Last week we covered why you should join an RCL, so this week let’s start covering what to do once you’re in there. To be honest, most all of this has been covered somewhere on the site over the years, most often by Rudy. If you haven’t been playing in RCLs though, I could see how some of this has been glossed over, so I’ll try to consolidate some info for the newbies. Last season we made the change from ESPN to Fantrax and with that we changed a few rules, most notably we added a 500 move limit and we changed from Games Started for pitchers to Innings Pitched. I’ll be frank, I didn’t notice a big change in strategy because of these changes, but feel free to change my mind RCL Vets. We’ll cover this as well as the basics for anyone still timid about jumping in the RCL waters.
QUICK NOTE: RCL drafts will start going off this coming Friday. To avoid leagues drafting with less than 12 managers we’ve decided to just kill any league that doesn’t fill by 5pm EST. We’re going to try our best to get everything filled, but if you are in a league where someone bails late or it looks like it won’t fill, let us know. Jump in the comments or let us know on Twitter: @Razzball and/or @MattTruss and we’ll try to work some magic. We didn’t want to ruin someone’s night by waiting until an hour before a 10pm draft to kill it. Hopefully, this won’t happen often, but help us help you.
Let’s get this right out of the way, the most important component in competing for a top spot in these leagues is TIME. I alluded to this last week, but you should kiss your family members goodbye now. The time you can pour into this endeavor is mind numbing. Fortunately, I don’t care for sleep much, so I’ve got that going for me. Other things that you might find helpful include having no life, having no job, having no other responsibilities in life and having an addictive personality. I kid, but only sort of. Thanks to daily moves, the idea is to almost always have a full roster of hitters going on a single day. If your middle infidel isn’t playing today and there’s a rough equivalent out there in the FA pool that is in the lineup, you have to make that swap. That swap means (hopefully) free counting stats. I routinely rotate a middle infield slot as well as my UTIL spot and sometimes my final OF spot and CI spot. Although this year that could be flipped to stream a CI spot. It’s all about those counting stats. Even with deploying this strategy I pretty much hit right around 300 moves, so there shouldn’t be too much to worry about there, unless you are a severe chronic-rosterbator. In which case, you may need help.
The only real strategy change I noted from last year changing to an IP limit was an ace was maybe a tad more helpful than in year’s past. The elite strikeout relievers still had big value in boosting your K/9, but there wasn’t much point in rostering low strikeout win-vultures. This didn’t have me drafting starters in the first round or anything, but I was a little more conscious of my pitching staff than back in the ESPN days.
Adds and drops are handled a little differently on FanTrax than they were on ESPN as well, which I think was for the better. On ESPN your add/drops for the day locked when the first game started, no matter how early. With FanTrax, you can still drop a scrub that didn’t make it into the lineup in a later game right up until that scrub’s game starts. That means, instead of needing to be near a computer right when games started, now you can still make adjustments throughout the day, which I prefer. You can maybe see now why having no life is helpful. Interestingly, I felt like this was less work than trying to plan all your add/drops for the next day right after the first game time locked. FanTrax has a pretty solid lineup indicator in place, between that and Rudy’s tools, you should be able to keep easy tabs on who is in and who is out of the lineup.
I’m going to break up streaming hitters and streaming pitchers into two different posts just because of the huge amount of information. First, we’ll dig into things to look for and tools to use when streaming a hitter in the RCL format. A lot of this information is strikingly similar to picking out a hitter in any DFS contest, which is probably why I enjoy the RCL format so much. In no particular order here are the things I look for when snagging a batty call.
Lineup position is a very important factor. Once you’ve seen that a player is in the starting lineup, take note of where they are hitting. A higher lineup position means more chances to provide you with those tasty counting stats you crave. If you can find a batty call hitting in the first four lineup positions, that’s a rare treat and one you should pounce on.
