The only thing more boring than listening to someone talk about their fantasy team is to read a post writing about their hordes of teams.

So feel free to stop reading if you came here for advice vs. updates on our teams.  We only ask that if you do read, keep reading after the first couple.

Tout Wars – 15 Team (Snake)

Standings 9th (79 pts)
1st place Perry Van Hook of Mastersball (110 pts)
Last place Brent Hershey of BaseballHQ (35.5 pts)
Summary We gambled on pitching in this league (first 5 picks offense and the SP/RP wildcard Aroldis with our 6th pick).  While we did a good job stitching together a pitching staff (~50 points) thanks to 7th round pick Latos, late round pick Shelby Miller, reserve pick Paul Maholm, and first week FAAB pickup Justin Masterson, the offense has been hurt by the combo of Jason Heyward and BJ Upton.  If those two can turn it around and the pitching holds up, we maybe have a shot at least making it interesting.

LABR – 15 Team Mixed (Snake)

Our Place 10th (64 pts)
1st place Fred Zinkie of (129.5 pts)
Last place Clay Davenport (44.5 pts)
Summary So cruel.  We have the 5th best offense so far (55 pts) and are in the top 1/3 in all 5 offensive categories despite our OF getting ravaged by injuries (we had 3/5th of our starting OF on the DL for May – A-Jax, Reddick, and Bourjos).  Unlike last year, we’re getting production from our early picks – notably 1st round pick Justin Upton and 2nd round pick Paul Goldschmidt.  But our pitching staff has been crushed by disappointments and injuries.  We only have 9 pitching points and are in last in 3 of the 5 categories.  How does that happen?  We purposely drafted a deep pitching staff only to have Greinke and Garza miss a ton of time and reserve picks Wily Peralta and Felix Doubront struggle in their place.  Our two drafted closers (Axford and Rondon) failed to record one save.  Other pitching disappointments include Beckett, Estrada, and Niese.  I would expect us to gain some points along the way in pitching now that the staff is generally healthy but I can’t imagine this team competing.

Yahoo! Friends & Family – 14 Team Mixed (Snake)

Our Place 12th (53 pts)
1st place Andy Behrens – Yahoo! (105.5 pts)
Last place Brandon Funston – Yahoo! (37 pts)
Summary This is the 2nd straight year that I (Rudy) was the primary drafter for this league and screwed the pooch.  The offense might’ve been average to above average if it hadn’t been torpedoed by BJ Upton and Ike Davis.  The pitching staff is the bigger disappointment, though. 2nd round pick Justin Verlander has only been himself in K’s only (3.70/1.36) and Yovani Gallardo + Ian Kennedy have been awful.  Later picks Lance Lynn and Derek Holland have helped.  Like with LABR, our bullpen evaporated almost immediately with Axford and Hanrahan.  We’ve picked up Heath Bell but that’s not nearly enough.  Starting to think we’re snake bit in this league.

Yahoo! Hero Sandwich – 14 Team Mixed (Auction)

Our Place 2nd (100 pts)
1st place Pete – Yahoo! Commenter? (104.5 pts)
Last place Jason – Yahoo! Commenter (44 pts)
Summary This is a Pro-Am league that Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski runs.  Our team’s offense has been incredible with 68 of a possible 70 points driven mainly by offensive depth.  Paul Goldschmidt and Jean Segura are two notable value picks.  The pitching has had its challenges due to injuries but we have been below IP pace so there are Wins/K points to be had.  I imagine we’ll be either trading some offense for pitching or doing a lot of streaming going forward.

CBS Sports – 12 team AL-only (Auction)

Our Place 8th (53.5 pts)
1st place Tie – Mike Gianella – BaseballProspectus and Greg Morgan/Todd Zola – Mastersball (88.5 pts)
Last place Tie – and  Fantasy Sports Empires (46 pts)
Summary This was a league we won last year but just swung and missed at the draft.  Josh Reddick, Jesus Montero, and Brett Wallace were washouts and there just isn’t anything available in free agency.  That nets to a below-average offense including last in HRs.  The pitching hasn’t been much better though it has helped so far that Matt Moore is our #1 pitcher.

CBS Sports – 12 team NL-only (Auction)

Our Place 4th (75 pts)
1st place Tie – Christopher Kreush/Todd Zola – Mastersball (87 pts)
Last place
Summary This team’s offense has been killing it (57 out of a possible 60 pts) led by Jean Segura, A-Gonz, Anthony Rizzo, and Hunter Pence.  The pitching is the only thing keeping us from first place with 18 pts including 12 in Saves.  One significant reason for that is Aroldis Chapman was the guy we drafted as our top starter.  Our ERA/WHIP will be tough to improve upon but Wins/K’s can always be improved just by throwing a lot of GS.

