March 29, 2012
Resident Fantasy Genius
Yahoo! Friends & Family Draft
Last week, I participated in the Yahoo! Friends & Family expert league which—after my move from Tout Wars Mixed to NL—happens to be my only mixed league this year. This league offers some fierce competition, with 11 of the 13 participants also members of LABR or Tout Wars. You can see the entire field and what they had to say about their drafts here.
Yahoo! F&F is a 13-team mixed league with daily roster moves, unlimited transactions, and a 1,250-innings cap. Take a look at my roster:
Overall, I’m very happy with my team. I’m not quite as happy as I would be if Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski hadn’t taken the guy I wanted the pick before mine on seven separate occasions, but I like my chances.
My strategy going into the draft was to load up on hitting early while grabbing a couple near-elite guys in the round seven-to-10 area. This top 10 plan played out very well, as I feel I acquired some excellent talent in the first four rounds (Ellsbury, Longoria, Holliday, and Phillips) that span a number of positions and categories. To preempt the obvious question: No, I don’t buy into Ellsbury’s power last year, but with the No. 12 pick, even if he only hits 10 home runs, he should be worth it.
My offense may be lacking a bit in batting average, but it seems to be stocked well with power and speed. That gives me the option of supplementing the team with average via the waiver wire (more on this in a minute) or via trade later in the year, after seeing how things play out.
As far as pitching goes, I was happy to get Gallardo and Shields to anchor the staff, and I was ecstatic to see Morrow fall to the 11th round. Not only do I feel he could be in for a huge breakout year, but in a league with an innings cap, a pitcher with that kind of strikeout rate is immensely valuable. This also puts a premium on elite relievers, since their lack of raw wins and strikeouts are unimportant; their per-inning ratio is key. When your team is going to get only 1,250 innings, maximizing the quality of each of those innings is extremely important, and relievers are usually the best pitchers in baseball on a per-inning basis. I know that Chris Liss, who often finishes near the top of this league, likes to draft four or five elite closers for this exact reason. I debated going this direction, but I ultimately decided against it.
The other interesting strategic quirk that this league offers that isn’t found in Tout Wars or LABR is daily (and unlimited) transactions. What I’d like to do in this league is keep my three bench spots as, essentially, revolving doors. Soria and Revere have already been dropped in favor of Oakland hitters for today’s game in Japan, and Sizemore has been dropped in favor of Chris Carpenter, who I’ll stash on the DL when he becomes eligible in the hopes of giving my rotation a jolt in a couple months.
On Mondays and Thursdays (when most teams are off), I’d like to stream the best hitters to maximize my at-bats. On the rest of the days, I’d like to stream elite middle relievers to help out with, well, everything except saves. Since the per-inning ratios are what matters, one inning from an elite middle reliever is basically the same as one inning from a 15 W, 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 starter.
So what do you guys think? How is my team?
Finally, as I discussed in my Tout Wars recap, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a new startup company that I work for called Fantasy Squared. Fantasy Squared is a market-style game where users can buy and sell shares of events that happen in an underlying fantasy league—which team will win, who got the better end of a trade, etc. Knowing how much you guys like to voice your opinion on my teams, I saw this as an exciting way to really quantify these opinions and a way for you to show just how much you really know, competing against others who also think they know as much (or more) than the experts do. You can head over to Fantasy Squared now for more information and to compete in the Yahoo! Friends & Family version on the game. We’re in our beta phase, so feedback is welcome!