Back in late February I took down the ADP for the top 300 players with the intention of later reflecting on that data. I knew it would come in handy when thinking up an idea for a future column, and my clairvoyance has been fulfilled.

I’ve always been a proponent of NFBC’s ADP because of the amount of money their leagues generally require in order to play ($125+, upwards of $5,000+ in main events). It eliminates crazy outlier picks better than your casual ESPN mock drafts, and paints a great picture for value in rotisserie leagues.

As ‘weekly lock’ are their standard format, it deviates a little bit from our typical RCL that we have on this fantastic caldron of fantasy knowledge know as Razzball, but heading into the last week of drafts, I hope this will give you a great idea of the fluctuation of players in across the league.

The time frame of the change, as you will see, is between February 28th and March 26th. I’ll break up some of our specimens based on overall ADP, as players who are going later in drafts (150+ overall) have much more room to rise and fall than a player in the top 50.

To address players who have fallen due to a temporary injury, I’ve eliminated guys like Ian Desmond, Alex Reyes, and David Dahl, in favor of taking a look at performance and playing time based fluctuations. If you desire the +/- of any other player you don’t see here, feel free to mention in the comments below and I will dig in and find it for you (as long as their in the top 500).

Keep in mind, in order for a player to fall by a given amount, that player has been drafted further above or further below what their ADP on March 26th states. This is because NFBC ADP is a rolling average. For Yoenis Cespedes to increase from 59.08 to 56.66, he would have been drafted, on average, higher than the 56.66 overall from March 26th says. Not simply the +2.42 spots my interval of change shows you!

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Image result for allais paradox

The Allais Paradox:

Gamble A: 100% chance of receiving $1 million.

Gamble B: 10% chance of receiving $5 million, 89% chance of receiving $1 million, and 1% chance of receiving nothing.

Gamble C: 11% chance of receiving $1 million, and an 89% chance of receiving nothing.

Gamble D: 10% chance of receiving $5 million, and a 90% chance of receiving nothing.

Most people would choose A over B, less money for no risk. Those same people would choose D over C, though, more money for more risk. Below is the expected value for each:

Gamble  Expected Value
A $1 million
B $1.39 million
C $110,000
D $500,000

* Formulas for the above can be found here.

Therein lies the paradox. If you are about expected value, you choose B and D, especially since the probabilities are the same.

You know what the real paradox is, though? I’m Asian, math SAT score was almost-perfect, English SAT score was ESL-esque (I was born in this country), and I get paid (not much) to write and I barely understand the Allais Paradox. No wonder my parents disowned me (They didn’t really, but I wouldn’t blame them if they did).

Damnit SON!!! What is all this mumbo jumbo and what does it have to do with Paxton and Urías?

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Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.

Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:

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We back baby!  Spring Training is already starting up (We desperately need shorter games, but like 2 extra weeks of Spring Training?!?! I know, I know, WBC, but whatever!), we’re about to March, drafts about to be drafting…  Love this time of year.

So note to self – get the rankings done earlier in 2018.  Second note to self – bitch slap Grey when I see him in person next week for making everyone else look so bad, with his ranks done so early!  But hey, not like he’s got other sports to worry about!  Speaking of, if you haven’t played fantasy basketball yet, shameless plug sentence/link for you to come over and check us out on hoops!  Play in some Hoops RCLs next year maybe!

Ok, JB’s ADHD voice, back to bidness!  My yearly baseball magnum opus is finally complete – weeks in the works – and went from 9600 words last year to 9700!  Weird they were so similar… I’m kinda like Tolstoy, they just gonna keep getting longer, hah!  Of course no one is expected to read War & Peace in one sitting, so take your time getting through this bad boy!  I’ll wait!

I’m pumped to get the Pitcher Profiles ramped up again, better quality GIFs, and another year with the Gamescore+, which maybe we can start to automate with more batted ball data out there.  RUDY?!?!?!  WHERE’S RUDY?!?!?!?!  SOMEONE GET ME RUDY!!!  Also, if you missed the wrap up I put together a few weeks ago, you can check out how Grey and I did vs. ESPN with the 2016 SP ranks.

