Adding Value to
by Nathan Noy
doesnít take an economist or someone with an MBA to figure out
how to win a fantasy league. The key to winning draws heavily upon
a concept that carries over into a number of disciplines. What is
this concept? It
sounds very simple, but it is often misunderstood.
This key is, of course: VALUE.
you want to win your league, you need to maximize the value of
every decision you make, especially those decisions you make at
the draft. By
following the advice in this article, you should find yourself in
a much better position following your draft.
This should lead to a better position at the end of the
season. You should be
receiving a check instead of writing one when itís all said and
of what you are about to read may be new to you, some of it you
may have heard before. I
follow these concepts, and I know a number of others that have
been quite successful using them.
Alcohol at the draft and other distractions (Final-4 etc)
auction or draft seems to have at least one guy that shows up with
a 12-pack of Bud Lite. Hopefully,
you are not this guy. The
casinos in Las Vegas give out free booze for a real good reason;
it impairs the judgment of those that consume it. I would advise
the host of any draft to provide it as well.
Thereís nothing like waking up the morning after the
draft and finding a $30 Al Martin on your roster (to say nothing
of the numerous young ladies who have woken up as Mrs. Al
impairs oneís state of mind.
That can be scientifically proven.
The less clearly you are capable of thinking, the less
likely you are to walk away from a draft or auction a winner.
The underlying theme to this advice is value; if you are
impaired or distracted at your draft, you likely will not be
positioned to take advantage of situations where this ďvalueĒ
may present itself.
great ploy for the host of the draft is to put something REALLY
interesting on TV. My
annual draft takes place during Sweet 16 weekend.
Thereís nothing like trying to follow your bracket and
find a good 5th outfielder at the same time.
Take it upon yourself to distract your competition.
Do whatever it takes; hold the draft during a major
sporting event or if your group would not be offended, show the
Playboy channel or some copies of Baywatch for the afternoon.
Nothing is quiet as distracting as Pamela Anderson, with or
without Tommy Lee.
Sure, the draft is meant to be fun.
But itís a whole lot more fun in October cashing a check
than it is writing one. Buy
that 12 of Bud Lite in October, not in March or April. Use
distractions to your advantage, focus on your task at hand (the
draft) and do your best to distract others.
This is a time-proven method that will certainly give you
at least a little extra edge on the competition.
Closer Turnover Rule
I first posted this piece a year ago I included the
many of you out there paid $35 or more last season for BILLY
WAGNER or UGUETH URBINA?
#ís for the year: 2W 6SV 6.18 ERA
were not much better: 0W
out there paid more then $1 for OCTAVIO DOTEL 16 Svís, or
LA TROY HAWKINS 14 Svís?
venture to say that a majority of the owners of Hawkins and
Dotel tended to cash a check at the end of the season and
the owners of Urbina and Wagner were writing one.
same can apply this year to the likes of Todd Jones (from 42
Svís in 2000 to 13 in 2001), or Jeff Zimmerman (from 4
Svís in 2000 to 28 in 2001.)
Mark Leiter 0 Svís
1998 Mark Leiter 23 Svís
Mark Davis 44 Svís
1990 Mark Davis 6 Svís
happens every season, and not just to one or two players or
closer turnover ratio in Major League Baseball is
job is more volatile, and there is NEVER such a thing as a
fact some people use a strategy of punting saves, especially
in an auction style league.
Just ask our resident expert and two-time
champion of the expert league LABR Michael Brown.
He has left each of his LABR auctions without a
closer; he chose instead to spend his money on offense.
The net result: back-to-back championships of the
most prestigious fantasy baseball league on the planet and a
strong finish last season.
I am not fully advocating punting Svís.
And in many leagues, closers are actually
I am advocating is not betting the ranch on winning saves by
spending heavily on closer LOCKS.
If history has taught us anything it has clearly
taught us that there is no such thing as a closer LOCK.
35 Dollar Rule
is a nearly unbreakable rule that many successful fantasy
teams play by: in a 12 or 13-team AL or NL league, NEVER pay
more than $35 for a single player.
Some people argue that there may be a Pedro exception
to this rule. However,
we should take a look at the rationale behind it before we
consider breaking it.
rule is based on statistics, but it is easy to find a
parallel to the real world.
Assume for a minute that you have $4.00 in your
pocket and you are off to Burger King for lunch.
