Comparing ESPN and Yahoo Auction (Salary Cap) Values

When doing an online auction using ESPN or Yahoo, the two most popular sources, it’s important to know the differences. For instance, last year, ESPN was criminally low on both top QBs and running backs ranked around 12-18.

While listed value doesn’t always influence final price, it usually does. Trust me: I mock around the clock from May onward. I’ve got plenty of data pointing toward the fact that, if a site has a player listed for a weird value, you can usually get them for that deal or convince someone else to take them in the case of overpriced players.

So, I pulled up both sets of values, put them into a spreadsheet, here, and found the differences. Now, while auction values do shift a lot and I am writing this in early June, the trends tend to stay the same. So if ESPN is, say, a lot lower than Yahoo on, say, WRs, that trend will continue through September. Here are 5 key takeaways:

1. ESPN thinks it’s 2022 when evaluating Cooper Kupp

Whereas Yahoo has a more sane view of Cooper Kupp after his cool 2022 year, ESPN is listing him at a whopping $58. That’s tied for the second most expensive player. Yahoo barely ranks Kupp in the top 10 of players. If you’re in an ESPN draft, nominate Cooper Kupp early to see if you can get an extra $15-20 out of the pot. 

2. ESPN is too low on players coming back from injuries

Now, there’s a bit of yin-and-yang to this, as I feel Yahoo is too high. ESPN lists Breece Hall at $26, Yahoo $37. ESPN lists Cam Akers at $7, Yahoo $22. And the big shocker special: ESPN lists JK Dobbins at $7 whereas Yahoo lists him at $23. So, if you’re in a Yahoo league, nominate players with a big injury early to get more out of the pot and put more risk liability on other teams. And if you’re in an ESPN league, get JK Dobbins, he’s easily worth $15-20 based on upside and offense.

3. ESPN has tight ends listed for criminally low values

TJ Hockenson for $13? George Kittle for $6? Mark Andrews for $18? That’s ridiculously low for proven talents at the fastest-drying-up position. Yahoo lists those three players for a combined $32 more. If you’re in an ESPN auction, plan on getting a tight end bargain.

4. Yahoo is much cooler about the top tier of players

We are seeing a lot of drafters gun-shy after so many top-tier players underperformed last season. ESPN seems to be projecting with confidence whereas Yahoo is erring on the side of caution. Of the top 16 players, Yahoo is higher than ESPN on only one of them (Jonathan Taylor) and the same as ESPN on only one of them (CMC). So if you’re a fan of getting 1-2 guys (like the popular BBQ strategy), if you’re on Yahoo you can plan to have $10-20 more to budget for the rest of your team.

5. Yahoo lists middle-tier players much higher than ESPN

This is not just for the tight ends and running backs with prior injuries. For the remaining players listed at over $10 by Yahoo beyond the top 16, Yahoo is on average $2 higher. In many cases, it’s double digits. I’m seeing that manifest itself in mocks with a lot of competition for mid-level players spiking their value. So, if you’re in a Yahoo draft, pay attention to the early bidding. If it’s not going much higher than listed value every time, beware: The player quality will dry up before managers have spent their money. In Yahoo drafts, it’s a consistently good strategy to get high-quality players early.

Happy mocking! If you ever want to mock with us or talk all things auction/salary cap related, come into our Discord, but keep it chill and cozy.

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