The needs of others can outweigh the needs of yourself.
It’s early, but the post-draft, post-auction, post-opening day euphoria is waning already for most fantasy baseball participants. Some players are doing better than expected, and some are doing worse, even though, only 17 days into the season, we surely are looking at an incomplete picture. Regardless, this is the time when some owners will begin looking for trades.
Is now a good time even to be considering trades? Great question. I believe it is a good time to do so, if only because our competition often is looking to make a trade now. Put differently, the way to get the most back in trades usually is to make a deal with someone else who wants to make a trade, someone who either wants something specific, or who wants to trade a particular player. We know that trades can be difficult because of the endowment effect—our tendency to value something more, simply because we possess it; thus, we always are looking for opportunities to make trades with a team dealing with factors that are counteracting the endowment effect.
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Attention, rebuilding teams: Fear not what early and active bidding can do for the quality of your draft.
Last weekend I partook in my respective AL-only and NL-only keeper auctions. Before we get to the takeaways, some background information as to where this year’s takeaways are coming from:
After spending the second half of 2014 rebuilding in the AL and all of 2014 rebuilding in the NL, I came into 2015 fully stocked with keepers, picks, and minor leaguers with the full intention of competing for championships; ditto 2016. The takeaways from my “Keeper League Auction Takeaways” articles over the past two years have thus come from someone entering the auctions with very few players to select (I often kept the max or nearly the max number of keepers—15.)
I have been incredibly bad at this exercise the past three seasons. In an attempt to improve this year, I took a look at my past strategies and processes to figure out what might be causing my teams’ poor performances. The biggest mistake that I think I have been making is anchoring on my experience in AL- and NL-only auction leagues (I do not participate in any mixed auction leagues) and not making the proper adjustments for mixed leagues. The result of this is that I would think every player below $25 was a great value, leading to teams without any elite talent. Elite talent is only valuable to a point, but if they are fairly priced, then they can often make up for a lot of things that will go wrong throughout the year. Consequently, I wanted take at least two elite hitters and one elite starter, making sure they were ones that I thought Mike was a little bit light on.
That said, there were some things that I did well during these exercises that I did want to run back. First, I had success always taking David Ortiz and other utility-only players because positional flexibility is not as big a constraint in this game. Second, I wanted to continue to take talented players coming off down years, older hitters, and players with slightly less certain roles because we (people) tend to overreact to negative fluctuations, risk, and uncertainty.
Lastly, I wanted to spend more than I usually do on pitching. In most of my leagues, I usually spend very little on pitching as I find my opponents tend to overvalue pitchers. This exercise, though, is different because my competition is fully aware to not overrate pitching. I am therefore going to try and pick up some points by zagging when the rest of the market is zigging (mostly in wins and strikeouts, but also possibly in pitching ratios).
After discussion his strategies on the Flags Fly Forever podcast this week, Jeff recaps what he learned to help you prepare for your league's auction.
Earlier this week, George and Mike from the Flags Fly Forever podcast were kind enough to have me on to discuss auction strategy and the decision-making process. When I write my articles from my typing cove (really, my apartment’s kitchenette), I do not get to bounce ideas off of people in real time or get to listen to the in-depth thoughts of others on auction strategy like I did when on the podcast. Consequently, the podcast (which you can listen to here) helped clarify and even bring to light some new beliefs and ideas that I believe will help us in our quest to improve our auction strategies, strategic process, and decision-making as we endeavor to chase flags that will fly forever. Again, I would highly recommend listening to the podcast, but additionally, I have recapped and expanded on some of the ideas and recommendations discussed—advice that I am going to be trying to heed come my final auction preparation this week and come my two auctions this weekend
1. Always prepare and analyze with opportunity cost in mind
Helping you craft a better strategy for drafting your fantasy bullpen.
Selecting Relievers and Anticipated Discounts versus Realized Discounts
Nine weeks ago we began the positional series with the goal of preparing for upcoming drafts and auctions. My fellow writers have provided us with insights about decisions teams might make, how players will likely perform, and how valuable those performances will likely be. Over here at The Quinton, we have been working on trying to better act on those aforementioned insights. This being a week after reliever week (it was intended for reliever week—sorry Bret and Mike), we have come to the end of our journey; and while relievers, outside of catchers, tend to be the lowest earning position, they tend to have a great impact on the decisions we make. How so?
Examining how to wield the power of the trade offer, both when sending and receiving, more effectively.
When it comes to trades and negotiation, we have already covered a wide array of topics, from anchoring to negotiation styles to the default effect to choice architecture. What we have not covered, though, is the effect of the focusing illusion on fantasy baseball trades. Daniel Kahneman coined the term, and in discussing the focusing illusion, he famously said, “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.”
Our means of trading is the trade offer and the trade offer inherently causes us to focus on particular players (the player being offered or requested) or a particular type of trade (a pitcher for a hitter or an expiring asset for a long-term asset). As a result of this, the focusing illusion likely plays a large role in determining the trades that get made, but how so?
Helping you avoid fantasy pitfalls associated with the decrease in steals around the league in recent years.
Stolen bases and stolen base attempts are down over the past 10 years and are so particularly over the past five years. The graph below shows league-wide totals for stolen bases, caught stealing, and stolen base attempts from 2007 to 2016 by year.