value was steady. Look for him to catch 65-70 passes this season and put up more than 1,000 yards.
Average Auction Value: $3.4
Cook spent last season with the Tennessee Titans and put up average numbers. Cook piled up 523 yards and four touchdowns as the Titans struggled on offense last season. Now in St. Louis, Cook should see an expanded role in the passing game.
Average Auction Value: $1.9
Gould should prosper under the Marc Trestman regime in Chicago. Trestman was able to run championship teams in the Canadian Football League. The Bears hope to take advantage of Trestman’s play-calling abilities and move the ball down the field effectively. If drives stall out, Gould should be able to capitalize.
Average Auction Value: $1.1
The Rams are a true steal at this position. The Rams tied with Denver for the most sacks in the league at 52. They finished tied with the Cleveland Browns for 11th place with 17 interceptions.
The Rams scored a total of five touchdowns on defense last season as well but don’t add much in the kick-return game, which limits their value.
Think about how many games the Rams will have against mobile quarterbacks as well. Mobile quarterbacks lead to additional sack opportunities for defenses. If they can minimize the read-option, the Rams can be a tough defense in 2013.
Average Auction Value: $1.1
These players could have limited fantasy value and are going for $1 in auction drafts.
EJ Manuel and Kevin Kolb of the Buffalo Bills. One of them has to be the starter.
Chad Henne of the Jacksonville Jaguars. If and when Blaine Gabbert falters, it'll be Henne's team.
Running backs are limited to handcuff players who have very little value.
Kendall Wright of the Tennessee Titans shows promise.
Justin Blackmon of Jacksonville put up good numbers lately. He will miss the first four games due to a violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
Alshon Jeffery of Chicago could be a nice sleeper pickup opposite Brandon Marshall.
Michael Floyd of the Arizona Cardinals is poised to break out this season.
Malcom Floyd of the San Diego Chargers reeled in 814 yards and five touchdowns last season.
Jermichael Finley of the Packers is due for a bounce-back year after a weak 2012.
Martellus Bennett of the Bears could fit nicely in the Chicago offense.
Brandon Myers could thrive with the New York Giants.
Rob Housler of Arizona could get attention from Carson Palmer.
Kickers and defenses are mainly available at the $1 price tag with few exceptions.