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March 24, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Two Deep-League Lessons From the Preseason

by Ben Carsley


Ah, deep leagues. They test your knowledge and patience, your ability to follow a draft strategy and your sanity, as injuries always tend to ebb away at the weakest spot of your rosters. As 18- and 20-team leagues continue to become more popular, it's worth looking at some unique strategies that don't apply to shallower leagues, but can give you a decided advantage when you're in a league that goes 500-800 players deep.

I'm lucky/stupid enough to participate in several uber-deep leagues of both the redraft and keeper variety, and the more I play in said leagues, the more I grow to appreciate them over their shallower counterparts. The deeper the rosters go the more knowledge is required to succeed and the more victory has to do with skill and not luck.

With that in mind, here are two lessons that have really been hammered home for me as I've completed several deep league drafts this season.

1) Prospects are overvalued; post-prospects are undervalued
My fantasy boss/internet father Bret Sayre often makes the point that the deeper the league you play in, the more valuable replacement-level fantasy players become. The reasoning behind this is pretty simple: if you have to replace Matt Kemp in a 12-team league, you're going to get a decent replacement along the Norichika Aoki/Josh Reddick line. If you need to replace Kemp in a 20-teamer, I hope I can interest you in some David Lough!

This emphasis on adequacy means that selecting prospects is an even riskier proposition in deep leagues than in leagues of a standard size. Sure, the allure of a George Springer or a Gregory Polanco is very real, but what if neither player receives more than 250 PA this season? You might want to pop Javier Baez in the fifth round of a deep league, but if he's in the minors until July you're putting a serious dent in your ability to compete this season.

In dynasty leagues the picture gets even more muddled, but if we stick to evaluating redraft leagues here, you should be valuing boring production (think Michael Brantley) over high-upside, high-risk propositions (think Jake Marisnick). There's a fair counterargument to be made that landing this year's version of Yasiel Puig in the 20th round could win you your league, but players like 2013 Puig don't come around very often.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Ear... (03/24)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Ear... (03/24)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My ... (03/26)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Wins (03/24)

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