Things can start simply and end up a classic. Or at the very least, well remembered…ok, just remembered. I don’t know, it’s Beck, you view him as you see him. I liked him but never thought he was going to be a superstar. How does a guy win a Grammy when the first lyrics people heard from him contain, ‘With the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables, dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose?’ Even people tripping on acid would say he’s too far gone with that kind of writing. Either way, here we are over 20 years after his break into the industry and he has some hardware on his mantle for his 12th studio album. I’m sure some would say the industry was just saying ‘We didn’t get it 20 years ago’ by giving him the prize now and by ‘some’ I mean ‘Kanye.’ Regardless, we’re not here to talk about Beck but in keeping with the Grammy theme, I just won myself Best New Artist of the NFBC $150 Draft Champions league I was in. Yup, you can put me up there with the big names now like Hootie & The Blowfish, Paula Cole, Esperanza Spalding…ok, maybe/hopefully this isn’t a trend as I’d love to win more than one in my currently illustrious NFBC career. It was an interesting league to be a part of and I will break down how I done won it below. Join me, will you? (BTW, you might know me as the DFS guy on the site. You might also know DFS is getting hit hard by people (legislators) trying to get FanDuel and DraftKings to cut states into their kitty. I’m all about putting hands in the kitty, but not this way. To offer support, fill out this petition.) Anyway, here’s a recap of how I came out a champion in my 15 team NFBC league for 2015 Fantasy Baseball…
Let’s get down to brass tacks by pointing you backwards. You can read about my initial draft and thoughts on it here. It would seem weird to reprise that which you can go see with your own eyes so no need to go over what my team looks like so click away, clickopotamus, I’ll be right here waiting for you until you get back. Oh, you’re back, how I’ve missed you! For those who didn’t click, that sentence was probably jarring. I’ll now wait for you to settle and collect your thoughts. Oh now you’re back, too! Now I get to direct you to another link! This is a breakdown of the overall standings at the end of the year here. Feel free to peruse and then we can again move on. Sweet, with that over, let’s take a look at what went right with my team.
I can’t stress it enough, yes there is strategy to playing in a league this deep, but the main underlying theme is health when it’s all said and done. I was able to start anywhere between five and seven starters a week as needed if I wanted to without much hassle. I also didn’t really deal with getting needled by injuries on the hitting side which would force my hand out of maximizing ABs. Carlos Santana was pretty much crap all year but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t useful by playing every day. When health forces your team into playing a guy who only gets 10 AB in a given week, you’re just not going to win a league like this. So in that respect, I am simply reflecting I was lucky to not have 10 to 12 main guys on the DL at the same time over a long stretch. Luck is a factor in all leagues but especially leagues with no FA or trades.
Proven & Ugly Can Beat Unproven & Sexy
Jon Niese? Snore. Jason Hammel? BORING. R.A. Dickey? Zzzzzzzz…and yet, this is what made up a majority of my pitching staff for the year. It’s really fun to speculate on prospects and when they’ll play but you can’t stream a pitcher while you wait in a league like this. I was able to build a sizable lead in Ks to start the year simply by having tons of arms to throw out there. There were a lot of young arms that went early and were worthless by May/June for their owners. There were other young guns that came up too late to help them gain ground because of injuries to other players or just not being able to keep up. You have to maximize your IP and your AB in this game and I wanted solid pitchers who had shown they could at least pitch 180 IP. I didn’t really take too many risks in this league and it made my team look pretty fugly but what can I say, fugly puts out. Wait, what? Anywho, this was a large part of my strategy when fielding a roster for this league and it did pay dividends.
Knowing Your Shizz
Hey, this is where the skill comes in. Danny Valencia – when he was with Toronto, mind you – had a stretch where at home he got three lefties in four days. Meanwhile, Alex Gordon had a stretch at home so I sat Alex. Rogers Centre is 4th best for righty bats in terms of HRs while Kauffman is middling to near the bottom for lefty bats. I got 2 HRs for the week out of a guy who at the time was just a utility player. All that stuff about ballpark factors, hitter/pitcher splits is true if given a large enough sample size to pay out. I learned early on that Rubby de la Rosa didn’t do well against lefty-heavy lineups in hitter’s parks so I started him when/where he should’ve been. Drew Hutchison was terrible on the road but pristine at home for about 2 months. Once I noted that, I didn’t play him on the road and got 10 of his 13 wins while garnering minimal ERA/WHIP damage along the way. Wilmer Flores rakes against lefties and gets two over the next five days? Well, he’s probably a better start than Addison Russell who has been batting 9th in the order. These are all factors you have to break down when assessing your weekly lineups if you have a healthy enough roster to make those decisions.
Don’t Draft Middle Relievers
Seriously, just don’t. If you didn’t follow the fugly section, you are here to maximize your IP and ABs. You’re not maximizing your IP starting multiple RP which is what you’d be doing if you didn’t draft a large amount of starting pitchers and start dealing with injuries to your regulars.
Remember How You Drafted In Your RCL? Yeah, Don’t Do That
Keeping in a similar vein to the ‘don’t draft MR’ section, this draft requires the exact opposite skill set than the RCL set up. RCL, you go upside crazy in the draft knowing full well you can make roster moves in season to make up for your failed attempts. You draft bad young arms like Nathan Eovaldi and Drew Hutchison? Don’t worry, you can go pick up Edinson Volquez and a middle reliever with a high K rate now and then drop them and pick up another hot arm and then another and another and another…yeah, you get the idea. If you’re going to take chances, take them late. I got extremely lucky to draft Addison Russell to back up my Javier Baez faux pas. To some, Gregory Polanco was a large chance by me but the Pirates had already traded away his top competitor for playing time in Travis Snider so I knew he had a longer leash than other ‘risky’ plays. Obviously, some I’m sure would assume Nolan Arenado was a sexy upside reach by me but like JD Martinez, I have guys I like and believe in. I wasn’t drafting sexy there but more so someone who’s ‘my guy.’ It doesn’t always work out (read: Travis Snider) but at times it does (read: Billy Burns). In essence, upside is fun and makes you feel like you had the coolest draft but it’s not the best route to success in the NFBC format to go crazy with it.
In the end with a little luck, a little skill and overall a balanced team I was able to haul in the big prize. This kind of league isn’t for everyone but if you like seeing how good of a drafter you are and seeing it play out over the course of the season, this kind of thing is for you.