A question that is always debated and weirdly always different for each ranker/rankings sets is: are these your personal rankings?  Adjusted for ADP?  Are they how you would draft, or how you think guys will finish?  I’ve decided I have the be all, end all answer.  I did these ranks initially without looking at ADP or any other rankings sets.  The ranks are my personal ranks for how I would value guys one over the other, and then I’ll use this list to be malleable for every draft/site/league format.  Pigeonholing ranks to adjust for ADP means you’re stuck looking at one list of ADP data.  So there’s my answer for how I approach rankings.

Anyway, here we go!  Find below my top 100 SP for 2017.  And as always, my top-5 sleepers (to varying degrees) are James Paxton, Sean Manaea, Blake Snell, Ivan Nova & Reynaldo Lopez.  Plus bonus #6 – Tyler Skaggs – moved him up after re-looking at his data.  Apparently I love my lefties this year!

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Way back in January, when the very first signs of ADP data sprouted out of the ground, I went down the rabbit hole, hoping to catch a glimpse of early signs of value. ADP at that point was more convoluted than forming an expectation for how much Pablo Sandoval would weigh coming into Spring Training, but since it was the only sign we had as to the ‘market’ rate for various players, I utilized it as much as I could.

James Paxton was the poster-boy of my early preseason eyebrow raise. He was going past the 200th overall pick with a maximum just outside of the 11th round. Paxton sits right now with an ADP around 192 overall according to NFBC data, with a max that has ticked up to 109 overall. Grey has Paxton as his 41st ranked starting pitcher and his 162nd overall player. Finally in the process of publishing my personal rankings, Paxton is my 27th overall starting pitcher and my 115th overall player, with still some finagling to bring that up even more if I feel so moved.

What Paxton accomplished last season was nothing short of fascinating. We see mechanical changes in pitchers a lot, but rarely do we see changes that cause such palpable success and subsequent expectations that aren’t afraid to project out that success. Fangraphs did a really nice dive into exactly what Paxton changed and why success followed. Simply put, Paxton reverted to his natural arm slot on the mound, opting to venture away from the ‘over-the-top’ motion he used that we’ve seen cause problems in the past – see Wacha, Michael. This slot helped him hone his command on the inner third of the plate to righties, opening up the outside of the plate to his insanely effective cutter/slider. Eno Sarris breaks this down in the piece linked above.

When I uncovered this story last season, I was wildly intrigued for one reason. A natural arm slot, logically to me, would mean less risk for injury. The DL is something Paxton hasn’t been able to avoid for most of his career, but if there was ever a storyline to give hope for health, I can’t think of a better one than him being more comfortable on the mound…

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To paraphrase Tupac from Brenda’s Got a Baby, “I hear Grey’s got 2017 fantasy baseball rankings, but Grey’s barely got a brain.  A damn shame.  That guy can hardly spell his name.  GREY’S….GOT EM….RANKINGS!  Don’t you know he’s got ’em.  He wrote them solo, and he wrote them on his bathroom floor and didn’t know what to throw away and what to keep.  He crumbled these rankings up and threw them in a trash heap.   GREY’S….GOT EM….RANKINGS!  Don’t you know he’s got ’em.”  Don’t say I don’t keep my shizz socially conscious.  Or is it socially conscience?  Meh, doesn’t matter, I do it either way.  So, this top 60 starters has seven pitchers I’m not crazy about.  That’s more than the last post, but still not that many.  I.e., there’s a ton of starters to draft.  As with previous rankings posts, my projections are included and where I see tiers starting and stopping.  Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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Here we are, the third of four posts about the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft. Previously, I posted recaps of rounds 1-6 and rounds 7-12. This post is for rounds 13-18. The final post will be for rounds 19-23. Complicated stuff, I know. But try to keep up.

In case you have yet to see my previous posts, here is a quick recap of the league rules for this mock:

This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1).