Letís also assume that you are like me and anything
short of a large Coke simply will not satisfy your thirst.
Furthermore, letís also assume that you are hooked
on those nasty fries they serve. And letís assume at this
particular BK there are no value meals.
So for your $4.00 you could buy a regular Whopper,
your large Coke that is a must, and a large fry.
But if you decide that you are willing to pay more
and you buy a Double Whopper, you will only have enough
money left for a small fry and a 12 ounce Coke, that may
consist of ice only after a sip or two.
Obviously your choice to pay more for one item than
you can afford has had a major impact on the other items you
the same way in a deep fantasy league draft.
There are a finite number of players that can
actually benefit your team, and as you are likely aware,
some players actually can hurt your team.
If you overpay for one player at some point you must
sacrifice total quality.
Nothing will sink a team faster in a deep league than
having $10 left to acquire your last 10 players.
Your team will be filled with guys that
hit .240 and pitchers with ERAís over 5.00.
statistics behind this mess are based on standard deviation
is why some experts may advocate paying more than $35 for a
player like Pedro. Most
of us donít have time to do in-depth statistical analysis
and come up with our own values based on standard
most projections and quality $ projections like the ones on
drafthelp.com utilize these techniques in their
advice is not to break the rule. Even if Pedro has a real
value of $45, I would drop from the bidding at $35.
It is likely that heíll end up going for more than
$45 anyway, and you can rest assured that the team with
Pedro will have more than his far share of scrubs on his
Accurate projections and conserving your budget are two
ways to assure you field a competitive squad.
Paying the proper amount for a player is the key to
building a team with value.
By following the $35 rule, you can help assure you
will have the money you need to buy those players that you
feel are under or accurately priced.
of Bid Based on the Number of Teams and Positions
projected dollar values are based on the assumption that
your league uses a standard 12-team AL or 13-team NL format.
However, this is often not the case.
There are a number of 12 team leagues that use both
the AL and NL and often an AL or NL only league may not have
12 or 13 teams. Most
draft lists are based on the same assumption.
number of teams in your league should have a significant
impact on your strategy.
Especially when it comes to 1Bs, OFs and closers.
In a 12-team AL-only league, there are 14 closers for
12 teams, but in a 12-team mixed league there are 30 closers
same goes for quality Ofs; the number of quality OFs goes
from about 25 to 60, and 1Bs from around 10 to 22.
impact on the other positions is far less severe.
At SS, you go from 4-5 to maybe 9-10.
And at catcher you go from 2-3 to 5-6.
The same holds for 2Bs, 3Bs and SPs.
So what does this observation tell you:
in a league that has less than the standard number of
teams, focus on the positions that have very little depth.
a draft league, this means drafting Jeter before Bonds,
because when it gets to the 20th round you can
still grab an Adam Dunn at OF (well, at least you could last
year!), while the guy that blew his first pick on Bonds will
be stuck with the likes of Ozzie Guillen at SS.
By adding the combined stats of the two players you
can obviously see that you are better off.
The same holds true for closers.
Let someone else draft Trevor Hoffman in the second
round, youíll still be able to grab LaTroy Hawkins or Mike
Anderson somewhere around Round 16, and youíll still be
competitive in saves.
far as auctions go, hereís where you can almost throw the
$35 rule out the window.
Spend and spend big for the positions with little
depth. If you
can lock up Piazza, Pedro, A-rod, and Robbie Alomar, you
will still be able to fill your roster with starting OFs for
$1. If there
are 12 teams in your league and every team gets 5 OFs and
there are 60 guys worth getting, then you are almost
guaranteed being able to grab a guy with value at the end of
the draft for $1. But
think for a second what the 23rd and 24th
best catchers in baseball can do for your fantasy team.
Besides hitting .240 and costing you 6 places in
batting average, very little else.
Playing in a league of standard size is great, but some
of us decide not to for a number of various reasons.
For those of us that appreciate ďstandardĒ we see
anything less as being a combination of ďAll-StarĒ
teams. So if
you plan to play in this ďAll-StarĒ style league, be
sure to adjust your strategy, and make it a priority to fill
your roster with the superstar players that come from
positions that have little depth.
up the guy you donít really want,
keep quiet about those you REALLY do
one has been working for me for years.
Say you REALLY think that Jeter is ready for that
40-40-.350 season and you simply MUST have him.
