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I’m going to be honest: After last year, I owe you one. My popular BBQ strategy was sound for many years, but last year I changed it to “get two tier 1 running backs.” Anyone who drafted an RB other than CMC in the first round knows how well that worked.
In my defense: I was extremely busy and phoned it in. Which is something I shouldn’t do with the most popular annual article on this site that’s non-Beersheets related. So, please give me one do-over.
This year, I’m only busy with studying fantasy football. It’s early July, but I’ve already done more all-human 10-team and 12-team mock auctions than I did all last offseason. I’m dialed in, and I’m tossing BBQ strategy in favor of one which Jeff Krisko dubbed “Gyro RB.”
People might be wondering, “why is every strategy name you make food-related?” The answer is BRANDING. I’m going to relate a humorous anecdote about my second-favorite hobby (after fantasy football): Event planning.
I have a friend who goes by Dirty Mike. One day, Dirty calls me and we have the following conversation:
Dirty: So, I asked Sarah to marry me and she said yes! She has a Visa thing so we are getting married in ten days.
Me: That rules! Sarah is so cool. What are you doing for a wedding?
Dirty: Well my mom goes to this church and-
Me: Church weddings are cool, they are so beautiful.
Dirty: –and there’s this cool public park next to it, we can get married in that park.
Me: [inhales through my teeth] Ohhhhkay. What about the reception, have you talked to caterers?
Dirty: I figured we have a potluck.
Me: Huh. How about a reception location?
Dirty: There’s a softball field there. We’ll put a keg on second and play sloshball.
Me: I can’t take this, I’m calling your mother.
So, I hung up and called his mother. She started with, “well, I guess millennials are into super casual weddings, these days.” I said, “uh-uh, sit down: I’ve already got spreadsheets open.”
Because I knew Sarah, she was a famous Scream Queen in another country. She liked things fancy. With Dirty’s super-helpful mom, we managed to plan a wedding, in a church, with a catered reception, for 75 people in only ten days.
The reason for this, and the relevance to fantasy football, is because Dirty actually had the two most important things for a wedding: The venue (his mom was on the planning committee for the church), and the dress (he had a close friend who was a wedding dress designer).
Thanks for paying attention, it’s about to get real relevent up in here.
That was Spring, and I used the experience to design BBQ strategy later that year. BBQ strategy is founded upon getting 2 top-tier players. But when I first designed it, it wasn’t called “BBQ Strategy,” it was called, “Wedding Planner” strategy. Instead of relating top-15 RBs and WRs to meats, I used the importance of the venue and the dress in planning a wedding.
But, especially in the bro-plagued world of fantasy football, nobody’s clicking on an advice article titled, “Wedding Planner Strategy.” So, after I wrote it, I gave it a traffic-friendly makeover to “BBQ.” Then it got tens of thousands of hits: B/randing is important.
But, “Gyro RB” is more than branding: It has metaphorical relevance that will genuinely help you win your 2023 fantasy football auction leagues. Like I’ve said, I’ve been hitting the mocks and the tape room heavily this year. It’s clear the meta has shifted far away from going RB early. In snake drafts, the phrase “zero RB” is bantered around more than ever. I even see people trying zero RB strategy in mock auctions.
But that’s the thing: You don’t need to go zero RB in mocks. You can get great players at the other positions just as you do in rounds 1-5 of a zero-RB snake mock, but then you can leverage later draft capital to end up with some RBs that get drafted in rounds 3-5. If running backs are still the meat in this metaphor, then your fantasy team is like a high-end sandwich. I don’t need to have high-end meats in a sandwich, no one is searing a ribeye then slapping it between two pieces of white bread. But, as a meat lover, I do need some decent meat, just like my fantasy teams need decent RBs.
Consider two great sandwiches: Pulled pork and Banh Mi. For a pulled pork, the focus is on getting great brioche buns, amazing cole slaw, and the right mustard-based sauce. If those are there, I can literally slap in some meat from a pig’s butt and it is amazing. Same with the Banh Mi: Get those pickled veggies just right and I can throw in some dollar store chicken and it is still the best.
Hence Gyro RB: Focus on getting superstars at WR, QB, and TE, then pair those with some decent, but not great, RBs.
Gyro RB: My 2023 Fantasy Football Auction/Salary Cap Strategy
Step 1: Get two top players at WR/TE
For me, I consider the only two “top” tight ends to be Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews. Your tier may differ, and that’s fine.
I find there’s usually a dip at top WRs after Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. I can end up with a Kupp or a Tyreek for under $50, and that’s what I usually do. Your league might be different: A lot of leagues see all the top players going for eye-popping prices. That’s okay, too: Just get two guys. Some people like to say “every auction is different” but it’s really not: This is closed-system economics, people, the patterns are quite simple. If people are all overpaying for the top players, it’s okay to overpay, yourself, because there will be more savings later.
I find myself spending anywhere between $70-$110. Now, that’s quite a huge range for budgeting, but it works out: The top players get nominated early, so there is still plenty left in the player pool when I have my top two guys and need to look at revising my bidding based on how little/how much I have left.
Step 2: Always leave a starting slot for after the WR market crash
In 90% of auctions, there is a market crash where WR2s will start going for half of their listed value. You want in on that gold. Plus, using my WR market crash tool, you can see ahead of time if you’re in that 10% where there isn’t a big crash, and revise your strategy to spend sensible amounts on your receivers. If your league has a flex slot, make sure it stays open. If you start 3 WRs make sure at least one of those starting slots is earmarked for the insane WR2 value play.
Step 3: Get a Top Nine QB for around $15
I consider the top nine QBs to be: Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, Justin Fields, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow. All of those are players I think have the potential to finish at #1. After that, there is a huge downgrade. Now, the top 3 usually go for mid-$20s, but I am yet to do a one-QB mock where a top 9 guy hasn’t gone for under $15.
Step 4: Get decent running backs for $15-25 each
According to my mock data, displayed here, in a ten-team league you can usually get the following guys for $15-$25: J.K. Dobbins, Jahmyr Gibbs, Miles Sanders, Joe Mixon, Dameon Pierce, Najee Harris, Cam Akers, Aaron Jones, and James Conner. Now some of those guys I like and some I don’t but the point is none of them are going to see the roster of a zero-RB snake drafter. This is one of auction’s many superior points: You can draft other positions like a zero-RB drafter and still get some decent RBs. They just have to be somewhat palatable for your gorgeous sandwich of a team to shine.
Step 5: Use the Toolbox Strategy for Building Your Bench
Look it’s simple: I spent years unable to win a playoff game in my Big Money League. So I invented a strategy based on forming a bench that had the most potential to give my team late-season gas. Then I made the finals three straight years, in a 14-team league. So I just do Toolbox Bench strategy and don’t overthink it.
That’s it: The 5 simple steps to building a competitive 2023 fantasy football auction team. If you have any questions or just love talking auction like we do, hop into our Discord. However, keep in mind our Discord is heavily moderated to be different than the rest of fantasy social media: Be excellent to each other and enter debates not trying to “win” but trying to enlighten yourself and the people arguing the other side. We’re just trying to keep the “fantasy” part strong for our collective favorite hobby.
Click here for all our 2023 fantasy football auction articles.