When you don’t have a lot of experience in a fantasy football auction draft, it’s easy for you to run quickly out of money and end up having to find bargain barrel players who you hope can fill out your roster. Or maybe you’re going to do it intentionally with a “stars and scrubs” strategy by blowing most of your budget on multiple first-and-second-round picks. Today we will help you This article builds a complete roster (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, K, DST, six bench spots) completely out of players that currently have a $0 draft price on FantasyPros.com in a twelve-team league with a $200 budget. This will allow you to find some values deep in your draft you can grab for a buck or less. With a lot of these players, the investment is taken into account. A $0 player can be boom-or-bust since he has relatively little draft capital spent, it won’t destroy your squad.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets
Fitzpatrick ended his holdout that depressed his ADP all offseason, and the response is that his ADP… didn’t rise? Fitzpatrick is an odd case because Brandon Marshall is going as a WR1, Eric Decker is a WR2, Matt Forte is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is free in auction drafts. Fitzpatrick has a long history of ups-and-downs, but he’s never had a cast of weapons around him like he has this season, except last season. In that season, he tossed at least two scores in 12 games. Only one player in the NFL managed more games with two-or-more passing touchdowns: Tom Brady.
Robert Griffin III, Browns
They say you can’t trust preseason, and I know not too much stock can be put into RGIII bombing it out to Terrelle Pryor, but he seems to have gotten his act together and gotten his confidence back. It wasn’t all that long ago that RGIII was a fantasy phenom who lead teams to glory. Once the injuries happened and he lost confidence, everything fell apart. Now he’s paired with QB whisperer Hue Jackson in Cincinnati, and he has a definite shot at turning things around.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals
The Bengals lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in the offseason, and their only real viable replacement is #55 overall pick, Tyler Boyd. The other player they got to replace the 135.67 targets, Brandon LaFell, might have butter for fingers given his pass dropping problem. Boyd has great hands and ability to pull in a ton of catches, so he should return a good amount of value for the price of free. There are a ton of targets up for grabs, and with Brandon LaFell’s inherent Brandon LaFelliness and Tyler Eifert being out to start the season, a whole bunch is going towards Boyd’s sure hands.
Jamison Crowder, Washington
Crowder will start the season behind Josh Doctson, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson on the WR depth chart, and behind Jordan Reed for targets. Wait, don’t leave yet. Doctson is already hurt, Reed cannot stay healthy to save his career, and DeSean Jackson has missed ten games over the last two seasons. When Crowder was peppered with targets (any game wherein he got more than five targets), he hauled in six catches a game for 66 yards a game. Crowder is a draft-and-stash, but he should return dividends on your meager investment in him.
Anquan Boldin, Lions
The resident old man of this squad, Boldin spent the last few years toiling for a 49ers franchise that slipped further and further away from relevance. Now a Lion, Boldin is hoping that the 1,000 yards that he averaged as a 49er can carry over to Detroit, and is seeking a return to the seven touchdowns he hauled in his first season in San Francisco. While he will not be the #1 target like he was for the Red and Gold, Boldin will be one of a trio of wide receivers who will be catching passes from Matthew Stafford.
Boldin gets a boost because as a #1 target in San Francisco, he saw between 100 and 130 passes. As the #3 target in a hurry-up, passing based offense in Detroit, he could still reach those target numbers. His incredible route running and sure hands will make him Stafford’s preferred target on third down and in the red zone.
Christine Michael, Seahawks
I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. I swore I wouldn’t fall for Christine Michael. C-Mike is an annual hype recipient for his insane SPARQ scores and great preseasons. However, Michael was a head case who could not get his act together and whose mental talents had him bouncing from team to team. Now he’s back with Seattle and has seemingly figured it out and has the focus and determination on and off the field to make it work.
To whit: he refused to run with the ball in his left hand for reasons unknown to anyone but Michael. Through three preseason games, he’s gotten that figured out. Thomas Rawls is atop the Seahawks depth chart, but his injury issues linger. Michael could grab ahold of that starting job and never let go. He could also get cut in week six. Such is the joy of Christine Michael.
Tim Hightower, Saints
Hightower was among a handful of players who won their owner’s fantasy championships last season as mid-season acquisitions that turned up huge games in the final week of the fantasy season. Now he returns to the Big Easy as injury-prone Mark Ingram’s primary backup. He will get plenty of runs and play while Ingram is healthy (to keep Ingram that way), but when Ingram goes down, Hightower has already shown that he can, and will do it all. It’s only a matter of time before Ingram gets hurt (he’s played more than 13 games once in his five-year career) and when that happens, you’ll want Hightower on your roster.
Vance McDonald, 49ers
I spent all offseason railing against the Vance McDonald hype. He is a great blocker and an expert route-runner, but through his first few years, McDonald’s hands had the stickiness of two greased skillets. So far this preseason, McDonald has done enough to convince me that his hand’s problem is fixed. Forget the long touchdown that everybody has seen, his contested catches are the most impressive feats. He was great at sitting down in the zone, but any man pass was as good as an incomplete. So far this season, he is making contested catches and will be worth a draft pick for $0, especially in Chip Kelly’s TE-friendly system.
Robbie Gould, Bears
Who knows with Kickers? I mean, really? Gould gets the nod because I think that Jay Cutler will do plenty to get the Bears into field goal range with his massive cannon for an arm. I also think that the offense has so many question marks and potential inconsistent players that they will also frequently stall out within Gould’s range. The only knock against him is that he plays in the NFC North, with some of the coldest and windiest conditions in the NFL. He will get plenty of opportunities to shine, however, playing for the potentially flashy but inconsistent Bears offense.
The Raiders will likely be on every team that needs a D/ST for me, even though they get the Saints week one. Maybe snag them week two, but that defensive staff got a major overhaul. Khalil Mack is getting huge upgrades behind him from free agency. After the Saints, they get the relatively anemic offenses in their division six times and a schedule that includes the Falcons and Titans in weeks two and three. They have plenty of talent and big-play opportunity and are worth a shot in $0 bids.
While I wouldn’t recommend having an entire team based on $0 players, there is plenty of value to be had for free (literally). The position scarcity shows itself, however, as the running back corps is very weak, but the other positions are relatively strong. The $0 players can save your auction draft if you go a little too big a little too early, so a list of some that can help you is a must.