What do you do when heís on the board?
advice: ďas Elmer Fudd would say Ďbe quiet, be berry
berry quiet.íĒ Just
sit back calmly, let the bidding rapidly escalate to the
mid-20s and jump in when there is a moment of silence.
DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT throw him out there
you have a player on your list that you REALLY must have,
let someone else toss him.
The only exception to this is near the end of the
draft; if you have budgeted wisely, then you can toss a
player that only you can afford.
donít be the guy that says $30 when the bidding is still
at $10. Let
someone else drive up the price.
You need to sit quietly until the time is right for
if you MUST have Jeter that likely means you think A-rod
will pull a Griffey and hit about .250 this year.
Hereís what I suggest you do.
THROW HIM EARLY.
Also when you toss him out there say:
ď.318 52-135-18, and that was a BAD year for him.Ē
Quote the stats; talk him up big time.
Say, ďThis is by far the top player in the game!Ē
Also, start the bidding at $25 or so.
You KNOW you wonít get stuck with him that cheaply,
and if you do, then thatís one great deal.
I would also suggest sticking around in the bidding
to his fair market price.
Be the guy that drives him right to the fringe, and
if you end up with him at least you will have him for less
than heís worth.
of the other owners in your league may eventually figure out
your ploys. If
this happens, then mix it up little.
Keep them guessing.
The key, of course, is to get the guys
you want as inexpensively as possible, and make the other
teams pay as much as possible for the guys youíre really
not interested in.
seasonís total HR and SB totals were as follows:
NL HRs: 2952
MLB HRs: 5458
NL SBs: 1456
MLB SBs: 3103
means that in the AL there was a SB for every 1.52 HRs and
in the NL this ratio was one SB for every 2.03 HRs.
The total for MLB was a 1.76:1 ration.
above was not a single-season phenomenon.
In fact, a review of historical statistics would
result in very similar data over the last 15 years. One
obvious conclusion can be drawn from the above: a SB is more
rare than a HR in todayís game.
any rotisserie league participant knows, in most leagues HRs
and SBs are categories of equal weight, i.e., in a 12-team
league the leader in SBs gets the same 12 points for leading
the category as the leader in HRs.
we can prove that a SB is a less common occurrence than a
HR, we can also infer that a SB is more valuable.
For example last season Alfonso Soriano had 43 steals
this represented 43/1647 or 2.61% of all the steals in the
AL. Jim Thome hit 49 jacks, 49/2506 or 1.96% of the total
homeruns that were hit in the AL. Thome had more HRs than
Soriano had SBs, however, Soriano had a higher percentage of
the leagueís total SBs.
Iím not advocating that you should automatically take
Soriano over Thome in your league this season.
What I do state is that players that hit 15-20 home
runs are a dime a dozen and cannot really help your team.
However, players that can grab a handful of steals
can move your team up a number of spots in the standings.
youíve just read the above piece you may be thinking to
can spend $30 each on Ichiro and Soriano this year and
easily win my league.Ē
Or if your league uses a draft format, ďI can use
my first two picks on these guys and win.Ē
is a reason that players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa,
A-rod, Carlos Delgado and Juan Gonzalez go for big money in
every auction or are the top picks in every draft league
each season. There
is a premium on superstar power hitters in fantasy baseball.
only do they help out in the power stats (HRs and RBIs), in
5-category leagues they generally produce a high number of
Rís, and most of the leagueís top power hitters
consistently approach at least a .300 average.
reason you cannot simply focus on the pitching categories
and SBs in a fantasy league and win is two-fold.
(1) There is a very short list of guaranteed
Pedro has an extended stay on the DL each season, and owners
of Roger Clemens can tell you all about his 4.60 ERA in
1999. Plus, weíve already discussed the volatility of
closers. (2) If you donít have any superstar power hitters
on your roster, you will finish dead last in HRs and close
to the bottom in RBIs. You cannot put together a group of
players that hit 20-25 HRs and plan to compete in the power
stats. Let me explain why:
assume that aside from the weakest middle infielders and
defensive catchers, virtually every player in baseball is
good for 10-15 HRís over the course of a season.
Assume that in a league Team A grabs Arod, Delgado,
Juan Gonzalez, and Jason Giambi. Team A also gets 10 other
players that hit only 10 HRís each.
Letís say that the group of 4 averages 45 HRs each,
so Team A would end up with (45*4) + (10*10) or 290 total
HRs. Team B
tries to obtain a balanced team and gets 8 players that hit
20-25 HRs and 6 that hit 10.
