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.

Health

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.

  1. Tehol Beddict says:
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    KILL THE HEADLIGHTS AND PUT IT NEUTRAL!!!!! You’re a legend. !!!!

    • FrankGrimes says:
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      @Tehol Beddict:
      he is where’s it’s at!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha, thanks Tehol! Or should I say, ‘shave your face with some mace in the dark’.

  2. Zeus says:
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    Nice win, congrats. So with no pickups what is the closer strategy? Robertson was good with job security and Jansen was a bargain. Did you consider drafting their backups? Also how many replacement closers were actually drafted this year?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Thanks! My closer strategy was to get two high end closers with as safe of job security as possible. I took one shot in the dark on Walden because I’m not a Rosenthal fan but like I say in bold above, ‘don’t draft middle relievers’. It’s a 15 team league and there aren’t enough roster spots to gamble on backups. Your goal is to luck on on your closers and maximize AB/IP.

  3. FrankGrimes says:
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    what up sky
    I miss youuuuuu

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Haha, Grimey! I’m here!

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    I honestly thought that picture was Peggy from Mad Men

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Grey: I thought that was you in college

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Nah, I thought I was black, not female

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Grey: so what are you thinking you are now?

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Same same

            • J-FOH says:
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              @Grey: I ain’t hatin’ I just don’t know if Hollywood changed a brotha’

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Can’t change me

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  that explains the underwear.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Makes you wonder how many random weirdo grifters who find themselves in LA to make ‘art’ look like Peggy.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        It’s a common look… There’s whole groups of Peggys

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Are they called ‘THOTs’ now?

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            TPOT

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              As long as ‘P’ doesn’t stand for ‘Pegboy’, I’m fine with this.

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Perfect!

  5. Left Hangs Lower says:
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    Thinking about doing one of these leagues next year.

    It’s a live draft, right? Estimated time? 3 hours?

    Also, does the NFBC site do the hosting for the teams and all that or is that outsourced elsewhere?

    Finally, how much money did you win? Got to be rewarding as heck.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Left Hangs Lower: I believe this league was a slow draft, it takes a long time

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It’s a slow draft. It started early March. If I remember correctly, every person had a reasonable amount of time to make a pick. Can’t remember how much, though.

      NFBC hosts the teams; I have their app on my phone.

      It should be $1,500 but I’ll confirm that once I get the actual check!

      • Left Hangs Lower says:
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        @Sky:

        Gotcha. Is there a live-draft option? Just curious. Probably better that it’s slow draft because hell I know what I’m doing past round 30.

        How would you rate the app/site compared to Yahoo, which is what I use?

        Went back to see your selections. Round 50 Logan Forsythe! That was sweet.

        But not as sweet as that check. That’s awesome.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          There are a lot of different options, you’d have to look over their site to see what works best for you. The slow draft definitely helped at round 30+!

          The app is alright. Better to set your rosters at a computer but that’s just because of not being able to see matchups on your phone (but you can’t with the Yahoo app either, so it’s same/same). Nothing really big to write home about but definitely not a hindrance.

          Ha, thanks! Really just thought I was getting a swiss army knife to fill in for multiple injuries. He basically became my starting 2B around May and never left my lineup.

      • Kirk says:
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        @Sky: 8 hours to pick.

        This is the third year I have done it and my best showing, 4th.

        I fell into the “gamble on MR who might close on some point pit.” Next year, I follow your advice.

        Nice win Sky! Hopefully see you next year.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Gotcha and thanks! Yeah, MR heavy just means you gamble late on your arms. Gotta max out that IP. Hope to see you next year!

  6. royce! says:
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    Well done, Sky! Great top 3 picks, and huge values with Burns and Forsythe. But as you note, it really comes down to daily management, which is all you.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Thanks Royce!(!) Minus his second half HR/9 binge, Scherzer was as advertised. Nolan I just thought I had 30 HRs coming. He broke out a little bigger than I expected this year! But yeah, there are some weeks starting a backup over a surefire starter makes a lot of sense. Over the course of the season, they can be pivotal to catch.

    • Christine Michael: one Unlucky Whitehead (just pop him or not) says:
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      @royce!: he said specifically that it’s NOT about daily management, they set their lineups weekly in this league and can make NO adds entire year. Direct opposite of daily management.

  7. Cram It says:
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    Congrats brah! Way to represent.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Thanks Cram!

  8. nick the dick says:
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    Good stuff you fantastic specimen

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Haha, late response but thanks Nick!

  9. Happy Vegans says:
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    Sea Change is still one of the best albums I’ve ever heard… yeah, I’m the one guy who thinks that! ‘Lost Cause’ is top 5 in my Ipod.

    Congrats on the finish! ‘Tis very difficult to do.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’m more hip to his Midnight Vultures work and on back. More groove and pastiche, but that’s just how I think of Beck. Sea Change was a great show of range for him as an artist.

      And thank you!

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