On March 9th, I took part in the Tout Wars Mixed Draft – a 15-team snake draft that is unique amongst ‘analyst’ leagues in that it is a 5×5 OBP league. Otherwise, pretty standard. Weekly transactions. 2 catchers. $1000 FAAB.

Quick Perspective On The Difference Between OBP vs AVG
The biggest shift in OBP leagues is published hitter ADPs are less reliable. This makes drafts a little more unpredictable but it generally advantages the more prepared drafters in the room. I look at ADP but am more willing in other drafts to jump guys 1+ rounds above ADP.

There are other minor shifts (1Bs look better b/c they typically have highest BB rates, hitters with high AVGs but mediocre BB rates become less valuable, etc.) but this ends up baked into the projections. I have to run 15-team 5×5 OBP custom but you can access my 12-team 5×5 OBP projections and those are updated daily for Season to Date and Rest of Season as well. All free.

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A lot of pitcher fantasy analysis centers around pitcher quality: Velocity, stuff, BABIP, Statcast, recent performance…balancing out all of the available metrics to determine cost (draft slot, $ value) is the name of the game. Today we’re going to look at a metric I rarely see discussed in the pre-season: strength of schedule (SoS).

In-season, starting pitcher matchups are gold, whether you’re playing the streaming game or DFS. But pre-season, I rarely see analysis go any deeper than AL-vs.-NL comparisons. At the individual-SP level, this makes sense: projecting out specific full-season matchups for an SP is impossible.

At the team level, however, we can get get a pretty good handle on who may have advantageous matchups and who has a tough road. More specifically, we’re interested in the extremes: How frequently will each team face really tough matchups, or really easy ones? The middle 60% will be mostly based on pitcher quality; at the margins, we have actionable start/sit decisions.

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The best 2021 fantasy baseball team is a misnomer. Thankfully, none of us know what misnomer means. Sounds to me like someone tentatively wants to date the Travelocity Gnome’s daughter, “Miss Gnome, er, you wanna grab some boba and chill?” Miss Gnome brushes back her hair and bats her eyelashes that are almost as long as her two-and-half foot body, “I’d love to,” but her voice is high-pitched, which is a turn-off, so you cancel plans with her repeatedly until she gets the hint. Sorry, Miss Gnome, I like my women’s voices low like their stature. Any hoo! So the title is a bit of a superlative. What was I gonna say, “The Mostly Kinda Good Fantasy Baseball Team?” You’ll get over your scoffing; I have faith in you. This is the best 2021 fantasy baseball team that I can put together when drafting from my top 100 for 2021 fantasy baseball and top 500 for 2021 fantasy baseball. Honestly, I could draft another 25 teams from those lists, and they’d all be different, but equally terrific… Well, one of the twenty-five would only be sorta terrific, but it would be really hard to tell which one that is. If I took Adalberto Mondesi in the 2nd round, everything after would change. If I took Trea Turner in the 1st round, everything after would change. I’ve previously gone over my 2021 fantasy baseball draft prep for the first few rounds and pitchers pairings.  For this exercise, I’m taking Cody Bellinger in the first, because, well, people complained previously I always did this post by taking the first pick, so I’m switching it up, like when you combover your hair right instead of left. Last year in my “Best Fantasy Baseball Team” post, I took Tatis with my 1st pick, when ESPN was telling you to draft him 43rd overall. Cust kayin’. Until pick 100, I’m taking one guy somewhere in every fifteen picks. It would be nice if I was in a league where someone drafted Gerrit Cole and deGrom in the first round and I was able to take Trevor Story in the 2nd round (which is likely in some leagues), but since Bellinger and him are in my first 12 picks, according to the rules I’ve set up for myself, I can’t take them both. Then, as we all know, once you get into the 100s, there’s wide gaps between ADP and where players are actually taken. People tend to look at team need over value. So for this exercise, once I get to pick #101, I’m going to pick two players every twenty picks. Finally, because there is so much latitude in the latter rounds, I gave myself free rein to fill up my team after pick 200. Throughout the draft, I also gave myself the ability to reach to a lower draft pick, but not reach forward. Or reach around, if you’re feeling frisky. It should still be my ideal team…or not. Let’s see, shall we? Bee tee dubya, this team is a 12-team, 5×5, one catcher, 5 OFs, MI, CI, 1 UT, 9 P, 3 bench, just like the Razzball Commenter Leagues (go sign up, you Big Chungus).  Anyway, here’s the best 2021 fantasy baseball team:

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Here’s a post that’s gonna make you wanna slap ya mama and tell her Don Magic Juan sends his best. The other day I told you how to draft your pitchers for 2021 fantasy baseball. I laid it out to you nice and simple (if you have a degree in “What The Hell Is Grey Talking About?” Not a PhD, mind you. Just a BS.) Today, we forget all that jabberwocky on the who-ha and get down to business old school-style (which means if you don’t comprehend, I will hit you over the head with a baseball bat signed by Joe Clark.) What I’m hoping to lay out to you is who do you draft 2nd, if you’ve drafted so and so first. I think it might be helpful to go through pairings for your 5 outfielders, all your middle and corner infielders too. I’m not sure I’ll have the time or patience to do them. We’ll see! Or not. Your choice. (Actually, my choice.) For easy reference, the royal we will be using the top 10 for 2021 fantasy baseball, top 20 for 2021 fantasy baseball, and the beginning of the top 100 for 2021 fantasy baseball. I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1 Utility, 1 Catcher league, similar to our Razzball Commenter Leagues. (Sign up for multiple leagues, and beat the heck out of your frenemies or make new frenemies!)  Anyway, here’s some pairings for the first two rounds of 2021 fantasy baseball drafts:

