This article is part of our The Long Game series.
Last time out, I looked at how to assemble and finalize your keeper roster. Now let's take a look at what to do with that keeper list, and how to formulate an optimal overall strategy as you head into your auction.
When getting ready for your auction, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether you think you can win it all this season. Sometimes, the answer is a resounding and obvious "Yes!" or "Ugh, no", but other times you may not be entirely sure where you stand in relation to your league-mates. There are ways you can evaluate the strength of your keeper list, however, and figure out whether you really have a shot this season.
I touched on this last column, but once all the keeper lists have been locked in, it's time to break down your league's inflation rate for the year. As an example, I'll be using Rotowire's Staff Keeper League (we just held the auction and reserve/minors draft Monday night), which is about as extreme an inflationary environment as you'll find due to its generous rules when it comes to rookie and reserve pick contracts. In a nutshell, not only do promoted minor league picks all start with a $3 salary and reserve picks with a $5 salary, their contracts don't actually kick in until the year after they lose their minor league eligibility (or, in the case of a reserve pick, simply the following season). For instance,