Park factor is a pretty big deal when it comes to streaming hitters and the Coors factor can’t be ignored. My catcher is routinely a “back-up Rockies catcher / visiting team at Coors catcher / any catcher in the starting lineup” franken-catcher. I’m also a big fan of scouting out who will be visiting Coors and grabbing whatever power heavy sluggers I can a day or so before they arrive.
If there doesn’t happen to be a game at Coors field on a given night, then the next best thing is to look to exploit a platoon split match-up. Take careful notes and you’ll find players that find themselves hitting 2nd during choice platoon match-ups that you can freely scoop up. If you are smart enough to look ahead a little bit you might be able to catch a schedule break where one of these specialists is facing a run of pitchers to feast on. You could also use Razzball’s awesome “Weekly Hitter Planner”. That segues nicely into the next note on streaming hitters.
You are at a distinct disadvantage if you’re not making full use of Rudy’s toolbox. Maybe I sound like a company shill here, but that’s fine. I find the tools Rudy has put together to be best advancement in fantasy baseball since live scoring. Sure, you could find all this information on your own and make the exact same calls, but there’s no way you could do it faster than simply pulling up the Hitter-Tron. Time is valuable, especially when the clock is ticking closer and closer to lineup lock. It’s so nice to simply pull up a page sorted by dollar value for that day’s slate of games and go to town. In addition to the Hitter-Tron there’s the weekly planner I mentioned above and the “Team-o-nator”. This is another great tool to use in the case of a tiebreaker or if you’re feeling like stacking a few hitters on a light schedule day. The Team-o-nator shows which team is projected to score the most Runs. Runs scored equal Runs and RBIs for your streamers, so the more, the merrier!
Razzball ‘Perts League
I always used to spy on our resident ‘Perts to see what they were up to and you should too. Grey is chronic with his moves while Rudy is more calculated, both are good to keep tabs on though. You’ll also find Cram It in the ‘Perts league, our resident RCL guru (overall winner four seasons ago, 2nd place three years ago, 6th place two years ago, etc.) as well yours truly. You should absolutely keep an eye on Cram, he works this format like a pro. It took him a season (he ranked 505th his first year playing RCLs) but he learned, adapted and now he’s a fiend. I would bookmark the ‘perts league page and check it once a day. Once the league is active I’ll have a link to it in my RCL updates post weekly.
I mentioned earlier the similarities between the RCL format and Daily Fantasy Sports. Here are a few quick things you can take from the DFS side that will help in your RCL streaming choices:
- Read Razzball’s DFS Content – A shameless plug perhaps, being a DFS writer myself, but these writers are doing their homework. Each night they are checking on cheap match-ups to write up and you may as well take advantage of their efforts.
- Check the Weather – This includes rain, wind and humidity. There’s not much worse than picking out the best batty call only to have the game washed out
- BvP – Batter vs. Pitcher data is much debated and Rudy has even covered the topic in the past. I’m not saying I use BvP to pick all my hitters in a day, but I certainly don’t ignore it. Mostly it works as a tiebreaker between player choices.
Can you win an RCL without constantly streaming hitters? Sure! Do you put yourself in a much better position to do so by employing this strategy? Absolutely! The amount of streaming done will depend a lot on how good or bad your draft went. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest formats in which to recover from a poor draft. I’ll be going over some RCL draft tips in another post down the line. For now, just know that a bad RCL draft isn’t the end of the world. If you completely pooched it, you’ll just have to put in the extra work to stream and do your due diligence in sniffing out those good match-ups. With any luck you’ll uncover a gem to hold onto. Of course, the less you enjoy being seen in public, the better for your RCL teams.
Speaking of RCL teams, go ahead and sign up for a few! Drafts start going off later this week, so don’t be left out.
TO JOIN A LEAGUE
Click the LINK in the ‘League Link’ column (see below grid) for the time you want and enter the League ID from the spreadsheet and password –> razzball. Password is always razzball — lower case. If you’re not signed up at Fantrax, you need to do that too (it’s free). Damn, that’s too easy. Oh, I guess I should also mention make sure you’re joining a league for free or for money, depending on your preference. That’s it! You can join as many leagues as you like.
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