As I have done with the other posts, I’ll post the results below by round and will offer a few of my thoughts for each round…

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Greetings, friends. I hopped over to the football side of things once last year’s baseball season ended, but now I’m back. And apparently, I am such a disturbed individual that I am doing fantasy baseball mock drafts in early January. And, I am writing about them. And, well, I just wanted to start another sentence with and because it feels so wrong but so right at the same time. Anyway, moving on.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Couch Managers 2017 Industry Mock Draft, and we’re going to recap it here. This mock was for a 15-team, 5×5 roto, with 23 roster spots made up of 9 pitchers (9), 1 spot for each position (8), a second catcher (1), 2 more outfielders (2), one corner infielder (1), one middle infielder (1), and one utility position (1). As long as I did that math correctly, that is 23 spots.

Below, I will provide the results for the first six rounds and a give my thoughts for each round. I’ll do the same for rounds 7-12, 13-18, and 19-23 in subsequent posts. I’ll try to keep it brief. All we really care about are the results here, right? Feel free to tell me how awesome or crappy you think my team is, along with what you think were the best and worst picks of the draft or the different rounds…

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Imagine the Cubs decided to use Lester, Hendricks, Hammel and Lackey in the playoffs, and not Jake Arrieta.  Not sure it would be the wrong move either.  Arrieta isn’t just out of gas, he’s on a late-70s gas station line, cursing Jimmy Carter.  He’s eaten six Chalupas and a Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell, washed it down with a 16-ounce Coke, and can’t produce any gas.  He’s staying at a Marriott in Saudi Arabia where OPEC is meeting and all hotel guests get a complimentary barrel of petroleum and Arrieta can’t produce any gas.  Yesterday, Arrieta went 5 IP, 7 ER and his ERA went up to 3.10.  About five months ago, I said Arrieta doesn’t look right.  I said it around the time of his no-hitter.  That took some pants grapes.  What’s funny (not funny) when you’re super early at calling something out, people write you off as cuckoo in the coconut.  On April 29th, I said, “It’s hard to find a positive when you take this year’s numbers vs. last year’s (of Arrieta).  Velocity is down, K-rate is down, walk rate is up, xFIP is up, luck is up, homers are up, ground balls are down and fly balls are up.  It’s like looking under a Maserati’s hood and seeing a Mercedes engine.  It’s not bad, but it’s not a Maserati.”  And that’s me quoting me!  On May 9th, I said, “Not to sound like a broken record, but his peripherals just haven’t been as good as last year thus far.”  And that’s me quoting me sounding like a broken record!  I continued to say more or less the same for a few months, then SUDDENLY everyone else started saying it.  For 2017, I picture Arrieta being drafted a lot like Felix Hernandez in the preseason this year.  People are concerned, but he’s so good, they’re still drafting Arrieta around 60th overall.  Yeah, and it won’t work out either.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Mets outfielder Michael Conforto was 2-for-3 last night, scoring two runs with his 12th home run, and three RBI. Could this be the start of something big? Who’s Conforto, you ask? Lol, you pleb–Don’t you know anything? He’s just an uber prospect for the New York Mets.  *Sips cold brew coffee, adjust horn rimmed glasses, strokes beard* Sigh. You’ve probably never heard of him. Have I mentioned he’s the hipster’s favorite player? Do I really have to mention that? The man hit .365 with four homers, 11 doubles and 18 RBI in April, then completely fell of the planet. He was busy working on his documentary film/visual novel/app for dogs. Sitting in an abandoned warehouse turned secret speakeasy/corn hole arena/craft cider house/live-bluegrass music cafe, I sip my gluten-free organic cold brew coffee (cage-free beans, obv) and curl my finely waxed mustache, pondering what life would be like with a fantasy baseball championship. I put down my Gabriel García Márquez book (I only read South American novelists), let my hair free out of its man-bun, and realize that Michael Conforto could be the key to everything. All that magical realism is really paying off! Sure, he struggled mightily all year, and sure, Jay Bruce threatens to steal some of his playing time. But Bruce is also 2-for-31 (.065 BA) in the past two weeks, and Conforto’s got all the upside. If I were you, and I’m not, because I’m obviously way hipper than you, I’d grab Michael Conforto, who’s available in about 90% of fantasy leagues, before he gets hot. In fact, this could only make you cooler because when he does finally break out, that means you picked him up before he was cool. And there’s nothing cooler than that!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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