FantasyPros911 – 11 team AL-only (Auction) –  Rudy-only

Our Place 2nd (80 pts)
1st place Jason Mastrodonato of (81 pts)
Last place Ryan Dodson of KFFL (25.5 pts)
Summary This team had been in first place for most of the season until the last couple of days.  The offense (37 pts) and pitching (43 pts) are both solid as I’ve been lucky enough to avoid major injuries.  The biggest strength of this team has been starting pitching as I’ve been able to throw 7-8 starters a week that include Derek Holland, Justin Masterson, Jake Peavy, and Anibal Sanchez.  I have 38 wins – the next team has 31 wins.  I have 502 K’s – only 3 other teams have over 400 Ks.  Barring major injuries, this team should finish in the top 3.

NFBC – 15 team Mixed (Snake) – Rudy-only

Our Place 5th (94 pts)
1st place
Joseph Palazzo (112 pts)
Last place Jeffrey Barachy (31 pts)
Summary This is my first foray into NFBC.  It’s a format where you draft 50 players and then cannot make any trades or free agent pickups throughout the year.  My team has bounced between 3rd and 7th for most of May.  My offense has been very good (52.5 pts) – particularly when you consider that I’ve gotten nothing out of my 1st round pick (Stanton).  I luckily missed Ike Davis when drafting 1Bs in the 7th/8th round (Rizzo, Trumbo) and my punt MI strategy turned out pretty well (Murphy, Kendrick, Yunel and a flier on Nick Franklin).  Starlin Marte has helped to compensate for Desmond Jennings’ shortcomings.  I drafted a ton of starting pitching (I estimated that I was #1 in projected IP) and have needed it as I currently have 5 starters on the DL (Baker, Beckett, Billingsley, Vogelsong, and Westbrook).  My team started poorly in ratios thanks to Beckett and Vogelsong (and a less than ace Sabathia) but made up some significant ground this week based on a ridiculous 46 IP, 6 W, 4 SV, 1.37 ERA, 0.848 WHIP, 45 K line).  Hoping this team can stay healthy and make a run for 1st place.

RCL Expert League – 12 team Mixed (Snake)

Our Place Rudy – 2nd place (88 pts), Grey – 5th place (73.5 pts)
1st place
Mike Podhorzer of FanGraphs/RotoGraphs (90.5 pts)
Last place Scott Pianowski of Yahoo! (38 pts)
Summary We saved this one for last since Vin does such a great job at covering this league in his weekly posts.  Much like last year, Rudy’s team has been solid on offense (35.5 pts) and stellar in pitching (52.5 pts).  It’s in the top 2 for Wins and K’s despite being last in the league in GS – thanks to a 5-some of Lee/F-Her/Lynn/Holland/Masterson.  If only Ike Davis hadn’t sucked so bad and Josh Rutledge didn’t get demoted.  Grey’s team has had a ridiculous May for offense – led by Domonic Brown and Paul Goldschmidt.  Unfortunately, his pitching hasn’t followed as Greinke/Gallardo have been a rough 1-2 and David Price got hurt right after Grey traded Machado/Perkins for him.  Grey is also below league average in GS so has a number of possible W/K points to pick up as the season goes on.
  1. OaktownSteve says:

    Interesting that nobody left a comment here. *Hello* *Echo*. My guess is that there’s a slight discomfort among the gentry seeing the Razz crew not in first and dominating every league.

    How tough are the tout league compared to the average public league? I figure folks are on their stuff because they have a public persona to uphold. But they are also in a gaggle of leagues so I wonder how much attention can go to each.

    It’s tough being a tout in some ways, I would imagine. Your laundry is all out there on the line.

    • @OaktownSteve: The players in Tout are very good but the bigger challenge is the format. When you have 15 teams + weekly changes + a $100 FAAB budget (with $1 being the minimum), your options become limited for improving your team.

      If you draft well and avoid injuries, this is fine. As I detailed above, bad breaks are really hard to overcome. Trading is possible but that presumes you’ve got depth somewhere else which is tough to achieve. (Yahoo! F&F is 14 teams, daily pickups, no FAAB budget, but is extremely competitive towards picking up players. I think Heath Bell is the only time we’ve beaten everyone to the punch)

      So when it’s April and you have no closers in two of your three leagues (LABR, Y! F&F) or you’ve lost two of your top 3 pitchers (LABR), it’s tough to overcome.

      Everyone’s in the same boat so I try to stay gracious to those doing well (like mentioning them in the above). Hopefully when we win one of these leagues, someone returns the favor :)

      • OaktownSteve says:

        @Rudy Gamble:

        I was thinking about my NFBC team today. Went from 130 points and huge lead to 4th in about 2.5 weeks with injuries and slumps. I agree that in many ways the NFBC style is the most challenging format with the best players. I’m sure tout leagues are comparable. But I’m actually finding that I just don’t enjoy it as much.

        I used to be kind of down on the RCL leagues format (gimmicky with the games started, too shallow, first come first serve pick ups, daily changes) but I’ve completely changed my tune. I’m doing a lot of streaming again this year and it actually gives you some of the action feel you get from the daily leagues. Kind of the best of both worlds. There are a lot of options for actively managing both tactically and strategically.

        Nice work as usual Rudy. You guys are aces.

