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March 14, 2011

Fantasy Beat

Know Your Enemy

by Bill Baer

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SB Nation's The Good Phight, one of the most popular Phillies blogs around, recently posted the results of their fantasy baseball draft. There were 25 rounds with 18 players each, for a total of 450 players selected -- clearly one of the deeper leagues around. I was interested in comparing TGP's draft results, particularly those involving the Phillies, to the ESPN averages.

I went through and picked every Phillie out of TGP's draft and logged their place in the draft, and compared it to ESPN. Almost across the board, Phillies were taken more quickly than compared to drafts across ESPN's vast array of leagues. The following chart illustrates the matter concisely. (Click to enlarge)

I have said a few times in my columns here that there is more to success in fantasy baseball leagues than knowing the numbers. You need to know your opponents as well. Just as in Texas hold'em poker, you can understand the odds better than anybody, but the player who picks up on tells can have just as much, if not more success.

TGP's draft clearly shows a Phillies bias. Only three of 11 Phillies with an ESPN draft average were drafted later than the ESPN average: Ryan Howard (-3), Roy Oswalt (-19), and Brad Lidge (-30). Seven Phillies did not have an ESPN draft average (read: they are not popular), but were drafted in the TGP league: Ryan Madson (194 overall), Domonic Brown (229), Joe Blanton (233), Raul Ibanez (246), Jamie Moyer (301, still befuddling), and John Mayberry (420). Obviously, at least the latter three picks have more to do with the deepness of the league than bias, but it is still interesting to note.

Additionally, one player ("The Phrozen") drafted seven of the 18 Phillies, or nearly 40 percent. Identifying these biases can not only help you make decisions on draft day, but it can also help you complete favorable trades during the season. The biases can extend beyond team allegiances as well. If you play in a league full of Saberists, players like J.A. Happ are going to be underrated while players like Mike Minor will be overrated -- generally speaking.

Be observant on draft day and take notes. It can pay off manyfold during the season!

Full listing of Phillies drafted and their ESPN averages:

Player

TGP

ESPN avg.

Halladay

1

6

Lee

6

18

Utley

13

40

Hamels

24

58

Howard

28

25

Rollins

55

62

Victorino

58

79

Ruiz

60

255

Oswalt

91

72

Polanco

161

193

Lidge

193

163

Madson

194

N/A

Brown

229

N/A

Blanton

233

N/A

Ibanez

246

N/A

Francisco

269

N/A

Moyer

301

N/A

Mayberry

420

N/A

Bill Baer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bill's other articles. You can contact Bill by clicking here

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The Week in Quotes: Ma... (03/14)
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Fantasy Beat: 2011 Pro... (03/01)
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