Even if all 8 of Team Bs marginal players have
breakout seasons and hit 25 homeruns each, the best Team B
can likely hope for is 260 HRs, which is much less than Team
fact that you can find a guy to give your team 10-15 HRs in
the free agent pool or at the end of the draft means that if
you ignore the top hitters, you will NEVER be able to close
the gap in the power categories.
my research, I have found that most league champions have a
couple of superstar power hitters, thus placing them in the
middle of the pack in HRs.
They also have a number of players that chip in 10-15
SBs (which, as we know, is far more rare than a player that
throws in 10-15 HRs.) They
more often than not have a few closers are considered
second-tier, and they avoid players that can destroy a
category (such as Troy Glaus and his .250 average, a topic
for another day.)
should be obvious to you by now is winning a league takes a
always comes into play, but craftiness and the recognition
of value go a long way in generating what others may deem as
media can be your greatest ally when it comes to assisting
others in overpaying for players at your auction.
Fantasy leagues are won on statistics, not pure
baseball ability. The
likelihood that Jim Edmonds will win another Gold Glove this
year and hit over .300 does not cancel the fact that 30 HRs
is likely out of reach.
However, someone in your league will likely
overpay for him because the media loves the guy.
hype to your benefit and recoginizing that the statistics
are what determines the outcome of a league is what will
make you a winner. Find
stories about players you are not interested in just before
your draft and hand out copies to the other teams in your
works great for this as well.
Find some tout that is saying Adam Dunn is a LOCK for
40 HRís since he hit 19 in 66 games last season and CC
your entire league on the e-mail (I like Adam Dunn, but he
wonít be hitting 40 jacks this year).
At the same time, hoard the info about YOUR guys.
If you read a late breaking story that Mike Fetters
has locked down the Pirates closing job on the morning of
the draft, be sure to find the most recent article about
Williams having the job and share it with the world.
This isnít dishonest, itís simply utilizing
information to your advantage. After all if the other guys
in your league deserve to beat you, they should be employing
the same strategies listed in this article.
to better balance your Fantasy League life with you REAL
is time of year when most roto-head, roto-geeks, fantasy
leaguers, or whatever we may call ourselves begin to feel
the pressure of balancing our passion with our real lives.
For some of us, balancing our time may not be an
issue since we may still be single, or still be in school,
or have a job where we can surf the Internet all day.
However, a vast majority of us have numerous
commitments outside of our fantasy or rotisserie teams.
I got married and had children I would spend 6-8 hours every
day pouring over stats, watching games and tracking my
teams. I know a number of people still do this, and there is
nothing wrong with that.
I could name every 40-man roster off the top of my
head and recite statistics for almost every player.
However, as time went by and my external commitments
increased, I saw myself having less and less time available
for what had become an obsession for me.
know that there are others like me out there searching for
ways to still pay adequate attention to their team(s) but
not lose their job or marriage in the meantime.
For those people, I offer the following advice.
There are a number of things such as being in fewer
leagues, learning how to drive a car and read the paper at
the same time, or chancing your job by doing research on
company time that can add more available time to you day.
However, these solutions may not have positive
outcomes for obvious reasons.
people looking to still manage their team(s) and the rest of
their lives efficiently and effectively I recommend the
following two pieces of advice: (1) you should rely more on
comprehensive information from specific sources (like this
website) and (2) you should utilize technology to track your
are a number of great websites that do your research for
you. If you
have 200 hours to prepare for your draft and you have 40
hours a week to dedicate to your team, maybe these sites are
not for you. However,
for the rest of us sites like drafthelp.com can be a
are numerous other resources (just check our rated links
section) besides ours that provide very useful information.
These sites can tell you who may be hurt, what player
is going to get playing time, and essentially any other
information that may help your team.
your team with technology is also a key way to better manage
your time. I
track all of my players on an excel spreadsheet.
All I have to do is download the statistics from
USAToday each morning and I have all of the information I
leagues have also gone to a web-based system of management
(if yours hasnít, then you should consider it.)
The days of buying the morning paper and jotting down
the stats are long gone.
If you want to discuss other specific ideas, please
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or submit a question to our Q&A section.
Donít forget to look for value in your draft this
season. But try not to forget that no matter how much we may
all love and live for this game, in the end itís still
ONLY a fantasy league.