Last week we covered why you should join and 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. I covered this info last year, Big Odio has covered/ranted in the comments plenty about it as well. 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. Frequent players, feel free to skip ahead.
Should you take all my advice as gospel? Nah, you do you, I’ll do me and we’ll both be happy. All I can give you is a voice of experience. I’ve played in these leagues for quite some time in some very tough leagues. I’m not the best player around, but I can hold my own. I’m here to help you do the same. No one wants to be fighting for 11th place, so here we go!
The first and 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 good bye 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.
You see, one of the easiest ways to move up the standings is to exploit the fact that there are no “Games Played” limits on your offensive roster and no “Innings Pitched” limits on your pitching staff. The only limit in these leagues is “Games Started” for your pitchers. Therefore, all your relief appearances are essentially free stats. That’s free Ks and the potential free win. Along these same lines, 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 or two as well as my UTIL spot and sometimes my final OF spot and CI spot. Although those last two aren’t necessarily ideal.
You are allowed to make moves for the next day the instant the first game of the current day starts. You can maybe see now why having no life is helpful. If you can plan out your moves and snag them all up right after lineups have locked for the day, then you’re all set for the next day. However, right before lineups lock you’ll have to check to make sure all your batty calls are actually in the lineup for the day. It’s for this reason, if it’s a split schedule day that I like to pick up guys playing in the day games. If you batty call has a night game and gets a cramp pregame, you are S.O.L. in regards to swapping him out. In short, just clear your schedule for a half hour before and after lineup lock of each day in order to make sure you’re running a full lineup out there and get first dibs on the next day’s grabs. Also, find a more reliable source for lineup info than ESPN. Twitter is very helpful in this regard. Shameless Plug Alert! See my Razzball Guide to MLB Twitter for who to follow to help with this quick lineup news.
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 striking 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 like Hyun Soo Kim 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!
I would always 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. This year Grey has upped the fun factor of the ‘Perts league even more and brought in Cram It, our resident RCL guru (overall winner two seasons ago, 2nd place last year) 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. You can click the “Razzball ‘Perts League” title above for a handy link for your bookmarking pleasure.
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. ESPN leagues offer a nice view of BvP data when perusing the FA market as well. That can come in handy when the seconds are ticking towards lineup lock and you don’t have time to spare pulling up the HitterTron.
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 half your team everyday and do your due diligence in sniffing out those good match-ups. Of course, the less you enjoy being seen in public, the better for your RCL teams.
We’ve got four leagues worth of draft data to peek at as Razzballers just couldn’t contain themselves and just had to draft in February. You sirs (and 5 ladies) are sick puppies. Nonetheless, being first to draft means first to be criticized, so we’ll dive into the numbers and see what’s going on in the early draft season.
THE FIRST PICK OF THE 2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT IS
Mike Trout, Mike Trout, Mike Trout and Mike Trout…well, that’s not very exciting is it? Let’s take a look at number two instead. A different player has been taken 2nd overall in each of the first four drafts. They are in ADP order: Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve and Nolan Arenado. I’m all aboard the Mookie express myself, but I wouldn’t throw Goldy out of bed either. If I had to take Altuve or Arenado at number 2, I’m taking Arenado, but to each their own.
WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ NFBC ADP
We’ve got RCL ADP! Here’s a list from our 4 league sample of some guys I’m lusting for this year and some general notes. If there’s an ADP you’re curious about for my next update, fire away and I’ll add them to the chart next time out. This time around I decided to look at some of the kids everyone is excited to draft.
I’m excited as the next guy for Trea Turner, but wow, #5!
Outliers are always fun and I have to wonder if #29 for Schwarber is his high water mark for all RCL drafts. Cubs fan?
I’m in love with David Dahl…OK…Coors Field, but still! I want as much Dahl as I can get my hands on and an ADP of 65 is totally fair.
Alex Bregman is a guy I’m curious about for this year and it seems RCLers have pretty much nailed his draft position.
As much as I want Dahl, I want all the Benny Beastmode. I’ve already expressed my love to Grey and I’ve got him even higher than the 85 he was drafted at here…yup.
Byron Buxton is another player I’m hoping to get a lot of exposure to. I better be playing in 10 OF leagues this year because I have OF targets for days!
I’m a Braves fan and this one even has me puzzled. Dansby Swanson is great, he’s going to be great. I hope to see him locking down SS for the Braves for the next 15 seasons, but I’ll be the first to admit, he’s not terribly exciting for fantasy. I’d much rather have Tim Anderson 20 spots later.
Finally, Greg Bird has the early distinction of the most bi-polar draft position. Bird was taken 135 in one league and left completely undrafted in another. Whoa.
I know I got a lot of great feedback on offering this last year, so for those of you that wish to dive deeper into the ADP data and/or prep for an upcoming draft, here is the link to all the RCL ADP data:
I told you I was a numbers nerd. Now you can take a look at any player you want as more and more data is collected. I’ll be keeping that sheet up to date as I collect draft data, so bookmark it and check back often. Speaking of RCL drafts!
TO JOIN A LEAGUE
Click the LINK in the ‘League Link’ column (see below grid) and enter the PASSWORD at ESPN. Emails are there for some leagues, but you shouldn’t need to email anyone. You can join as many leagues as you like.
TO START A LEAGUE
Please create a league in ESPN based on the league rules reference above. Step by step: Hit Create. Then Create ESPN Custom (middle option), Name League, Change to 12 Teams, Restriction Type: None, Open to All Users, Access: change to Private, create Password, leave as Roto and Snake, Make Draft Date and Time, Create. From Default settings all you have to do is change to TWO DL SLOTS and 180 Starts by pitchers. So, you go to ROSTERS and Click “Edit Roster Settings.” There, change to 2 DL Slots and 180 Starts (the counter will change to 20.0 per slot). Then SUBMIT Roster Settings. Finally, Create Your League! (Important Note: Make sure league is viewable to public but requiring a password to avoid non-Razzballers joining.) When that’s finished, click here. You will be permissioned shortly so you can add your league info to the Google Doc (the below grid cannot be edited from this page). On that Google Doc, you will need to enter your name, league link, password and please UPDATE the number of openings as your league fills up. That’s it. Oh, and don’t use your bank account password. (Here’s a video Jay made to help some noobs. Is noobs spelled with zeroes or oh’s? Hmm, that might make me a noob at spelling noob.) You can start as many leagues as you like. If you start less than ten leagues, again someone could mock you.
Want to be my Twitter pal? That’s kinda creepy, but you can follow me here: @MattTruss