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The Fantasy Baseball War Room is back!  I’m not saying the Fantasy Baseball War Room is back, as in, is a butt. So, if Sir Mix-A-Lot is reading, I’m truly sorry for the confusion. Our Fantasy Baseball War Room is one part draft tool, one part fantasy team evaluator, one part fantasy junkie’s s’s and g’s tool, one part holy, two parts smokes, three parts… How many parts is that so far? Cause it’s only really seven parts total. I think there’s one part kill-your-day-with-this-war-room-thing-a-maboob-as-a-pinwheel-spins in there too.  Essentially, this helps you practice building a fantasy baseball team. Rudy also has a War Room that comes with Razzball subscriptions. His War Room is better and offsite, i.e., he’ll give you a link to download everything. I repeat, his War Room is better, but is not free. Ask anyone in the comments if Rudy’s War Room is better, they will say 100% it is better. This one is free, and janky at times. You’ve been warned, so you cannot complain.

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Pitch Arsenals. Tunneling. X-Stats. Exit Velocity. Spin rate.

The number, and complexity, of new stats to evaluate pitchers is amazing. No doubt, there are edges to be found by parsing this data. Some of the sharpest minds in baseball are assessing this mountain of information to better describe & predict player performance.

There is one pitching stat that captures the majority of what we fantasy players care about, is infinitely more accessible than all the new metrics, and has existed long before Statcast: K-BB% (strikeout % minus walk %).

Yeah, I’m not exactly revolutionizing baseball analysis here. 10 years ago, sharp fantasy managers were using this stat. K-BB% is simple. The more batters you strikeout, and the fewer you walk, the better. Outs are good, on-base is bad, and you’re wondering why you’re still reading. Can one metric (one that we’ve had for a long time) really encapsulate the complexities of pitching?

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On Dancer! On Prancer! On–Oh, I didn’t hear you come in. Welcome, reader! Grab some egg nog and brandy it up to the fire. You look festive. I love that Rudolph tongue ring. That’s the great thing about Christmas, no matter what your interpretation is, it’s all about commercialism. That’s unless you light the Munenori Kawasaki. The 2021 fantasy baseball rankings are not far away. Right now, January Grey is throwing darts at a board to figure out where to rank Randy Arozarena:  rookie, customer of Big Bossman’s Bail Bonds, and first ballot Hall of Famer — a triple threat! In the meantime, let’s look at the players who have multiple position eligibility for this upcoming 2021 fantasy baseball season. I did this list of multi-position eligible players because I figured it would help for your 2021 fantasy baseball drafts. I’m a giver, snitches! Happy Holidays! Seriously, in a year as crazy as 2020, take a moment and thank those you truly love:  Me.

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I’ve gone over potential strategy for wins, ERA & WHIP, strikeouts, batting average, steals, runs & RBIs, and home runs. Today, it’s, betcha can guess from the title, Saves! How many saw that coming? Terrible secret keeping when writing titles that are so descriptive. Like steals, saves actually do change pretty dramatically in a 60-game season. Unlike steals, not sure if they’re going to be quite as easy to find on waivers, or if those on waivers will be as worthwhile. It would be a weird year for someone to just discover fantasy baseball. Imagine this was someone’s first season. “So, you don’t always punt starters completely? You don’t think Oscar Mercado could be as valuable as Mike Trout? Was it all lies?!” That’s a 1st time fantasy baseballer screaming into the pounding of rain in a torrential thunderstorm. That person seems slightly unhinged. Come in from the rain, man. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for saves?

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I believe an overlooked part of draft/auction strategy is finding pools of players that are consistently undervalued. This fits best with a “maximize value” draft strategy, the goal being to add the maximum value onto your team as possible. It can be combined with a “get your guys” strategy, but this analysis is player agnostic.

To do this, I’ve taken to preparing for drafts by analyzing how the market (ADP) prices various fantasy assets as compared to projections. The process:

  • Take the last 3 year’s worth of  data
    • ADP data from NFBC
    • Projected $ value from my home league
    • Translate ADP to $ value by assigning the top player my top $ value, descending (this removes bias from my valuation methodology)
  • Break the pool up into various buckets of players
    • SP bucket, RPs, Hitters
  • Graph the descending values against each other

These value curves provide us a look into how the market prices pools of players, and help us plan how to allocate resources.

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Finally, a straightforward post about fantasy baseball strategy for a 60-game season. I gave you fantasy baseball strategy for batting average in 60 games and basically shrugged, gave you fantasy baseball strategy for wins in 60 games, which I wrote like a high schooler who had to write 1,000 words on what I did this summer, and wrote a couple hundred really’s. None of this is going to be easy, which I think is why it will be fun. But will this be like your usual fantasy baseball season? No, not at all. Starters will be like following fantasy football advice if guys you drafted were only to play once every fifth game, and 12 times all year. It’s a bit ludicrous, if I’m being honest. Fun when compared to real life? You’re crazy if you don’t think so right now, or have tunneled your ostrich head so far into the sand you can’t see daylight. So, with a 60-game season, what is a fantasy baseball strategy for strikeouts?

Please, blog, may I have some more?