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Friday, March 23, 2012

Draft Week!

Four drafts in the next 8 days!  Can't wait to get started tomorrow...

My leagues, for the record:

Tomorrow:
20-Team Semi-Dynasty League:
5x5 (w/ QS in lieu of Wins), Mixed, Auction ($200 budget), 10 keepers, 3 minor leaguers, Roto

Sunday:
FSIC Expert League:
11 Teams, 5x5, AL-Only, Snake, Roto

Tuesday:
BlogTalk Radio Podcast League:
14 Teams, 5x5, Mixed, Snake, Roto

Next Saturday:
My Friends League:
12 Teams, 5x5, Mixed, Auction ($260), 3 keepers, Roto

So, no head-to-head leagues, no public leagues, and no 10-team leagues.  For several years I've limited myself to just 4 leagues.  Some people can't understand why so many, but the hardcore fantasy players might be asking the exact opposite.  Why so few?  Hmm, well I ask myself that as well.  I'd love to be in 8-10 leagues if I could, but there is really a diminishing rate of return and I find that after 4 leagues I lose focus and it becomes more work than fun.  And, it's even less fun when you are losing.  I should be able to stay competitive with 4, but I'll keep you posted as we go with strategic insights that can help you (not just to talk about my leagues... I am here to help, after all).

I'll post draft results all next week and give you some ideas of where I did well and where I went wrong.  It might be too late to help you in your drafts this year, but around here we are all about evolving into a better fantasy player.  So, let's compare notes and get incrementally better.  If you begin to think more critically about your baseball drafts it can have value for you in the Fall with your football drafts.  And we'll come back even stronger next Spring too.

I anticipate that the FSIC Expert League will be the biggest challenge, but that is primarily because it is an 11-team AL-Only league.  That, and the competitors are all people who create fantasy baseball content, so they'll know what they are talking about.  Should be a good time.

The Podcast League has at least 5 experts in it as well, so that will be a semi-expert league of sorts.  Should be lots of fun.

The 20-teamer is very interesting.  I made a strategic error in the inaugural season that I'd like to share with you.  That league has $4,000 ($200 budget for 20 teams) chasing 500 players (25-man roster) for an $8 average per player.  The typical 23-man roster league has 12 teams and a $260 budget, so you'd be looking at $3,120 chasing 276 players for an average of over $11 per player.  My thinking, therefore, was that if I spent on second and third tier players I could scoop up tons of players in the $10-$15 range and have a great roster from top to bottom, which would give me a great advantage over the long haul in this huge 20-team league.  Plus, that would give me great trade fodder and keepers next year.

When the league started I saw all of the studs going for standard 12-team cheatsheet pricing, if not more.  I was licking my chops... all of those second tier guys would be even cheaper because no one had any money left!  So, after about 45 players were off the board I started bidding.  I hit on a few: Howard Kendrick for $7, Dan Haren for $13, Jaime Garcia for $7, Pablo Sandoval for $17... but I also missed on a few, like Rajai Davis for $14 and Kendrys Morales for $20.  My pitching was exceptional early on and I led the league for about 8 weeks, but then I started the long, slow fade.  I finished in 9th place, which I suppose isn't terrible in a 20-team league, but the primary reason is that most of my competitors were buoyed up by a couple of high-priced studs.  I just didn't have a stable foundation.

So this year, after the 10 keepers, the average auction money left is $94 per team.  With all of my low-cost moves I've got $156 to spend, which is second-most in the league.  The problem is that there just aren't a lot of studs available since most teams kept theirs... another thing I didn't expect.  I'm going to have to over-spend for guys like Hanley Ramirez, A-Rod, and Carl Crawford.  Studs who were thrown back for good reason.  Ugh.  The problem is that if I don't I will be spending big money on guys like Mark Trumbo and Alexei Ramirez.  Pickings are slim, so I'm going to let the dollars fly.

Here's to hoping that I don't have to spend $32 on Mark Reynolds.