        • @OaktownSteve: I hear you. I soured for a while on the 12-team MLB format and it’s now my favorite. While I still get frustrated that I never seem to be the first in to snag an appointed closer, I like being able to stream hitters and pitchers (although since i’m the originator of SoN and Hitter-tron, there is a meta quality to any successes there).

          I’m liking NFBC a lot b/c I feel like it rewards me for having a deep draft board.

          Good luck in RCL and always good to hear from ya!

          • OaktownSteve says:

            @Rudy Gamble:

            Zinkie is in my NFBC league, by the way. Kind of cool.

            I’m in a 3 team dogfight in the RCL. I like my positioning. I have the fewest games started and I’ve had lately (Utley, Henderson, Harper, Freeman) and a couple of slow starters on offense. 38th I think in the overall and a close third in the league.

            • @OaktownSteve: Zinkie’s a solid player – he’s done well the past 1.33 seasons in LABR. Congrats on RCL so far. Good luck the rest of the way.

  2. natty lite says:

    I, too, would prefer to see razzball domination. I have rudy and grey to thank for my first and second place standing (and first in razzball league but I don’t think that counts). Out of curiosity what is the NFBC format? I’m still pretty fresh to fantasy.

  3. MrMojoRisin says:

    I think Grey and Rudy’s somewhat disappointing standings in their leagues just show how much luck is involved at the highest levels.
    Just look at Greinke who they have on multiple teams, if he isn’t tackled by someone from a Whale’s Vagina then…
    I also bet the early draft dates are pretty hampering as well. Especially considering how many times they drafted Aroldis as their SP1

    • Yeah, there’s definitely some luck involved but you learn something every year in a format. Last year, we didn’t draft a deep enough pitching staff. This year, I think we should’ve drafted closers earlier in LABR and F&F (we corrected for this in Tout by grabbing Reed albeit getting stuck w/ Axford again…we ended up with a 2nd closer b/c of Chapman) and I’d use different FAAB tactics if in this situation again (spend heavily to back up your closers and, if that fails, clear the bench for a bunch of $1 MRs…I had Mujica, Brothers and Bell on assorted FAAB lists).

  4. Paddyman says:

    It’s kind of comforting to hear of struggles of the experts. First year in RCL league and in 11th due to pitching woes(Morrow, Estrada, Anderson..). never seem to get the hot pick up either. Pretty competitive razzers out there! Fun though. It’ll be interesting to hear how you do over the next trimester. Do you stick with the slumpers, ship em or do they turn it all around before you kick em to the curb? I enjoy these updates. There’s an element of humility in it and calling a spade, a spade. Appreciate your candor sir! Good luck moving forward!

    • @Paddyman: Thanks. In most of these formats, there isn’t much flexibility outside of trades to transform your team. Luckily, some of our slumpers are making it easier not to play them by getting injured (Estrada). Grey and I were just chatting about how we just got back Greinke/Garza in LABR and now we’ve lost Estrada/Peavy/Beckett (and Niese missed a game). I’m just pissed I didn’t do a better job with bench/FAAB SPs. Frigin’ Wily Peralta, ugh. I stand by the Doubront pick up. Love his K-rate.

  5. Jef says:

    This was great, thanks. I also appreciate the honest assessment of your teams and I’m looking forward to the 2nd and 3rd trimester sonograms. Do you find yourself going to the well to the same players in different leagues, or do you try to differentiate your drafts in order to not throw all your eggs in one basket? I definitely go with the latter; Dom Brown is the only player I have on all of my teams. In my RCL I tried to draft counter-intuitively to what I picked up in other leagues by following your rankings (Stras early, Reyes, Miguel Montero early) since I figured we were all using the same source…sitting 7th, it hasn’t worked out. So I keep telling myself that as long as I finish higher than Sky it’ll be a success, ha.

    • @Jef: I think I try to differentiate a bit more than Grey. Grey has stronger feelings about certain players and tends to pick them everywhere. I think this is partly a ‘put your money where your mouth is’ thing. Sometimes it works (Goldschmidt), sometimes it doesn’t (Estrada, Niese). Though I can’t blame Grey for the reason we have Axford on so many expert teams. Neither of us really liked him. It just seemed like we were in bad positions when closer runs happened and we both agreed that there weren’t any closers that were worth reaching for (I love Kimbrel but in 15-team leagues, I don’t want to spent a top 6 pick on a closer – need all the offense and SP you can get)

      I prefer to differentiate – if I have a coin flip decision in one league (two players of fairly equal value), I’ll choose heads in one and tails in the other. Let’s me follow more players. But I find certain players always end up at the top of my draft board and I won’t run away from value. Some guys this year include Holland, Masterson, Beckett (ugh), and Hunter Pence. Lucky I only ended up with Ian Kennedy on one team. Unlucky to end up with Rizzo on just one team (NFBC) as his value skyrocketed in expert leagues.

      My rankings had Reyes early. No way. Strasburg, yeah. Montero, maybe. But Reyes can’t be blamed on my rankings (maybe Grey’s?).

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