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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The All-Balance Team, 2015

The prevailing wisdom in auction leagues is something called 'Stars and Scrubs.'  The idea here is that you invest heavily in a few guys to anchor your team since top-end talent is rare and is usually the difference maker in a long season.  Plus, your bench guys and waiver wire guys are more or less interchangeable since you just need a guy to plug in once in a blue moon.

That's all well and good, but I've got a few issues with that:

  1. Too many eggs in too few baskets.  If Trout or Kershaw go down with an injury, there goes 20% of your auction money.
  2. Bench guys do not have to be cheapies.  They can have real value if you plan well, and let me tell you, there is a world of difference between an $8 guy and a $1 replacement player.
  3. In leagues with daily lineup changes flexibility is king.  Imagine a world where all of your guys are roughly equivalent and many of them play multiple positions?  You can play the matchups every blasted day... No more pitching in Coors or batting in Petco.  No more batting versus Kershaw and King Felix.  Nagging injury?  No problem!
Okay, so many leagues are 12 teams with a $260 budget.  In most of those leagues you're going to draft anywhere from 22-29 players, something like that.  To make the math easy, let's just say you are looking to grab 26 players with your $260:  $10 each on average.

I used the auction rankings at FantasyPros.com for values, with 65% reserved for batters.  From there I just blocked out all players valued between $8 and $12.

But, Dave, you say.... Dave, how can I compete with an entire roster of $10 players?  Behold...

Catcher ($20):
Salvador Perez - $8
Evan Gattis - $12

1B ($24):
Joey Votto - $12
Prince Fielder - $12
(also qualify here: Gattis)

2B ($18):
Howie Kendrick - $10
Martin Prado - $8
(also qualify here: Zobrist)

SS ($16):
Starlin Castro - $8
Jimmy Rollins - $8
(also qualify here: Zobrist)

3B ($20):
Ryan Zimmerman - $11
Manny Machado - $9
(hard to pass up David Wright at $12, too)
(also qualify here: Prado and Harrison)

OF ($63):
Ben Zobrist - $12
Josh Harrison - $8
Billy Hamilton - $12
J.D. Martinez - $11
Marcell Ozuna - $10
Shin-Soo Choo - $10
(also qualify here: Zimmerman, Prado, and Gattis)

SP ($60):
Gio Gonzalez - $10
Carlos Carrasco - $8
Tyson Ross - $9
Julio Teheran - $12
Homer Bailey - $9
Jose Fernandez - $12

RP ($43):
Dellin Betances - $10
David Robertson - $11
Steve Cishek - $9
Mark Melancon - $13

All told it's $264, so feel free to drop an outfielder and add a cheaper pitcher like Jose Quintana or Zach Britton, both $6.

I think the beauty of this approach is the fact that you never really know who is going to break out or have the big comeback season.  It also insulates you from slumps and injuries and also the curse of the big first half.

This team wins steals, wins saves, has a staff full of potential aces, and has insane roster flexibility on the hitting side.  Plus, did you think there would be all of those erstwhile superstars like Fielder, Votto, Choo, and Zimmerman on there?  Any one could bust out, plus there is greaet upside with younger guys that we saw have big years in 2014 - Harrison, Martinez, and even Hamilton.

Think you could win with a squad like this?